Monday Reverb – 05December2022


The theme this week is Jesus brings peace and we are to be his peacemakers.

Some related verses … on the theme of PEACE …

  • Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19   A petition to God to give to the king the righteousness and justice that leads to peace.
  • Isaiah 11:1-5,6-10   A classic announcement of the future king, from the line of David, who will bring a reign characterized by justice and peace.
  • Romans 15:4-6,7-13   An encouragement to glorify God by living in harmonious (iow, peaceful) relationships with one another.
  •  In the Gospel passage, we read of John the Baptist’s announcement of the coming of Jesus who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.
  • Matthew 3:1-6,7-12   In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”  For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:

    “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’” 

    Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.  Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

    But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.  10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  



Speaking of Life


Small Group Discussion Questions

From Speaking of Life


What did you think about the video’s claim that to receive Jesus’ peace is to receive him as Lord and King?

  • See James 1:8

What did you think of the connection of righteousness and justice forming the foundation of peace?

  • Think Peter Tosh

Discuss Jesus being the full package, our righteousness, justice, and peace.

  • First, Righteousness is a word best understood as an orientation of the heart that seeks truth, compassion, gentleness, goodness, and overall wholeness in all relationships. “Righteousness,” biblically defined, could be rephrased as, “right-relationship.”
  • Second, Justice is then understood as a working out of these inner qualities within human communities. Therefore, justice comes from individuals whose hearts beat with righteousness in all their relationships. On this basis, justice is not an external law to govern people’s interactions, but an internal reality working out towards others.
  • Thirdly, Peace, then, is simply the result of communities living in righteousness and justice among one another.




Welcoming God’s Welcome

Romans 15:4-13


Today’s advent theme is peace.  So, as we look at our passage today, we will be encouraged to remember God’s past work in Christ that establishes peace between God and humans, and by extension, between all people one with another.  As believers:

  • We celebrate the peace already introduced by the Father in Jesus as recorded for us in the Gospels.
  • We look forward in hope, anticipating Jesus’ return and the fulfillment of the New Creation he brings where peace will fill the earth and be the way of life between all peoples.
  • We participate in his peace in the present, as much as we possibly can, as a witness of the reality of peace found only in Christ.

This makes perfect sense, of course.  If we are celebrating the peace Jesus brought in his first coming, while at the same time anticipating in hope the ultimate peace that will come with his second coming, why would we not aim to live out that peace in our present lives today?   What’s the point of celebrating something in the past and hoping for the same thing in the future if we don’t really want it in the present?

However, living in peace in the present is not a simple task.  In fact, without Christ, it is impossible.  That’s why we need the to be reminded every Advent season, and every Sunday throughout all seasons, where the source of all peace is foundin Jesus.

We are not invited to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and try harder to live in peace with others.  We do not gather to be given a message on the importance of living peacefully in a world that is in so much conflict, as true as that is.  And we certainly do not gather to hear a how-to message on living in peace with others.  If peace can be established by such means, we would have had peace a long time ago.

We gather to receive once again the peace of God given to us in Jesus Christ.  It is only in receiving the peace he has for us, that we can live out that peace in our relationships one with another, first in the church, and then in the world, as much as possible.   As we do so, we do not expect to establish world peace by our efforts.  Rather, we do so as a witness to the world that Jesus is indeed the only source of peace.

This is why it is so important that the church live in unity one with another.  We are a witness of the unity in the triune GodWe are a witness that invites others to participate alongside us in the life of peace made available in Jesus Christ.  In this way, we become peacemakers in the world, not by our strength, but in the power of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, who is Peace.

That’s a long introduction to our passage today, but to be fair, the Apostle Paul has set up this passage with a long introduction himself.  In fact, Paul is going to make the admonition to believers in Rome, and by extension to us today, to “welcome one another,” which is another way of saying “to live in peace with each other,” or to live in unity.  He spent the first 14 chapters in Romans building up to this point.

The church in Rome was made up of Jews and Gentiles.  The vast differences between the two had created a great deal of tension, which Paul addresses.  He spends 14 chapters reminding the church, and us today, of God’s identity, which is revealed in Jesus.  He reminds us that the commands of Scripture are always grounded in the indicative (revealing) of God’s character.

Or to put it another way, God’s commands are grounded in God’s revelation of who he is.  God doesn’t tell us to do something outside of who he is for us.  If he commands us to live in peace, it is because the triune God is a God of peace.  And Jesus has brought to us, in himself, the very peace that exists between Father, Son, and Spirit.  We cannot achieve peace by our own efforts. Rather, true peace is received as a gift of grace.

