There are some resources those committed to Biblical evangelism and discipleship simply have to have. A few copies of Five Things Every Christian Needs To Grow ought to be knocking around your office (if it’s messy like mine) or filed neatly on your “Reformed Bookshelf” if you are organized and tidy like my mother.
This little book by Dr. R. C. Sproul has proven a useful Christ-centered, Scripture-saturated tool in my humble efforts to pass along the truth of God to others. Time after time as I’ve given this small book to a friend (or simply read it aloud with them over lunch), the Lord has used his Word to pierce hearts with the Biblical truth of God’s love and shepherdly guidance.
In principle, I am committed to the proposition that I am “ready to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves” (1 Thess. 2:8). In reality, I find the Lord has to convict my heart again and again if I would be on edge, waiting expectantly for the divine appointments he arranges for me. Recently, I bought another pile of Five Things while muttering prayers the Lord would be pleased to use me — and this little book — once again for his glory.
Five Things Every Christian Needs To Grow tackles what Christian theologians call the “means of grace.” The 135-page book introduces a young believer to five spiritual disciplines they must develop quickly if they are to grow strong and mature in their understanding of the Gospel of grace. Thorough expositions of Scripture and vivid stories from church history Sproul surveys the Scriptures on the topics of Bible study, prayer, worship, service, and stewardship.
In the Reformed Presbyterian church new members assent to the Covenant of Church Membership, saying in Vow #5: “To the end that I may grow in the Christian life, I promise that I will diligently read the Bible, engage in private prayer, keep the Lord’s Day, regularly attend the worship services, observe the appointed sacraments, and give to the Lord’s work as He shall prosper me.”
This is a promise that is easy to make … and just as easy to become “undiligent” in keeping or neglecting altogether. All six of these spiritual disciplines are touched upon in Five Things, making it a useful study for longtime church members as well as new Christians. I have come to appreciate how this resource introduces key figures of Reformation history (the conversions of Augustine, Luther and Wesley are related), suggests practical Bible study tools (like the Reformation Study Bible and Bible reading plans), and tells the fascinating story behind Luther’s A Simple Way To Pray. Regulated worship is carefully discussed, as well as questions surrounding tithing.
Five Things concludes with Sproul’s answers to commonly-asked questions. The 2005 Ligonier Conference focused on these same five spiritual disciplines, providing useful supplemental teaching materials. Five Things is indeed a useful tool for the church.