Tag Archives: action

God Builds People of Faith

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

There are times when we need to learn how to face our enemies and deal with them. Today, we will look at Rahab.

God is the One who desires to do the work in each of us and builds us up. He wants us to grow to a higher standard for the sake of His kingdom. It’s not about where you are, but where you are going.

Rahab is most often known as a prostitute and is not Jewish, but she also happens to be Jesus Christ’s great-grandmother.

Matthew 1:4-6

4 Aram fathered Amminadab,

Amminadab fathered Nahshon,

Nahshon fathered Salmon,

5 Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab,

Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth,

Obed fathered Jesse,

6 and Jesse fathered King David.

 

This higher standard also applies to Rahab, because she saw God differently. She stepped out in faith and supplied for her need as she exercised it. Interestingly, her name meant “boldly disrespectful or prideful.” Her name stood for one thing, but her faith made her distinctive from those around her.

 

Hebrews 11:1-2, 31

1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. 2 For our ancestors won God’s approval by it.

31 By faith Rahab the prostitute received the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed.

 

James 2:22-25

22 You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected. 23 So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness, and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by a different route?

 

She is an example of one’s faith in action.

Rahab recognized the God of the Israelites was no ordinary god. He is powerful. She saw that God could defeat the armies across the Jordan River.

Isaiah 44:24, 46:6-11

24 This is what the Lord, your Redeemer who formed you from the womb, says:

I am Yahweh, who made everything;

who stretched out the heavens by Myself;

who alone spread out the earth.

 

6 Those who pour out their bags of gold

and weigh out silver on scales—

they hire a goldsmith and he makes it into a god.

Then they kneel and bow down to it.

7 They lift it to their shoulder and bear it along;

they set it in its place, and there it stands;

it does not budge from its place.

They cry out to it but it doesn’t answer;

it saves no one from his trouble.

8 “Remember this and be brave;

take it to heart, you transgressors!

9 Remember what happened long ago,

for I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and no one is like Me.

10 I declare the end from the beginning,

and from long ago what is not yet done,

saying: My plan will take place,

and I will do all My will.

11 I call a bird of prey from the east,

a man for My purpose from a far country.

Yes, I have spoken; so I will also bring it about.

I have planned it; I will also do it.

 

She saw what God did and responded to Him.

Joshua 2:1-7

1 Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two men as spies from the Acacia Grove, saying, “Go and scout the land, especially Jericho.” So they left, and they came to the house of a woman, a prostitute named Rahab, and stayed there.

2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelite men have come here tonight to investigate the land.” 3 Then the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab and said, “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, for they came to investigate the entire land.”

4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. So she said, “Yes, the men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they were from. 5 At nightfall, when the gate was about to close, the men went out, and I don’t know where they were going. Chase after them quickly, and you can catch up with them!” 6 But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them among the stalks of flax that she had arranged on the roof. 7 The men pursued them along the road to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as they left to pursue them, the gate was shut.

 

Rahab was fearful of her life and the life of her family. She recognized that God was able to defeat the enemy and she was determined to keep the men who came under her roof as a secret. Yes, she lied about the presence of the men to those who were looking for them (and there is no justification for lying), but Rahab was in a predicament that only God could address with her. She did what was necessary to protect herself and her family.

Rahab tried to negotiate with the spies, even from a bad position.

Joshua 2:8-11

8 Before the men fell asleep, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings you completely destroyed across the Jordan. 11 When we heard this, we lost heart, and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.

 

Rahab was insightful in her discussion. She knew that God was mighty and capable of destruction. The other people did not change their way of thinking, but she did.

Joshua 2:12-14

12 Now please swear to me by the Lord that you will also show kindness to my family, because I showed kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all who belong to them, and save us from death.”

14 The men answered her, “We will give our lives for yours. If you don’t report our mission, we will show kindness and faithfulness to you when the Lord gives us the land.”

 

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord

is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and discipline.

 

Romans 10:17

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

 

It’s not what Rahab had seen of God but what she had heard about Him. From that, she believed in Him. She confessed that God was the One true God on heaven and earth.

