Tag Archives: Akron

The Church and Its Priesthood (Part 2)

Today’s message summary of August 13, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

No one wants to see people falter outside of Jesus Christ.  With this in mind, God is looking for someone to stand in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30).  Not everyone can do it.

God is looking for those people who are willing to make a difference as ambassadors in this world…ready to serve at a moment’s notice.  He is looking for people to teach and encourage others.  It is God’s priesthood that is the example for others.  The priesthood is the people of his church, who have a heart of compassion for others and desire to minister to others.

The priestly office carries on today within the church.

People who come to church may often have the mentality that they are to be served by the church (and perhaps even entertained), when in actuality, it is the people that need to learn and understand that they are the ones who are being prepared to serve others.

Is the church more about worship or more about an experience?

When people come to church the big question is the same as one would get when going to a restaurant…”What can I get you?” or “What can I do for you?”

Starbucks isn’t just about coffee.  It is about the coffee drinking experience.

The birthday is not about the homemade cake anymore.  It’s about Chuck E. Cheese or wherever you go to have a birthday experience.

People won’t come to a church that is boring.  What qualifies as boring is defined by our own experiences.

The role of the pastor, the priesthood, once seen as shepherds and teachers, has evolved to that of a circus ringmasters and clowns who shout out to come to the Greatest Show on Earth.

The problem with external experiences, as Moses discovered, is that the transformation doesn’t last.  In a few days, over time, the glory begins to fade.

What do we want people to value, remember or experience when they come to Akron Alliance Fellowship?

When people hear or see the name of Akron Alliance Fellowship, they need to know what they are going to get…the teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  That is all we have to offer.

There is no show to put on–just the teaching of the Word.  (Even the music that is presented before the service should be that which glorifies God.)

The Priesthood was organized to take care of the tabernacle, the Temple and the Scriptures of God in order that those who entered into a relationship with God may be properly served in a manner in which God had provided.

The duty of the Priesthood is to keep the lights burning.  Light is also a representation of knowledge and understanding.

Leviticus 24:1-4

The Lord spoke to Moses: “Command the Israelites to bring you pure oil from crushed olives for the light, in order to keep the lamp burning continually. Aaron is to tend it continually from evening until morning before the Lord outside the veil of the testimony in the tent of meeting. This is a permanent statute throughout your generations. He must continually tend the lamps on the the pure gold lampstand in the Lord’s presence.

Exodus 27:20-21

You are to command the Israelites to bring you pure oil from crushed olives for the light, in order to keep the lamp burning continually. In the tent of meeting outside the veil that is in front of the testimony, Aaron and his sons are to tend the lamp from evening until morning before the Lord. This is to be a permanent statute for the Israelites throughout their generations.

The light is the Light of life for people.

John 1:4

Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.

Matthew 4:16

The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the shadowland of death, light has dawned.

Matthew 5:14-16

You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand,

and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

John 8:12

Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

1 John 1:5

Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him.

As a priest, you are responsible for keeping your light full of oil (represented by the Holy Spirit) shining in your life.

You are responsible to light up dark places in this community.  You are to keep your light before others in order that they can see in the dark.

We have the responsibility of taking care of the things belonging to God, which are His people.

Numbers 18:1-7

The Lord said to Aaron, You, your sons, and your ancestral family will be responsible for iniquity against the sanctuary. You and your sons will be responsible for iniquity involving your priesthood. But also bring your relatives with you from the tribe of Levi, your ancestral tribe, so they may join you and assist you and your sons in front of the tent of the testimony. They are to perform duties for you and for the whole tent. They must not come near the sanctuary equipment or the altar; otherwise, both they and you will die. They are to join you and guard the tent of meeting, doing all the work at the tent, but no unauthorized person may come near you.

You are to guard the sanctuary and the altar so that wrath may not fall on the Israelites again. Look, I have selected your fellow Levites from the Israelites as a gift for you, assigned by the Lord to work at the tent of meeting. But you and your sons will carry out your priestly responsibilities for everything concerning the altar and for what is inside the curtain, and you will do that work. I am giving you the work of the priesthood as a gift, but an unauthorized person who comes near the sanctuary will be put to death.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s sanctuary, God will destroy him; for God’s sanctuary is holy, and that is what you are.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.”

