Monday Reverb – 28November2022



The theme for this week is put off darkness and put on the armor of light.

The call to worship Psalm is a hymn of joy over Jerusalem, God’s holy city.  The psalmist is moved to pray for the inhabitants of Jerusalem to be beacons of light, living in peace and protected by God within the city’s walls.


Isaiah provides us with a beautiful description of God’s kingdom, which is characterized by peace and justice — a mountain that draws all inhabitants of the world to it.   Due to the reality of the present and coming kingdom, Isaiah’s audience is invited to walk inthe light of the Lord.”

In Romans, Paul encouraged his readers to lay aside dark actions and clothe themselves in Christ, who is light and protection.

Romans 13:11-14  11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent; the day is at hand. Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light13 Let us walk [a]properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.  


In Matthew, Jesus admonished his followers to be continuously prepared for his arrival by doing the things he instructed them to do.

Matthew 24:36-44   “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  






Should We Celebrate Jesus’ Second Coming?

Matthew 24:36-44

We begin the Advent season this week — a time when we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus, His arrival into the life of every believer, and His anticipated Second Coming.  Advent means “coming” or “arrival,” so we remember the various ways Jesus comes to us individually and collectively.  Most of the imagery surrounding this season focuses on Christ’s first coming, and that makes sense.  The nativity story is amazing, with memorable visuals like the manger, guiding star, and wise men.  It is easy to turn our attention to such a phenomenal event.

Perhaps it is easy to shift our celebration and gratitude concerning the incarnation to Christ’s advent into our lives.  Every believer has some kind of personal history with Jesus; a story about how he arrived in our lives. (At least from our perspective, because in truth he was always there.)   So, we may not find it hard to imagine ourselves celebrating Jesus right along with a certain group of shepherds.

We may not have difficulty rejoicing over Jesus’ first coming and personal advent, but what about Christ’s Second Coming?  Do we celebrate his eventual return in the same way?  Of course, the Second Coming brings us joy and hope that one day all things will be made new.  But, what about the event itself?  Do we hope to bear witness to the return of Christ and the end of this world?  For many of us, the answer is no.

For many of us, Christ’s Second Coming is a little scary.  At the very least, it can seem a bit strange.  Let’s be honest, what we think we know about the return of Jesus does not make most people break out in celebratory singing.  Notice that I said “what we think we know” because it appears as though no one really knows for sure.  Doesn’t it seem like everyone says something different?  Some think a bunch of people disappear in something called the Rapture.  Some say that there will not be a Rapture, but a big war when people see Jesus.  Maybe both?  It could be that believers have to go to a place of safety, but didn’t they already disappear in the Rapture?  I think there may be some witnesses or an anti-Christ.  There’s definitely a dragon, although no one seems to agree on the identity of any of these folks. Are they even people?

Many seem to believe that Jesus’ return will happen soon, but every prediction of when has been wrong.  Do we just need to find the right formula or algorithm?  Maybe the bottom line is that at Jesus Christ’s return there will be lots of death, lots of judgment, the end of the world, and it can happen at any time.  Right? *

I do not mean to make light of this important topic, but I am trying to show that there is a lot of uncertainty, confusion, and fear associated with our understanding of Christ’s Second Coming.  This apprehension can negatively affect how we see Jesus and his return.  In many Christian circles, Jesus’ Second Coming is used almost like a threat of impending doom to keep us in line instead of a source of joy and hope.  This undercuts two core beliefs of our faith — that the gospel of Jesus Christ is, in fact, good news, and that God is love.   Advent season is a great time to get more clarity on what we need to know about Jesus’ return, so we can internalize the truth that we never need to fear the Savior of humanity.

For answers, we will start with Jesus and some of what he says about his Second Coming.  Let’s look at his words recorded in the Book of Matthew:

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.  That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.  Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So, you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:36-44 NIV)

Before we unpack the passage, we should take note of Jesus’ starting point.  All that he shares in these verses is from the perspective of someone who does not know when the events he described will happen.  Jesus never relinquished his divinity.  He was and is 100% God and 100% human.  However, in his incarnation, Christ humbled himself and lived like a human being, except for a few occasions when the Father instructed him to reveal some of his divine power (i.e. the Transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-8).  So, in his humanity, Jesus did not know when he would return.  Therefore, we have to conclude that the moment of Christ’s return is not important for us to know.

Studying this and other similar passages to devise a detailed timeline and sequence of events of the end of time misses the point.  While we should seek to understand Scripture as best we can, it is not important to know the “when” of Christ’s return. We are not even supposed to know the key events surrounding the Second Coming.  If we were, the Bible would be far less murky on the subject.  We do not need to know these things in order for us to do the most important things, follow Christ, worship, and bear witness to him.  We are naturally curious about the future events hinted to in the Bible, however, we should not use prophecy for our own purposes. We need to approach prophecy in the way God intended.