Even when we ask God for help, God will challenge us to follow His instructions and be obedient to Him in your step of faith.

Joshua 2:15-19

15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, since she lived in a house that was built into the wall of the city. 16 “Go to the hill country so that the men pursuing you won’t find you,” she said to them. “Hide yourselves there for three days until they return; afterward, go on your way.”

17 The men said to her, “We will be free from this oath you made us swear, 18 unless, when we enter the land, you tie this scarlet cord to the window through which you let us down. Bring your father, mother, brothers, and all your father’s family into your house. 19 If anyone goes out the doors of your house, his blood will be on his own head, and we will be innocent. But if anyone with you in the house should be harmed, his blood will be on our heads.

 

1.) She had to follow the instructions of the men (from God), which means she needed to be obedient.

2.) She had to get her entire family under her roof in order for them to be spared.

3.) She had to keep the invasion a secret; otherwise the guarantee for safety would have been broken.

 

Joshua 2:15

Then she let them down by a rope through the window, since she lived in a house that was built into the wall of the city.

 

Note tha Rahab’s house was on the outer wall of Jericho. While the walls came down, her house was preserved. Rahab had to see that God kept His Word. She trusted God and saw that He could destroy everything around her but kept her and her family.

 

Joshua 6:24-25

24 They burned up the city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 However, Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, her father’s household, and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent to spy on Jericho, and she lives in Israel to this day.

 

Rahab started out as a prostitute, but look where she wound up because of her faith! It was credited to her for righteousness. It’s not where you start from, but it is all about where you finish in Jesus Christ. Amen.

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The Fruits of The Spirit – Self-Control

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

Self-control is the measure of keeping one to remain focused on following Jesus Christ. It is an area that is controlled by the Holy Spirit. A lack of self control comes from being controlled by the flesh. Fleshly control is an opening to demonic influence. The Holy Spirit is present to allow for self control but a person must yield to the Spirit in order to maintain self control.

In Galatians 5, it is noted that the law is present because of sin, but it is the fruits of The Spirit that are beyond the law because you are acting in self control under God’s presence.

Self-control helps to capture all of our emotions. It is the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites.

Paul witnesses to Felix:

Acts 24:24-25

24 After some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus. 25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I find time I’ll call for you.”

 

Felix is being addressed because he is in desperate need of exhibiting self-control. He has been through three marriages. He needed to hear from Paul about:

1. Faith in Christ

2. Righteousness

3. Self-control

4. Judgment to come

 

Paul is in control.

Matthew 10:19-20

19 But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, 20 because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.

 

You may feel you have a right to take action against a person for their mistreatment of you.

1 Samuel 24:4-6

4 so they said to him, “Look, this is the day the Lord told you about: ‘I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire.’” Then David got up and secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.

5 Afterward, David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “I swear before the Lord: I would never do such a thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed. I will never lift my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.”

 

1 Samuel 26:7-10

7 That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!” 

9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless?” 10 David added, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.

 

Self-control is a quality for anyone in leadership.

Titus 1:8

…but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled.

 

Titus 2:2

Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.

 

1 Timothy 3:2

An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher.

 

1 Corinthians 9:25

Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.

 

Having knowledge of God’s Word helps to build us up in self-control. Training under God’s Word requires it, and it will teach you how to rely more and more on the presence of God in your life to rely upon Him in maintaining self-control.

The value of self-control is perseverance (patience).

 

2 Peter 1:6

…knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness.

 

Self-control can bring you respect (honor). It teaches how to avoid strife.

Proverbs 20:3

It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute,

but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.

 

Self-control (calmness) brings rest. It provides the ability to work things out.

Ecclesiastes 10:4

If the ruler’s anger rises against you, don’t leave your place,

for calmness puts great offenses to rest.

 

Without self-control, you can only display the flesh at its worst and all of its foolishness.

Proverbs 14:29

A patient person shows great understanding,

but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.

 

2 Timothy 3:3

…unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good.

 

You are being evaluated by others in your words, actions and behaviors to see if you really are who you claim to be–a Christian. The Christian is expected to have self-control. Living a life of carnality will show only a lack of control.

