Monday Reverb – 21November2022

WELCOME … and THANKS for joining us.  We trust, as always, that your time with us will be well spent and you’ll be glad you came.



WE GIVE YOU GLORY – Don Moen et al




The theme for this week is a king who saves.

  • The call to worship Psalm (Psalm 46:1-11) praises God for being our refuge and strength in times of trouble.
  • The Old Testament reading … from Jeremiah 23:1-6 … records God’s promise to Israel to raise up responsible leaders and to ultimately provide a wise and just king from the line of David.
  • The epistolary text … in Colossians 1:11-20 … offers a praise of Christ as the creator and reconciler of the entire cosmos in one of the most outstanding Christological hymns in the New Testament.
  • In the Gospel reading (Luke 23:33-43), Jesus’ forgiveness and mercy are displayed as he is crucified between two criminals while having the inscription over his head, “This is the King of the Jews.”






This is the King of the Jews

Luke 23:33-43 (NRSVUE)

Today marks the last day of the Christian calendar before we start over with Advent.  For a while now we have been journeying through the season known as “Ordinary Time” or simply “The Season after Pentecost.”  Today, that season comes to an end with a special day called Reign of Christ Sunday or Christ the King Sunday.  Our passage for the day will take up that theme.   Our whole journey from Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and everything in between arrives at today’s crowning conclusion. Jesus is King!

Celebrating Christ the King Sunday may raise our expectations to hear a message from a text that deals with regal themes of royalty and triumph.  Perhaps we are assuming we will visit a passage displaying the magnificent glory of God’s kingdom.  We want a royal celebration with fine wine, a crown of jewels, and cheering crowds.  However, today we have a passage in Luke that recounts the crucifixion of Jesus.  We must temper our expectations and brace for sour wine, a crown of thorns, and mocking crowds.  How can this be?  Surely a mistake has been made by the selection of such a text on this triumphant day of celebration.  How do we close out the year on such a down note and transition into the hopeful expectation of Advent?

The answer is we celebrate this special day in the same way we have celebrated all the others: With our eyes on Christ!  After all, we were not called here today to hear the blast of trumpets and to celebrate crowns and thrones.  We were called to gather today to hear the word of God and to celebrate the one who is crowned and the rightful King who sits on the throne — Jesus.   This King is the same King who wore the crown of thorns and hung on a cross.  This is the same King who faced the mocking soldiers offering sour wine. Jesus was no less a king on the cross as he is on the throne.

All that we must witness today falls under the inscription “This is the King of the Jews.”  And that is how we will carry forth.  As we look at Luke’s account of the crucifixion, we will do so with our eye on the inscription nailed over him.  The inscription was meant to be the charge against him deserving of death.  But in reality, it is a proclamation of who he is as the King that brings life.  So, that inscription will remind us that all we see Jesus doing on the cross is a window into the very heart and nature of the King we come to celebrate today.  We will see that this King is indeed a king worth following.  And that will lift our eyes to follow him once again into a new year.

Let us begin!

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. (Luke 23:33 NRSVUE)

Instead of identifying the place of Jesus’ crucifixion by the formal name of Golgotha, Luke chooses to use the nickname of “The Skull,” which was probably given because of the physical appearance of the location.  We too must come to places in our life that have the appearance of “The Skull” – places of pain, suffering, and death.  What does this passage tell us about our King when we come to such places?  We see that this King goes with usWhatever pain, suffering, and death we come to in our journey on this planet, Jesus goes with us – all of us.

In the passage we read that Jesus went there with criminals on his left and right.  Sometimes the “Skulls” in our life find us as innocent victims but other times we have arrived by our own doing.  Ultimately, we must all identify with the criminals who are deserving of death.  But even there in that place of shame and guilt we find our King present, right in the middle of our sin and guilt.

Jesus is clearly not a ruler we see in our daily lives.  The “kings” in our present world, and in most of history, are not so inclined to associate with those who find themselves in places called “The Skull.”  We can look around and see that most of our “kings” prefer to retain their elite status and put as much distance between themselves and anyone who may threaten their reputationBut not Jesus.  Not this King!  He chooses to identify with the lowly, the criminal, the sinner.  He identifies with us and takes his place among usNot because he deserves to be there or because he lost his status. He is there because of who he is as the King of the cosmos.  He is a King full of mercy, compassion, and as we will see, forgiveness.

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they cast lots to divide his clothing.  And the people stood by watching, but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”  The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”  There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” (Luke 23:34-38 NRSVUE)

What amazing grace we see in all that takes place under the inscription, “This is the King of the Jews!”  In all the agony, it is the voice of this King who speaks first.  We should be amazed, shocked even, at the words that come from his lips.  As an innocent, sinless King, undeserving of suffering the price of sin, we may expect to hear words of blame and anger.  After all, haven’t we been taught by the “kings” in our world that one must curse those who curse you?  “Tit for tat” goes the rule in our kingly circles.  But not this King.  Under the excruciating pain and the humiliating ordeal of crucifixion, this King uses what little strength remains to audibly pray to his Father to forgive us.