1 John 2:15-17

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. 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. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

You are responsible for how you dress and your appearance. Remember your position in life.  You are not just an ordinary person running around in the world.  You are a priest, a saint and an ambassador.  You are representing more than just yourself.

Exodus 28:39-41

You are to weave the tunic from fine linen, and make an embroidered sash. Make tunics, sashes, and headbands for Aaron’s sons to give them glory and beauty (dignity and honor). Put these on your brother Aaron and his sons; then anoint, ordain, and consecrate them, so that they may serve Me as priests.

There are two different reasons for this dress style.  They were not to look like the rest of the people of Israel.

  1. To give them dignity
  2. To give honor…conduct oneself in high regard and be respected

Ephesians 4:1-3

Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.


Ladies Conference feat. Chrystal Evans Hurst – Saturday, November 5, 2016

Meet Chrystal Evans Hurst

Meet Chrystal Evans Hurst on Saturday, November 5, 2016 – 8 AM – 1 PM

Attention, Ladies!

Our special guest speaker for the program “Are You the Queen or the Concubine” is Chrystal Evans Hurst, daughter of Dr. Tony Evans of The Urban Alternative and tonyevans.org, and co-author of the book, Kingdom Woman.

Akron Alliance Fellowship Church, 688 Diagonal Road, Akron OH 44320 – 8 AM – 1 PM

Tickets have limited availability and are required for this conference!

Please go to our sister site akronalliancefellowship.com and click on the graphic to purchase tickets online or purchase tickets in Akron, Ohio at the following locations:

  • Lifeway Christian Store, 143 Rothrock Road, Suite A, Copley OH 44321 (in Montrose near Home Depot)

  • Wonder World Child Development Center, 688 Diagonal Road, Akron OH 44320 (Monday through Friday).


Prayer: What Difference Does It Make? (First of a Series)

A summary of Asst. Pastor Travis Jackson’s message of October 16, 2016:

Just as much the Lord invites us to partake in the sacred sacraments—the Lord’s supper.  He says, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).  The blood and the bread is a foretaste of what we will experience in the next life.  And I hope we understand that the Lord’s supper is invitational.  Also keep in mind, Jesus did not allow his body to be broken and his blood to be shed for his own sake, but for ours.  Likewise, prayer is invitational and it is not for God’s sake, it is for ours.  God does not benefit from our prayers, he already knows what we will pray for and he commands us to pray.

So today I invite you to give careful thought about the reason why you pray. As humans, innately, have a need to pray to someone higher than ourselves.  Some people pray to false god’s. Some people pray to Buddha. Some Catholics pray to the virgin Mary.  Muslims pray to Allah. People who do not know the one true God of the Bible will continue pray to idols because praying is spiritual and psychological.

“One cannot be a Christian and not pray[1]  1 Thess. 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”  Eph. 6:18 says “Pray at all times in the Spirit.”  Paul said he prayed day and night to the Lord so that he can visit the Thessalonian church (1 Thess. 3:10).  In Matthew 5:44, Our Lord Jesus said, “Pray for those who persecute you.”

One pastor said, “Prayer is to the Christian what breath is to life, yet no duty of the Christian is so neglected.”[2]  As Christians, we know that we ought to pray but don’t really understand the purpose of prayer.  What do you think the purpose of prayer is?  Some Christians pray to God, believing that God will grant every request of theirs. This type of belief can be found in the health and wealth prosperity gospel. There are several reasons why we pray to God.  One of the main reasons is to communicate our deepest thoughts and emotions to him.  As we communicate our prayers to God, our prayers can manifest into different forms, like, crying out to him, making a complaint to him, and rejoicing in thanksgiving with him.

Again, praying is for our own sake, and the main thrust of praying is to have a relationship with him by communicating to him.  Please raise your hand if you are married or dating someone.  If your spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend stop talking to you for two months, how would you feel?  Would you question your relationship with that person?  Would you feel that your spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend, do not want to have a verbal intimate relationship with you?

This principle applies to our relationship with God.  How often do you communicate to Him?  How much time do you spend with God?  Are you listening to God’s voice when you pray?  If you are not praying to God, do you not think that he is questioning your relationship with him?

