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Let’s talk about . . . Sex and Money

PLEASURE.Sex & Money Cover

We live in a world obsessed with finding it, passionate to enjoy it, and desperate to maintain it. Chief among such pleasures are sex and money—two pleasures unrivaled in their power to captivate our attention, demand our worship, and drive us to hide or to despair.

In Sex and Money (now available), seasoned counselor and pastor Paul David Tripp pulls back the curtain on the lies that surround us and on the distortions we often overlook. As he exposes the insanity of our culture, he also wisely speaks to our own tendencies to fall prey to sexual and financial idolatry.

Sex and Money ultimately directs us to God’s Word and the liberating power of the gospel, offering real-world advice, and giving us the guidance we need to find true joy and enduring satisfaction.

Praise for Sex and Money

“I’ve come to count on Paul Tripp’s books to be biblical, Christ-centered, deep, engaging, and well-written. Sex and Money is no exception. Its insights into our cultural idolatries and God’s transforming grace are priceless.”
—RANDY ALCORN, Author, The Purity Principle and Managing God’s Money

“Fresh. Honest. Real. Paul Tripp tackles the familiar snares of sex and money with fresh perspective, honest answers from God’s Word, and a real sense of our need for God’s grace. I commend this new resource to you from my friend and ministry partner.”
—JAMES MACDONALD, Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel

“This is a humble, hopeful, relevant book—a wonderful reminder that Jesus’s way truly is easy and his burden is light. I highly recommend it.”
—CHRIS BRAUNS, Pastor, The Red Brick Church

“In Sex and Money, Paul Tripp has taken two of the greatest idols and unmasked them against the glorious gospel. If you really want to unseat the insanity and power of lust and materialism in your life, this book will take you to the one true solution—Jesus himself.”
—JAY THOMAS, Lead Pastor, Chapel Hill Bible Church

Preview an Excerpt from the Book

Download this excerpt as a PDF file 

 

How Do We Grow in Holiness? (Part 2)

Tim Chester continues our discussion on growing in holiness:

7 Elements of a Reinforced Faith

These are ways in which God is gracious to us and by which he strengthens his work of grace in our hearts. They are the means God uses to feed our faith in him. This is what sowing to the Spirit looks like in practice.

1. The Bible — The Word of God is perhaps God’s primary means of changing us. “Sanctify them in the truth,” prays Jesus, adding, “your word is truth” (John 17:17). It’s the water by which we’re washed, the weapon with which we fight, the tool kit with which we’re equipped, and the milk by which we grow (see Ephesians 5:26; 6:17; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 1 Peter 2:2).

2. Prayer We often complain that we lack time to pray. But everyone has twenty-four hours each day. People who pray more don’t have twenty-five-hour days. Our problem is that we decide other things are more important. But when we realize that God is the great change agent in our lives, prayer will inevitably move up the priority list. For some this will require “planned neglect” — deciding to neglect other activities.

3. Community One of the reasons God has put us in Christian communities is to help us change. The church is to be a community of change. Here are some ways in which the church is a means of grace:

    • We remind one another of the truth.
    • We are taught the Bible by people whom God has gifted for this purpose.
    • We pray together for God’s help.
    • We model Christian change and holiness for one another.
    • We see God at work in the lives of others.
    • We remind one another of God’s greatness and goodness as we worship him together.
    • We are given opportunities for service.
    • We provide accountability for one another.

4. Worship When we worship God, we’re reminding ourselves that God is bigger and better than anything sin offers. Worship isn’t just an affirmation that God is good. It’s an affirmation that God is better. In worship we don’t just call on one another to worship God. We also call one another away from the worship of other gods. We remind our hearts of God’s goodness, majesty, love, grace, holiness, and power. This isn’t just an intellectual recall. God has given us music to touch our emotions. We sing the truth so that it moves, inspires, stirs, encourages, and so transforms us.

5. Service We often think of service as the fruit or sign of change. But it’s also a means of grace that God uses to change us. Sin is fundamentally an orientation toward self. Many of us suffer from self-absorption. We’re preoccupied with our problems and successes. We bring every conversation around to our favorite subject: me. Or we develop habits of self-centeredness in which we live for our own comfort and security. Serving God and other people can help redirect us outward, taking our attention away from ourselves. It’s a great prescription for people suffering from negative emotions.

6. Suffering Suffering always presents us with a choice. We can get frustrated, angry, bitter, or despondent as our desire for control, success, love, or health gets threatened. Or we can take hold of God in a new way, finding our joy in him and comfort in his promises.

7. Hope John Calvin commends what he calls “meditation on the future life.” We need to dream of the new creation. We need to remind one another of the “eternal . . . glory” that awaits us and that far outweighs our “light momentary affliction” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18; Romans 8:17–18). It means recalling that we’re pilgrims in this world, passing through on the way to “a better country” (Hebrews 11:13–16; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:11).

Read part 1 of this two-part series on growing in holiness.

 

Adapted from You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions, by Tim Chester

Tim Chester (PhD, University of Wales) is pastor of the Crowded House in Sheffield, United Kingdom, and director of the Porterbrook Seminary, which provides integrated theological and missional training for church leaders. Chester coauthored Total Church and Everyday Church (Re:Lit), and has written more than a dozen books, including A Meal with Jesus.

