Monday Reverb – 10July2023



  1. This is a Bible study in which we seek to hear what our Home Office is saying and also what the Holy Spirit is saying (even as He speaks to us through our home office AND through persons on this platform.
  2. This Bible study is in two parts … In part 1, we try to hear from our Home Office … In part 2, we try to hear from the Holy Spirit.
  3. The Bible study is scheduled to go for two hours, but … because we are seeking to hear from the Holy Spirit and to get a good understanding (as opposed to just good knowledge), we should not bind ourselves to a set time period … We may go longer, but we may go shorter, as well.  The good news is that you should feel free to leave whenever you want.  (We may not notice … We will understand.)
  4. Chances are we may/will not agree with everyone … but we must respect everyone (especially in part 2).
  5. The theme for this week is praising God for his goodness.   
  6. The selected passages are Psalm 45:10-17, Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67, Romans 7:15-25a and Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30.
      • In Psalm 45, the psalmist sings of how Jesus (the Messiah-King) will be praised by the nations forever and ever.  
      • In Genesis, Abraham’s servant praises God for answering his prayer for the success of finding a bride (Rebekah) for Jacob.  
      • In Romans, Paul praises God for saving him from his wretched, sinful state.  
      • And in Matthew, Jesus praises the Father because he has revealed the kingdom to those who had been marginalized.   







Romans 7:15-25a

15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But in fact it is no longer I who do it but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that the good does not dwell within me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do the good lies close at hand, but not the ability. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it but sin that dwells within me.

21 So I find it to be a law that, when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched person that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God[a] through Jesus Christ our Lord!  


The Speaking of Life video, chosen to complement tonight’s theme, speaks to a part of the passage in our first reading …

    • Title:  Our Great Resolution
    • Presenter:  Cara Garrity
    • Text:  Romans 7:21-25a




Small Group Discussion Questions

From Speaking of Life

  • What spiritual resolution have you made at some point?
  • And how did that turn out?
  • What are some of the things that Christ has accomplished on our behalf?
  • How do we trust Christ as sufficient when we still sin?
  • What is our relationship to the law now?



Changing Our Minds About God


Matthew 11:25-30 (NRSVUE)  

25 At that time Jesus said, “I thank[a] you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[b] 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


Earlier in this chapter, John the Baptist, who was in jail at that time, sent his disciples to Jesus to inquire as to whether he truly was the Messiah.  John was hearing reports about what Christ was doing and it made him want verification.  I can’t help but wonder if it was the fact that Jesus hung out with sinners and tax collectors that was messing with John’s messianic paradigm.

Jesus sent John’s disciples back, telling them to share what they saw and what they heard: “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with a skin disease are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them” (Matthew 11:5).  This was more effective than sending them with a list of credentials meant to impress John.  Then Jesus addressed the crowd and asked them what they were expecting out of John.  Someone refined and charming?  They obviously did not receive that.

A little further into the story, and you see Jesus making a comparison of his generation with children who want you to play along with their childish games and get upset when you don’t.

In these occurrences, Jesus is pointing out that we cannot put God in our self-constructed boxes.   Instead, we must change our minds about him according to the revelation that he gives us.  This is part of what we call repentance.

Let’s ask ourselves three questions today.

  1. First, where do we get it wrong about God?
  2. Second, what is God really like?
  3. And third, How should we respond to this?

Where do we get it wrong?  

Matthew 11:25-26 NRSVAt that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

Jesus specifically singles out the people who were most admired in his day, i.e. those with wisdom and learning.  In our modern world we are enamored with those who have been successful in making money, those who can dunk a basketball or who can turn everyone’s head as they walk the red carpet.

We give our praise to those that we most admire; our attention to those that we want to be like.  Our love for the winners can captivate our hearts and color our perception of how we think the world should work.  The danger is when we bring this into our view of God and his ways.  When our view of God is formed by societal norms, we have constructed a God who blesses the strong and marginalizes the weak.  But God has orchestrated something very different than how the world operates.

Later in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus calls a young child over to him.  He proceeds to make an object lesson out of his encounter with the child.

Matthew 18:3,4  Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

The child came to Jesus with trust and humility.  A child’s life is not supposed to be complicated.  They know that they don’t know, and they trust the adults in their life for their answers, whether it’s a teacher, parent, or other authority figures.

As adults, we want to be seen as having our act together and being self-sufficient and competent.  We look for ulterior motives in others and we don’t trust easily.  When we do trust people, its often those with the most degrees, those with extravagant wealth or those with the loudest voice.

This is not saying that we should abandon seeking for wisdom or remain uninformed or ignorant about matters pertaining to this world.  But rather, we need to discern where we are placing our trust.  Are we taking our cues from the world or what the Spirit is revealing to us?

Again, does Jesus have something against those who are greatly admired by the world.  No.  But He praises the Father for making the kingdom of God easily accessible to the ones who were the most likely to be excluded in the eyes of the world: those without status.

