Monday Reverb – 04July2022

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

The theme of this week is boasting in abundant grace.   

Our call to worship Psalm praises the glory of God as one who is with us through the good and the bad times.

Psalm 30:1-12  I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my foes rejoice over me.   Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me.  Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, [a]that I should not go down to the pit.   

Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,  And give thanks at the remembrance of [b]His holy name.  For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night, But [c]joy comes in the morning.  

Now in my prosperity I said, “I shall never be [d]moved.”  Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong;  You hid Your face, and I was troubled.  

I cried out to You, O Lord; And to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit?  Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? 10 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper!”   

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off [e]my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, 12 To the end that my [f]glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.  

In 2 Kings 5 we read of the story of Naaman, who wants to pay tribute to Elisha for the healing he received from God but learns that his desire to declare God’s glory is all that is needed of him.  

2 Kings 5:1-14  Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper. And the Syrians had gone out on[a] raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She [b]waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus said the girl who is from the land of Israel.”

Then the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he departed and took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. Then he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which said, “Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.”  

And it happened, when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy?  Therefore please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.”  

So it was, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”  

Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord  his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ 12 Are not the  [c]Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.  

In the book of Galatians, Paul gladly declares that his only boast is in Jesus Christ and all he has done for him.  

Galatians 6:1-16  Brethren, if a man is [a]overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.   11 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! 12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by [b]whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.   

Luke shares that when the disciples returned from declaring the coming of God’s kingdom, excited by the miraculous works they had done, Jesus reminded them that their true boast is in their own salvation.

Luke 10:1-11, 16-20  After these things the Lord appointed [a]seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘The very dust of your city which clings to [b]us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’ … 16 He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”  17 Then the [a]seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”   18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but [b]rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”  

 

SERMON REVERB

No Time to Gloat

Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

If you have ever watched a sport, played a multiplayer video game, or worked in a competitive field, it is likely you’re no stranger to the concept of showboating. Whether it is the athlete concocting an elaborate dance, a shrill voice declaring you’ve been “pwned” in your headset, or a colleague shamelessly sharing their promotion and pay increase with their new subordinates, there is one thing everyone can agree on – gloating is only enjoyable for the victor.

Many sports have rules against showboating – it is unsportsmanlike, a concept that can be traced back to wars and conflicts. Online gaming networks have rules against harassment that often cover unsportsmanlike conduct. Most workplaces would frown upon a superior vaunting their relative wealth. Yet again, these are all things some of us have or will experience regularly. Gloating is deeply ingrained in our sinful nature.

When the seventy-two disciples were sent out by Jesus to declare the coming of God’s kingdom, a group including fishermen and tax collectors, without formal training or experience, were thrown into the deep end of evangelical ministry. Let’s read the passage:

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’” (Luke 10:1-11)

No time for vengeance and burials

It helps to consider the context of the seventy-two disciples in this passage. Though they follow and believe in Jesus, they knew they did not fit the mold of your average rabbi’s student. Our passage follows on the heels of Jesus being rejected by a local community. The twelve disciples wanted to call down heavenly fire to consume the village, and Jesus had to rebuke them. Then when he called for more disciples, he stressed to all of them the great cost of following him.

In these passages in Luke 9 and 10, Jesus is teaching his disciples a new way of responding. When Jesus is wronged, they want vengeance, and he rebukes their response. When he calls others, they are not ready to follow, and they lose out on the opportunity to become part of his ministry. Yet these seventy-two have passed that test, and now they are given power – the power to bless and heal and the power to speak against those who do not respond to the gospel message.

Even while Jesus tells them they are being sent out as lambs among wolves, like the amateur competing against the professional, he gives them power and authority. And the authority Jesus granted to them would have been unlike anything they might have expected. He told them to heal people while they fulfilled the role usually left to a prophet of proclaiming the kingdom. Alongside John the Baptist, they are proclaiming the coming of the Lord to the towns they entered.

Like Jonah to the Ninevites, the disciples have a single message to those who reject them – change and repent. It is important to note that they are told that their symbolic action is a warning and a call for repentance, just as Jonah’s warning to the Ninevites. This warning represents God’s sincere desire for people to turn back to him and be saved.

Gloating in another’s victory

But the real feather in the cap (or so they think) of the disciples comes in their report back to Jesus:

“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:16-20)

The disciples are thrilled and excited. They have done what Jesus has done; they’ve declared the kingdom, healed the sick but there is something more… they’ve cast out demons! The amateurs have beaten the pros!

It is interesting that Jesus does not say anything positive about this experience other than to confirm the impact of their work upon Satan’s designs. There are many churches that have created identities based upon the casting out of demons, yet when it is done in Scripture, it is a non-event in the eyes of Jesus. In the presence of his sovereignty, the defeat of Satan was never in question.

When Jesus tells them, “I saw Satan fall…” he is highlighting three things. He is making a powerful statement about his divinity – no earthly human witnessed Satan’s fall. He is commending the work for the kingdom that the disciples have done – they are participating in the downfall of the enemy. And he is pointing out that the defeat of Satan is a done deal – overcoming the demons and gloating about it is akin to gloating over a defeated enemy. Though they participate in the downfall by casting the demons out, the disciples are not the cause.

Satan is the strong man that Jesus has already bound; the disciples’ power over the demons was never the point. In fact, the disciples sharing of the coming of the kingdom was a far greater act!