Don’t miss the order of the story.  There is not a single apology offered to Jesus before his prayer.  No remorse, no regret, and certainly no repentance.  The sinful rejection of this King continues until the end.  In fact, as the account goes, people are standing by watching.  The leaders however are not silent; they are doing what we expect worldly leaders to do when in a position of dominance.  They scoff!  With no fear of retaliation, they boldly challenge Jesus’ identity as God’s chosen Messiah.  The soldiers who implemented the torturous event now mockingly offer him a pain killer of sour wine.  How kind of them!  Both the leaders and the soldiers mock Jesus with the challenge to save himself.  What pride pours forth in their challenge.  Their thinking is that a true king would be able to save himself, just as they undoubtedly thought they just did by crucifying Jesus.  They assumed they had saved themselves from the threat of Jesus being crowned King.

Little did they understand that Jesus never came to save himselfHe came to save the people, the leaders, the soldiers, the criminals, and all the other sinners like you and me.  We resist him!  We reject him!  We mock and scoff at him!  Yes, we — you and me — along with all those present at the place called The Skull.  We killed him to save ourselves from his rule.  Yet, Jesus’ prayer has already been offered for us allHe has already forgiven us.  Does this not tell us the heart of this King who now sits on the throne?  The ruling Word that goes forth is a Word of grace.  Forgiveness for our sins has already been given before we even ask.

The forgiveness from this King has already been given so we as sinners can gratefully receive. We don’t have to work for it or prove we are deserving of it. It’s there for the taking. Repentance follows forgiveness. Not the other way around. Have you ever seen such a king? Not likely in our world, where everything has its price. Contracts reign! But look up and see the one who has chosen to save us and not himself. Hear the one who offers forgiveness under the inscription, “This is the King of the Jews.” How shall we respond?

One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43 NRSVUE)

Our text concludes with the only thing left to do in light of salvation offered by this King of the Jews. Respond. Luke lets us hear the dialogue that takes place between the two criminals who are hanging alongside Jesus. In this dialogue, we are given to see only two responses left to us by the gracious gift of forgiveness and salvation given to us in Jesus. Rejection or reception.

There is no other option available for us now that this King reigns. As the inscription has proclaimed to us, “This is the King of the Jews.” And to be sure, this King of the Jews is the promised Messiah, the King who would rule over all nations forever and ever. That means he is our King too. There is no other authority we respond to for salvation. So, we must respond! Like the two criminals, we can either reject this King and his gift of salvation and forgiveness that is already offered, or we can receive what the Lord freely gives us, a life in paradise with him.


  1. What stands out for you?
  2. As you look at the three men on the crosses, whom do you identify with?
  3. What does the presence of Jesus Christ in the middle tell us about Christ?






Developing a Discipleship Program for All (Part 2




In the GCI video on FAITH AVENUE, presented by Michelle Fleming, she shared a definition of DISCIPLESHIP that went as follows:

“Christian discipleship is the disciplined habit of thinking and acting in Christ.  Discipleship is growing closer to Christ and more like Christ AND deeper into Christian community with other believers.” 

We have a mandate to develop our own Faith Avenue, as part of our journey to becoming a more healthy church … so we need to start taking a closer look at this thing called DISCIPL

  1. Why should we be interested in discipleship?
  2. What is discipleship?
  3. What/Who is a disciple?
  4. What is involved in the “making” of a disciple?
  5. What is the discipleship process?
  6. What is the essential objective of each stage in the process?
  7. What is the Gospel that must be believed?
  8. What are the essential doctrines that one must believe in order to be considered a believer?



1.  Why should we be interested in discipleship?

  • Matthew 28:18-20
  • It’s part of the Great Commission … given to the disciples … to the Church … to us

2.  What is discipleship?

  • Based on Matthew 28:19, it’s the making of disciples.
  • To understand, we need to understand 1) what is meant by “disciples” and 2) what is involved in the “making” of disciples.

3.  What/Who is a disciple?

  • If discipleship is the process of making disciples, then we need first to understand what a disciple is.
  • Consider the following passages … Mark 1:16-17, Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, 10:38, 16:24)
  • Based on those passages, we see that a disciple is …
  • one who follows (Mark 1:17a, Matthew 4:19, Matthew 9:9)
  • one who follows … for a reason (Mark 1:17b)
  • one who follows … in order to learnin order to teach (Matthew 28:18, 2Timothy 2:1-2)
  • For the purposes of this study … a disciple is a follower of Jesus.

4.  What is involved in the “making” of disciples?

  • Jesus called a small group of people to become His disciples (by following Him).
  • But He didn’t just call them to follow Him.
  • Notice Mark 1:17 b …
  • Jesus equipped them (spending time with them, interacting with them, teaching them). In short, He took time to equip them (to be His witnesses and to share the Gospel with others).
  • That “equipping” of the disciples involved some sort of process.
  • to follow him, and equipped them to share the good news of the Kingdom of God with others.

