Issue #43

Freed through the Water, Best Movies of 2021, Intro to Mark Series, and more...

Issue #43
Photo by Jason Hogan / Unsplash

God Frees His People Through the Water

To the unbeliever (and many Christians!) baptism can seem quite odd. What purpose could dunking someone underwater really serve besides a quick bath?

In Romans 5, Paul tells us that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have been given an “abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness” through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:18). Because of Adam, all have spiritually died and are separated from God. In that separation, sin was our king and master. But Jesus Christ has offered us a free gift: eternal life in a relationship with God.

That raises the question: does the gift of eternal life mean that I can now sin freely?

Paul’s answer in Romans 6:1-7 is no, but the reason he gives for that may seem strange. It’s because of baptism...

Keep Reading →

Explore the Scriptures 📖

6 Ways We See Jesus in Joshua | Jonathan J. Routley 📃 →

How can we find Jesus in a book full of war and violence? As Israel conquers Canaan with God’s blessing, can we find pictures of Jesus’ love and compassion? Jonathan Routley gives us six pictures of Jesus in the book of Joshua.

1. Leader Who Follows the Lord’s Law

2. Deliverer Who Rescues Sinners
It would have been natural for Joshua to forget about or overlook the promise of protection made to Rahab during the battle for Jericho. But Joshua keeps this promise by having the spies whom Rahab saved become her saviors (Josh. 6:22–23). Her promiscuous work does not prevent Joshua from “saving alive” Rahab, her father’s household, and all who belong to her (Josh. 6:25).

After the destruction of Jericho and Ai, the shifty people of Gibeon—who had deceived Israel—cry out to Joshua for deliverance (Josh 10:6). The people of Israel had been bamboozled by their neighbors only a short time earlier, and many in Israel wanted to execute the Gibeonites for their duplicity (Josh. 9:18–21).

Despite this, Joshua remains faithful to his word and delivers them from the coalition of kings in southern Canaan. Both Rahab and the Gibeonites were undeserving of God’s mercy, yet both were delivered by Joshua.

3. Warrior Who Conquers His Enemies

4. Prophet Who Speaks the Lord’s Words

5. Victor Who Shares the Inheritance with His People
Joshua’s division of the land of Canaan as inheritance for Israel may seem an anticlimactic sequel to the conquest narratives. Yet for ancient Israelites, this was the happily ever after they had sought since before their slavery in Egypt. For the first time in over 400 years, the people of Israel were coming back into the land God had promised them as an eternal possession (Gen. 15:18; 17:8).

Jesus, after conquering death, brings his people into a great inheritance. Some are available to believers. We have forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God the Father, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us, and the indwelling Holy Spirit. We have been adopted as God’s children, becoming heirs of the covenantal promises to Israel (Gal. 3:29).

6. Servant Who Faithfully Enacts the Lord’s Will

I’ve highlighted a few interesting parts, but read the whole article for the full picture.

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Watch and Wonder 📽

Intro to the Hebrew Bible | BibleProject Classroom 📽 →

The BibleProject team has continued to expand their “classroom” courses with new options. This foundational course walks through the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Old Testament). Some of the topics addressed are:

  1. What the Hebrew Bible is, and how the form we have in our Bibles today came to be.
  2. What are the most common ways we read the Old Testament today and is that the way it was intended to be read?
  3. What different kinds of literature are in the Hebrew Bible and how do we interpret them?
  4. How do we find and interpret design patterns?

Listen and Learn 🎧

Preview: ‘What God Has to Say about Our Bodies’ | Sam Allberry 🎧 →

This podcast is an hour-long preview of Sam Allberry’s new book, “What God Has to Say about Our Bodies.” The theology of our human, physical bodies is something that has been neglected in western theology of the past few hundred years.

We too often think of ourselves as spirits merely inhabiting our bodies. But that’s not right. Our bodies are an integral part of who we are.

He offers biblical guidance for living, including understanding gender, sexuality, and identity; dealing with aging, illness, and death; and considering the physical future hope that we have in Christ.

I think you’ll really enjoy this preview. Look below for a link to the book (which I have not read in its entirety, but feel confident in saying that it would be a worthwhile read).

Have Some Fun 👾

The Best Movies of 2021 | Brett McCracken 📃 →

These are the movies that, in my estimation, were the most excellent, memorable, thoughtful, theologically interesting, and redemptive releases of the year. As always, viewers should use discretion in terms of content. Though I chose only movies that are in some way edifying—depicting goodness, truth, or beauty in ways Christian viewers can celebrate—several films on my list are rated R or TV-MA and should be viewed with caution and discernment.

 Here are my 10 favorites, 10 honorable mentions, and 10 excellent documentaries released in 2021.

Here are the top 3:

  1. Belfast
  2. Dune
  3. Nine Days
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Christianity Is True ✝️

Was Jesus Just a Christian Version of Osiris? | FringePop 321 with Dr. Michael Heiser 📽 →

The claim usually looks something like this: the life of Jesus was fabricated by the disciples based on myths of other pagan religions. They just stole ideas from those myths like Osiris and created Jesus on top of Judaism. That’s where the “Son of God,” miracle-working, and resurrection stuff comes from. It wasn’t real.

This claim has been around for a long time, and it’s been debunked many times. This short video from Hebrew scholar Michael Heiser does a good job of explaining the differences between Jesus and Osiris. There’s more that can be said here, but I think Heiser’s video does a good job of giving us an overview of the differences.

Read and Reflect 📖

Can I Follow My New Heart? | Jon Bloom 📃 →

In Issue #9, I linked to an article in Jon Bloom called, Direct Your Heart. This has been an ongoing series based on a book he wrote called, Don’t Follow Your Heart.

This article is a response to an objection he’s received that since we have received a new heart, with God’s law written on it, we can and should follow our hearts.

But the Bible’s description of what a regenerated person actually experiences in this age reveals a more spiritually and psychologically complex picture — one that I believe gives Christians biblical warrant to cultivate a healthy suspicion of what they recognize as their hearts’ desires. So, while we may, and hopefully will, reach a point in our lives as Christians where it’s right, at times, to follow our hearts, allow me to make a brief case that the phrase actually undermines Christians as they labor and struggle to discern their various desires, and that Scripture itself discourages us from thinking this way.

Bloom’s main argument is that we don’t experience the Christian life as we one day will. We live in the already-but-not-yet age of the kingdom. Bloom helps us to understand our relationship to our heart’s desires in this in-between age.

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Best with a Cup of Tea ☕️

Introduction to the Gospel of Mark with Craig Keener | The Remnant Radio 📽 →

This is the first in a new series the Remnant Radio crew is doing on The Gospel of Mark with the incredible scholar Dr. Mark Keener. They are going through chapter-by-chapter. The videos are free, but the digital workbooks are $25. If you do a small group and are looking for a new study, this looks to be a good one!

For More:

Keep Your Mind on Things Above

I will be praying for you this week.

Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.
— Matthew 6:19 (CSB)

Joel Fischer