week 2 proclaiming the gospel that saves

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2021 Rev. Mike Morgan
Week 2 – Proclaiming the Gospel that Saves
“The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
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2021 Rev. Mike Morgan
Day 1 – What Does It Mean To Be Saved? Today is day one of the second week of our eight-week equipping experience, and this week we are exploring
the first of six priorities for what it means for us to be the Church, the Church at work (Ephesians 4:11-16). All
six of these priorities are essential, inseparable, and equally important.
In the week that follows, we will be specifically looking at our God-given assignment to share the Good News of
Christ’s saving work. At Bel Air Church, we believe that Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, sends us - you and me,
the Church - into the world to share the good news of God’s redemption of all things and people.i
“The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
It is important for us to consider who or what has influenced our understanding of what it means to be “saved.”
For some, we learn about salvation from our parents or our local church. Others of us were influenced by past
leaders like William J. Seymour, Billy Graham, Howard Jones, Henrietta Mears, Bill Bright, and Lloyd Ogilvie. We
owe our faith to women and men who have gone before us, who have shared their lives with us, and who have
tried to faithfully articulate the good news of Jesus Christ.
It’s also because of many of these voices, when we hear the word “save,” we automatically infuse it with
meaning. When you hear the word “save,” what do you think of?
Let’s hold on to this question as we practice our daily rhythm.
As we continue with our new rhythm, let’s pray (P.R.A.Y.) ‘P’: PAUSING to be still. ‘R’: REFLECTING on Scripture
or commentary. ‘A’: ASKING God to help us and others on the journey and ‘Y’: YIELDING to God’s transformative
work in our lives, no matter the cost.ii
P.R.A.Y.
Pause
As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to recenter my scattered senses upon the presence of
God.
Jesus the Messiah, my Lord and Savior, as I dive into your Word I ask you would soften my heart, open my mind,
and shape my understanding of your saving work today.
Read & Reflect
Jesus said the very thing he came to do was to “save.” For many, the word “save” is already packed full of
understanding and meaning that it might be hard to reimagine "saving" could mean more than we already might
think. Yet, because it was so important to Jesus, it is important that we, as followers of Jesus, explore the
fullness of what Jesus meant when he used the word “save.”
Let’s explore Scripture to see if there is more to Christ’s saving work than we might already understand:
2021 Rev. Mike Morgan
“On another Sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there
whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether
he would cure on the Sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even
though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand,
“Come and stand here.” He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it
lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” After looking
around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was
restored.” (Luke 6:6-10)
We often use the English word “save” as a translation for the Greek word “sozo” (pronounced sodzo). This is the
word Jesus used when he said, “The son of man came to seek and to save (sozo)…” (Luke 19:10). It’s this very
word the Apostle Luke uses in his account of the man with the withered right hand.
Let’s take a second look at Luke 6:9-10. “Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do
harm on the Sabbath, to save (sozo) life or to destroy it?” After looking around at all of them, he said to him,
“Stretch out your hand.” He did so and his hand was restored.”
Journal and/or self-reflect:
Based upon the context, how would I explain “save” in the above passage?
How does this inform my current understanding of what it means to be “saved”?
Ask
There once was a woman who was suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years and, after having come in
contact with Jesus, he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace” (Luke 8:48). Having
read this passage, we might be thinking to ourselves, “What does this have anything to do with Christ’s saving
work? The word “save” isn’t even in this passage.” Or is it?
The problem is, when we read Scripture in English, we often don’t see it. Here, sozo is translated into English as
“made well.” All throughout the Gospels and the Book of Acts there are a variety of different ways to translate
what it means to be "saved" - to protect, preserve, heal, comfort, deliver, restore, forgive, make whole…
The truth about salvation is that YES, Jesus is concerned for our spiritual well-being, AND our physical,
emotional, relational well-being as well. With these new eyes, reconsider what Jesus meant in Luke 19:10 when
he said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save (sozo) that which was lost.”
It would be appropriate to say “The Son of Man came to seek and to…Restore the withered (Luke 6:10); Forgive
the sinner (Luke 7:50); Deliver the captive (Luke 8:36); Make Well the sick (Luke 8:48)…” Are we beginning to
see it? Is our understanding of Jesus’ “saving” work being expanded in any way?
