To entice you to purchase dozens – maybe even hundreds – of copies of The Gospel-Centered Community, some notable leaders have offered their endorsements. I’m thankful for these friends and ministry partners who are willing to lend their weight to our work and who have honored us with their words of affirmation.

“The word ‘community’ has become such a buzzword in Christian circles that it has almost lost its meaning. Bob and Will bring us out of the land of the buzzword and into the biblical definition and application of what it means to share our lives in the church through the gospel.  I highly recommend this book for pastors and lay leaders who desire to see Christ formed into the relational life of the church.” – Dr. Darrin Patrick, Founder of The Journey in 2002 in the urban core of St. Louis, MO; author of For the City, Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission, and The Dude’s Guide to Manhood: Finding True Manliness in a World Of Counterfeits

“Thune and Walker’s first small group study, The Gospel-Centered Life, had a profound and life-changing impact on our church. Our small groups worked through the book, and everyone responded with great enthusiasm. With the publication of The Gospel-Centered Community it appears they’ve done it again. I’m certain this short volume will take us even deeper into what it means to live in a community fashioned by the gospel of grace. Every church that longs to experience the development of healthy, Christ-centered and gospel-shaped community should avail themselves of this excellent resource.” – Sam Storms, Lead Pastor, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, OK

“Using this resource is a no-brainer. It’s a practical, biblical, gospel-saturated study that connect the dots between community and the rich Christian life, without losing anyone’s attention! Pastors, your people will thank you for using this small group study–and you will thank God for the fruit!” – Dave Harvey, Pastor; Author of Am I Called? and When Sinners Say I Do

“I’m a cynical old preacher who knows that real community in the church is hard to come by. But Thune and Walker’s gift to the church of this wonderful and practical small group resource gives this old preacher hope. It should be read and underlined by every leader in the church. Use this small group resource and then you, with me, will ‘rise up and call them blessed.’” – Steve Brown, Key Life radio program Bible teacher; author of Three Free Sins

“Community is a great idea until you have to interact with sinners. This wise and biblically solid guide cuts beneath platitudes to address how the gospel seizes the heart and transforms our desire to do more than merely exist in community, and instead allows us to participate in God’s merciful kindness together. This excellent study guide will transform many groups into communities of life and love.” – Dan B. Allender, PhD, Professor of Counseling Psychology and Founding President, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology; Author

“The Gospel-Centered Community is an incredible introduction and practical guide for helping us live out the radical implications of God’s grace and love together. The gospel is personal, but it’s definitely not private. Why do we need each other? How does grace reframe and refocus our relationships? What’s the difference between an ingrown ‘clubish’ church, and a community of believers who are learning to live and love missionally? That’s what this little gem is all about!” – Scotty Smith, Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church; Teacher in Residence at West End Community Church; author of Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith

“Everyone longs for community. And pastors long to shepherd churches that are deeply, authentically communal. In The Gospel-Centered Community, Thune and Walker provide church planters, pastors, small group leaders, and all Christians a clear, accessible tool for working through the messy challenges of living in community, and for growing together as the body of Christ.” – Daniel Montgomery, Lead Pastor, Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, KY

“Thune and Walker deftly diagnose our tendencies to hide and isolate, and then show how gospel practices enable us to live in rich, real community. Loneliness is lethal and the faint hope we’ve harbored for more finds fulfillment in gospel-centered community.” – Glenn Lucke, President, Docent Research Group; coauthor Common Grounds: Conversations about the Things That Matter Most

“We desperately need to apply the gospel to our life together so we can live out our calling together to be ‘the light of the world’ and a ‘city on the hill.’ Thune and Walker give us an insightful, clear, easy-to-follow road map for applying the humility, kindness, and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to our relationships at church and in our community.” – Angelo Juliani, Church planter, Bridge Community Church (PCA), Philadelphia, PA

“Will Walker and Bob Thune offer us probing questions that will confront your small group head-on with the transforming power of the gospel as it works through a community. If you are looking for a resource that could bring real change to the small group environment of your church, this is it.” – Matt Carter, Pastor of Preaching & Vision at the Austin Stone Community Church and co-author of The Real Win: A Man’s Quest for Authentic Success

Today I post another section of the outline of Thomas’ Brooks Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices… See part 1 for context