The so-called “children of the world” lacked the education, the resources, and the advantages that the wise and learned had.  Yet, in the kingdom of God, the playing field has been leveled.  In fact, those with all the advantages find it hard to accept the way of the kingdom because it isn’t about who is the biggest and brightest star.  It involves a humility that they find hard to accept.


What is God really like?

Matthew 11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Jesus says something shocking here.  He establishes his authority by putting himself on the same level as the Father.  Scandalous!  He was accused of blasphemy.  He makes it clear that until now, they really have not understood who God is.  Jesus is bringing that revelation to them.

What Jesus is saying is that they thought they knew who God was but had it wrong.  They think they have found the answers but have been far from it.  Because the answers were always pointing to Jesus.  But like a dog who fixates on his master’s finger, so were the Jews missing out on what the law and the prophets were pointing to.

The wise and the learned assumed that because of their wisdom and intellect they held a special insight into God over others.  Through their ideologies and philosophies were found the answers to God’s character and nature.  But the way of true knowledge is solely found in the Son, the one standing in front of them.

God has only ever looked like Jesus.   There was never a time in which the Father looked any different from Jesus.  They are in complete unity in the Trinity.  If you have seen Jesus, you have seen who the Father is.  Whatever was being purported as being from God is the same as being from Jesus.


How should we respond?

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

It’s here that Jesus issues an invitation.  He calls out to all those who are worn out from trying to lift demanding religious burdens.  From trying to win at a game that is rigged against themselves.  He promises rest to all who respond to this generous offer.

In his book, A More Christlike Way, Bradley Jersak points out that the “rest” Christ gives is not merely a diversion or reprieve from our weariness; it is a medicine for it.1  The rest from God heals our hearts and our griefs.  It purifies our anger and renews our hearts with God’s divine grace.

We are instructed to take the “yoke” of Jesus.  Jesus could be giving a double meaning.  We know about the yoke for oxen that is used for plowing, which could indicate he wants us to participate in the work he is doing, but there is another use for that word.

Disciples of a rabbi were said to take on the yoke of their rabbi.  This would make sense since Jesus said, take my yoke upon you and learn from me…  He continues by saying that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.  A lot of rabbis were strict, and their yoke came with different sets of rules that were difficult for their disciples to carry out.  But not so with Jesus.

Jesus tells us that we can trust him because he is gentle and humble in heart.  Again, the affirmation of his character and the promise of rest is included with his yoke.  The humility of Christ reveals his character and nature.  When we receive this yoke, it will provide rest for our souls.  The trials of this world will still come, but we can be assured that whatever is burdening us is not coming from him.    

We are to open our eyes to see what is happening around us.  Do we see the kingdom of God or are we fixated on all the power, possessions, and privileges, thinking that this is the path to real life?

When our eyes are opened, we see God for who he is, and we understand that there is no other God behind the back of Jesus.  Our understanding of God is shaped by Christ aloneGod’s character is one that is gentle and humble.

When we know Christ and live as his disciples, we carry a light and easy yoke.  We learn from Christ and move about with the rest and fulfillment in life that only comes from following Him.


Small Group Discussion Questions

From the Sermon

  • What are some of the attractive societal values that run counter to the kingdom of God?
  • In what ways should our faith resemble that of little children?
  • Why would the kingdom of God be unattractive to those who seem to have everything?
  • Why are we tempted sometimes to see Jesus and the Father differently than each other?
  • How is your level of rest in Christ?
  • How could the yoke of Jesus be experienced as light and easy?



  1. The rest that Jesus Christ gives
  2. Three Unions that the Son of God (Jesus Christ) is involved in


The REST that Christ gives

Matthew 11:28-12:1   Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 12:1   At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.


Hebrews 4:1-11   Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it.  For indeed the good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them because they were not united by faith with those who listened.[a]  For we who have believed are entering that rest, just as God[b] has said,

“As in my anger I swore, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’ ”

though his works were finished since the foundation of the world.  For somewhere it speaks about the seventh day as follows, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.”  And again in this place it says, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he sets a certain day — “today” — saying through David much later, in the words already quoted,  

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, God[c] would not speak later about another day9 So then, a Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God, 10 for those who enter God’s[d] rest also rest from their labors as God did from his11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.    


Three Unions

Part and parcel of our understanding of the concept of GOD, THE SON 


From The GCI Statement of Beliefs:

The Son of God is the second Person of the triune God, eternally begotten of the Father. 

He is the Word and the express image of the Father

The Father created all things through the Son, and the Son sustains all things by his word. 

He was sent by the Father to be God revealed in the flesh for our salvation, Jesus Christ

Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, fully God and fully human, two natures in one Person

He is the Son of God and Lord of all, worthy of worship, honor and reverence. 

As the prophesied Savior of humanity, he suffered and died for all human sin, was raised bodily from the dead, and ascended to heaven. 

Taking on our broken and alienated humanity, he has included the entire human race in his right relationship with the Father, so that in his regeneration of our humanity we share in his sonship, being adopted as God’s own children in the power of the Spirit. 

