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Gospel Wakefulness Paperback – October 6, 2011
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“Gospel Wakefulness was a joy to read. My eyes filled with tears and my heart flooded with joy on numerous occasions. It’s been a long time since a book created the emotion in me that this book has. The chapters on brokenness and sanctification were humbling and beautiful reads. I am praying that Gospel Wakefulness falls into a lot of hands and hearts.”
—Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church, Dallas, Texas; President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network; author, The Mingling of Souls and The Explicit Gospel
“Is it possible that in our evangelical desire for bigger, better, faster, shinier, and louder we’ve actually dulled our spiritual senses? What can wake us up? Only the astonishment the Spirit brings through the gospel of Jesus. In his new book, Jared Wilson beautifully keys in on our need to be bowled over by the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God and helps us seek real amazement in God’s ‘amazing grace.’ Writing with passion and clarity, Wilson shines the light of Christ on every page.”
—Ed Stetzer, Billy Graham Distinguished Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism, Wheaton College
“Anyone hungry and thirsty for righteousness will be refreshed by the invigorating streams of truth that flow from Gospel Wakefulness. Jared Wilson wants us to delight in the gospel to the point that sin becomes bitter and Christ becomes our supreme treasure. May this book awaken your affections toward the Savior who deserves all praise.”
—Trevin Wax, Bible and Reference Publisher, LifeWay Christian Resources; author, This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel
“To paraphrase Solomon, of making many books (about the gospel) there is no end. And I’m glad of it! I pray we never reach the day when we grow weary of writing and reading books about the gospel. That is why I’m profoundly grateful for Jared Wilson’s contribution to this growing genre of Christian literature. He awakens us to the power of the gospel—that alone brings hope in the midst of brokenness and joy—in the stunning truth that a holy God is actually for us. If you need to wake up to the beauty of the gospel (and who doesn’t?), this book is for you. If you’ve ever wondered how the gospel quite literally and radically changes everything, both now and tomorrow, Gospel Wakefulness is must reading.”
—Sam Storms, Senior Pastor, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
“Gospel Wakefulness is one of the most theologically faithful, refreshingly honest, pastorally sensitive, and eminently practical books on the gospel I have read in a long time. Accessible without tiresome clichés or self-serving anecdotes, Jared writes as a man astonished at the riches of God’s grace, committed to the maturing of Christ’s church, and engaged with the advancing of God’s kingdom. The gospel is more clear and precious to me for having read Jared’s book. I cannot think of a greater compliment to be able to offer.”
—Scotty Ward Smith, Pastor Emeritus, Christ Community Church, Franklin, Tennessee; Teacher in Residence, West End Community Church, Nashville, Tennessee
“How many of us really understand the power of the gospel? It’s about more than just knowing the facts; it’s a deep-down realization that something amazing and wonderful has taken place. Jared Wilson explains that our lives will overflow with incredible joy and thankfulness when we truly comprehend the gospel. Jared’s book changes how we see the gospel and reminds us of just how amazing grace is.”
—Greg Surratt, Pastor, Seacoast Church
“By God’s grace this book will help ignite a burning obsession with the always-overwhelming, always-underrated, and always-powerful gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t read this book unless you are ready to be ignited with a passion for the gospel in an extraordinary way.”
—Burk Parsons, Copastor, Saint Andrew’s Chapel, Sanford, Florida; Editor, Tabletalk magazine
“You’re a Christian, but you’re lagging. Joy is elusive. You struggle to get as excited about your faith as you do about Monday Night Football or lavishly dressed housewives. As sinners, we will all find ourselves in this position at some point. What we need is a fresh vision of the gospel, a new savoring of God’s grace in Christ. Jared Wilson gives us just this gift in Gospel Wakefulness—a book that makes us laugh even as it makes a mark.”
—Owen Strachan, Associate Professor of Christian Theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; coauthor, The Grand Design; coeditor, Designed for Joy
“Jared is a brilliant writer with an important message, calling us back to the power of the gospel. He reminds us that we don’t need to desperately try to make it attractive because it already is the most attractive thing in the universe! Wilson demonstrates how we can simply and powerfully proclaim the gospel through our lives and ministries. I feel liberated by this much-needed call to gospel wakefulness!”
—Jud Wilhite, author, Eyes Wide Open and Uncensored Grace; senior pastor, Central Christian Church, Las Vegas, Nevada
“You may not recognize your need for this book until you read it. You won’t be sorry that you did, but be warned: Jared Wilson’s relentless focus on the wondrous grace of Jesus Christ may prompt some painful if ultimately liberating reflection on your desperate, everyday need for a Savior. Enjoy highlighting Wilson’s many pithy lines on our ongoing need for the gospel and rejoice over the stories of redemption he tells.”
—Collin Hansen, Editorial Director, the Gospel Coalition; author, Blind Spots
“It’s been said you can’t commend what you don’t cherish. It is clear Jared Wilson cherishes the life-saving, life-giving gospel of Jesus Christ. In this book he also commends it, so we will do the same.”
