Monday Reverb – 11July2022


The theme for this week is God empowers believers to act justly.

The call to worship Psalm tells us that God, in his role as judge, commands human rulers to pursue justice and help those in need.

Psalm 82:1-8    God stands in the congregation of [a]the mighty;  He judges among the [b]gods.  How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Selah   [c]Defend the poor and fatherless;  Do justice to the afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy;  Free them from the hand of the wicked.

They do not know, nor do they understand;  They walk about in darkness;  All the foundations of the earth are [d]unstable. 

I said, “You are [e]gods, And all of you are children of the Most High.  But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.” 

Arise, O God, judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations. 

In Amos, we see the prophet compelled by God to challenge the highest human authority in the land, the king of Israel, for promoting unfaithfulness to the Lord.

Amos 7:7-17    Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?”

And I said, “A plumb line.”  

Then the Lord said: “Behold, I am setting a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel;  I will not pass by them anymore.  The [a]high places of Isaac shall be desolate,  And the [b]sanctuaries  of Israel shall be laid waste.  I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam.”   

10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to [c]bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos has said: ‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, And Israel shall surely be led away captive From their own land.’ ” 

12 Then Amaziah said to Amos: “Go, you seer!  Flee to the land of Judah.  There eat bread, And there prophesy.  13 But never again prophesy at Bethel,  For it is the king’s [d]sanctuary,  And it is the royal [e]residence.”  

14 Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah:  “I was no prophet,  Nor was I a son of a prophet,  But I was a sheepbreeder  And a tender of sycamore fruit.  15 Then the Lord took me [f]as I followed the flock,  And the Lord said to me,  ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.’  16 Now therefore, hear the word of the LordYou say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,  And do not [g]spout against the house of Isaac.’  17 “Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Your wife shall be a harlot in the city; Your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword;  Your land shall be divided by survey line;  You shall die in a defiled land;  And Israel shall surely be led away captive From his own land.’ ”  

In Colossians, Paul commends his audience for their faithfulness to the gospel.  His prayer for them is to be filled with Christ so they can continue to produce good fruit.

Colossians 1:1-14   Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,  To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father [a]and the Lord Jesus Christ.   We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth [b]fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.   

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and [c]conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption [d]through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.  

Finally, in Luke, Jesus defines “neighbor” and sets a high standard for loving others.

Luke 10:25-37    25 And behold, a certain [a]lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among [b]thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, [c]when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”



Who is My Neighbor?

Luke 10:25-37

A man is walking down the street and is approached by someone who appears unwashed, with soiled and tattered clothes, and smells of alcohol. The man gives the person the title of “homeless” in his mind. The homeless man is clutching a cardboard sign with his unfortunate circumstances scrawled in thick black marker. His entire life is reduced to a couple of sad sentences and a plea for help. With red, weary eyes, the homeless man looks at the man and asks, “Can you please spare some change?”

Now, the man has a decision to make. He has money in his pocket. Maybe it is not a lot of money. However, he knows that he has more than the homeless man, whose entirety of possessions are stuffed into plastic shopping bags at his feet. Should the man give the homeless man something, knowing that he could spend that money on booze? Won’t that be making his problems worse? Will he be crippling the homeless man by making him dependent on charity instead of on hard work? Or, by not giving him money, is the man depriving a fellow human being in need of a warm meal to eat? Isn’t the man, who believes himself to be a Christian, supposed to help the poor? But, when do the needs of the poor encroach upon the man’s personal needs? Maybe the problem is that the smallest bill the man has is a $20. Does he really want to give $20 to a stranger? He absently wonders if it is rude and selfish to ask a person wearing rags for change. All of these questions and more race through the man’s mind as he averts his eyes and walks away without saying a word.

I think we can all identify with this classic moral dilemma to some extent. If you are anything like me, you found the story a bit unsettling because it hits so close to home. For all of us, the situation touches on a fundamental question, “What do I owe my fellow human being?” Few questions are more important. The question lies at the heart of every government law, every company policy, and every rule of etiquette. What do I owe my fellow human being? The answer to this question shapes every human interaction, philosophy, and social structure. Yet, as we look at our society and our history, it seems like humanity struggles to come up with good answers to this question. Poverty is still with us. Homelessness is still with us. Sexism is still with us. Racism is still with us. Child abuse is still with us. Human trafficking is still with us. If we truly cared for others, if we made sure that everyone had what they were owed, would not these things disappear? What do I owe my fellow human being? The truth is, apart from God, we do not have any hope of adequately answering this question.


