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EQUIP: Week 2- Proclaiming the Gospel that Saves

“The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) 

Week 2: 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:


“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.

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 ‘testimony.’ By the end of this week you’ll have stories and experiences of God that, when shared appropriately, may benefit someone else. Begin by:

Briefly review your “Personal Lifeline” from day five of last week.
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…

Well done! We will continue to build upon these questions and your testimony in the days ahead.