God wants you to be able to have the joy of the presence of the Holy Spirit by operating in self-control. When the characteristics of the fruits of The Spirit are manifested before others, the very presence of God and His power can be experienced by others as you remain faithful to Him.


The Ministry of Communication

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

My wife and I presently go twice a week to the place where she had to go through physical therapy after injuring her back last year.  Thankfully, she’s healed from the injury, and we go there to exercise and stay loose through what is termed a “wellness” program.  Along with both of us at these workout sessions using the treadmill, sit steppers, weight machine and stationary bike are other people presently in therapy from recent injuries.  The difference between wellness and physical therapy is that wellness means you work out on your own, while a certified instructor closely monitors those under physical therapy.

Physical therapy requires a close monitoring of the person who is in rehabilitation by the instructor.  There has to be a clear communication of what exercises need to be done in order for the injured person to heal as quickly as possible, and especially because there are a fixed number of weeks that the person can receive treatment under a doctor’s care.  The instructor must give instructions that are easy to follow and understand, and the patient also needs to be clear as to the limits of what they can do in their recovery.  Both persons need to communicate well with each other in order to ensure that the recovery is timely and effective.

When we look at this type of communication, we see that there are positive results when both persons are cooperating and responding to questions and comments.  This is the optimal level of communication that each one of us would like to have in our personal and work relationships.  With this in mind, we readily acknowledge that this is sometimes more of a goal than reality.  The art of communication is a skill that needs to be developed over time.  It requires not just the ability to speak clearly, but also the ability to listen to the other person or persons, interpret the comments, and make a response.

I mention all of this because we need to keep in mind that our best opportunities for relating the gospel of Jesus Christ to others is in how we develop our interpersonal relationships.  The development of these relationships starts with effective interpersonal communication.  As we are each called by Jesus Christ to preach the gospel, we will explore the science of interpersonal communication.  This review of the process will help promote consistency in the ongoing development of relationships, and will hopefully provide a spark for those of us who believe they aren’t the best at communication.  For those who make that statement, I must present you with the challenge that your perceived lack of skills in communication is no excuse for not going out and speaking the gospel at the appropriate time.  Remember, this is Jesus Christ’s command to each of His followers.

Matthew 28:18-20 (HCSB)

18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Here is Moses’ conversation with the Lord about going to speak to Pharaoh on behalf of the Israelites.  Moses was not confident of his ability to speak at all.  Many of us may feel the same way, but God wants us to see where He works in your communication.

Exodus 4:10-15

10 But Moses replied to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent—either in the past or recently or since You have been speaking to Your servant—because I am slow and hesitant in speech.”

11 Yahweh said to him, “Who made the human mouth? Who makes him mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, Yahweh? 12 Now go! I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say.”

13 Moses said, “Please, Lord, send someone else.”

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses, and He said, “Isn’t Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, he is on his way now to meet you. He will rejoice when he sees you. 15 You will speak with him and tell him what to say. I will help both you and him to speak and will teach you both what to do.

With this information, we can’t use our lack of ability in speech as an excuse, and let’s not exclude those persons who are young believers.  With the proper focus on God in the process, young believers can proclaim the gospel just as well as seasoned believers, and to some younger demographics, perhaps even better.

Your effective ministry, in general, requires preparation and the repetition of good habits to show yourself to be a qualified servant of Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 4:11-16

11Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15 Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Whether young or old, a believer will grow in his or her ability to minister to others with practical experience and consistency.  This review will look at five different areas that will promote effective interpersonal communication of the gospel to others.  The first area starts with something very important in the model of effective communication…your approach, which is reinforced by your attitude.

1.  Attitude

Your attitude each day is your daily perspective on the importance of the day.  Your attitude impacts your outlook on life, and it certainly has a profound effect on your ministry of communication.  Do you wake up each morning ready to take on the day with a fervor, or do you approach the day with dread and trepidation?  Let’s not gloss over your approach when you wake up each day…this is important.  Your day should start with a “thank you” with the understanding that God gives us each day that we wake up.  To be thankful has everything to do with your perspective about life itself.  Everything that you do each day, including your communication with others in a work or non-work environment, centers on your attitude.  Having a great outlook promotes a healthy interaction with others, while a negative outlook tends to keep you from interacting with others, if not outright repelling others away from you.  The only ministry that can take place here is a negative testimony about believers.