For some of us, our prayer life is like baby language because it is difficult to express our thoughts and emotions toward God.  Babies cannot intellectually communicate to adults, although, they can still express their thoughts and feelings in baby speech. We know when babies are happy, sad, upset.  Some people are more experience in praying than others; some people just don’t know how to pray.  For this reason, Jude, the Lord’s brother, commands us to “pray in the Holy Spirit,” according to Jude verse 20.  According to Romans 8:26, Scripture says, it is “the [Holy] Spirit who helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words.”  In other words, it is okay if you do not have the right words to say to the Father, because the Holy Spirit understands what you are trying to express and, the Holy Spirit communicates inexpressible words to God on your behalf.  What matter is that you pray.

As an encouragement, please do not feel as if you have to have everything “spiritually right” before you pray.  That is to say, in order to pray, everything in our lives do not have to be just right before we can approach God in prayer.  All of us come to prayer with mix motives, selfishness, faithlessness, pride, and impurity (Foster. p. 23).  We can approach God just as we are, as long as we approach God with humility.  And he is able and willing to listen and answer our prayers, if it is according to his will.

Now, there are no instructions on how to pray, but there are postures of prayer. today, we will also discover three postures of prayer.  1. Simple prayer. 2. Prayer of Forsaken. And, 3. Prayer of Examine. As a disclaimer, these postures of prayer is coined by an author, Richard Foster.

What is simple prayer?  Simple prayer is approaching God just as we are, and God “accepts our prayers just as they are” (Foster. p.24).  It is being transparent to God by expressing your present feelings.  It is okay to pray to God when you feel disappointed, overwhelmed, discouraged, bitter, anxious, scared, excited, or angry. That is a good example of what simple prayer is.  Simple prayer focus on “our needs, our wants, our concerns” (Foster. p.24).   Simple prayer focuses on us.

Have you ever been upset at God?  For example, have you ever prayed in anger towards God like Jonah?  When Jonah prayed he questioned God’s motives.  Remember Jonah’s story.  Jonah fled from God when he was called to preached to the people of Nineveh. Eventually, God used a large fish to bring Jonah to the city of Nineveh.  After Jonah preached for forty days to the people of Nineveh, they repented. But the Ninevites responds greatly displeased and angered Johan, so Jonah prayed to the Lord.  Please turn to Jonah 4:1-4.  In Jonah 4:1-4 says,

And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore, now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?”

The Bible depicts us as adopted sons and daughters of God the Father.  Like all children, they approach their parents with mixed feelings we too can approach God with mix feelings.  There is no need for us to try to hide our feelings from God because he already knows our hearts.  One author said, “We should feel perfectly free to complain to God, or argue with God, or yell at God.  As you continue to pray like this your desire to converse and pray to God will increase. The point is this, when you pray to God it is okay to be frustrated, angry, happy, impatient.  It is okay complain to God.  It is okay to tell God that you feel abandon by him. Amen?

But I warn all of us, it is never okay to be disrespectful to God, nor is it okay to curse God.  There is nowhere in the Bible God responded well to those who cursed him.  After Satan struck Job with painful sores all over his body. Job’s wife said to Job, “Curse God and die.”  Now I am sympathetic to Job’s wife because she watched her husband deal with painful health problems and her seven sons and three daughters were murdered.  This help us to understand that she went through a traumatic events causing her to not be in a right state of mind.  She felt abandon from God.

This leads us to our next point: Prayer of Forsaken.  Prayer of forsaken is feeling deserted.  It is feeling abandoned; it is feeling as if you are in need of God because you were left in a hot dry desert to die.  Prayer of forsaken is seeking God’s face, and acknowledging that God will not answer you when you need him to.  God will remain silent, which gives the impression that he is absent from our lives. I remember two occasions I prayed to God and fasted seeking God’s guidance.  Out of those two occasions he only answered me once.  He was silent.

Have you ever felt forsaken?  Have you ever felt deserted, abandon and ditched?  All of us felt this way before.  I felt this way and sometimes I still do. Some of us is still feeling we were abandoned by our ex-husband, ex-wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, sisters, brothers, cousins, mother or father and God. For example, I did not grow with a good male role model this cause me to abandoned.

And, prayer of forsaken is not only feeling that you were deserted by others and God, but it also knowing that God allowed a devastating event to happen in your life.  It could have been a loss of a love one like, a child, a husband, a father or mother, a sister or brother.  It could have been loss of a job, a house; it could have been an emotional and physical abuse.

