Wayne Grudem is well known for his Systematic Theology. It’s one of the best modern systematics that I am aware of. I’ve described it as a devotional systematic because I find myself worshipping by doxology while reading it. He has been teaching a series of Sunday School lessons on Christian Essentials that you can access here. He is an excellent teacher and well worth the space on your mp3 and the time on your calendar to listen and learn. (HT: JT)
Bridges writes of a duty in the Christian life that is rarely seen as a stewardship – the stewardship of pain.
“It often seems more difficult to trust God than to obey Him. The moral will of God given to us in the Bible is rational and reasonable. The circumstances in which we trust God often appear irrational and inexplicable.” —Jerry Bridges
Our typical reactions when encountering adversity:
- God didn’t have anything to do with this
- Get angry with God
- Bear it in our own strength
Another path—the stewardship of pain
- Trust Him in your pain
- Ask for His sustaining grace
- Testify to the sufficiency of His sustaining grace
- Ask God for opportunities of ministry that our pain may bring up
If there is something this old world never seems short of, it is pain. That the Lord would have a purpose for it is one of the great sources of strength and endurance for the pilgrim walking the rocky path. If you are not in the midst of trouble now, you will be. When it comes, how will you greet it? How will you endure its visit, whether protracted or extended?
I cannot do Bridges justice in this small space. I can only hand it to the next weary walker of this guilty sod.
I am using the book as the framework for an adult Bible study in our church on Sunday mornings. Several people in the study have commented how it brings the biblical characters to life right before their very eyes. Unlike many of MacArthur’s doctrinal works, this one is written in a warm, free-flowing style that is much more conversational and informal in tone. It is a pleasure to read. In fact, if you get as engrossed in it as I did, you’ll finish it the same day you start reading it. It’s that good.
I get the impression while reading it that the cup of MacArthur’s pastoral compassion for everyday Christians was spilling over as he wrote. You can smell the sea of Galilee and hear the fishermen working as they mend their nets. Into this common scene walks the Lord of the universe in order to call them to follow him. They aren’t desirable above their brothers. Far from it. They are as ordinary as can be. If it’s possible to be extraordinarily ordinary, Jesus found disciples who were precisely that.
MacArthur brings out many facets of the character of these men, both before their conversion and as they walk with Jesus. While I can’t guarantee you’ll have great weather cooperating with your reading schedule, I highly recommend this book to disciples at all stages in their Christian life.
I know many of you teach Bible studies and are always on the lookout for good material. This one is a goodie. It is solidly Biblical, easily adaptable, faith-building and heart-warming. It will engage your fellow disciples as they see Jesus using people just like them to do great things for Him.