Monday Reverb – 25July2022


The theme for this week is the generosity of God.   

In our call to worship Psalm, we see the psalmist extoling the many virtues of God, including the proclamation that the Lord will indeed give what is good.

  • Psalm 85:1-7,8-13   Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.  Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.   Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.  Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.   Wilt thou be angry with us for ever?  wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?  Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?    Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.   I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.  Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.    10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.   11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.   12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.   13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.   

In Hosea, we see God telling the prophet that he will be generous to Judah even after Israel has turned away.

  • Hosea 1:2-7;8-10   The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom,  departing from the LordSo he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. And the Lord said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.   And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away. But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.   Now when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.   10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.   

In Colossians, Paul reminds us how generous God was in forgiving us of all our sins and making us alive with Christ.

  • Colossians 2:6-15,16-19   As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.   
  • 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.   

And in Luke 11, Jesus shows us by way of a parable how much more generous God is than our earthly fathers and friends.

  • Luke 11:1-13   And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.   And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?  


How Much More is our Heavenly Father …

Luke 11:5-13

If you were a child of the ‘70s or earlier, chances are, your parents may have given you a Christmas present that could have caused grievous bodily harm to either yourself or others.  Gifts that, if they were given out today, would result in calls to Child Protective Services faster than you could say, “Red Rider BB Gun” or “Lawn Jarts.”  

Pocket knives and pellet guns were at the top of Santa’s list, as were the now-banned, sharp, steel-tipped lawn darts.  But after far too frequent post-holiday trips to the E.R., parents began to finally wise up regarding their apocalyptic Christmas present choices.

There is someone we never have to worry about when it comes to giving, and that is our heavenly Father. He knows exactly what we need and gives generously to us out of his wise and loving care.

Today we are going to be looking at a conversation that Jesus had with his disciples.  Instead of answering a simple question of theirs, in Jesus’ typical style, he turns this into an opportunity for story time.  It is through this story that he communicates how much more generous is our heavenly Father to us than our earthly fathers, and how much more generous he is as a friend to us than our earthly friends.   Today’s text starts off with a passage most of us are familiar with.


One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’” (Luke 11:1-4)

The disciples requested Jesus to teach them to pray as John the Baptist’s disciples prayed.  In Luke’s telling of this, he has Jesus giving an abbreviated form of what we refer to as The Lord’s Prayer. Because of its brevity, and because Jesus quickly moves on to a parable, it doesn’t appear that Luke is concerned with making sure this prayer gets cemented into a word-for-word liturgy to be passed down through the eons of church history.   N.T. Wright said: “The Lord’s Prayer is not so much a command as an invitation … to share in the prayer-life of Jesus himself.”[1]

It would seem that what Jesus is communicating through this story isn’t about how, or what to pray, but more importantly, about knowing the character of the one we pray to.   

What led the disciples to ask Jesus how to pray?  Earlier in Luke’s Gospel (chapter 5), we have the Pharisees making comparisons between Jesus’ disciples and John’s disciples. They noted that Jesus’ disciples didn’t fast and pray like John’s did.  Perhaps the disciples of Jesus felt that there was competition between the two camps.

Jesus will go on to make the point that prayer is not about performance, it is about acknowledging God and experiencing intimacy with him.  The next thing that Jesus does is tell his disciples a parable.  But Jesus does something a little different.  He asks them to put themselves in the story.

 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’  And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me.  The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed.  I can’t get up and give you anything.’  I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.  So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:5-10)

The disciples are asked to see themselves as having received a guest in the middle of the night.  As a host, you are unprepared as you find yourself without any bread to offer your nocturnal out-of-town guest.  The disciples would have recognized this as a not quite so uncommon event in their day and age.  Many people travelled at night to avoid the heat of the day.  They travelled when it was cooler and more comfortable.  Receiving a guest late at night would not have been uncommon.

Hospitality seems to be a lost art in our society today, but back in first-century Palestine, it was taken quite seriously.  If someone came to you for lodging, then you put them up.  And if you put them up, then you also were responsible for feeding them.  But what happens when your cupboards are bare?

The disciples were asked to picture themselves going to their next-door neighbor and having to ask them for food so they could feed their guests.

Jesus shows the likely outcome of encountering a grumpy, sleepy-eyed neighbor who just wants you to go away. After all, everyone is already in bed, and if that neighbor has to get up, more than likely he will be waking the entire household (animals and all).  The inconvenience to that neighbor would have been no small thing.

None of what Jesus is describing here would have been far-fetched.  He was using a real-world example of what would occasionally happen, and what the result was likely to be.  Jesus is drawing them into his example to feel the full weight of each of the characters in this story.