Your attitude is on display each day.  You don’t need to be perfect (that’s unrealistic).  You need to be a human being, but also be different in how people see your smile often, and your positive perspective even more often.

Ephesians 6:6-8

6 Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart. 7 Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord.

Selfish attitudes and behaviors are commonplace today.  While others are out for themselves, to be selfless and concerned for others is refreshing and seldom seen.  You can draw others near to you when you show yourself to be selfless and caring for others.

Philippians 2:4-6

4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,

6 who, existing in the form of God,

did not consider equality with God

as something to be used for His own advantage.

Your attitude each day is just the beginning of your ministry of communication.  Your next area for consideration requires a measure of focus on others:

2.  Attentiveness

Believers who are in service for Jesus are participants in the ministry of reaching people just like themselves.  While no one is created alike, the people that we encounter each day have similar hopes, dreams, fears, concerns, tragedies and triumphs.  It is the things that we have in common that help us to be able to reach others for Jesus Christ.  When people see your genuineness and your ability to relate to who they are, where they’ve come from, and where they want to go, you have immediate credibility where you can share the gospel message at the appropriate time…but let’s also consider some important parts of communication that require attention.

Your interpersonal interaction.  Your credibility in communication begins with your body, your posture and your method of addressing the other person with the appropriate tone.  For example, if you are turned away from a person when he or she approaches you, do you take the time to turn and face the person, or only make a partial turn?  Is your posture erect or are you slouching?  Are you speaking in soft and reassuring tones, or do you come across as if you are being bothered with the interruption?  Consider how you would feel if you received this type of negative feedback when you approach someone.  It is also important to note that many people are often hesitant to approach others with personal questions or issues because of the perception that those questions are an imposition on the other person.  A response of poor body language or a discouraging tone reinforces that same conclusion and will likely discourage any other opportunities for discussion.  Your body language and conversation should always be inviting to the other person–no matter how busy you may be.  It is very, very seldom that a person who approaches you will be completely sensitive to your sense of timing, but keep in mind that your ministry for Jesus Christ is not about your timing.  It’s about His timing.

Your eye contact.  This one is huge, everyone.  Have you ever spoken to someone who cannot look you in the eye?  The person is looking somewhere on your person other than into your eyes.  Somewhere on your forehead?  Your shoulder?  Your chin?  How did you respond?  Don’t underestimate the power of eye contact in communication.  Eye contact in communication reinforces your words with confidence in what you are saying.  A lack of eye contact, no matter how sincere the words are, tends to diminish their impact.  To be fair, successful eye contact is only making glances into another person’s eyes and holding it in place for a few seconds.  It is not about staring the other person to a point of creepiness.  If you believe you struggle with eye contact, you should consider practicing reading an article from a newspaper or a magazine to yourself in the mirror, and take your eyes off the material long enough to look into the mirror at yourself.  This will help you to do a couple of things—practice your focus on the person you are speaking to, and also develop good habits of making eye contact that will build your communication credibility.

Proverbs 4:25-26

25 Let your eyes look forward;

fix your gaze straight ahead.

26 Carefully consider the path for your feet,

and all your ways will be established.

3.  Allowing the Spirit to Speak Through You

This is not as obvious or as practical as it seems to be.  Many people may get the first two areas correct but fail to impart the wisdom or information that God would have the person provide because of one thing getting in the way, and that’s pride.  Before you get all puffed up about someone coming to you for advise or for being that go-to person, remember who put you in that position to reach others.

Galatians 5:16

I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to be a helper for each of us to reach people.  We reach others through the power and wonder of the Spirit who enables us to speak His words.  He does His best work through us when we get out of His way.  If we allow Him to work through us, we receive the additional benefit from His instruction and guidance in how we conduct ourselves each day.