Thankfully, Christ gives us the answer to this fundamental question. What we owe our fellow human beings is to be a good neighbor to them. However, what does it mean to be a good neighbor? Jesus defines neighbor in such a way that becoming one is a lifelong pursuit. Let’s look his profound teaching, commonly referred to as the parable of the Good Samaritan:

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)

In this conversation with the expert in the law, Jesus did something extraordinary. The expert asked, “And who is my neighbor?” The way the man phrased the question placed himself in the role of judging neighborliness. In other words, he was asking Jesus how he was to decide who was worthy of his love and concern. The expert in the law assumed his own neighborliness and wanted to know how to tell who was deserving of it. In his response, Jesus flips the legal expert’s question on its head. After telling a righteously disruptive story, Christ asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The way Jesus phrased his question makes neighborliness something that can only be determined by the person in need. According to Jesus’ teaching, neighbor is not something that we judge in ourselves, rather it is something we strive for others to testify us to be. Are we going to be a neighbor to the person in need? Our personal neighborliness cannot be assumed. Every day Christ-followers are called to participate in the life and work of Jesus, being led by the Spirit, prayerfully hoping to bring glory to the Father by being a neighbor to someone in need of one.

Jesus’ beautiful concept of neighbor is challenging for all believers. It is a high standard to reach because it requires us to show care for every person we encounter. We naturally want to define neighbor for ourselves. Like the legal expert, we want to decide for ourselves who is worthy of our attention and care. We unconsciously develop our own rationale for deciding who gets excluded from our love. Following Christ means giving up a vote in who is and is not our neighbor. It calls on us to see all human beings as our neighbor. Not all neighbors will see us as neighborly unless we provide them with what they want. It’s vital to understand we are called to serve and be servants to others, but they are not called to be our masters. Jesus is our master.

Our neighbor is the one the Spirit leads us to and the one the Spirit leads to us. We have no say in how they look, how much money they have, how they smell, the color of their skin, the country of their origin, their gender, their class, language spoken, political affiliation, or attitude. We cannot even control whether or not they say “thank you.” Whomever the Spirit causes us to encounter, they are our neighbor, so we must be neighborly. While we may acknowledge this truth, we may still struggle with figuring out how to live this out. How do we go about being a neighbor? Are there limits to neighborliness? For answers, we turn to Christ’s teaching. There are three things I would like us to take away from the parable.

1.  Being a neighbor is defined by Jesus

First, the most important fact about the parable of the Good Samaritan is that Jesus is the one telling the story. He is the one who defines “neighbor” because he is the source of neighborliness. In telling the parable, Jesus designates the Samaritan as the neighbor. Given the ethnic and religious animosity between Jewish people and Samaritans, naming the Samaritan as the hero of the story was scandalous to Jesus’ audience. In addition to a not-so-veiled condemnation of prejudice, Jesus makes the point that he will use whomever he wishes to be a neighbor. In our own strength, we are self-focused and incapable of pure neighborliness. However, when he is the one narrating our story, we can be extraordinary neighbors. It is only in Christ that we can truly love others, so we must be dependent upon him.

2.  Being a neighbor requires action

Second, being a neighbor often requires action on our part. In the parable, the status of priest or Levite did not make either man a neighbor. Perhaps they even said prayers as they passed by the man left for dead on the road, but that still did not make them neighbors. Similarly, being a Christian does not necessarily mean that we are being neighbors. James talks about the need for us to show our faith by our deeds (James 2:18). We are not able to intervene directly in every situation, but whenever we can, we should act as a neighbor.  In the story Jesus told, the actions of the Samaritan can be summarized into three categories: place-sharing, promotion of health, and provision.