It seems the divisions in the Roman church were so intense that Paul knew he would need to spend extra time in reminding them where the source of peace was … or more accurately, who the source of peace was.  Surely, we are in the same situation today.  The world around us is fracturing over so many issues, and the church has succumbed in large part to this influence.  If the church is going to fulfill her calling as a witness in the world, it must return to her Lord, who is the only source of peace for the life and witness of the church.

In Jesus, churches, and the believers who belong to them, can resist the temptation of division by being reminded of the peace and unity established in the past work of Christ, as well as being reminded of the soon coming kingdom of peace Jesus will establish at his second coming.  Both these past and future realities established in Christ can open our hearts once again to receive the peace Jesus holds out to us to receive by grace in the present.

Let’s begin our passage to hear this reminder once again in hopes of having our hearts turned to him who is ever with us as our peace on earth and good will toward all men.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 NRSVUE)

Paul begins by referring to what “was written in former days.”  As we do during Advent, Paul begins by looking in the past.  Specifically, he looks back to see what God has already told us in the Scriptures.  We can trust what the Scriptures tell us because God is trustworthy.  The Scriptures are his gift to us for our “instruction” and “encouragement.”

So, before Paul delivers his admonition to the church, he wants to remind them, and us today, that all Scripture “was written for our instruction.”  A primary thing Scripture does is teach us.  From here, we may ask the question, “teach us what?”  Ultimately all of Scripture is given to us so we may learn who God is as revealed in Jesus Christ.

We can take comfort that God had us in mind when he inspired the prophets and poets to pen the words of Scripture.  Through seeing who God is in Jesus Christ, we are given steadfastness and encouragement for our present time.  But this does not mean the Scriptures just contain a lot of information and facts about God.  The “knowing” we are given through the Scriptures is a real and personal knowing, because God meets us personally within the pages of the Bible.

The Holy Spirit is actively teaching us all things about himself as we read the Scriptures seeking to know the Lord more.  It’s a book where the author sits down with you as you read it.  So, the Bible is not a gift God gives from afar because he does not have time to show up in person, he gives it to us personally and stays in the room as we unwrap it and read through it.

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6 NRSVUE)

Notice that harmony is something God grants or gifts us.  This will set up his command to “welcome one another” in the next verse.  He is not presenting peace as an ideal to work towards but rather a reality to receive.   As we live out this reality in our relationships with others, we “glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Glorifying God is a way of reflecting who God is.  God as Father, Son, Spirit, lives in perfect unity.  This life of unity is a gift given to us in Jesus.  As we receive this gift and live it out, we “glorify” or magnify to the world a bigger picture of who God is.

The church lives out her witness to the world through her union in Christ, receiving the peace the Lord gives her.  This peace lived out in the church then does not become a sign that points to the church, but rather a sign that points others to JesusThe church is simply participating in the peace he gives.  It is not setting out to establish on her own a new program, ideology, principle, method, or set of rules for peace that the world must follow.  No, it is serving as a witness to the Lord of Peace who they follow, calling others to do the same.  We do not assume that peace will come in any other way.  It is a work of grace, and God gets all the glory.

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7 NRSVUE)

To welcome others to this degree, we must first welcome Christ’s welcome.  Again, we are not left with a welcome grounded on common practices, ideology, or behavior, but on the reality that in Jesus all are welcomed as children of God.  As we put our differences aside, we can “praise the Lord,” which in turn reminds us again of his welcome and acceptance of us.  As we see more fully the Father’s welcome of us in Jesus, we are able to more fully participate in this reality by welcoming one another.

I’m sure we can all recount an experience of being in a place that we knew we were not welcome.  That is not a pleasant experience on any level.  When you aren’t welcome, the last thing you are able or want to do is welcome another to that place.  Rather, you want to get out and go somewhere you feel welcomed.  The same could be said of knowing and experiencing our welcome in Christ.  Because we know that in Christ there is no condemnation toward us (Romans 8:1), we can be welcoming to one another.  We are set free from all our insecurities and fears, enabling us to not be consumed with ourselves, but rather turn our focus towards others for their good.  We welcome others into the welcome of Christ, where they too can lay down all that keeps them from living in the freedom and peace the Lord gives.