As our representative and substitute, he stands in for all humanity before the Father, providing the perfect human response to God on our behalf and reconciling humanity to the Father. 

He will come again in glory as King of kings over all nations.  


Do we really believe what the early Christians believed? … Do we understand what they understood?

How do we explain/understand “triune God”, “express image of the Father” and “two natures in one Person”?

Do you understand what is meant when we say the Word was “distinct, but not separate from the Father”?


John 14:20 (ESV)

In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

This passage speaks to three relationships that are more than just relationships.  It speaks to three unions.

    1. “I am in my Father” …. ontological union 
    2. “you in me” …………….. hypostatic union 
    3. “I in you” ………………..  spiritual union  

How is Jesus Christ IN the Father?

That is one of the questions we want to address in this study … as we explore three unions that Jesus Christ is involved in as the Son of God.


Concerning our union with Jesus Christ 

Addressing the topic of the Son of God will often lead to questions concerning Jesus’ union with the Father (and the Spirit), and Jesus’ union with humanity.  Here are some notes concerning three types of union that will help you answer these questions:

1. The union of the three divine Persons (the ontological union)

The Nicene Creed addresses the union of the Son of God with the Father by saying that the Son is “of one Being with the Father.” That phrase, which in Greek is homoousios to Patri, is of great consequence in the Creed and thus in the historic, orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. Homoousios means “of one being” (or of one substance).  In saying that Jesus is of one being with the Father, the Creed is declaring that both the Father and the Son (Jesus) are God (and later creeds say the same for the Spirit).  In short, the three Persons of the Trinity share the one Being of God.  Theologians call this union of the Godhead the ontological union (a union pertaining to God’s Being).


2. The union of God and humanity in Jesus Christ (the hypostatic union) 

A fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith is the Incarnation.  Through the Incarnation, the eternal Son of God maintained his eternal divine nature while assuming to himself our human nature.  In doing so, the Son of God remained fully one with God (divine) while becoming fully human.  In this way, through the union of the two natures in the one Person of the eternal Son of God, God was joined to humanity in Jesus Christ.  This union is referred to by theologians as the hypostatic union.

Because of the hypostatic union and all it means, GCI declares that all are included (and the related phrase, you’re included). By these phrases we mean that in and through Jesus Christ, God has reconciled all humanity to himself. God is not estranged from humanity; he has included all people in his love and life. In and through the humanity of Jesus, God has set humankind on a new footing with himself. Jesus is the Head of all humanity and on that basis alone, we are to “be reconciled” to God, that is, we are to live out or live into that gift of reconciliation with God already given in Christ

(Eph. 1:10; Rom 5:14; 1 Cor 15:22; 1 Cor.15:45-47; 2 Cor. 5:18-20).

Does the hypostatic union mean that God and humanity have, in Christ, been fused into a common or shared being?  No. I n the Incarnation, God did not turn into a man, nor was humanity converted into God (or some sort of divine being).  In Jesus, the two natures (divine and human) remain distinct — they are not fused or confused with one another.  Nor did the unity of the two natures in Jesus result in a third kind of being that was neither God nor human.  Rather than an impersonal fusion of being, the hypostatic union is a dynamic and personal unity — the perfect harmonization of the two natures in the one Person of Jesus Christ.

What happened to human nature as the result of the hypostatic union?  Our human nature, under the conditions of the fall (i.e. our fallen human nature), was assumed and then turned around, renewed and regenerated in Jesus, step-by-step through the course of his entire human life — from conception, through life, death, resurrection and ascension.  Jesus’ whole life was thus salvific (of saving value), culminating in the cross and resurrection as he lived a life of faithful obedience in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in perfect holy and loving communion with the Father.  This could happen only in the Son of God who remained what he was (divine) while assuming to himself also what was ours — our human nature.  Thus, our whole salvation was complete and finished in Jesus Christ.

(Titus 3:5; Luke 2:52; Heb. 5:8; 2:11; John 17:19; 1 Cor. 1:30).


3. The union of God with believers (the spiritual union)

Because of the regeneration of human nature in Jesus, who is the new Head of humanity, the Holy Spirit is able to minister in a new and deeper way in the lives of all people so that they might share in the new human nature forged for them in Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit thus works out in us what Christ has accomplished for usBy the Holy Spirit, we can share in the Son’s relationship of sonship with the Father, and so by grace become God’s adopted children who live in communion with the Father through the Son (Eph. 2:15).

In the New Testament, our personally receiving and sharing in the Son’s communion with the Father is called union with Christ, or being in Christ, or being in the Lord.  Through that union (which in GCI we refer to as the spiritual union) believers, in and by the Holy Spirit, share in what was accomplished by Jesus in the hypostatic unionThe Holy Spirit thus acts and ministers on the basis of the hypostatic union to establish the spiritual union by which individuals personally respond and freely receive the freely-given gift of our salvation that, already, is complete in Christ.

To learn more about the distinctions between these three types of union, and the related topic of the differences between believers and unbelievers, see GCI’s essay Clarifying Our Theological Vision.





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