Monday, July 16, 2018

Key Themes in the Gospel of Luke

1. God’s sovereign rule over history. The promises God made through the prophets are already being fulfilled. 13:33; 22:22, 42; Acts 1:16–17; 2:23; 4:28; etc.

2. The arrival and actual presence of the kingdom of God. Nevertheless, the consummation of the kingdom is still a future event, a blessed hope for which the church prays. 11:2, 20; 16:16; 17:20–21; 18:1–8; 21:27–28, 34–36; cf. Acts 1:11; 1 Cor. 16:22; Rev. 22:20

3. The coming and indwelling of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus and his followers. The Spirit is present in the Gospel of Luke, from the births of John the Baptist and Jesus to the end. The Spirit is present at Jesus’ dedication in the temple, his baptism, temptation, early ministry, and first sermon. The Holy Spirit is central to the message of John the Baptist, and Jesus at his ascension promises the Spirit’s future coming in power. 1:15–17, 35; 2:25–27; 3:16, 22; 4:1, 14, 18; 5:17; 24:49

4. The great reversal taking place in the world, in which the first are becoming last and the last are becoming first, the proud are being brought low and the humble are being exalted. Luke places great emphasis on God’s love for the poor, tax collectors, outcasts, sinners, women, Samaritans, and Gentiles. In keeping with this concern, many of the episodes that appear only in Luke’s Gospel feature the welcome of an outcast (the Christmas shepherds, the Prodigal Son, the persistent widow, Zacchaeus, etc.). 1:48, 52–53; 6:20–26; 13:30; 14:11; 18:14

5. Believers are to live a life of prayer and practice good stewardship with their possessions. In Luke’s narrative, prayer occurs at every major point in Jesus’ life: at his baptism; at his selection of the Twelve; at Peter’s confession; at Jesus’ transfiguration; in his teaching the Lord’s Prayer; before Peter’s denial; etc. 3:21; 6:12; 9:18, 28–29; 11:1–4; 12:33–34; 16:9; 18:1; 22:32, 40, 46

6. The danger of riches is constantly emphasized in Luke, for the love of riches chokes out the seed of the gospel and keeps it from becoming fruitful. This danger is so great that Jesus often warns his readers not to set their hearts upon riches and to give generously to the poor. The woes pronounced upon haughty rich people stand in sharp contrast to the blessings pronounced upon the humble poor. 6:20–26; 8:14; 12:13–21; 16:10–13, 19–31; 18:22 (cf. 5:11; 14:33; Acts 2:44–45; 4:32); Luke 21:3–4

Adapted from the ESV Study Bible

Friday, July 13, 2018

Book Review: Christianity At The Crossroads by Michael J Kruger

History is a very important subject because it shows us who we once were. Hopefully, people will learn not to make the same mistakes as people did in ages past. Church History is very important to the body of Christ because it shows how the church became what it is today. Many think Christianity was a huge phenomenon as it is today, but that wasn't the case in the second century as Michael J Kruger points out in his book, Christianity At The Crossroads.

According to Kruger, Christianity was still in its infancy during the second century. It was still considered a new thing. It did not have any cultural influence. It was weak and even finding itself fighting for life, which does sound like a lot of new things that start off in our day and age.

In this book, Kruger takes a look at the world of the second century and how the church was living in it during that time. As mentioned earlier, they were still trying to crawl like infant. They were still trying to figure things out as far as what their worship looked like. They did not even have Bibles like we have them in the 21st century. Kruger points out that everything that was taught in the church and what the people believed was only by hearing. They did not follow the preacher with a Bible or an app like we have today. The church of the second century had to listen to the words being preached. This is also true with any writings that Christians did in the second century.

Speaking of writings, we also see the beginning of discussions in the church about what are the appropriate books to be placed in the Canon. Of course, this wasn't finalized until the third century. We also see the rise of false teachers which is nothing new for Christians in the second century or the 21st century. One particular false teacher that Kruger talks about is Marcion. He is the one who does not believe in the authority of the Old Testament and that the God of the Old Testament and New Testament are two different beings. Marcion wanted Christians to unhitch the Old Testament from their faith. Does this sound familiar with a popular pastor's teaching today? I think some of you know who I am speaking of.

Church History is an important topic because we see what the church dealt with in days of long ago and how it affects Christians today. We see that Christianity today may face new challenges which is no different than centuries past. Christianity At The Crossroads is an excellent book to look at crucial time in the history of the Christian church.

Thanks InterVarsity Press for letting me review this book.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Book Review: Spiritual Gifts by Thomas R. Schreiner

Spiritual gifts are one issue that Christians will mostly agree and disagree on. There is one movement that has claimed the Apostolic gifts, such as speaking in tongues and healing, have ceased, which is called cessationism. Then there is the other camp that believes they are still among the believers, which are called continualists. There have been books written from both sides of this argument, two of which I have reviewed. Spiritual Gifts by Thomas Schreiner is another book on the side of cessationism.

