Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reviewing Tim Keller's Gospel in Life: Grace Changes Everything

Keller's Gospel in Life DVD contains eight sessions with each session being approximately 11 minutes long. The sessions focus on city life, our hearts, idols, communities, witnessing, work, justice, and eternity. Although the sessions are short, there is much to reflect on, discuss, pray about, and share with others. Tim Keller is brilliant and knows how to speak to people from all walks of life. I highly recommend the DVD for both individual or group studies.

Session one is called City: The World That is. I prefer living out in the sticks, but God has called me to live in one of the biggest cities in the world. It is a city that has millions of people who don't know the gospel, but my identity in Christ has only grown. We do not have to remove ourselves from the city or resemble it, we need to serve and love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).

Session two is called Heart: Three Ways to Live. This session focuses on the popular parable found at Luke 15:11-32, The Prodigal of the Lost Son. If you have read Keller's book, The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, much of the material found here will be familiar to you. Despite that, we can listen to this message a million times.

Session three is called Idolatry: The Sin Beneath the Sin. What is your worst nightmare? If something was taken away from you and you believe you could no longer go on living without it, that is your god. That is your idol. You feel it justifies your life and gives your life worth and value. We must rejoice and rest in the Jesus' atoning work on the cross so your idols can be replaced

Session four is called Community: The Context for Change. I am so thankful for the community I live in. Meeting with others here helps me to know God at a deeper level. Like Jesus, we are distinct from those around us, but we interact with everyone in service to Him. We are called as a community to respond to the glory of God in every aspect of our lives.

Session five is called Witness: An Alternate City. We are to be a city on the hill (Matthew 5:14). Our lives should shine in a way that points others to Him. What do our lives say to others about what we believe? Do we behave like the world or have we been transformed by the gospel? We need to be gospel-speaking, neighbor-loving, and community-transformed people.

Session six is called Work: Cultivating the Garden. The Bible is a single true story that shares God's perfect plan for the world. God's plan is to establish His Kingdom for His glory. The gospel is the means through which the Kingdom of God is advancing, therefore it should penetrate everything including our work. God is our boss so work for Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Session seven is called Justice: A People for Others. Jesus Christ identified with the poor and the oppressed so we must do the same. When we know the peace of Christ, we will want to share it with all people, not just those we are like. We will share the gospel humbly and seek justice because we have experienced the grace of God.

Session eight is called Eternity: The World That is to Come. Keller takes us to the Book of Revelation and begins talking about the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem - the home that God is preparing for those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are reminded of a vision of renewed culture, restored shalom, and remarkable spiritual intimacy. I am looking forward to that final chapter.