John 14:25-26

25 “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

4.  Anticipate the Possibilities

To anticipate is to be prepared for the eventualities of a situation or circumstance and being prepared to take action when the time is right.  The application in your ministry of communication is to be ready for anything.  The first question that you may ask is “How can you be ready for anything?”  The smart-aleck answer is, “You can’t really be ready for anything.”  What you can do in anticipating the possibilities is to lay the groundwork for friendship first.  Your ministry of communication includes a considerable amount of discussion about those things that show you to be a genuine person, and it’s not exclusively discussions about faith or church; in fact, it’s about everything else.  Your anticipation is in the development of your relationship and ongoing prayer to God in allowing the Spirit to work as you learn more about the person you are interacting with.

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Your ongoing prayers will give you the ability to see God working in the situation, and to be able to anticipate every question and comment that will lead you to our final point…

5.  Act in God’s Timing

There will be opportunities to speak the gospel message to others, but you need to be prepared for them and be ready to act according to the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Even with your anticipation of the possibility of such a conversation, it can still occur very quickly when you may not expect it to.  If you are in prayer continually and earnestly seeking God’s help in this area, He will always provide it and never let you down.  When God selects the time, He will give you the words to say that will lead a person to make a decision for Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:13

I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

A quick recap of your ministry of communication reveals five components that help one to fulfill their abilities as a believer in Jesus Christ:

1. Attitude

2. Attentiveness

3. Allowing the Spirit

4. Anticipate the Possibilities

5. Action in God’s Timing

You don’t need to be the best communicator for Jesus…you just need to be your best to allow the Holy Spirit to use you in your new and ongoing relationships.  Your ministry of communication is rooted in your kindness, thoughtfulness and a humble heart for others.  Pray about how God will use you this week in your role of carrying out His Great Commission.

Matthew 9:35-38

35 Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. 36 When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.38 Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.


There is Freedom in Truth

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

The choice of truth is freedom to live, or to live a lie and be in slavery. Truth really does free us, while lies are always about covering for one self.

In the contrast of truth, sin can bring destruction to us. People go through life seeing only the pictures invoked by our desires, and those desires override what is truth. Our push to satisfy our desires only bring about harmful consequences. It is a form of spiritual suicide. If you do not allow truth to exist in your life, you will miss out on the person that God created you to be. As God created each of us to have a plan for our lives, we will miss out on His plan for us if we insist in living our lives outside of truth.

The Bible proclaims that there is no one just in this world. Unless one is trained in righteousness through Jesus Christ, we are unable to live in obedience to God. You cannot assume that people who are older or more experienced in life are operating in truth.

Truth is having faith in God’s Word through Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 4:7-8
7 But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness, 8 for

the training of the body has a limited benefit,
but godliness is beneficial in every way,
since it holds promise for the present life
and also for the life to come.

Remember the discussions in your life about broken mirrors, black cats and myths? Many people accept these things as truth. You need to look at life and train yourself of the difference between truth and error. The study and practice of truth has a dramatic effect on everything that you do.

The Holy Spirit is the trainer, teacher and mentor that helps to guide each of us, and this is why it is always important to yield to the Spirit in all things for the truth, and not according to how we see things.

People have to differentiate between the way things out to be and the way things really are (what is true versus what is false).

John 8:31-41
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 “We are descendants of Abraham,” they answered Him, “and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will become free’?”

34 Jesus responded, “I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. 36 Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. 37 I know you are descendants[c] of Abraham, but you are trying to kill Me because My word is not welcome among you. 38 I speak what I have seen in the presence of the Father; therefore, you do what you have heard from your father.”

39 “Our father is Abraham!” they replied.

“If you were Abraham’s children,” Jesus told them, “you would do what Abraham did. 40 But now you are trying to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! 41 You’re doing what your father does.”

“We weren’t born of sexual immorality,” they said. “We have one Father—God.”

Living in a lie forces one to live outside of truth. The first lie told in the passage above was the claim that the Jews were never slaves to anyone. At that very moment, they were slaves to the Roman government along with a history of slavery to the Canaanites, Philistines, Syrians, Chaldeans and Greeks. The second lie was the one that claimed that the only Father they had was God Himself. They, in fact, were not serving God at all…they were serving Satan–that was the voice that the people were listening to.