a.  Pace-sharing: The first thing the Samaritan did was go to the place where the beaten man lay. The Samaritan occupied the same physical space as the survivor and was moved with compassion — he occupied the same emotional space. Place-sharing is a term attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer and refers to an empathetic relationship that is based upon Christ as the ultimate Place-Sharer, which causes people to mutually share joys and sorrows. We can assume that neighborliness requires proximity, which we achieve through place-sharing. We must see ourselves as linked to those in need of a neighbor. Our own well-being must be intertwined with theirs. Otherwise, the care we offer is often condescending or laced with ulterior motives.

b.  Health promotion: The next thing the Samaritan did in the parable was promote the health of the survivor. He treated and bandaged the man’s wounds. Similarly, being a neighbor may require us to seek the social, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of those whom the Holy Spirit causes us to encounter. We, too, should seek to bandage wounds. This cannot be done apart from the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We need to look to him to discern what people truly need. It is important to note that what a person asks for and what they need are sometimes two different things. In the story I told in the beginning of the message, a man was asking for money. In some cases, money is exactly what the person may need. In other cases, the person may need us to listen to their story with compassion. Maybe a smile and kind word is what is needed. In some cases, the Spirit will move us to buy the person a meal. The point is we will not know how to promote the health of another person unless we are willing to submit to the Spirit.

c.  Provision: The last way in which the Samaritan showed himself to be a neighbor was through provision. Two denarii was enough to provide the man with food, water, and shelter. On top of that, the Samaritan offered to pay for any additional expenses incurred by the innkeeper as he saw to the survivor’s basic needs. The survivor still needed things like clothes and medical care, and the Samaritan could not disengage until those needs were met. Our impact on our neighbors should be tangible if they are unable to meet their basic needs. Sometimes that is direct aid, but other times our neighborliness takes the form of helping our neighbor access available services and resources. In any case, we should not overlook those who cannot meet their basic needs. In Acts, we see members of the Christian community selling their possessions in order to provide for the poor. How far are we willing to go to provide the basic needs of our neighbors?

Our neighborliness requires action, which takes the form of place-sharing, promotion of health, and/or provision.

3.  Being a neighbor has a cost   This brings me to the third point I would like us to take away from the parable of the Good Samaritan: being a neighbor is inconvenient and costs us something. This is why, as Christ-followers, we must imitate our Lord and embrace interruptions. We must appreciate discomfort and inconvenience. We cannot expect to follow Christ in comfort. We cannot expect opportunities to be a neighbor to line up with our calendar or agenda. How much of Jesus’ ministry took place while he was on his way someplace else? Similarly, the Samaritan was on his way someplace else. Who knows what business was delayed by being neighborly? The oil and wine applied to the survivor’s wounds had another intended purpose. The money paid to the innkeeper was earmarked for something else. On top of that, the Samaritan risked his very life because he had no idea if the robbers were still in the area. Stopping for the survivor could have made the Samaritan the next victim. Yet Jesus is asking us to do what is necessary to be a neighbor. We may have to wake up every day asking the Holy Spirit to interrupt us for his purposes. We should pray to be moved out of our comfort zones so that we can be a blessing to others. May we not be like the priest and Levite who were so wrapped up in being religious that they neglected to be good.

Being a neighbor is inconvenient, costly, and sometimes involves risk. Perhaps we will not have to risk our lives like the Samaritan. However, allying with the poor, the outcast, the sick, and the abandoned may have a social or relational cost. People may speak poorly of us or break relationship with us if we share the place of those our society values least. However, in being a neighbor we become more like Christ, the perfect neighbor. When humanity sinned, we became mortally wounded spiritually. Like the man on the road to Jericho, sin destroyed us and left us to die on the side of the road. God saw us with empathetic eyes, and Jesus drew near to us. Jesus became one of us and shared our place. Through his broken body and spilled blood he healed our wounds and made us better than healthy. He made us new. Even now, Christ is preparing a place for you and me. His provision is perfect and will never end.

What do I owe my fellow human being?  Christ provides the answer and he, himself, is the answer. He is the one writing our story and is the source of neighborliness. He directs our actions and makes us neighbors. He perfectly showed us how to live interrupted and inconvenienced for the Father’s glory. May we imitate him as we encounter those whom the Spirit brings into our path. May they look upon us and see a neighbor. May they look upon us and see Christ.





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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