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When we are fully engaged members of the body of Christ, in a good local church, grace will flow into our lives and help us increase in faith, hope, and love for God and others. In such a community, the Holy Spirit will increasingly enlighten us to the snares of the world, the lust of the flesh, and the schemes of the devil. And He will also empower us by the Holy Spirit to cast off the works of darkness and grow in love for Christ, obedience to His Word, transformation into His likeness, and mission to the world.27
1. Unless otherwise noted Scripture references in this article are from the English Standard Version.
2. Sinclair B. Ferguson and J.I. Packer, New Dictionary of Theology, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2000), 729.
3. Richard F. Lovelace, The Dynamics of Spiritual Life (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1979), 93–94.
4. D.R.W. Wood and I. Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996), 1249.
5. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “In Memoriam.”
6. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, part 1, chap. 13, http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/hobbes/leviathan-c.htm.
7. Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life, 94.
8. George Gallup, cited in Erwin Lutzer, Pastor to Pastor (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1998), 76.
9. Barna Group, September 13, 2011, http://www.barna.org/faith-spirituality/524-self-described-christians-do....
10. David Wells, No Place for Truth (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), 11, 68.
11. Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life, December 18, 2008, http://www.pewforum.org/Many-Americans-Say-Other-Faiths-Can-Lead-to-Eter....
12. Barna Group, March 31, 2008, http://www.barna.org/family-kids-articles/42-new-marriage-and-divorce-st....
13. Jerry Bridges, The Disciplines of Grace (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1994), 202–203.
14. F.F. Bruce, The Epistles of John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), 60–61.
15. Wood and Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 1249.
17. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Macmillan, 1963), 45–48.
18. Matthew Henry, A Commentary on the Whole Bible (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, n.d.), 6:1069.
19. Colin Cruse, The Epistles of John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 95; I. Howard Marshall, The Epistles of John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978),145.
20. J.I. Packer, Hot Tub Religion (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1987), 89–90.
21. C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: Touchstone, 1996), 29.
22. Jerry Bridges, Pursuit of Holiness (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1978), 109.
23. G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World (1910), chap. 5, “The Unfinished Temple,” http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1717/1717-h/1717-h.htm#2H_4_0051.
24. Barna, September 13, 2011.
25. J.C. Ryle, Holiness (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), 204.
26. A phrase used by the nineteenth-century Scottish pastor Thomas Chalmers. See his helpful sermon with that title at the Theology Network, http://www.theologynetwork.org/christian-beliefs/the-holy-spirit-and-chr....
27. Even the best church cannot supply everything we need at a given time. Thus we will sometimes need supplementary resources, such as good books, recorded sermons, teachings, seminars, etc
Thomas A. Tarrants, III, D. Min. Vice President of Ministry, C.S. Lewis Institute, has lived in the Washington, D.C., area since 1978 and served as president of the C.S. Lewis Institute from 1998 to April 2010. Prior to coming to the Institute, he served as co-pastor of Christ Our Shepherd Church and Director of The School for Urban Mission, both based in Washington, D.C. He is the author of two books and is a consultant for Church Discipleship Services, developing discipleship programs and materials to strengthen the local church. Tom earned a Master of Divinity degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary and Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Church Alliance.
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