Pick up and Read
This past Sunday I mentioned in my sermon that Christians who love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, and strength can sometimes fail to love the Lord with all of their mind.
Please dedicate yourself to daily study of the Scriptures. Before even considering the books listed below, please make sure that you are regularly reading the Bible. All of the books mentioned below are good and beneficial, but they are not living and active. Only the Bible is able to make one wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 3:15). It is the only message that is inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16) and therefore completely trustworthy. If you would like to read through the Bible in the year 2016, that would be a far more beneficial task than reading anything else. You can find many different reading plans here.
However, if you have a good system of reading your Bible, please consider using these extra-biblical aids in growing your love for Jesus Christ. There are ten books listed. The first eight are very accessible and understandable at any level of the Christian life. The last two books listed are more intensely theological and may not be beneficial for a young Christian who is unfamiliar with the fundamentals of the faith. If you click on the image of the book covers, you will be taken to an Amazon page where you can purchase the books.
New Morning Mercies - Paul Tripp
This book contains a short, one page devotional for each day of the year. These devotions are passionately gospel-centered and unusually practical for a devotional. I highly recommend starting out your day by reading the Bible and then reading one of these devotions. These are also excellent devotions to do with the family in the evenings or even around the kitchen table.
Review by Matt and Lauren Chandler,
“We have always resonated with Robert Robinson’s hymn ‘Come Thou Fount,’ especially the line, ‘Prone to wander—Lord, I feel it—prone to leave the God I love.’ We feel the pull daily away from God’s goodness and toward a pursuit of our own, away from God’s gracious acceptance and toward the exhausting, impossible weight of trying to tip the scales in our favor. We are grateful to God that Paul has written this devotional to help, in Robinson’s words, seal our hearts for God’s courts above. If you’re prone to wander, this book is for you.”
Slave: The Hidden Truth about Your Identity in Christ - John MacArthur
As Christians, we are called to renew our minds (Romans 12:2). Part of renewing our minds is constantly reminding ourselves that we are not our own, we have been bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20). We must be mindful or the reality that God has saved us to serve Him and our ministry is to do His will. This book is a refreshing reminder of our priority as Christians to always put God's will at the top of our list of priorities.
Review by R.C. Sproul
"John MacArthur expertly and lucidly explains that Jesus frees us from bondage and into a royal slaverly that we might be His possessions. Those who would be His children must, paridoxically, be willing to be His slaves."
Expository Apologetics: Answering Objections with the Power of the Word - Voddie Baucham Jr.
It is immensely helpful for every Christian to obey the Word of God by always being ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15). One way that we can do that is by knowing and understanding the very basic principles of apologetics. The method that Baucham presents in understanding and communicating aplogetics is refreshing due to it's deeply biblical commitments. Expository Apologetics teaches Christians how to think through sharing their faith with combatants. The book presents real-life scenarios of how the information can be put to practice.
Review by C. Michael Patton
"I am a fan of any book that takes apologetics out of the tower and puts it in the pew. Baucham does a wonderful job of just that. His pastoral style and sensitivity stand out as he takes a method of apologetics straight from the Scriptures and lays out how everyone can defend the faith with confidence."
AWE: Why it Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do - Paul Tripp
One of the great dangers of the Christian life is that we will begin to take for granted who God is and what He has done for us through His Son. In AWE, Tripp seeks to point our eyes back to Jesus. Each chapter points to a different area of life in which we can get bogged down into a ruitine where we begin to ignore God. We were created to worship God with all of our lives and this book helps us to seek to do just that.
Review by James MacDonald
"What we need most desperately is to fall on our knees in renewed awe of our Creator. In AWE, my good friend Paul Tripp motivates us to find that posture and to delight in staying there."
Oldie but Goody
The Doctrine of Repentance - Thomas Watson
There are very few books that have had an impact on my life in the manner that The Doctrine of Repentance has. As the title indicates, this book seeks to examine the Biblical doctrine of repentance. This book was written in 1668, yet it carries a timeless message that has seemingly been lost on the majority of those who profess Christ in the modern Church. Watson presents the information in a manner that is convicting, yet gracious. I hope that as you read this your heart is broken and you fall down once again at the foot of the cross.
