Tag Archives: Jerry Bridges

How Should the Body of Christ Respond When One of its Members is Suffering?

In his book, True Community: The Biblical Practice of Koinonia, Jerry Bridges has a great quote concerning the experiential aspect of Christian fellowship.  In it he illustrates what should characterize the body of Christ whenever one of its members is suffering – we should behave like our physical bodies do:

Can you imagine the ear making the following comment to the eyes, “Say, did you hear about the serious trouble the foot is having?  My, my,images (35)isn’t it too bad?  The foot surely ought to get his act together.”  No, no, our bodies don’t behave that way at all!  Instead the entire body cries out, “My foot hurts!  I feel awful!”

Why does the body hurt when only one part is injured?  It is because all the parts of the body make up one indivisible whole.  And when one part hurts, no matter what the reason, the restorative powers of the entire body are brought to bear on that hurting member.  Rather than attacking that suffering part or ignoring the problem, the rest of the body demonstrates concern for the part that hurts.  This is the way the body of Christ should function.

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Jerry Bridges’ New Book is FREE for the Kindle

In terms of practical Christianity, Jerry Bridges is easily one of the men who has challenged and encouraged me most.  In fact, his books The Pursuit of Holiness, The Discipline of Grace, and Trusting God are ones that I give away and recommend on regular basis.  His new book, True Community: The Biblical Practice of Koinonia, on the subject of Christian fellowship promises to be of similar impact and it’s free today for the Kindle.  Here’s the description:

Fellowship among believers is more than just talking over coffee after church service. Biblical fellowship in New Testament times—or koinonia—had rich and varied meanings, including covenant relationship, partnership in the gospel, communion with God and others, and the sharing of earthly possessions.

In True Community, best-selling author Jerry Bridges (The Pursuit of Holiness, Respectable Sins, Trusting God) explores koinonia and the practical implications it has for today’s church. With discussion questions at the end of each chapter, this book will help you dig deeper into what Christian community in the twenty-first century should look like. You will come away with a new appreciation for fellowship, the church, and what God intended the body of Christ to be.

Click here to get the Kindle version free from Amazon.


An Easy Way to Remember the Doctrine of Justification

If you didn’t know already, Jerry Bridge’s has a new book out called The Transforming Power of the Gospel.  We are working through it in our men’s ministry right now and have found ourselves challenged and encouraged as Bridges teaches us how the gospel is both the foundation and motivation for holy living.  One of the things  I appreciate most about Bridges is that he walks in imitation of the Apostle Paul in being adamant that we have a balanced understanding of the gospel; that we don’t emphasize certain aspects of the gospel over others and end up in error (both in theology and life).  He also tends to do this in a way that is clear and straightforward so that any Christian can get a grasp on it.

In chapter 4 of the book he helps bring this kind of balance and clarity to the doctrine of justification.  He quotes an old play on the word justified I had never heard that says Christ’s death for me as a believer makes it so that God treats me “just as if I had never sinned”.  Justified = Just as if I had never sinned.  God has removed our transgressions from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).  In Christ our penalty was paid, we are no longer in the red.  That means God’s justice is not for us because it was poured out on Jesus; we will not be punished.

But that’s not all there is to justification.  The other side of that play on justified says that Christ’s death for me as a believer makes it so that God treats me “just as if I had always obeyed”.  Justified = Just as if I had always obeyed.  Paul says that Jesus died in our place as the embodiment of our sin, so that “we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Jesus lived a life of perfection, and through his death that perfection is transferred to those who believe so that we’re not just out of the red, but our account is fully funded forever.  As our senior pastor often says, this means that God treated Jesus as if he’d lived my wicked, sinful life so he could treat me as if I’d lived his perfect, righteous life.

Justification is not one or the other, it is both, and our lives should be lived out of this balance so that we please God according to the reality of what he has done for us in Christ.

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What Are Your Functional Saviors?

In light of yesterday’s post, Learning to Be Suspicious of Yourself… Not God, I thought I’d provide these fill-in-the-blank statements (taken from The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington) with the hope that God will use them to help you identify the things you look to as “saviors” in the place of Christ.  It may that you have received Jesus as your Savior for the forgiveness of sin, but that does not mean you always carry him and his saving-ness over into your day-to-day life. Things like security, respect, pleasure, comfort, possessions, and significance are what we frequently look to as refuges when life gets hard.  These things don’t have the capacity to save us from the influence and effects of sin in our lives; they will fail us.  By God’s grace we need to identify these “functional saviors”, de-throne them from our hearts, and replace them with Christ.  The Savior of our past and future is also the Savior of our present.

 

-I am preoccupied with __________.


-If only _________, then I would be happy.


-I get my sense of significance from ____________.


-I would protect and preserve __________ at any cost.


-I fear losing _________.


-The thing that gives me the greatest pleasure is _________.


-When I lose ______ I get angry, resentful, frustrated, anxious, or depressed.


-For me, life depends on ____________.


-The thing I value more than anything in the world is _________.


-When I daydream, my mind goes to ___________.


-The best thing I can think of is __________.


-The thing that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning is ________.

 
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