We are always learning and observing something. The question is whether or not it is good for us or helpful to us.

2 Timothy 3:7
…always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 4:1
Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons,

Everything that we do should stand the test of Scripture. The Holy Spirit is the true teacher. There are all kinds of things in the world that will teach its own truth, but we need to listen to what God is saying to us. You cannot make good decisions without the truth.

If you are really my disciple, you will know the truth (John 8:31).

Matthew 11:29
All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.

John 16:13
When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.

Psalm 25:5
Guide me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are the God of my salvation;
I wait for You all day long.

God is willing to give instruction to sinners.

Psalm 25:8
The Lord is good and upright;
therefore He shows sinners the way.

We have to be willing to listen to truth.

Proverbs 1:29
If you respond to my warning,
then I will pour out my spirit on you
and teach you my words.

God’s commitment is to teach us truth. We must stand at the crossroads and make a decision to follow Jesus. The Spirit will guide us onto the right paths.

Jeremiah 6:16
This is what the Lord says:

Stand by the roadways and look.
Ask about the ancient paths:
Which is the way to what is good?
Then take it
and find rest for yourselves.
But they protested, “We won’t!”

Isaiah 35:8
A road will be there and a way;
it will be called the Holy Way.
The unclean will not travel on it,
but it will be for the one who walks the path.
Even the fool will not go astray.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
6 think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.

Truth sets us free, and it sets us free from sin. We need to remember that sin is pleasurable to the flesh, but it is only for a season.

Psalm 119:45
I will walk freely in an open place
because I seek Your precepts.

Galatians 5:13
For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.

We are called to be free. Do not abuse the freedom.

1 Peter 2:16
As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil.

Your pursuit of truth will lead to ongoing blessings in all that you do.

James 1:25
But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.

James 2:12
Speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom.

Truth sets us apart from the world.

John 17:17
Sanctify them by the truth;
Your word is truth.

1 Corinthians 15:2
You are also saved by it (the Gospel), if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed for no purpose.


The Crown of Joy: Serving Christ is a Team Effort

A summary of today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:
God uses each of us as His instrument to manifest His glory here on Earth. People will see your life and even the hardships that you experience, and it can prompt the observers to ask how you are able to respond in such a positive manner. God uses us to bring people closer to making a decision to accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior.To bring about this salvation, it required a team effort through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit long ago.

John 3:16-17
16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Whoever believes is a key point. Man himself cannot believe in God. The Holy Spirit must convict one of his or her sin and enable the person to make a decision to believe in Jesus Christ.

When you serve Jesus Christ, you are on the team to reach others, and it is a team effort.

1 Corinthians 3:5-8
5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 Now the one planting and the one watering are one in purpose, and each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

To work for Jesus is to be actively involved in reaching others. All of us who serve Christ are part of the team–the question is your role. God will challenge your heart, first and foremost, for its sincerity in service for Him. Our love for others will be evident as we remember how God loves us.

1 Thessalonians 2:3-10
3 For our exhortation didn’t come from error or impurity or an intent to deceive. 4 Instead, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but rather God, who examines our hearts. 5 For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives—God is our witness— 6 and we didn’t seek glory from people, either from you or from others. 7 Although we could have been a burden as Christ’s apostles, instead we were gentle[a] among you, as a nursing mother nurtures her own children. 8 We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember our labor and hardship, brothers. Working night and day so that we would not burden any of you, we preached God’s gospel to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how devoutly, righteously, and blamelessly we conducted ourselves with you believers.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-20
11 As you know, like a father with his own children, 12 we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

13 This is why we constantly thank God, because when you received the message about God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as a human message, but as it truly is, the message of God, which also works effectively in you believers. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, since you have also suffered the same things from people of your own country, just as they did from the Jews 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us; they displease God and are hostile to everyone, 16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. As a result, they are always completing the number of their sins, and wrath has overtaken them at last.

17 But as for us, brothers, after we were forced to leave you for a short time (in person, not in heart), we greatly desired and made every effort to return and see you face to face. 18 So we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy!