Before he dives into spiritual gifts, Schreiner addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the Charismatic movement. I thought it was odd at first to address this issue but Schreiner does indeed mentioned the positives that came out of the Charismatic movement, which most Christians would not deny. He then deals with basic truths about spiritual gifts while addressing the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is one thing, among others, the Charismatic movement and other Christians, have gotten wrong.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not where we ask the Spirit to come on us and gives us tongues to speak or the Spirit comes on a believer who starts speaking in tongues. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is when the Spirit comes into a believer at the moment of conversion. The Spirit also gives us a gift to be used in service in the body of Christ which most believers agree on.

Schreiner answers some basic questions regarding spiritual gifts. Remember he is coming from a cessationalist point of view, so those in the continualist front will disagree with some of Schreiner's conclusions. Speaking of conclusions, Schreiner ends his book with an argument for cessationism which he did say this is what this book was all about. I did appreciate what he said about miracles. Cessationism does not mean that miracles don't happen. Schreiner confesses that he still prays from miracles. It also does not mean that prayers for healing cease as well. The gift of healing is when someone places their hands on someone to be healed. Cessationists believe that gift has ended after the Apostles.

Schreiner is a gifted New Testament scholar is worth the time to read his books and listen to his lectures when you get the chance. This book is another good read for those who want to dive into Spiritual Gifts whether you are a cessationalist or not.

Thanks B&H Publishing Group for letting me review this book.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Don't Forget Your True Freedom

Today in America, we celebrate our independence as a nation. I have to admit, I love this day because of the fireworks and, at times, grilling some meat. Most Americans celebrate this day wear American flag shirts or some form of red, white, and blue. There are some that will even paint themselves to look patriotic.

As great as July 4th is for Americans, as Christians living in America, or any nation, we must remember our true freedom. Our freedom comes from Christ. We have been set free from the law that condemns us. We are set free from the sin that so easily entangles us. We are set free to serve the living God. We are set free to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.

The freedoms we enjoy in America was bought by the blood our of armed forces. The freedom we have as Christians was bought by the blood Christ as He stood in our place for our sins. We have been forgiven and no longer stand condemned because of the finished work of Christ.

If you live in a nation that does not have the freedoms Americans have, you are have freedom in Christ. You may stand condemned by your government, but you do not stand condemned if you believe in the only Son of God.

So on this day, whether you are an American or not, enjoy the true freedom we have in Jesus:

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).

Monday, July 2, 2018

Concerning The Rest of the Summer

First of all, I want to thank of you who has visited "Keeping The Main Thing" over the years. My hope is that this blog has honored Christ and edified you in your walk with Jesus. I am still committed to produce gospel-centered material and speak Biblically in certain situations when the need arises.

I also hope all of you are enjoying your time during the summer months whether it is spending time at the pool, family vacations, or going to see a movie. I know for some of you this is a busy time as it is for me, which brings up my announcement.

The next couple months are going to busy for me. So, starting today, I will not be posting new material as often as I have been. It does not mean I have stopped blogging, it means you may see one or two posts a week, which also means "Music Monday" and "Around The Web" are temporarily suspended.

I will continue to be on social media so I am not totally disconnected from everybody. My hope during this time is to rest, read, and get refreshed. I am hoping to return to full time blogging in September (Lord Willing).

I hope the blogs that I do put out during this time will honor Christ and encourage you. There will be a few book reviews (still like to know how I have talked myself into so many as of late) and other Christ-centered teaching.

Pray for me as I take time to enjoy time with my family, get refreshed, work hard at my full-time job, and serving God in the church body that I love.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Book Review: The Gospel According to Star Wars by John C McDowell

I know what you are thinking, then again, I am not God who knows the minds of all. You might be thinking why am I doing a review of a book that is trying to apply the gospel to Star Wars. For starters, I love Star Wars. I was born one month after the release of the first movie. I have been a fan of the films since I was a kid. The only Star Wars film I can remember seeing as a kid was "Return of the Jedi" before the special editions came out in 1997. So when this book, The Gospel According to Star Wars came out, my curiosity was killing my cat so I decided to review it.

I wish I had some clever way to make this book sound like it is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it really is not. What the author tried to do was take elements of the films (Episode 1 to The Force Awakens) and put some biblical application to it. It sounded like a good idea, but the more I read the book, the more confused I was getting. Where was the author going? What was the point?

I get what the author was trying to do, but as the same time, I just gave up. Yes, I gave up on a book because it seemed it was going nowhere. The gospel does apply to everything in our lives but not everything needs to be applied to the gospel. Can we get the gospel from a song by a non-Christian band? Can we get the gospel while attending a sporting event? The gospel helps us response to what God has done through the finish work of Christ and how we are to live our lives for the glory of God.

In regards to my review for The Gospel According to Star Wars, I would pass on this one.

Thanks Westminster John Knox Press for letting me review this book.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Book Review: How To Ruin Your Life by Eric Geiger

If there was one person from the Bible that many look to as an example for moral failure it is King David. A man who was considered a man after God's own heart and a king that wanted to honor God in everything he did. A man most would considered a good example for young people, morally feel as he slept with another man's wife and had her husband killed so he can cover up the sin he had committed.