Pause and Pray
Jesus, reveal to me all the ways you seek and save that which is lost. Expand my understanding of what you
came to do so that I may join you in your work. Reimagine in me all the ways in which you have “saved” me.
Reinforce my confidence in the abundant life you revealed to me today.
2021 Rev. Mike Morgan
This understanding of Jesus’ saving work shouldn’t come as any surprise to us. It is what Jesus said he came to
do from the very beginning:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
Journal and/or self-reflect:
Watch Gospel of the Kingdom by The Bible Project (5:47)
What does it mean to “bring good news” or “proclaim…the Lord’s favor”?
Why do I think Jesus’ saving work was so multidimensional?
In what ways was/am I in need of “saving” that goes beyond the spiritual?
Yield
The truth is, we all need “saving” in all its numerous multifaceted ways. This isn’t a “one and done” thing. We
can continue to cry out “Jesus Save!” (Matthew 14:30) on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis. Jesus came to
save. This is what Jesus longs to do in us!
Yielding Prayer
Jesus, I open myself up to you again – my heart, my mind, my soul and my strength. All that I am, and all that I
have I reveal it all to you, and ask that you save me. Restore, release, heal, forgive and in all manner of ways,
save me so that I might experience the abundant life that can only come from following you every day, and
everywhere, with everyone.
Father, help me to live this day to the full, being transparent before you, in every way. Jesus, help me to give
myself away to others, proclaiming your saving work to everyone I meet. Spirit, help me to live by your power,
witnessing as one who follows Jesus through all I do and say. Amen.
Scripture Memorization
Over this next week, we will memorize Romans 10:14 (NLT) together. This passage will help frame the ongoing
conversation throughout the week. To begin our practice, let’s write or text the following verse verbatim in a
journal, notecard, on a post-it note, or make a note in your smart device:
“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they
have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”
Spiritual Practice Over the following week, we will continue developing certain spiritual practices or habits that are essential to a
life of following Jesus. Over the next five days we will specifically develop a habit of ‘witness.’ By the end of this
2021 Rev. Mike Morgan
week you will recall stories and experiences of God in your life that, when shared appropriately, may benefit
someone else. Begin by:
1. Briefly review your “Personal Lifeline” from day five of last week.
2. Write out your answers to the following questions as spontaneously and bluntly as you can (don’t filter)
I have come to experience God as…
I seldom, if ever, experience God as…
I feel more “in touch” with God when…
One moment in my life when I was most aware of God’s power working in me beyond my limits
was…
We will continue to build upon these questions and your testimony in the days ahead.
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2021 Rev. Mike Morgan
Day 2 – What does it mean to be a Witness?
“This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.” – Acts 2:32
In the Bible, a witness is basically someone who sees something amazing or important. If this person begins to
share what they’ve seen, we call this “bearing witness.” Basically, a witness is someone who sees something
and talks about it. But here’s what’s really fascinating. The word and theme of witness can actually become a
lens for understanding the entire storyline of Scripture, especially the role of God’s people. iii
Let’s hold on to this thought as we practice our daily rhythm.
Pause
As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to recenter my scattered senses upon the presence of
God.
Jesus, my Lord and Savior, as I engage with your Word I ask that you would reveal to me your heart, inform my
mind, and reform my life by your love.
Read & Reflect
From the very first books of the Bible, we learn that God wants a group of witnesses––people who see and
experience God––who then bear witness and represent God to the world. And God typically appoints a chief
witness among the people to help them do this.
We see this pattern begin to take shape in the book of Exodus. When God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, God
appointed this one nation to bear witness about what they have seen and experienced, calling them a “kingdom
of priests” (Exodus 19:4-6). In other words, they are to mediate and connect the nations to Yahweh.
“You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may
know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall
there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and
saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my
witnesses, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 43:10-12)
Moving forward, the Torah and Moses became chief witnesses to the people, so that the people could be
witnesses to the nations. Unfortunately, the Israelites fell short and were prone to worship other gods. So God
rose up prophets and prophetesses as chief witnesses to Israel. These women and men saw and experienced
God as King and bore witness to Israel of what it means to once again follow after God (Isaiah 6, 2 Kings 17:13).
In the New Testament, we see this idea of a chief witness being carried forward. When Jesus comes on the
scene, we find him claiming to be the chief servant and witness spoken of by Isaiah.