The road-weary guest is probably famished, and now he may feel bad about the tough position he has just put his host in.  The last thing that the host wanted to happen was to have to wake his neighbor because he was caught being a neglectful, ill-prepared host.  But the greater offence would have been in allowing the guest to starve, which would bring shame to his entire family.  His only recourse is to get his neighbor to comply with his desperate request.  The sleeping neighbor doesn’t want to wake his entire family and whatever animals he has, as this would cause quite the scene.

Finally, we have the resolution through the sleeping neighbor granting the urgent pleas of the host.  And not because they were such good buddies, but as Jesus put it, because of his shamelessness.  He knows that this neighbor of his is in a tight spot, so he bails him out.

The disciples are realizing that in this story everyone is asking for something.  But none of these things are being asked or answered out of pure relationship.  It is all about saving face or persistence or playing on someone’s sense of ethics and expectations within their culture.  None of this is describing how our heavenly Father reacts to our prayers.

Jesus tells his disciples to ask, seek, and knock and that by doing so they will get what it is they are inquiring about.  In fact, he seems to say the same thing in two different ways from verse 9 to verse 10.

So, is this saying that anything we want from God is automatically answered?  All we need to do is ask and all is ours, no questions asked?  Well, we can see from real life that this is not the caseWe all know people that we have prayed for, who not only didn’t get well but passed away.  We prayed for broken marriages that were in trouble only to see them end up in divorce.  If you haven’t done so already, pray that you win the lottery tonight, and let me know how that turns out.  More on this in a moment.  Let’s continue.

 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  (Luke 11:11-13)

Jesus is now asking his disciples to reflect on a human level.  He describes how our deeply flawed fathers are capable of providing everything we need physically.  They wouldn’t needlessly put our lives in danger.  This would be unthinkable.  We are under their protection and receive their provision.  Fathers have a sense of obligation in these matters.

Then Jesus makes the comparison between earthly fathers and our heavenly Father.  If our earthly fathers (as evil as they are) know how to give good gifts, how much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.  

This reminds me of Isaiah 55:8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”  If you read the rest of that chapter, you will see that the prophet is talking about how much greater God’s goodness is than our own.

The statement made by Jesus, “How much more …”  is the punchline.  It is the climax to this story – to this event that Luke records for us.  It is not about teaching us a specific formula for how to pray.  It is not teaching us to pray until we get our way.  And it is certainly not about bringing God down to the level of our fickle expectations.   Jesus is teaching us about how much greater God is as a friend than all those represented by his story. And how much greater God is as a Father than those who already protect and provide for us.

Unlike the sleeping friend, God does not try to shut us up or turn us away.  God gives as a friend.  A friend who never needs to be convinced of our need.  He is aware of it far more than we are.   Our motivations in asking do not impress himHe is already willing.  We will never inconvenience him.  We are in fact, told to enter into his throne room boldly.  God is not reluctant and does not despise our asking.  God does not hold out on us.

Unlike earthly fathers who can only provide for us physically, our heavenly Father is after far more.  He is desirous of our spiritual well-being and will make sure that we are taken care of.  He is what the disciples were told to ask forIt was the Holy Spirit that was to be asked for and sought after.  It is through the Holy Spirit that we know the overwhelmingly generous mind and heart of God towards us and all his creation.  The Holy Spirit shows us just “how much more is our Father in heaven” than anything else.






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 Corinthians 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 Son12 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.
      • Colossians 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
      • Colossians 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,
      • Matthew 18:21-22
      • Hebrews 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 faith.
  • The 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.
      • Romans 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.   
      • 2 Corinthians 5:14-16  14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

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 (in Jesus Christ).
  • By forgiving us, God rescues us from the dominion and eternal consequences of sin, making all things new, including our human nature.
      • 2 Timothy 2:10   Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
      • Ephesians 1:3-6,7-12   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christjust as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He [a]made us accepted in the Beloved.   
      • In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and [b]prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ[c]both which are in heaven and which are on earthin Him11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.  
      • Colossians 1:9-14  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.

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 Corinthians 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.
      • Hebrews 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.
      • John 1:14    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

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 Corinthians 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 Spirit.
  • In 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”   
      • Romans 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:


Exploring  Colossians 1:15-18,19-20,21-23,24-28

Colossians 1:15-28

15 He is the image of the invisible Godthe firstborn over all creation16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or [a]principalities or [b]powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.  

Reconciled in Christ

19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight — 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Sacrificial Service for Christ

24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the [c]stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the [d]mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: [e]which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.



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