1. By causing saints to remember their sins more than their Savior, yes, even to forget and neglect their Savior: For remedies, consider that

  1. though Jesus Christ has not freed believers from sin’s presence, He has freed them from its damnatory power
  2. though Jesus Christ has not freed believers from the vexing and molesting power of sin, He has freed them from the reign and dominion of sin
  3. it is needful to keep one eye on the promise of remission of sin, and the other eye on the inward operations of sin
  4. believers’ sins have been charged to the account of Christ as debts which He has fully satisfied
  5. the Lord has good reasons for allowing His people to be troubled with sinful corruption
  6. believers must repent of their being discouraged by their sins

2. By causing saints to make false definitions of their graces: For remedies, consider

  1. there may be true faith, even great faith, where there is no assurance
  2. the Scriptures define faith other than Satan tempts the saints to define it
  3. there may be true faith where there is much doubting
  4. assurance is an effect of faith, not faith itself

3. By causing saints to make false inferences from the cross actings of Providence: For remedies, consider that

  1. many things, though contrary to our desires, are not contrary to our good
  2. God’s hand may be against a man when His love and His heart are set upon him
  3. Cross providences are sent by God to work some noble good for saints
  4. all the strange and deep providences that believers meet with further them in their way to heaven

4. By suggesting to saints that their graces are not true, but counterfeit: For remedies, consider that

  1. grace may mean either the good will and favor of God, or the gifts of grace
  2. there are differences between renewing grace and restraining grace, between
  3. sanctifying and temporary grace (to particulars given)

5. By suggesting to saints that the conflict that is in them is found also in hypocrites and profane souls: For remedies, consider that

  1. the whole frame of a believer’s soul is against sin
  2. a saint conflicts against sin universally, the least sin as well as the greatest
  3. the conflict in a saint is maintained for several reasons
  4. the saint’s conflict is constant
  5. the saint’s conflict is within the same faculties
  6. the saint’s conflict is blessed, successful and prevailing

6. By suggesting to the saint who has lost joy and comfort that his state is not good: For remedies, consider that

  1. the loss of comfort is a separable adjunct from grace
  2. the precious things still enjoyed are far better than the joys and comforts lost
  3. the glorified saints were once in the same condition
  4. the causes of joy and comfort are not always the same
  5. God will restore the comforts of His people

7. By reminding the saint of his frequent relapses into sin formerly repented of and prayed against: For remedies, consider that

  1. many scriptures show that such relapses have troubled saints
  2. God nowhere promises that such relapses will not happen
  3. the most renowned of glorified saints have, on earth, experienced such relapses
  4. relapses into enormities must be distinguished from relapses into infirmities
  5. involuntary and voluntary relapses must be distinguished
  6. no experience of the soul, however deep or high, can in itself secure the soul against relapses

8. By persuading saints that their state is not good nor their graces sound: For remedies, consider that

  1. the best of Christians have been most tempted by Satan
  2. all the saints’ temptations are sanctified to them by a hand of love
  3. temptations cannot harm the saints as long as they are resisted by them

More of the outline of Thomas’ Brooks Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices… See part 1 for context


1. By presenting the world in such a garb as to ensnare the soul: For remedies, consider that

  1. all things here below are impotent and weak
  2. they are also full of vanity
  3. all things under the sun are uncertain and mutable
  4. the great things of the world are hurtful to men owing to the corruption of their hearts
  5. all the felicity of this world is mixed
  6. it is needful to get better acquainted with, and assurance of, more blessed and glorious things
  7. true happiness and satisfaction does not arise from worldly good
  8. the value and dignity of the soul is to be a subject of contemplation

2. By presenting to the soul the dangers, losses and sufferings that accompany the performance of certain religious duties: For remedies, consider that

  1. all such troubles cannot harm the true Christian
  2. saints now glorified encountered such dangers, but persevered to the end
  3. all such dangers are but for a moment, whereas the neglect of the service of God lays the Christian open to spiritual and eternal dangers
  4. God knows how to deliver from troubles by troubles, from dangers by dangers
  5. In the service of God, despite troubles and afflictions, the gains outweigh the losses