—Elliot Grudem, Director, A29 Network; pastor, Mars Hill Church; Editor, Christian Beliefs
“Gospel Wakefulness clearly explains the difference between simply knowing the content of the gospel and being utterly captivated by it. Jared masterfully paints a picture of what a truly ‘gospel wakened’ soul looks like, all the while pointing to our inability to accomplish this ourselves. He continually points to the magnificent work of Jesus and clearly states how the good news should influence our lives. This book tells the story of how a proper understanding of the law and the gospel leads to not only a bigger view of Christ, but also to a life completely transformed by him. It challenges both new and seasoned Christians to go beyond merely intellectual Christianity and experience the full majesty of the cross of Christ.”
—Justin S. Holcomb, Episcopal Priest; Professor of Christian Thought, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; coauthor, Rid of My Disgrace and Is It My Fault?
About the Author
Jared C. Wilson is the director of content strategy at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, and managing editor of the seminary's website for gospel-centered resources, For the Church. He is a popular author and conference speaker, and also blogs regularly at Gospel Driven Church, hosted by the Gospel Coalition. His books include Your Jesus Is Too Safe, Gospel Wakefulness, Gospel Deeps, The Pastor’s Justification, The Storytelling God, and The Wonder-Working God.
Raymond C. Ortlund Jr. is the pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of several books, including the Preaching the Word commentary on Isaiah, as well as a contributor to the ESV Study Bible. He and his wife, Jani, have four children.
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This book explains in great effect what is happening in these scenarios: they are not Gospel wakened. So often we see the Gospel as a necessary for a one time conversion event and then we go forth in obedience to the scriptures. The problem is not in the conversion or the obedience; the problem is that without incessant Gospel reception we are powerless to truly obey. Yes, we can "do" what the Bible says, but if it's not driven by reliance on Christ, and truly for his glory and not our own feelings of saving ourselves from God's wrath
via obedience, not peppered all about with repentance of our stubborn insistence on self-reliance, then it is rubbish.
I love this book. I recommend it to all. If deep in your soul you question all of this Christian life, if God feels remote and you fear admitting it to yourself, or perhaps if you are quite comfortable with your Christian doings and think you and Jesus are just fine, thank you very much, then read this book. Let it drive you to Christ, that you would be awakened to the power of the Gospel. When Gospel wakeful the Bible becomes more alive, suffering no longer futile, works for works' sake palpable of the death which they are.
Thank you, Jared Wilson, for writing this.
Starting at the book's conclusion, his friend said to him, "I feel like all this gospel-centered this and gospel-centered that is just our version of 'smurfy'". Wilson doesn't think so and I hope he is right. This book demonstrates the centrality of the gospel in all things. I never get tired of it and it is clear that Wilson does not either.
The influences of Luther, Piper, and Edwards come through in this book. (At times, perhaps Brother Lawrence as well). Wilson is clearly a student of Calvinism, but not just any Calvinism--the Calvinism that beholds the majesty of God, basking in the wonder of his never ending glory. He writes, "there are only two steps to gospel wakefulness: be utterly broken and utterly awed. But neither of these things are things you can really do. They are things only God can do for you" (p. 35). His gospel wakefulness has a necessary dependence upon a gracious God.
Wilson also suggests "one of the marks of gospel wakefulness is the failure of anything else to thrill the soul like the gospel" (p. 59). I know where he is coming from. The gospel fills my thoughts--it fills my affections--yet I long for a deeper and deeper filling of God.
Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed were the stories from his gospel wakened friends. "Andrew's Story" was particularly moving (p. 162ff). Andrew is a young man who has suffered with a deep depression. He reflects on the the holy week. He writes, "I'm so afraid. The thought of my God asphyxiating on a Roman cross is too much. The image of him lifeless, wrapped in a burial shroud--the blood is not even wet--hurts so much that I can barely breathe. Man himself has killed his only hope. To see all-surpassing Love and to beat it without mercy, to nail it senselessly to a slab of poorly fashioned wood--what is despair if it is not that? It's sickening. When Love is gone, what is there left to believe in?
"But Easter Sunday always comes. It comes while the world sleeps. It comes with the gentle fury that only God almighty could bring to pass. In the twilight of the world's end, we have the subversion of death itself. It happened here on this earth. No one even knew.
"I cannot grasp it. It is too unbelievable, to unreal, to imagine. To bring life out of nothingness. It cuts me so deep. Hope resounds even in the darkest corners of the earth. That Love could defeat cruelty, misery, fear, suffering--can you believe that?
"Even the darkest night will turn to morning. The sun is always rising. Even the worst sinners can be made clean. Evil--Death itself--obliterated by Love. Saturday is over, Sunday is here."
Does this move you? Does the gospel rock your world? Or do you find yourself racing through your quiet time so that you can "get on" with your day? Do you wish the pastor would hurry up so you can start watching the game? Do you skip out on singing at church or are you holding back the tears, contemplating the wonder of the gospel?
That's what this book is about.