Our team effort consists of being obedient to His will and using our personal abilities to serve within the body of Christ, without letting hardships or adversity slow you down. Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is to share your life with others. It starts with your focus on living a life that is holy and blameless. Your obedience to God is what draws people nearer to you, and as a result, nearer to Him.

The result of these efforts is a testimony that brings people to Christ. We need to share, to teach and provide guidance about truth and repentance. Once we do this, the gospel can be presented. It is the greatest work that you will ever be a part of.

Colossians 1:28
We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

Proverbs 11:30
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
but violence takes lives.

Daniel 12:3
Those who are wise will shine
like the bright expanse of the heavens,
and those who lead many to righteousness,
like the stars forever and ever.

1 John 3:4
Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law.

James 5:15
The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Hebrews 12:1-2
1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

Your effective work for Jesus Christ requires a focus on Him, His sacrifice for all of us brings joy in the midst of your struggles and suffering. It reveals God’s love for us and for others who see and hear our testimony of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:15
But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct.

Romans 10:17
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

John 8:36
Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.


A Biblical View of the World

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
A person who knows what they enjoy doing will pursue their passion. Some people are passionate about reading. Some like sports. Some even express how much they love the Lord and live their life accordingly! If you are passionate about Jesus Christ, there should be an excitement about going to church and participating in the fellowship with other believers and learning more about living a Christlike life.With our understanding of what it is to learn about Christ, we are to look at the world we live in with a biblical perspective. We need to understand that there is a clear difference between the world and its humanistic view and how God’s Word provides perspective on this world. A biblical world view is seeing the world in the same way that God sees the world. Seeing the world in the way God sees it provides the proper perspective that establishes boundaries and the proper way of thinking. It starts with His love for all people.

John 3:16-17
16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Matthew 28:19
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

God’s love for us is not limited under time or place…He allows for each believer to minister to the entire world through His people.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

Christians need to rely on God’s view of the world and stay away from the world’s view of things, which distorts God’s Word. Biblical thinking leads to a biblical view of the world, which deals in truth and understanding in spite of the world’s view. It causes to one to focus into righteous actions.

A person who calls themselves a Christian and is following a worldly view is in conflict. Loving the principles of this world is in direct conflict with God

1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

If you go back and view Israel’s interaction with God, you would see that they would declare a love for God but a disdain for His ways. It was more about loving the world and its view more than God.

Christians need to practice the action of living daily for the Lord and refrain from issues that can cause a separation from God. In all of this, believers should never be concerned about the long term or the final outcome.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
6 think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.

Romans 10:17
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

Walking in faith is a faith that allows you to grow in Christ and in your relationship with Him. It is a progression that is moving beyond your faith at the time you saved by grace.

Are you adding to your faith daily? It is the only way to truly grow in the Lord.

2 Peter 1:3-9
1 Dear friends, this is now the second letter I have written to you; in both letters, I want to develop a genuine understanding with a reminder, 2 so that you can remember the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles. 3 First, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, living according to their own desires, 4 saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” 5 They willfully ignore this: Long ago the heavens and the earth were brought about from water and through water by the word of God. 6 Through these waters the world of that time perished when it was flooded. 7 But by the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8 Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

James 4:7
Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.

To have a biblical view for life helps keep Satan out of your life. The church’s obligation in this area is to change the minds of people for the sake of God’s truth and present functioning in this world with a biblical world view instead of a worldly view.

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

A biblical worldview prepares a believer for certain conflicts with those who oppose them and Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics[a] of the Devil. 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore,

with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,
15 and your feet sandaled with readiness
for the gospel of peace.
16 In every situation take the shield of faith,
and with it you will be able to extinguish
all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is God’s word.
18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

Romans 8:37-39
37 No, in all these things we are more than victorious
through Him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life,
angels or rulers,
things present or things to come, hostile powers,
39 height or depth, or any other created thing
will have the power to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

1 John 4:4
You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

1 John 5:4
…because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.

A biblical world view is a healthy view of the world from God’s perspective. Yes, it is a lost world filled with corruption and evil, but it is also a world that is ripe for the harvest of souls for those that desire seeking salvation through Jesus Christ. God has called believers to live in righteousness and to trust in the Lord.


