Monday, October 31, 2011

Jesus + Nothing = Everything By Tullian Tchividjian

[Attention: Please read to the end for information on how you can win a copy of this book]

Just over a year ago, I read Surprised by Grace by Tullian Tchividjian, which quickly became my favorite book in 2010. This past week, his next book, Jesus + Nothing = Everything was released and I think it just might make my favorite list of 2011. I absolutely love his commitment to the gospel for unbelievers as well as for the believer. No matter who you are or where you stand before God, your answer to any struggle is the gospel. It is all about Jesus and nothing else.

I am sure you can tell from the title that the premise of this book is that Jesus alone is enough for everything in your life. Adding anything to Jesus creates nothing. Jesus alone brings everything. The book is arranged cleverly, starting with the everything we pursue, then the nothingness it produces. The central part of the book is where he deals with the person and work of Jesus through the book of Colossians. Jesus is the heart of the gospel and he is the heart of this book. After he deals with the equation from back to front, he shifts to forward and goes back over the equation one last time. He digs deeper into the nothing that can be added and the everything that we can receive if nothing is added to Jesus.

One of his commitments when dealing with the "nothing" that can be added to Jesus is dealing with issues of legalism, which he calls performancism.
"Legalism happens when what we need to do, not what Jesus has already done, becomes the end game. Our performancism leads to pride when we succeed and to despair when we fail. But ultimately it leads to slavery either way, because it becomes all about us and what we must do to establish our own identity instead of resting in Jesus and what he accomplished to establish it for us. In all it's forms, this wrong focus is anti-gospel and therefore enslaving. It is typically displayed in someone who's trying to keep his or her preferred list of religious rules. At root, what this person tries to accomplish is really no different from what the secular person attempts by deliberately breaking those same rules. Both see what they do as the means to obtain what they're so desperately hungering for deep within. Both look to self to satisfy what only God can satisfy." (46)
He continues, 
"Accepting the reality of this basic tendency in us all can be very difficult, especially for those of us who've been in church a long time. We know it's wrong to worship immorality, like everybody out in the world seems to be doing; we find it harder to see that it's just as wrong to worship morality, like everybody in the church seems to be doing. In our bones, we know that God hates unrighteous 'bad' works; we're not nearly so convinced that he hates self-righteous 'good' works just as much, if not more. In fact, the most dangerous thing that can happen to you is that you become proud of your obedience." (46-47)
The book is filled with shots at religion like that, over and over. When he says that nothing should be added to Jesus, he means nothing. That is because there is nothing that can make us better. At least from the outside.
"The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. Therefore rules, regulations, good behavior, personal success, and performance are never the solution. Behavior modification cannot change the human heart. Outside cleanup never leads to inside cleanup. Only inside cleanup leads to outside cleanup--and there's only One who can do that." (55)
If you have ever wondered how the gospel should make an impact upon your life, this is the book for you. It drips with implications on how Jesus alone can satisfy. It is saturated with thoughts on how the good news of the life and death of Jesus, His love for us, and His acceptance for us should move us to action. The Christian should never act so that we might be accepted, we act because we are already accepted. This is a book that shows us how God changes us from the inside out. And if we ever try to change without reliance upon gospel truths, we are in danger of moralism. One last quote:
"One of the reasons we experience so much failure in the Christian life is that we think more about obligations then we do gospel declarations. We focus on the imperatives, but we pass over the indicatives. We fail in our doing because we fail to grasp first what Christ has already done. This leaves us powerless--running on our own steam. Only when you realize that the gospel has nothing to do with your obedience but with Christ's obedience for you, will you start to obey. The only Christians who end up getting better are those who realize that if they dont' get better, God will love them anyway." (156)
Want To Win A Free Copy Of This Book?
Through the generosity of Crossway Publishers, I am able to give away a free copy of this book. There are many ways you can be entered into the drawing, but you must click on the PunchTab link below.

  1. You will be asked to like this post on your Facebook (don't worry, it is a very non-evasive form and is not a FB app)
  2. Leave a comment on this post, answering the question: "Why do you want to win this book?" (just so you know, your answer will have no bearing into who wins, I am just curious).
  3. Like "changedbythegospel" Facebook page
  4. Tweet this post (you will be given a link and every person who comes to the drawing from your specific link will give you additional entries)
  5. Sign up using your email. Don't worry, your information will be safe with Punchtab & me. 
There you go. Sign up and maybe you will win the free copy of the book. The contest will run until Friday at noon, eastern time. Even if you do not win, I would strongly encourage you to read this book. It will be worth the time.