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January 4, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life & Doctrine,Pursuit of Holiness,Sanctification,Sanctification/Growth,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Author @ 8:00 am | 1 Comment »

How Do We Grow in Holiness? (Part 1)

The difference between the person who grows in holiness and the one who doesn’t is not a matter of personality, upbringing, or gifting; the difference is what each has planted into the soil of his or her heart and soul. So holiness isn’t a mysterious spiritual state that only an elite few can reach. It’s more than an emotion, or a resolution, or an event. Holiness is a harvest.

What does Paul mean by sowing to the sinful nature and sowing to the Spirit?

“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh” (Galatians 5:16–17).

We sow to the flesh whenever we do something that strengthens or provokes our sinful desires. We sow to the Spirit whenever we strengthen our Spirit-inspired desire for holiness.

We can’t change ourselves

We’ve seen that we can’t change ourselves. It’s God who changes us. But we participate in the process through faith and repentance. It’s important to see not sowing to the sinful nature and sowing to the Spirit in this context. They’re not rules or disciplines, reentering by the back door. They address our heart and its desires. Not sowing to the sinful nature is all about reinforcing repentance. Sowing to the Spirit is about reinforcing faith. This means saying no to whatever reinforces the sinful nature and strengthens my sinful desires. And saying yes to whatever reinforces the Spirit and strengthens my Spirit-inspired desires.

On Friday we will explore 7 elements of a reinforced faith that cultivates a love for God.

 

Adapted from You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions, by Tim Chester

Tim Chester (PhD, University of Wales) is pastor of the Crowded House in Sheffield, United Kingdom, and director of the Porterbrook Seminary, which provides integrated theological and missional training for church leaders. Chester coauthored Total Church and Everyday Church (Re:Lit), and has written more than a dozen books, including A Meal with Jesus.

RELATED POSTS:

 

Video: Four Ordinary Means of Grace

Kevin DeYoung explains that there are four very ordinary means to pursuing holiness. Long-time Christians may be tempted to roll their eyes at how elementary this seems, but surely we never mature beyond the need to pursue these means of grace. Be sure to tune into the rest of this seven-part interview series linked below or learn more about DeYoung’s new book, The Hole in Our Holiness.

The seven-part series:

 

 

Faking Fruit (of the Spirit) – Hayley DiMarco

In his book Fruit of the Spirit, G. W. Bethune says,

“The mind, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, perceives and understands the truth; the conscience, quickened by the Holy Spirit, feels and acknowledges it; the heart, converted by the Holy Spirit, loves and obeys it.”

The big question, then, is can you truly bear fruit if you aren’t abiding? I know many nonbelievers who love, who are kind, gentle, patient, and joyful. They love their families, they help their friends, and they serve the world, sometimes better than believers, but only because it feels good. Their fruit grows because of the pay-off they receive. A woman might love a man because of how he makes her feel, how he looks, or how much money he makes. People might give because of how important it makes them feel or how much it relieves their guilt.

Whatever does not come from the Spirit
is done out of pleasure seeking.

People do things for lots of reasons, but whatever does not come from the Spirit, but from the flesh, is done out of pleasure seeking. In other words, when the flesh is our source of fruit, the motivation isn’t God’s glory but our own. So, even those who  seem so selfless and good can be, at the root of it all, just serving themselves. And while it can be beneficial and kind, it isn’t evidence of the life of the Spirit or its fruit, because its ultimate goal is glorifying self and not God.

We must understand that without the life of Christ in us, any fruit worth producing is not sustainable. When hard times hit, when tempers fly, when necessity demands it, the fruit produced by sheer brute strength falters, because it isn’t the produce of the Spirit but of the flesh attempting to please itself. For most of us, any study of the fruit of the Spirit draws us inward and forces us to look at our lives, emotions, or feelings. We examine our lives for love, joy, or self-control and see that we sorely lack what we desperately need. We want more fruit, but we can’t seem to find it. What are we missing?

What is the purpose of the fruit of the Spirit?

Perhaps a better understanding of the purpose of the fruit of the Spirit will shed some light on its absence in your life. Have you considered the idea of the tree? It does not grow fruit for itself but to give it to those who would take it from its branches. Fruit doesn’t satisfy the tree from which it grows; it is meant to give glory to the husbandman or gardener and to benefit those who have need of its fruit. So it is with your fruit, which is meant for “the common good,” we read in 1 Corinthians 12:7. You cannot consider the purpose of the fruit of the Spirit to be your happiness but the glory of God and the hope, faith, and life of others. Your fruit is meant to serve the hungry, to prove the goodness of the Spirit from which it comes to those who would partake of it. Though there is no question of a residual benefit associated with experiencing the fruit of the Spirit, its ultimate goal is to serve the gardener by feeding those who have access to its fruit.

So the fruit of the Spirit isn’t about pleasure or pleasing self at all, but about denying self and giving all to the glory to God. It’s about needing nothing for ourselves from the fruit we produce. It’s truly unconditional, meant to serve the will of God. This fruit comes not from the goodness of our hearts but from the goodness of the Spirit of God, who lives in our hearts. By becoming mindful of abiding in Christ and desiring to respond to the Spirit’s promptings rather than to our flesh, we set our minds of the things of the Spirit rather than the things of the flesh, and when that happens our fruit begins to flourish.

adapted from Hayley DiMarco’s The Fruitful Wife