3. By presenting to the soul the difficulty of performing religious duties: For remedies, consider that

  1. it is better to regard the necessity of the duty than the difficulty of it
  2. the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to the obedient soul and thus make the service easy
  3. the Lord Jesus has Himself engaged in hard service and in suffering for your temporal and eternal good
  4. religious duties are only difficult to the worse, not to the more noble part of a saint
  5. a glorious recompense awaits saints who serve the Lord in the face of difficulties and discouragements

4. By causing saints to draw false inferences from the blessed and glorious things that Christ has done: For remedies, consider that

  1. it is as needful to dwell as much upon scriptures that state Christian duty as upon those that speak of the glorious things that Christ has done for us
  2. the glorious things that Christ has done and is now doing for us should be our strongest motives and encouragements for the performance of our duties
  3. other precious souls who have rested on Christ’s work have been very active and lively in religious duties
  4. those who do not walk in God’s ways cannot have such evidence of their righteousness before God as can those who rejoice in the service of the Lord
  5. duties are to be esteemed not by their acts but by their ends

5. By presenting to view the fewness and poverty of those who hold to religious practices: For remedies, consider that

  1. though saints are outwardly poor, they are inwardly rich
  2. in all ages God has had some that have been rich, wise and honorable
  3. spiritual riches infinitely transcend temporal riches, and satisfy the poorest saints
  4. saints now appear to be ‘a little flock’, but they belong to a company that cannot be numbered
  5. it is but as a day before these despised saints will shine brighter than the sun
  6. the time will come even in this life when God will take away the reproach and contempt of His people, and make those the ‘head’ who have been the ‘tail’

6. By showing saints that the majority of men make light of God’s ways and walk in the ways of their own hearts: For remedies, consider that

  1. certain scriptures warn against following the sinful examples of men
  2. those who sin with the multitude will suffer with the multitude
  3. the soul of a man is of more worth than heaven and earth

7. By casting in vain thoughts while the soul is seeking God or waiting on God: For remedies, consider that

  1. the God with whom we have to do is great, holy, majestic and glorious
  2. despite wandering thoughts it is needful to be resolute in religious service
  3. vain and trifling thoughts that Satan casts into our souls are not sins if they are abhorred, resisted and disclaimed
  4. watching against, resisting and lamenting sinful thoughts evidences grace and the sincerity of our hearts
  5. we must labor to be filled with the fullness of God and enriched with all spiritual blessings
  6. we must labor to keep up holy and spiritual affections
  7. we must labor to avoid multiplicity of worldly business

8. By tempting Christians to rest in their performances: For remedies, consider that

  1. our choicest services have their imperfection and weaknesses
  2. our choicest services are unable to minister comfort and aid in days of trouble
  3. good works, if rested upon, will as certainly destroy us as the greatest sins that we commit
  4. God has met our need of a resting place in Christ Himself

We have just embarked on a new preaching series at Coram Deo called Know Your Enemy, focused on the three traditional enemies of the soul in Christian theology: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

A series like this encourages us to mine the history of the church, where we discover a rich spiritual pathology that can help us greatly. Not least among this treasury is Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, a treatise written by the great Puritan pastor Thomas Brooks (1608-1680). Just perusing the table of contents of this work will challenge the soul and stimulate the mind! So this week, I’m posting the outline of Brooks’ work here as a means of helping readers reflect on the various “devices” Satan uses, and Brooks’ thoughtful remedies.

SATAN’S DEVICES TO DRAW THE SOUL TO SIN [12 devices and their remedies]

1. By presenting the bait and hiding the hook: For remedies, consider that

  1. we ought to keep at the greatest distance from sin and from playing with the bait
  2. sin is but a bitter sweet
  3. sin will usher in the greatest and the saddest losses
  4. sin is very deceitful and bewitching

2. By painting sin with virtue’s colors: For remedies, consider that

  1. sin is never the less vile by being so painted
  2. the more sin is so painted the more dangerous it is
  3. we ought to look on sin with that eye with which within a few hours we shall see it
  4. sin cost the life-blood of the Lord Jesus

3. By the extenuating and lessening of sin: For remedies, consider that

  1. sin which men account small brings God’s great wrath on men
  2. the giving way to a less sin makes way for the committing of a greater
  3. it is sad to stand with God for a trifle
  4. often there is most danger in the smallest sins
  5. the saints have chosen to suffer greatly rather than commit the least sin
  6. the soul can never stand under the guilt and weight of sin when God sets it home upon the soul
  7. there is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest affliction