The Church’s Benefit is Truth About Life

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
Church attendance is dwindling throughout America today. The conclusion is that more people believe that the church is less relevant today. In reality, the church actually brings relevance to our lives. When we enter the house of God, it’s purpose is to give us understanding. We learn from the church that the way of the world is vastly different from what we learn in church. It is about not leaning on one’s own way of understanding but on what God states about leaning on His guidance and direction (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Newsweek ran an article about “A World Without Fathers: The Struggle to Save the Black Family” back in 1993. Twenty years later, the state of the Black Family remains in peril and is arguably getting worse.
Statistically, less than 50 percent of black men in high school actually graduate. There has been little to no improvement in the plight of children coming out of high school, in spite of the money that has been spent on education.There is a clear change in society when it comes to marriage. Many people choose living together as an alternative in order to “test out” the relationship.
Americans are creating their own religions by blending their beliefs with what others may believe. They are using the mix-and-match approach in order to conform to what works best for them. The question for this is ‘Are these blended religions in conformity with who God really is?’

These views are all the result of the world’s influence on man’s way of thinking. Some have even proposed that God Himself does not exist. The church brings insight as to what is really the truth about life and provides direction in every daily situation and circumstance.

God’s truth gives understanding to life. Life without God’s truth is nothing less than living life in a state of confusion–it is a life of disorder, embarrassment and failure. The church is a benefit for us because it is the only place we will receive truth that is directly from God concerning all of life that is correct.

The church teaches and insists upon those who claim that they are saved to trust in His Word–the Holy Bible. You cannot say that you do not believe in the Bible and also refer to yourself as a believer in Jesus Christ. It is a standard that is without compromise.

The church instructs that not one word of God’s Word will fade away. Why?

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man who lies,
or a son of man who changes His mind.
Does He speak and not act,
or promise and not fulfill?

In the church, we learn that God is not a man (John 4:24).

John 4:24
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

God does not lie–He speaks the truth, and His Word will not change.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, 10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned —those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

1 Timothy 4:1-3
1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. 3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth.

2 Timothy 3:7
…always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Romans 3:4
…Absolutely not! God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written:

That You may be justified in Your words
and triumph when You judge.

Psalm 119:89-91
ל 89 Lord, Your word is forever;
it is firmly fixed in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness is for all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands firm.
91 They stand today in accordance with Your judgments,
for all things are Your servants.

Matthew 5:18
For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is inspired by God[a] and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The truth about life comes through the church and God’s Word through Jesus Christ.

John 14:6
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 8:32
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

God’s people are being prepared for service and work within His church and for His ministry. The church is the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11
And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers…

Colossians 1:24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for His body, that is, the church.

God does not change His mind; as a result, the church believes the words of God, stands on it, and acts upon it. We need His Word to renew our minds, to keep us and help us to endure the afflictions that come from the enemy. He is our Comforter. He has a standard that is far above that of the world that we live in. He wants us to seek His kingdom in the way that we live.

Isaiah 55:8
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not My ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.

God’s Word declares sin and the nature of the sinner.

Psalm 73:18-19
18 Indeed, You put them in slippery places;
You make them fall into ruin.
19 How suddenly they become a desolation!
They come to an end, swept away by terrors.

The believer in Jesus Christ who responds to Him and His Word will receive blessings from Him.

John 1:17
…for the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

God’s Word provides teaching and valuable instruction for dealing with the issues of life. It also provides clear information on how to worship Him and how to remain in righteous living.

The church carries out God’s plan. It is not a new plan–it was His plan from the beginning.

Genesis 1:28
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”

Matthew 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“Subduing the land” requires work. It means to conquer or bring into subjection. It is to overcome by way of persuasion or training. We all are to work with a clean conscience in how we live, and that is how God reaches us as He ministers to us while we minister to others. His truth calls us to work for His kingdom.

To make disciples calls for work. Our work is for Jesus Christ and its purpose is to reach others. It is all about all of us coming under God’s authority.