Today’s message summary of May 7, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:
What you say in public can sometimes bring about trouble. Our society often tries to relegate what is being said (even from the church pulpit) because of how people may respond.
For Herod had arrested John, chained him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, since John had been telling him, “It’s not lawful for you to have her!”
John was speaking publicly about Herod and Herodias’ relationship.
It is not unheard of that people today have filed suit for emotional damages over what someone has had to say. It is today’s societal norm.
Karl Marx once noted that “religion negates all that is dignified in a human being by rendering them like a slave, and more amenable to accept the status quo.
Have we come to a place in today’s society that we accept what is deemed to be the status quo? Society and government says that we are to accept the status quo.
Jesus informs us that we need to count the cost when we go into ministry. John the Baptist did not accept the status quo. He pointed out that Herod and Herodias’ relationship was unlawful before God.
The rule today is that what is popular in society should be acceptable to everyone.
Have we reached a point where there is no room for the teaching of Jesus Christ? It is hardly a popular view in today’s society.
Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill Me because My word is not welcome among you.
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been suffering violence, and the violent have been seizing it by force.
Before Martin Luther, the church was very involved with government. They were considered one and the same. The pope had to recognize the king in a kingdom. In many of today’s Arab countries, the government and the religious group are essentially the same entity.
Modern proponents of the separation of church and state, on the religious side, will fall back on Luther’s doctrine of two kingdoms. This marked the beginning of the modern concept of the separation of church and state.
Anabaptists took this a step further. They were in agreement with Luther that there were two kingdoms. They agreed that the two should be separate. They held that no baptized member of the church should vote, serve in the military, nor hold a public office. Why? They were part of God’s kingdom, and the government was the other kingdom.
Ultimately, we don’t need this separation from society. There is a huge need for believers to be actively involved in the political field.
In the life of the believer, there are two authorities:
First, there is one representing claims made by government. You can challenge views and prevail or not, or bring about change.
Secondly, God is the one who represents the church. While the church has authority, God has the highest authority (God’s Word).
Acts 4:19-20, 5:29, 16:4-5
Peter and John answered them, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God; you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people.
As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for the people to observe. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval.
Churches have found themselves in court. Property, persons hired for employment, church discipline and employees who follow Jesus Christ have been affected in their own workplace.
The kingdom of God is being advanced by force because of the opposition that it faces. Scripture reminds us of the “good fight” and of the need for “the armor of God.”
Now when John heard in prison what the Christ was doing, he sent a message through his disciples and asked him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see. The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news, and blessed is the one who isn’t offended by me.”
You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
The verse in Matthew 11:12 about the forceful advance of the kingdom (suffering of violence) notes the ongoing struggle of those who are following Jesus Christ:
- You, yourself, are grabbing hold of the truth, or to the kingdom
- You are pulling at it
- You do so vigorously and energetically–pushing towards the kingdom
Anything that you desire will often require some effort. You will really have to work at it. When John the Baptist preached, this is when the real fight ensued between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of the world.
“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urgently invited to enter it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter in the law to drop out.”
Are you really running after God and His kingdom? While today’s society will tell you it is not worth your time, press ahead and go after Him. When you serve Him, He will give you the energy that you need in order to be successful.