In this passage, Jesus explained what he wants his audience to know.

  • First, he assured his followers that he will return at some undetermined time after his ascension.
  • Next, the Second Coming could happen at any time, so believers should live holy lives, not self-centered lives.
  • Last, Jesus’ return could take time, so we should be prepared to persist in participating in his life and work.
  • Put simply, Jesus told his followers, in light of his Second Coming, to live as if Jesus was coming today, but plan like he would not return in his audience’s lifetime.  Not doing so could have unpleasant and lasting consequences for those who do not remain spiritually prepared.

In his compassion, Jesus taught his disciples how to navigate the “now” and “not yet” of the kingdom of God.  Jesus ushered in the kingdom (an eternal space where God lovingly rules and people strive to follow him as one), and his followers can experience the benefits of the kingdom now.  At the same time, we live in the “present evil age” and the kingdom is hidden and will one day be revealed in full.  Jesus revealed the kingdom, but our brokenness causes humans to experience the kingdom imperfectly.  However, he promised to return and make everything new so that we can all experience the kingdom of God in full for all eternity.

Jesus knows us, and he knows the natural tendencies of humans who exist in ambiguous times – like the period of the “now” and “not yet.” In this passage, Christ addressed two harmful ways of being.

  1. First, Jesus had the self-indulgent in view. Some live by the saying, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.” If these folks knew when Christ would return, they would live self-centered lives and only “act Christian” when the deadline approached. The danger of this way of being is that the self-indulgent acknowledge the coming kingdom but do not truly want to be a part of it. The purpose of our faith is not to produce people who look Christian, it is to help us get to know Christ and be changed by that relationship. The self-indulgent worship their appetites and desires and do not prioritize God. They want to look outwardly holy to avoid eternal unpleasantness, but do not see sin as the enemy it is. They want to embrace sin without experiencing the consequences. The self-indulgent show by their actions that they do not want to be citizens of the kingdom, and God will not force them to be otherwise.
  2. Second, Jesus spoke to the self-righteous, those at the other extreme. The self-righteous will be tempted to disengage from the world because they believe Christ’s return to be very soon. In their mind, the world will be destroyed soon so why bother dealing with anyone who is not “saved”? They have an “us” and “them” mentality and are comfortable with others being destroyed as long they and those they care about are safe. The self-righteous do not obey Christ’s imperative to love our fellow humans and make sacrifices for their well-being. They misunderstand the nature of love and show they have not been transformed by their proximity to Christ. They also do not understand that just as Jesus was sent by the Father, Christians are sent by Christ into the world. Loving our neighbors and bearing witness to the reality of Jesus are not optional activities for believers, because they were not optional activities for God. Therefore, the self-righteous reject the King of kings by refusing to follow in his ways, and God will not force them to be otherwise.

So, Jesus explains to believers who exist in this present evil age, that we should live as if Christ was coming today, but plan like his arrival is far in the future. Living like Christ was coming today means that we strive to take advantage of every opportunity to increase our intimacy with him. It means we desperately pursue him as the source of our life and desire to worship him in all that we think, say, and do. We pursue Christ not out of fear of death but because he pursued us to give us life. We have tasted and seen that he is good, and nothing else will satisfy.

Planning like Christ’s arrival is far in the future means that we do not ignore the plight of our neighbor. We are compelled by love to build authentic relationships with others, especially those who do not yet know Christ. We do so not with ulterior motives, but by the Spirit and with the hope that something of Christ will shine though us to spark something in them. Believers bear witness to the King by offering our neighbors opportunities to experience the kingdom with us. In other words, we participate in the work Jesus is doing to recreate the world.

What Jesus is asking of his followers is nothing new. He plainly said in multiple ways that to experience his salvation, we must love God and love our neighbor (Luke 10:27-28). That is what believers are to be doing no matter the times. We were not told the timing or precise circumstances of Christ’s return because that information does not change anything about what Christians are to be doing. What is different about this passage in Matthew is that Christ is warning us that there are consequences to not doing things his way. While some of the descriptions of the end of this age are scary, the inclusion of consequences should only bother those who commit to disobedience. Those who sincerely strive to love God and love others need feel nothing but excitement at Christ’s Second Coming.

The most important thing about this passage is that Jesus said it in the first place. The only reason to warn someone of danger is to keep any harm from happening to them. This reminds us that Christ is a Savior not a destroyer. He is a Savior, not because he is playing a role; it is who he is. It is part of his essential nature. We cannot be so distracted by our curiosity that we forget who is speaking to us. Think about the love Christ showed for all, the way he stood up for the marginalized and oppressed, and how he did all he could to eliminate suffering. This is the one who is coming back. Think about the compassion of Jesus, the care he took in teaching his disciples, and the intimate love he showed for the Father. This is the one who is coming back. Think about how he boldly defeated evil, how he humbly submitted to the leading of the Spirit, and how he bore every indignity for us. This is the one who is coming back.