Rejoice in our heavenly place

Jesus calls on his disciples to rejoice in their salvation. This is the real cause for boasting and joy! The athlete who scored the goal, the gamer who defeated his friends, the colleague peacocking his promotion are all symptoms of misplaced pride. We were made to boast, but sin has twisted our boasting toward ourselves and not God. As the apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 6, we are made to boast in Jesus Christ and what he has done for us.

Let us learn to boast in what really matters.


IRRELIGIOUS HARDTALK

 

WE BELIEVE

Section 11:  The Gospel  

11.1   What is the gospel?

  • The gospel is the good news of the kingdom of God and salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  To preach the gospel is to proclaim the fulfillment of God’s purposes through the sending of the eternal Son of God in the power of the Holy Spirit to break into our fallen world, overthrow its evil, and transform and redeem all who were captive to sin and evil’s power and eternal consequences.

11.2   What are the central events of the gospel?

  • The central events of the gospel are about Jesus: his birth, life, ministry, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and ascension.  Through these events in the life of Jesus, God’s kingdom has broken into our time and space to bring about our salvation.
  • 1 Cor. 15:1-4   Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
  • For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
  • Romans 5:15  But the free gift is not like the [a]offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.
  • John 1:12    But as many as received Him, to them He gave the [a]right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
  • 1 John 5:11-12  And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has [a]life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.   

11.3   Is the forgiveness declared in the gospel extended only after repentance?

  • No.  The gospel is the astonishing good news that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for usGod’s forgiveness of us is unconditional, and it is given before our confession of sin and repentance.  Freed by the Holy Spirit in response to the Word of God, repentance is how we receive the forgiveness that has already been freely given to us on the basis of Christ’s atoning work on the cross.  To refuse to repent is thus to refuse God’s gift of forgiveness.
  • Col. 3:13    bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.   
  • Mark 11:25    bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
  • Col.2:13    And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
  • Matt. 18:21-22    And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
  • Heb. 12:14    Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

11.4   How should we respond to the gospel?

  • With repentance and faithThe Son of God was sent by the Father to assume our human nature to himself and to rescue and transform it in himself.  This was done to reconcile us to God so that we might become his beloved adopted children.  Jesus Christ came, lived and died for our sins and has made us his own before and apart from our believing in him.  He has bound us to himself by his love in such a way that he will never let us go.  Therefore, the Lord calls on all humans to repent and believe in him as Lord and Savior.
  • Rom. 10:9-10    that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.   
  • Acts 16:31  that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.   

11.5   If sin is so evil, how can God forgive it?  

  • God forgives our sins because he has the grace and power to overcome them and set things right.  In forgiving our sins, God is not overlooking or ignoring evil.  God is opposed to sin and evil and always will be.  God judges what is sinful and evil and condemns it.  By forgiving us, God rescues us from the dominion and eternal consequences of sin, making all things new, including our human nature.

11.6   How does God make human nature new?

  • Our problem as humans is not merely that we sin, but that, by nature, we are sinners.  We have a corrupt, fallen nature that is inclined toward sin, often not able to resist temptation to sin.   That is the bad news.  But the good news is that God has remade human nature in and through the eternal Son of God who, in becoming human, took upon himself our corrupt human nature and healed it on our behalf.
  • 2 Cor. 8:9    For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
  • Heb. 2:17    Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

11.7   What part does the Holy Spirit have in this renewal? 

  • Because Jesus renewed human nature, the Holy Spirit is able to minister to us as individuals on the basis of Christ’s finished work, uniting us to Jesus with his perfected human nature in a spiritual union.
  • Through this union, the Holy Spirit imparts to us a continuous sharing in Jesus’ love and life so that we are transformed, little by little, into the image of God found in Jesus.
  • 2 Cor. 3:18    But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as [a]by the Spirit of the Lord.

11.8   How can anyone resist the Holy Spirit’s bringing about this transformation?  

  • No one can entirely resist the Holy SpiritIn the end the Holy Spirit will make clear and evident to all the truth and reality that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of all.  In the end, all will either willingly or unwillingly admit the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
  • However, Scripture warns of the real danger of willfully rejecting, and thus blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  Apparently, some will do this, even after being convicted of the Holy Spirit’s undeniable witness that Jesus is Lord and Savior and there is no other.  Exactly how this rejection is possible we are not told.  We are simply warned of its possibility, which we are to take seriously lest we resist the Holy Spirit, presume upon God’s grace and minimize the many directives in Scripture to accept, receive and respond positively in repentance and faith to the proclamation of the grace of God in Jesus Christ that comes to us by his Word and Spirit.
  • Mark 3:29    but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”
  • Rom. 14:11   For it is written:  As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”     

 

Teaching Notes: The Gospel  
There are multiple ways to summarize the essential message and meaning of the gospel.  The one in We Believe is based on The GCI Statement of Beliefs quoted above.  Here is another similar statement:

The gospel is the message concerning the rule and reign of God’s incarnate Son, Jesus Christ, to bring clear judgement upon all evil, condemning it forever and atoning for the sins of all humanity through his life of faithful obedience culminating in his death on the cross.  The gospel is the declaration of the victory of God in Jesus Christ to undo all sinful alienation between God and humanity and to reconcile the world to himself.

Key to understanding the gospel is understanding the Person and work of the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ, and the nature of the kingdom of God that he inaugurated and will bring to fullness — so refer back to those sections for the details.

Here are GCI articles on the topic of the gospel:

 

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