Sanctify

How to Receive Criticism

Feedback has been called “the breakfast of champions.” Unfortunately, most of us have a hard time eating it. So often we misinterpret this feedback or constructive criticism as a personal attack, and in pride and anger, we counterattack in self-defense. What we could...

How Sin Does Its Work

"Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." (Hebrews...

What is the Will of God?

It’s a question that many of us ask: “What is God’s will for my life?” After all, what child of God does not want to know the answer to this? The question of purpose—who we are, why we’re here, what God wants of/from/for us—is fundamental to human existence. The best...
Why is Waiting on God So Hard?

Why is Waiting on God So Hard?

Most of us don’t like waiting. We are annoyed with lengthy checkout lines at the store, frustrated by long red lights, and (if you live in northern Indiana like me) depressed with the lingering of winter temperatures in the middle of April. But we especially don’t...

Loving God With All Your Soul

Loving God With All Your Soul

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). There is a Latin maxim: ubi amor, ibi oculus. “We love to look at what we love.” When one of the scribes, seeking apparently...

Seven Ways to Cultivate Holiness in the Christian Life

Seven Ways to Cultivate Holiness in the Christian Life

Believers are called to holy living. This is the clear teaching of the Bible. As we continue our series on holiness, we want to consider the question, “How then does the believer cultivate holiness?” We will look at seven different ways. First, know and love...

Six Reasons to Practice Spiritual Disciplines

Six Reasons to Practice Spiritual Disciplines

Over the last few months, we’ve been walking our church through a study on spiritual disciplines. We’ve talked about Bible intake, prayer, giving, fasting, solitude, journaling, and reading. Along the way, we’ve tried to be practical, helping our people know how to...

Means of Assurance

Means of Assurance

In a world filled with sin, the flesh, and the devil, assurance of salvation is the soft feather bed on which the Christian rests. Assurance proves to be one of the greatest benefits of the Christian faith and the rightful inheritance of the child of God. In its...

Humility

Humility

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace"...

Three Marks of a True Christian

Three Marks of a True Christian

Recently, after returning from a lengthy ministry trip to Europe, I was privileged to be reunited with our local church for corporate worship.  I preached from 1 John 3:11-24 in our ongoing series titled, “Know.” As you know, John the apostle used the word “know” some...

Training in Righteousness

Training in Righteousness

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Righteousness! Is there any finer ambition, nobler aspiration, or loftier aim than this? God could have given us a Book...

Which Joy Rules Your Heart?

Which Joy Rules Your Heart?

John Owen (1616–1683) has a reputation for being hard on sin — and even harder to read. Nineteenth-century Scottish professor John Duncan is famous for assigning Owen to his students with the warning, “Prepare for the knife!” And theologian A.W. Pink said he found...

Seven Ways to Wage War Against Sin

Seven Ways to Wage War Against Sin

Sin. It is everywhere. It is never dormant. It is not passive. It does not sleep. It actively weakens and darkens the soul of every human being and has done so since the Fall (Genesis 3). Sin tempts our will. It separates us from our Father. It deceives our hearts and...

Weapons in the Fight Against Anxiety and Fear

Weapons in the Fight Against Anxiety and Fear

A two-year-old will never obsess about world economies. A three-year-old will never ask for lectures on totalitarian regimes. It is beyond them. If you think otherwise, just try and lecture them about it. They won’t pay attention. Their tiny minds can’t be filled with...

Behold the Beauty

Behold the Beauty

2 Corinthians 3:18, "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." Imagine for a moment that you and the person you have...

Mortification: Seven Phases Along the Sin-Killing Continuum

Mortification: Seven Phases Along the Sin-Killing Continuum

Mortification (noun): The Spirit-powered process of killing all of our propensities for sinful, self-destructive pleasures that compete for superior pleasure in the all-satisfying God. If we care about living then sin-killing (or the old school word “mortification”)...

Eight Roadblocks to Spiritual Health

Eight Roadblocks to Spiritual Health

Pediatricians diagnose some children with FTT (failure to thrive). The causes of FTT are many and varied, including genetics, sickness, and poor nutrition. But the diagnosis itself is given in cases of arrested development — when a child’s growth measurements fall...

How the Gospel Frees From Lawlessness

How the Gospel Frees From Lawlessness

We previously considered the pitfalls of legalism, and how the gospel lifts us out of them. Now let's look at the dangers of lawlessness, and how the Gospel guards us against them. Just as we observed with legalism, lawlessness can be displayed in many ways....

How the Gospel Frees from Legalism

How the Gospel Frees from Legalism

While I doubt the average Christian would say, “Avoiding legalism and lawlessness are among my greatest struggles,” they remain a crucial issue in every Christian walk, since the Christian life can never be set on autopilot. The Christian life requires day-by-day,...

Sanctifying View Of Grace

Sanctifying View Of Grace

 "For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God." (1 Corinthians 15:9) "To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of...

Cultivating Humility: Eight Strategies

Cultivating Humility: Eight Strategies

Christianity is impossible without humility. John MacArthur has said that humility is “the foundation of all graces” and “the very center of the Christian life.” Calvin called humility “the sovereign virtue - the mother and root of all virtue,” and Jonathan Edwards...

Faithfulness and Fruitfulness

Faithfulness and Fruitfulness

Richard Greenham, one of the renowned Puritan theologians of the sixteenth century, was well loved in his day for the spiritual help he was to many believers in England, as well to his fellow Puritan ministers. Quite a number of Puritan pastors would send their...

J.C. Ryle on Sanctification

J.C. Ryle on Sanctification

“This is the will of God, even your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3). There is today and always has been debate regarding the process of sanctification. Largely in the circles I run in, I see two major ditches: The doctrines of justification and sanctification are...

God’s Purposeful Affliction

God’s Purposeful Affliction

As Paul writes to suffering and potentially discouraged Christians in Corinth, he reminds them that God is the God of all comfort. And one way that God comforts in trials is by letting us know that every pain in our life is allowed there for a divine purpose or, more...

Four Ways You Can Grow with Your Friends in Sanctification

Four Ways You Can Grow with Your Friends in Sanctification

God created the Church to help people flourish in community with one another. He didn’t give you or only a few individuals every single spiritual gift. Rather, the Holy Spirit dispersed them among God’s people. You and I are not an island unto ourselves. We are...