We should celebrate the Second Coming of Jesus for many reasons, but primarily because of Jesus himself. He is in every way wonderful, and he is coming back for us! He is in every way beautiful, and he is coming back for us! He is in every way worthy, and he is coming back for us! During Advent, we should continue to make much of the incarnation and personal coming of Christ. However, let us equally celebrate that Jesus is coming back. We have nothing to fear because it is Jesus who is coming. Come, Lord Jesus! Come!

*For help untangling and understanding these topics, I suggest a collection of essays titled “Commentary on the Book of Revelation” on the Grace Communion International website.



Last time, we began to look at those essential doctrines that one must believe in order to be considered a believer.   We started 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.”  
  • To move, then, from being an attender to being a believer, the attender must believe the Gospel.

3.  What is the Gospel that must be believed?  

  • Obviously, the Bible speaks of the Gospel of the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15) or just the Gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 24:14) … but it also refers to
      • the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1),
      • the Gospel of God (Romans 1:1),
      • the Gospel of His Son (Romans 1:9),
      • the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16),
      • the Gospel of peace (Romans 10:15) … 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? 

  • It could mean the “Gospel BY Christ” (as in the “Gospel preached by Christ).
  • But it could also mean the “Gospel ABOUT Christ” … as we notice when we look at what Paul, who preached the “Gospel of Christ” actually preached …
      • 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 ….
      • 1 Corinthians 1:23    but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
      • 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.

That was what we looked at last time. 

This time, we want to look at how we did on the assignment given in our last meeting.

We were to investigate and come prepared to discuss some questions … and come prepared, as well, to give summaries (in four sentences or less) of what we believe the Gospel message is. 

Before we go to the summaries, let’s remind ourselves of the questions … and see what answers we came up with …


  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?


1.  What is the Greek word for “gospel” … and what does it mean?

  • euaggelion … evangelion
  • good message … or good news

2.  What do you think is the most significant implication of that word?

  • The use of the word “good” implies that the news before the Gospel was BAD.
  • If so … then we need to understand why the news was bad before the Gospel came.

3.  Is the Gospel for some … or is it for all?

  • Luke 2:8-11, 10  Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 
  • 2 Corinthians 5:16-19    16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 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 imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
  • Colossians 1:19-20    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.

4.  Is the Gospel about something that CAN be done … or is it about something that HAS BEEN done?

  • 2 Corinthians 5:18    Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation  
  • Romans 5:10-11    For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 
  • Romans 5:11   And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
  • Ephesians 1:13    In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,








BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS – A Gospel Presentation


A – What does “Gospel” mean?

  • (gos’-pel) (to euaggelion): The word gospel is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word which meant “the story concerning God.” In the New Testament the Greek word euaggelion, means “good news.” It proclaims tidings of deliverance. The word sometimes stands for the record of the life of Our Lord <Mk 1:1>, embracing all His teachings, as in <Acts 20:24>. But the word “gospel” now has a peculiar use, and describes primarily the message which Christianity announces. “Good news” is its significance. It means a gift from God. It is the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins and sonship with God restored through Christ. It means remission of sins and reconciliation with God. The gospel is not only a message of salvation, but also the instrument through which the Holy Spirit works <Rom 1:16>.  
            • (from International Standard Bible Encylopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (C) 1996 by Biblesoft)

B – Why was there a need for “good news”?  

  • Because the news before the “gospel” came was bad.    


C – What was/is the “bad news”?  

  • You are a sinner. 
  • Romans 3:10-11 (NKJ)  As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one.  There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. 
  • Romans 3:23  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
  • Because of your sin, you are under a death penalty.
  • Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death ….
  • There is nothing you can do to save yourself.
  • Isaiah 64:6 (NKJ) But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
  • Galatians 2:16 (NKJ) knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
  • James 2:10 (NKJ) For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.


D – What is the “good news”?  

  • You can be saved.  You don’t have to die.  
  • Acts 16:31  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”
  • Hebrews 7:25  Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
  • God has made provision for your sin.
  • Isa 53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
  • 2 Cor 5:21  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 
  • 1 Pet 3:18  For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
  • John 3:16 (NKJ) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


E – What can you do … to receive salvation?  

  • Believe  
  • Romans 10:9,10  “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.  For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”


John 3:3 (NKJ) Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 10:28  “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (NKJ)

John 14:6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (NKJ)

Acts 3:19  Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

Acts 4:12  “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (NKJ)

Acts 16:31  So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Philippians 1:6  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Jude 1:24  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,


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)?













Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top