5.  What is the discipleship process?

  • Discipleship is not just about following Jesus.
  • It involves learning about Jesus. It involves getting to know Him.  It involves obeying Him.  It involves sharing His message with others.  It involves sharing life and life lessons with them so that they can become disciples who can (and will) disciple others.
  • Discipleship is similar to training or apprenticeship and the results of it affect every area of our lives.
  • That is why we say that discipleship involves some sort of process.
  • So, what is that process?
  • The “process” that Jesus used is not spelled out, specifically, in a step-by-step format … but I don’t think we NEED for Him to spell one out. Given that the object of the exercise is the same for all churches (get an unbeliever to believe in Christ, follow Christ and share Christ), I think each church can come up with it’s own process.
  • To this end, we’ve come up with a program that involves four (4) categories of persons: Attenders, Believers, Christians and Disciplers, where …
      • Attender … one who attends church, or associates with believers, but who does not believe
      • Believer … one who believes, but who has not committed to following Christ
      • Christian … a believer who has committed to following Christ
      • Discipler … a Christ-follower who invites others to follow Christ
  • In light of the above, our discipleship program involves a “process” that takes a person through three (3) stages/phases …
      1. From ATTENDER … to BELIEVER
      2. From BELIEVER … to CHRISTIAN (Christ-follower)

6.  What is the essential objective of each stage in the process?

  1. In stage ONE … the Attender must hear the Gospel and BELIEVE the Gospel.
  2. In stage TWO … the Believer must move from just believing in Christ to FOLLOWING Christ.
  3. In stage THREE … the Christian must transition from following Christ to SHARING Christ.

7.  What is the Gospel that must be believed?

  • You deserve to die because of your sin … but you will not die because Jesus Christ died in your stead, so that you could live. As a result, you’ll be going to Heaven and spending eternity with God.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-8,9-11    For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures and that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.[b] Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you believed.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:18-21   Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not [d]imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.   20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  
  1. What are the essential doctrines that one must believe in order to be considered a believer?

That’s what we looked at last time.  If we’re to pick up where we left off, then we need to look, this time, at those essential doctrines that one must believe in order to be considered a believer.

So, where do we start?

We start by reminding ourselves that discipleship involves a process … a process that we have divided into three stages … and reminding ourselves of the purpose/objective of stage one.

1.  What is the objective of Stage ONE in our discipleship program?  

  • In stage ONE, the objective is to get the attender to become a believer.

2.  What does the attender need to believe in order to become a believer? 

  • Mark 1:14-15   Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel [a]of the kingdom of God15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God [b]is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  
  • In other words … to move from being an attender to being a believer, one must believe the Gospel.
  • That’s why we see so many references in the Scriptures to disciples and apostles preaching the Gospel.

3.  What is the Gospel that must be believed?  

  • Mark 1:14-15   Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel [a]of the kingdom of God15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God [b]is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  
  • Mark 1:1  The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
  • Matthew 4:23    And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
  • Matthew 9:35   Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
  • Matthew 24:14    And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
  • Romans 1:1    Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God   (See also Romans 15:16)
  • Romans 1:9   For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers ….
  • Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (See also Romans 15:19 and Romans 15:29)
  • Romans 10:15  And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”
  • 1 Corinthians 9:12    If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?  Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.
  • Obviously, the Bible speaks of the Gospel of the kingdom … but it also refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of God, the Gospel of His Son, the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of peace (and probably others).
  • For the purposes of this study, I want to focus on the “Gospel of Christ”, which Paul used quite a lot.

4.  What does the phrase “Gospel OF Christ” mean?  Does it mean the Gospel BY Christ (i.e. preached by Christ) … or does it mean the “Gospel ABOUT Christ”?  

  • Well, we know that Paul preached the Gospel of Christ.
  • What was he preaching when he did that?  Notice the following …
      • Romans 16:25    Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began ….
  • Based on that reference, Paul preached ABOUT Christ.
  • Notice what he wrote to the Corinthians …
      • 1 Corinthians 1:23    but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
  • Obviously, Paul preached ABOUT Christ by preaching about His crucifixion.
  • Notice what else Paul wrote to the Corinthians …
      • 1 Corinthians 15:12   Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
  • Again, Paul obviously preached ABOUT Christ by preaching about His resurrection.



1.  Investigate … and come prepared to discuss … the following … 

    1. What is the Greek word for “gospel” … and what does it mean?
    2. What do you think is the most significant implication of that word?
    3. Is the Gospel for some … or is it for all?
    4. Is the Gospel about something that CAN be done … or is it about something that HAS BEEN done?

2.  Prepare to give a summary of what you believe the Gospel message is, in your own words. (Please limit your summary to four sentences or less.)

3.  Based on your summary of the Gospel message, what do you think are the essential elements of the Gospel (the things that a person MUST believe in order to be considered a Believer)?



OUR HEART, OUR DESIRE — Don Moen, Ron Kenoly et al …



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