David would not be an example of good moral character, but God has shown us the grace and mercy he shows to sinners even the discipline that was placed on David. We can also learn how not to fail like David. Eric Geiger takes the failure of David and uses it to show us how not to fail. The book is titled, How Not To Ruin Your Life.

Geiger begins his book by saying everyone of us can ruin our lives if we allow the foundation of our lives to weaken. If we simply allow any sin to creep in, we will fail. How do we do that? Geiger says there are three ways. First, if we isolate ourselves. If we are isolated from the people of God, we will prone to not be held accountable as we walk with Jesus nor exhorted to abstain from sin. Second, we ignore our boredom, which I have to be honest, did not make a whole lot of sense. What I got out of it was we must not ignore our boredom that will cause us to sin, which could our boredom to do what is right. Finally, we believe in ourselves which is a dangerous thing. We cannot trust ourselves nor trust in our righteousness.

This book may sound like a downer at times, but there is good news, we can recover. The subtitle of the book does say, "Starting Over When You Do". No matter our sin, we are not beyond God's grace and mercy. To begin our journey back, we must, like David did, confess our sins to God. We must repent of those sins and surrender everything we have to God. We also must rejoice in the forgiveness we have in Christ and look to Him as we continue to walk with Him.

I did not know what to expect from this book. I thought the title was a little strange but it does make sense once you dive into this book. This book will serve as a great reminder to all believers that we are all prone to wonder. We will have some sin that will creep and we must do what we can to kill it.

Thanks B&H Publishing Group for letting me review this book.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Book Review: Christian Ethics by Wayne Grudem

How Should Christians live? That is a good question in our day and time. What should Christians do when facing a moral dilemma? As our culture continues to be hostile toward Christian beliefs, we must be people who stand on the word of God and speak in truth.

Christians have been known as people with moral principles even though some may not agree with them. In our day and age, there is an increase awareness of what our ethics should be. Wayne Grudem has written a brand new book just for such a time as this as Christians need to know what we stand for and where it comes from. The book is appropriately titled, Christian Ethics: An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning.

In this book, Grudem defines what our morals are as Christians and the source of them is from God. Where we get our morals is from the Bible. The Bible is final authority for faith and practice for the believer which includes ethics. The goal of everything we do including living a moral live is to give glory to God. This world will never understand why we do the things we do or live the way we live, but we are not here to please them. We are here to please our Father who does not change even though the culture we live in does.

The rest of the book deals with how we live in relationship with God by not having no other gods before Him and how we live in relationship to one another. The Ten Commandments shows us that we must honor God and care for one another which Jesus say loving God and others sum up the whole law. How do we care for one another? First, we respect those in the authority which include our mother and father and the civil government. Grudem does state if anyone in authority challenges God's authority, we should not listen to them.

We should also protect human life which Grudem does get controversial as he mentions war and capital punishment. Grudem addresses marriage and how the Bible, not society, defines marriage. Grudem also deals with our moral standards concerning work, retirement, and recreation. There was so much Grudem covered that it would take me all day and a long page to write about. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and challenge yourself with what Grudem says.

Thanks Crossway for letting me review this book.

Around The Web-June 22, 2018

Have You Become What You Worship?: An interview with G.K. Beale

Differences Between the Qur’an and the Bible: An Introduction by Eric Davis

8 Habits of the Excellent Bible Teacher by Andrew Hess

If same-sex attraction is sinful, then what? by Denny Burk

6 Attitudes We Need When Studying the Bible by Erik Thoennes

Nate Pickowicz– Directions for a Candidate of the Ministry (The American Puritans Series) (Volume 2) from Equipping You In Grace

Does God Suffer? from Credo

H.B. Charles, Jr explains the importance of the Lord's Supper and Baptism

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Book Review: Faith Among The Faithless by Mike Cosper

The book of Esther is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I love the story of how God used a girl who did not want to be queen to rescue his people from the impending danger that was coming their way. Granted, Esther is the only book in the Bible that does not mention God's name, we can see His sovereignty at work.

In Mike Cosper's latest book, Faith Among the Faithless, we see how the book of Esther applies to us as Christians living in a culture where Christianity has been met with hostility. Esther takes place during a time when the nation of Israel is in Exile and living among a people who do not worship God.

In Esther, we see the people of God living in foreign land where some of the people want them to conform to their standards. This is nothing new for Christians today. We live among a people who want us to conform or go away. In some cultures, it is either conform or die.

In Cosper's book, he unpacks Esther in some of the key components that set up the drama that made it more like, as Cosper puts it, Game of Thrones than Veggietales. If you have read the book of Esther, you know Cosper is not far off from this. We see a conspiracy to wipe God's people. We also see the people of God having faith in God to deliver them and the courage of one to expose the threat. In our culture, we see wickedness that needs to be confronted such as abortion. Like the people of God, we have confidence knowing that our God will take care of us in a culture where we live among a people who do not worship the living God.

Many books have been written and are being written to equip Christians to take courage as they live in a godless culture. I am delighted to recommend Cosper's book as one of them.

Thanks BookLook Bloggers for letting me review this book.