The Clearest Indication that We Have Idolized Ourselves

Yet at its heart sin is the eclipse of thankfulness toward God (Romans 1:21).  Why thankfulness?  Because rather than seeing ourselves as self-creators who choose our own identity and purpose, the biblical worldview tells us that we are on the receiving end of our existence.  We are beholden to someone else.  Our life is a gift from God, not our own achievement.  And our ingratitude is the clearest expression that we have idolized ourselves.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 89

Our Love…When Unhinged from its Proper Object…

Unhinged from its proper object – God’s glory and our neighbor’s good – our love becomes self-focused; our holy passions become vicious, driving us away from God’s approaching steps and away from each other.  We’re not living in the real world, the creation that God called into being and sustains by the word of his power; but in a make-believe world.  We are living as though God and our neighbors were made for us.  In other words, we are living unnatural lives – living as if we were or could become someone other than the true image of God, created to love God and each other.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 88

How the First Adam and the Second Adam are Radically Different

Where the first Adam sought to break free of his created rank and ascend to the throne of God, the last Adam – who is God in his very nature – left his throne and descended to our misery (Philippians 2:6-10)

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 88

The Means of Grace in Clear and Unmistakable Terms

Jesus Christ officially instituted the means of grace in clear and unmistakable terms: preaching the gospel, baptizing and discipline – that is, teaching people to observe everything he commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).  In other words, it is what the reformed confessions define as the “three marks of the church”: no more, no fewer.  There is no bait-and-switch.  You don’t start with “what the people want” in order to get them to “what they need”.  The same means of grace that bring them in keep them in.  We are passive recipients of Christ with all of his benefits, but this makes us active in everyday ways as we live with and love others.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 85

 

The Vicious Cycle of Evangelical Revivalism

This has been the vicious cycle of evangelical revivalism ever since: a pendulum swinging between enthusiasm and disillusionment rather than steady maturity in Christ through participation in the ordinary life of the covenant community.  The regular preaching of Christ from all of the Scriptures, baptism, the Supper, the prayers of confession and praise, and all of the the other aspects of ordinary Christian fellowship are seen as too ordinary.  Whether one agrees with that will depend largely on whether one believes that God saves sinners or we save oursevels withGod’s help.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 78-79

There Are Two Ways to Understand Revival…

There are two ways to understand revival.  The first is to see it as a “surprising work of God,” God’s “extraordinary blessing on his ordinary means of grace.”  That is how Jonathan Edwards say it, as Ian Murray summarizes.  God is utterly free to withhold or send revival as he pleases.

The second approach sees revival as something within our control – something that can be staged and managed with predictable results.  If you follow the right steps, you’ll get the right outcomes.  Basically, it’s a technological approach to religion. Like a genie in a bottle, even God is subject to the laws of cause and effect.

as quoted by Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 74-75

Motivational Needs is a Clear Indication of Spiritual Health

In fact, one sign that many in your congregation are not regenerate is how hard you have to work to motivate them.  If an attractional ministry has gathered a congregation of Christians in name only, you will have to manipulate or coerce them into acting like followers of Jesus.

– Dever, Mark & Jamie Dunlop; The Compelling Community: Where God’s Power Makes a Church Attractive; Crossway; Wheaton, IL; Copyright 2015; Kindle Edition; Page 46