29 comments:

  1. Would love to give this book a read!

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  2. I want to win this book because you said it is good!

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  3. I want to win this book because i love and need the reminder that Jesus is enough and i need to rest in him,and not try to add to his finished work

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  4. I need to be reminded of Gospel truths every day and I know this book will serve me well.

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  5. I want to win so that I can read this book. I'm a simple person

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  6. I am in the middle of "Surprised by Grace" and am loving it. I know this will be the same!

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  7. I like to win. I like to read. I like Pastor Tullian. Free is good. Kinda seems like a no-brainer. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  8. I love a good book. Everything I have heard about this book says it is a great read. I want to be a pastor one day and I firmly believe that someone going into any kind of ministry can't read enough books, especially books that remind us of the power of the Gospel.

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  9. I love simple Truth. Jesus + Nothing = Everything is pretty simple! Excited about the way Tullian will go deeper into the Gospel. =)

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  10. This book was recommended to me, so I want to read it.

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  11. I love reading gospel-saturated books, and i assume that this one is.

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  12. i want to grow more in my love for Jesus and learning more of His supremacy in (by reading this book, in addition to the Word of course) will help me!

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  13. This sermon series legitimately changed my life. I was stuck in the "work hard, get blessed" mantra of religion for a few years and Tullian talking about how the gospel changed his life totally changed mine. I want to read this book but also to give it to other people so they can experience the freedom of the gospel just as I did.

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  14. I would like to read this book because I have been immensely blessed by Tulian's sermons and his ministry focus.

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  15. I am changed by the gospel, try to preach it to myself daily, our pastor often reminds us that Jesus + nothing = everything & I am THRILLED there is a book that informs, encourages & reminds us of this truth!
    I follow pastor tullian on twitter & retweet or quote on fb status anything he has said that ends with Jesus +nothing = everything.

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  16. I love how he saturates his messages in grace

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  17. I would say selfishly I want to win this book because I think it will be a great read and I'll be able to get a lot out of it. I'm a big fan of Pastor Tullian and I think he preachs the gospel with clarity and conviction. No matter what I think your recommendation is a good one, and I would be thrilled to win this.

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  18. I love the idea that nothing more than Jesus is needed to get everything we need and I would love to see how in depth Pastor Tullian goes in the book.

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  19. I'm very interested in reading this book, especially after listening to one of Pastor Tullian's sermons from Colossians.

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  20. I have read some excerpts from the book and was very fed. I am excited to get my hands on it one way or another.

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  21. I want to win this book because I am a young, inexperienced pastor who could benefit from what God has taught Pastor Tullian!

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  22. I want to win this book because I want to learn how to be able to say that Jesus is my everything when I have nothing.

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  23. I want to glean wisdom from a Godly man like Pastor Tullian, as well as grow in my personal reliance on Christ so that I maybe a light to my family, friends, church, and community.

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  24. Want to read it for spiritual formation.

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  25. I have wanted to read this book since I heard about it. I need to hear again and again the radical-ness of the Gospel!

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  26. Desperately trying to understand Grace in a deep and transformational way such as Pastor Tullian and others have. Hopeful that this would help.

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  27. Love Pastor Tullian's CLEAR teaching - had opportunity to listen to a couple of his sermons on this topic on their church's vimeo account, and I learn/retain better when I can read/study/interact with the text; I am eager to "quote-collect" from this particular book because it is, in my limited experience, SO common to run into folks who are very cavalier about "Oh, yeah, I believe in Jesus" or "Oh, yeah, I'm a Christian," and it is such a challenge to break through the self-deception that makes a person believe they HAVE Jesus, when all they've done is add him to all the other colorful ornaments they've hung on their religious tree - they like a LITTLE bit of Jesus, but only this or that part. I would rather have them flat out deny him; at least THEN we'd have a place to start the conversation! But it seems like in evangelism you have to get people (maybe this is just a west Michigan thing?) to wake up to the reality that they DON'T have Jesus, then you have to back up to get them to the point they understand the "bad news" of their sin....before you can ever REintroduce Jesus as the GOOD news, the ONLY way of salvation....not just for some elusive "pie in the sky" version of heaven - rather, Jesus IS our heaven! ... Meh. Prob'ly a longer comment than you really wanted! Anywhoo, would love the book. Please and thank you! :) *blush*

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  28. Love the premise of this book. The Title is just perfect.

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