4. By showing to the soul the best men’s sins and by hiding from the soul their virtues, their sorrows, and their repentance: For remedies, consider that

  1. the Spirit of God records not only the sins of the saints, but also their repentance
  2. these saints did not make a trade of sin
  3. though God does not disinherit his sinning people, He punishes them severely
  4. God has two main ends in recording the falls of His saints

5. By presenting God to the soul as One made up all of mercy: For remedies, consider

  1. It is the sorest of judgments to be left to sin upon any pretense whatever
  2. God is as just as He is merciful
  3. sins against mercy will bring the greatest and sorest judgments on men
  4. though God’s general mercy is over all His works, yet His special mercy is confined to those that are divinely qualified
  5. the saints now glorified regarded God’s mercy as a most powerful argument against, and not for, sin

6. By persuading the soul that repentance is easy and that therefore the soul need not scruple about sinning: For remedies, consider that

  1. repentance is a difficult work above our own power
  2. repentance changes and converts the whole man from sin to God
  3. repentance is a continued act
  4. if repentance were easy, the lack of it would not strike millions with terror and
  5. drive them to hell
  6. to repent of sin is as great a mark of grace as not to sin
  7. Satan now suggests that repentance is easy, but shortly he will drive his dupes to despair by presenting it as the hardest work in the world.

7. By making the soul bold to venture upon the occasions of sin: For remedies, consider

  1. certain scriptures expressly command us to avoid occasions of sin and the least appearance of evil
  2. there is no conquest over sin unless the soul turns from the occasions of sin
  3. saints now glorified have turned from the occasions of sin as from hell itself
  4. to avoid the occasions of sin is an evidence of grace

8. By representing to the soul the outward mercies enjoyed by men walking in sin, and their freedom from outward miseries: For remedies, consider that

  1. we cannot judge of how the heart of God stands towards a man by the acts of His providence
  2. nothing provokes God’s wrath so much as men’s abuse of His goodness and mercy
  3. there is no greater curse or affliction in this life than not to be in misery or affliction
  4. the wants of evil men are far greater than their outward blessings
  5. outward things are not as they seem, nor as they are esteemed
  6. God has ends and designs in giving evil men outward mercies and present rest from sorrows and sufferings that cause saints to sigh
  7. God often plagues and punishes those whom others think He most spares and loves
  8. God will call evil men to a strict account for all the outward good that they have enjoyed

9. By presenting to the soul the crosses, losses, sorrows and sufferings that daily attend those who walk in the ways of holiness: For remedies, consider that

  1. all afflictions suffered by Christians turn to their profit
  2. all such afflictions only reach their worst, not their best, part
  3. all such afflictions are short and momentary
  4. all such afflictions proceed from God’s dearest love
  5. it is our duty and glory to measure afflictions not by the smart but by the end
  6. God’s design in saints’ afflictions is to try, not to ruin, their souls
  7. the afflictions, wrath and misery consequent upon wickedness are far worse than those linked with holiness

10. By causing saints to compare themselves and their ways with those reputed to be worse than themselves: For remedies, consider that

  1. to be quick-sighted abroad and blind at home proves a man a hypocrite
  2. it is far better to compare our internal and external actions with the Word than to compare ourselves with others worse than ourselves
  3. though our sins may not appear as great as those of others, yet without repentance responding to mercy, we shall be as certainly damned as others

11. By polluting the souls and judgments of men with dangerous errors that lead to looseness and wickedness: For remedies, consider that

  1. an erroneous vain mind is as odious to God as a wicked life
  2. it is needful to receive the truth affectionately and plenteously
  3. error makes its owner suffer loss
  4. it is needful to hate and reject all doctrines that are contrary to godliness, that lead to self-righteousness, and that make good works co-partners with Christ
  5. it is needful to hold fast the truth
  6. it is needful to keep humble
  7. errors have been productive of great evils

12. By leading men to choose wicked company: For remedies, consider that

  1. there are express commands of God to shun such company
  2. wicked company is infectious and dangerous
  3. it is needful to look upon the wicked in such terms as Scripture describes them
  4. the company of wicked men was once a grief and burden also to saints now glorified