2021 Rev. Mike Morgan
and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah [61] was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it
was written:
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the
synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been
fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:17-21)
Here, we see Jesus as the ultimate witness, declaring who he is and that God’s Kingdom is here, right now,
through him. Crowds of people were witnesses to his words and his works. Many responded to his message, but
others refused to truly believe his testimony. We know Jesus was put to death for faithfully declaring the truth
about who he is, but it is through Jesus’ death and resurrection that his followers, you and me, become
witnesses to the rest of the nations, just as God had intended (Luke 24:44-48).
Ask
Pause and Pray
Holy Spirit, speak into my life that I might make you King of my life once again. Bring to light the false gods that I
am prone to follow. Reinstate me as a witness of your love and power as I seek to follow Jesus again today.
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that
everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be
fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them,
“Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,
and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations,
beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:44-48)
Jesus’ disciples carried his baton and bore witness to what they had seen and experienced: Jesus’ life, ministry,
death, resurrection, and promise of newness of life.
Journal and/or Self-reflection:
Watch Witness by The Bible Project (4:27)
Consider looking back at Week One – The Spiritual Practice of Remembering
What have I seen or experienced in my relationship with Jesus?
2021 Rev. Mike Morgan
How have I given witness to the newness of life in me?
Yield
The message of Jesus as King and rescuer of all humanity is shared all around the world, even to this day. So
when we experience the power and love of the risen Jesus and talk about what we’ve seen, we join this long
history of God’s people who bear witness.
Yielding Prayer
Jesus, my Savior and my King, I am reminded of your love and power in my life once again. I remember all the
ways you have brought new life to my heart, my mind, my soul and my body. I yield myself to your charge to be
your witness. Lead me in your love and power as I recommit to following you as chief witness every day, and
everywhere, with everyone.
Father, help me to live this day to the full, sharing my experience of being loved by you. Jesus, help me to give
myself away to others, modeling your way of witness with everyone I meet. Spirit, help me to live by your power,
filled with courage to reveal Jesus in all I do and say. Amen.
Scripture Memorization
As we memorize Romans 10:14 (NLT) this week, once again let’s write or text the following verse verbatim in a
journal, notecard, on a post-it note, or make a note in your smart device. However, this time say it out loud as
well:
“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they
have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”
Spiritual Practice As we seek to develop a habit of ‘witness,’ we need to recall stories and experiences of God that, when shared
appropriately, may benefit someone else. Let’s continue developing our testimony by writing answers to the
following questions as spontaneously and bluntly as we can (don’t filter)
For me, Jesus is…
The most significant difference that Jesus has made in my life is…
I have experienced the Holy Spirit active in my life when…
What I want most to share with someone about my experience of God is…
Well done! Your testimony is beginning to take shape. We will continue to build upon these questions and
your testimony in the days ahead.
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2021 Rev. Mike Morgan
Day 3 – Why Witness?
“It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”
– St. Francis of Assisiiv
For many, few practices contribute more significantly to the ongoing aliveness and growth of one’s faith as
sharing one’s personal experience with Jesus. Learning how to share our faith will stretch our thinking,
challenge our lifestyle and deepen our dependence upon the Holy Spirit. This ‘sharing’ is not an extra option
one adds to being a disciple, or an activity for only those who are ‘gifted’ as an evangelist – it is intended to be a
natural and normal part of following Jesus every day, and everywhere, with everyone.
But why? Why do it? Why witness?
Let’s hold on to this question as we practice our daily rhythm.
Pause
As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to recenter my scattered senses upon the presence of
God.
Holy Spirit, my Source of power and my Companion, as I dive into your Word I ask you would mold my heart,
sharpen my hearing, and fill me with courage to follow you today.
Read & Reflect
Why witness? Jesus did. It’s that simple. We witness because we are following Jesus and Jesus witnessed.
From the very beginning of his earthly ministry, Jesus makes known the incomparable good news that, as those
who are deeply loved by God, we can choose to live with direct access to our infinitely loving Abba Father.v
The realities of God’s love and power enter into our lives as we follow Jesus who is the gateway to abundant life.
This is the message Jesus constantly communicated. Consider the following statement by Jesus,
“I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved…I came that they may have life, and
have it abundantly.” (John 10:9-10)
The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) make it very clear that the witness by Jesus to this good news goes
far beyond verbal announcement. As we read the story of Jesus’ life, we learn that wherever he goes, and
whatever he does, he makes known God’s…