For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the ancestors and that the gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.  As it is written, “Therefore I will confess you among the gentiles and sing praises to your name”; and again he says, “Rejoice, O gentiles, with his people”; and again, “Praise the Lord, all you gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”; and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the gentiles; in him the gentiles shall hope.” (Romans 15:8-12 NRSVUE)

God had always intended and purposed that the Gentiles would be welcomed as God’s chosen people along with the Jews.  Notice how Paul repeatedly cites scripture to make his point.  He cites four scriptures to remind and reiterate the truth of God’s heart towards usGod does not intend to leave us in a fragmented and divided world.  He does not intend to leave us fragmented and torn apart within ourselves or with others.  He has intended from the beginning to bring us into his life of wholeness and peace.  That’s what he has done in Jesus Christ, and that is the hope we have for the future.  In this sure hope we can be encouraged to turn to the Lord, despite all our failings towards peace, and receive once again the peace he offers us by grace.

Paul then concludes with a benediction that we can receive for ourselves today.  This is a blessing Jesus is holding out to you now, in our time of troubling divisions all around.  Open your hands to him and receive the peace that only he can give.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NRSVUE)

May we see Paul’s message to the church in Rome as written for us today, pointing us to the unity and acceptance held out to us in Jesus Christ.  As we trust in him, may we experience the peace that the second week of Advent points to – a peace grounded in the reality of reconciliation of all things forged in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.



Small Group Discussion Questions

From the Sermon

Discuss how Advent has a three-fold focus of past, present, and future.

  • Past …
  • Present … Encourage one another by reminding each other of the peace Jesus has brought to us in his first coming.
  • Future …

How might the first recipients of the gospel have understood the peace Jesus brought, with God, with one another, and with the world at large?

  • See Romans 5:1 … and preceding verses

Share the peace you experienced the first time you heard the gospel.

  • ???
  • My QUESTION:  Did you understand the Gospel the first time you heard it?

Imagine together what peace on earth could look like in the kingdom of God.  And remember, however good an imagination you have, you will still not be able to come close to the actual peace God has for us.  So, imagine with all your might.    What might living in his peace be like?   

  • Think fight for scarce benefits and spoils

Now, with the reminder of the peace Jesus has brought, and in hope of the soon coming future we just imagined, what ways can we be a witness to a fragmented world that Jesus is the source of all true and lasting peace?    

Discuss the difference between receiving peace as a gift of grace from God and achieving peace by our own efforts.  

  • Absence of doubt ???

How does knowing you are welcome in Christ enable you to welcome others?

  • Deja vu …
  • But for the grace of God …



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Developing a DISCIPLESHIP 101 course . . . for ATTENDERS (Associates)  



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.

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,

How would we state the Gospel?

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)?






BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS – A Gospel Presentation


Do you believe the Gospel?   

What do you mean by Gospel? 

What does “Gospel” mean?

Why do you believe the Gospel refers to good news? 

Why was there a need for “good news”?  

Here’s the “bad” news.    

  • You are a sinner.    Romans 3:10-11Romans 3:23     
  • Because of your sin, you are under a death penalty.      Romans 6:23    
  • There is nothing you can do (or could have done) to save yourself.    Isaiah 64:6    Galatians 2:16   James 2:10   

Here’s the “good” news?  

  • You can be saved.  You don’t have to die forever.   Acts 16:31   Romans 8:1    Hebrews 7:25  
  • God has made provision for your sin.    Isa 53:6      2 Cor 5:21     1 Pet 3:18     John 3:16  
        • OPTIONAL (for those who believe it)
        • In a sense, you have already been saved.    Acts 16:31   Romans 8:1    Hebrews 7:25  
        • 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,

What can you do?     

  • Well, you CAN do NOTHING … to be saved
  • … BUT … you CAN do SOMETHING … to RECEIVE salvation 
  • … and that is to JUST BELIEVE that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins (by dying in your stead) and, because of that, you don’t need to pay the penalty (by dying for your sins).   
  • Romans 10:9,10      John 3:3 
  • Also … you don’t ever have to worry about losing your salvation … because you will never lose your salvation 
  • John 10:28     John 14:6     Acts 3:19     Acts 4:12    Acts 16:31     Philippians 1:6      Jude 1:24  


So … What are the essential concepts that a person MUST believe in order to be considered as a believer? 

  • Sin … death … salvation … God … Jesus Christ … faith … the word of God as contained in the Bible.





  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)


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