From the Publisher
"Knowing what repentance is, and actually repenting are essential to true Christianity. Jesus Christ himself said that if we do not repent, we will perish! It is vital, therefore, to read and study what Scripture has to say about this theme. Few better guides have existed in this or any other area of spiritual experience than Thomas Watson. He was a master of both Scripture and the human heart, and wrote with a simplicity and directness that keeps his work fresh and powerful for the twenty-first century."
The Doctrines of Grace
Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism - Joel R. Beeke
This book is a collection of essays written about the Doctrines of Grace which are also known as Calvinism. The book is divided into six parts: Calvinism in History, Calvinism in the Mind, Calvinism in the Heart, Calvinism in the Church, Calvinism in Practice, and Calvinism's goal. One does not have to read every chapter to glean from this book. Every Christian that adheres to the Doctrines of Grace could learn and grow from this extensive, yet accessible examination of these precious truths.
Review by Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin
"Calvinism cannot be limited to soteriology, but affects all church issues, especially worship and spirituality. Indeed, as does Christianity itself, Calvinism applies to all of life... It speaks to every area of human life and thought."
Spurgeon’s Sermons on Soul-Winning - Charles Spurgeon
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) was born in Essex, England. Converted at a young age, Spurgeon delivered his first sermon when he was only sixteen and went on to become a pastor the following year. Within a short time he was preaching to more than ten thousand people at each service/ His long ministry in London resulted in sixty-three volumes of published sermons and the founding of several orphanages, as well as an evangelical pastors' college. He came to be known as the Prince of Preachers.
This book is a collection of thirteen excellent sermons about evangelism. I highly encourage you to take time to read through these sermons and be encouraged, convicted, and excited in the area of soul winning. We are God's ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:18-20) and we have been entrusted with this incredible responsibility. Let us take very seriously our duty to be salt and light in this lost and dying world.
Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God - Tim Keller
Perhaps the most neglected discipline of the Christian life is that of prayer. Keller presents challenging and encouraging thoughts about prayer that will have you on your knees by the end of every chapter. Redeeming Grace Fellowship is going to be putting a great deal of emphasis on prayer at the beginning of 2016, and this book would be a great way to help kickstart your prayer life.
An excerpt for a Review by the Gospel Coalition
"If you follow Keller into the arsenal, you will be powerfully equipped to overcome the world/flesh/Devil and see your prayers for kingdom advance answered by almighty God. And if you follow Keller to the banqueting table, you will increasingly feast on new and old treasures of awe and intimacy with your heavenly Father."
A Little More Challenging Reads
From Heaven He Came And Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective - David and Jonathan Gibson
The doctrine of Definite Atonement (also known as Limited Atonement or Particular Redemption) is one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented teachings of the Scriptures. From Heaven He Came and Sought Her brilliantly and exhaustively presents the Biblical support for the doctrine, and the beauty of how it should change out lives. There are many contributors to this book including John Piper, Michael Haykin, Paul Helm, Stephen Wellum, and Carl Trueman.
Review by J.I. Packer
“A massive product of exact and well-informed scholarship . . . with landmark significance. . . . I give this book top marks for its range of solid scholarship, cogency of argument, warmth of style, and zeal for the true glory of God. I recommend it most highly.”
Kingdom Through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants - Peter Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum
Anyone seeking to learn about the nature of the Biblical covenants and how they relate to one another will find Kingdom Through Covenant to be a most helpful read. This book helps to explain why we are credo-baptists, why we require that church members be believers, and why we reject dispensationalism. Although this can be a challenging read, it is quite rewarding.
Review by Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin
“The relationship between the covenants of Scripture is rightly considered to be central to the interpretation of the Bible. That there is some degree of continuity is obvious for it is the same God—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as well as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—who has revealed himself and his will in the covenants. That there is, however, also significant discontinuity also seems patent since Scripture itself talks about a new covenant and the old one passing away. What has changed and what has not? Utterly vital questions to which this new book by Gentry and Wellum give satisfying and sound answers. Because of the importance of this subject and the exegetical and theological skill of the authors, their answers deserve a wide hearing. Highly recommended!”