We know that we serve a good and gracious God.  But sometimes we have to ask, where is God?  Why God is allowing this to happen?  Why innocent people suffer?  Many people in the Bible have asked these questions and this is why they have prayed the prayer of forsaken?  I am sure Joseph questioned God in this manner when he was sold into slavery because his brothers betrayed by him.  Moses, David, Job, Isaiah and many more people questioned and complained to God.

Prayer of forsaken is crying out to God in any moment of disparity.  Jesus exemplified this before he went to the cross and when he was on the cross.  Before he went to the cross he said, “Father, if you are willing remove this cup from me” (Luke 22:42).  When he was on the cross he cried to God saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:42).  Jesus did not say those words because he did know that he was going to beaten, humiliated, and to be hung on a cross.  He knew those things would take place.  He said those words because, he is holy, and he knew he had to endure the sins of the world.  The Father and Son is inseparable; however, Jesus felt abandoned by the Father at the moment when endured my sins, your sins and the sins of the world.

Prayer of forsaken is found in many passages, like, Psalms 119:145 which says, “With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes.  I call to you; save me.”  Or like Psalms 88:1-3 O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to [the grave].”  A better example would be Job.  I believe that Job yell at God when he was distressed, under pressure and felt forsaken by God.  Job believe that God was cause of his of his troubles and that God was nowhere to be found. In Job 30:20-23 he said,

“I cry out to you for help, but you do not answer me; I stand up, and you turn your attention against me.  You have become cruel to me; With the might of your hand you persecute me.  You lift me up to the wind and cause me to ride; and you dissolve me in a storm.  For I know that you will bring me to death.”

When you are feeling this way tell God.  I encourage you to let him know how you feel, Job did.  However, even if you are feeling that you “do not understand what God is doing or even where God,” I also admonish you to believe that God is for always for your good.

Last point: prayer of examine.  Prayer of examine turns our prayer from being outward to inward.  This prayer our consciousness. It also helps us to think introspectively. It is an invitation to God to help us examine our hearts and to see the ugliness of our own sins. Psalms 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” Keep in mind, when we are examining ourselves in prayer, is it for God’s benefit?  No.  It is for ours.

Prayer of examine causes to remember our surroundings in another way.  All of us deal with rudely neighbors, unsanctified coworkers, challenging children.  Instead of complaining about our relationships with other people, we should examine their pain and suffering and their need for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In other words, when your coworker or son or daughter is upset, being sarcastic towards you don’t look at them as an enemy, look at them how God looks at them.

Prayer of examine was done by David.  After David’s infidelity with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, who was adversely murdered by David.  David conducted a prayer of self-examination.  We find this prayer in Psalms 51.  Turn to Psalms 51, we will read verses 1-12.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.  Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Let us put in practice what we just learn by responding corporately.  I invite all of us pray these three postures of prayer.  I will afford us one minute of praying time to pray.  You can remain where you are.  I want us to tell God how we presently feel.  If you are feeling angry, sad, disappointed, happy, content, thankful, tell him.

Let us pray. Dear Jesus, how desperately I need to learn to pray. And yet when I am honest, I know that I often do not even want to pray. But I am so grateful for your invitation to enter your heart of love. As best I can I come in. Thank you for receiving me. —Amen.

[1] Sproul, R. C. (2009). Does Prayer Change Things? (Vol. 3, p. 2). Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (2009). Does Prayer Change Things? (Vol. 3, p. 2). Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing.


Scrambled Eggs

A message summary of April 10, 2016 from Mr. Paul Buzzi:

This church is blessed with many different things. If you know that you have been blessed beyond belief, then you should share with others.

Today, we are going to talk about scrambled eggs, about life, about death and about living.

(Holding up a bible) What is this? Yes, it is a bible, and it is a Book of Instruction. I was reminded that the Lord has taught me a lot of lessons. You have to be willing to hear His Word and do it. Don’t add a question mark to something where God has a period!

My wife tells me not to brag about anything, but I am willing to brag about what the Lord Jesus has done in my life.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and do not rely on your own understanding;

think about Him in all your ways,

and He will guide you on the right paths.

We are all a bunch of Humpty Dumptys. We scramble our eggs, and we don’t know how to unscramble them. Jesus knows how to do it.

Romans 3:23

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

I have had to ask the Lord for forgiveness for my behavior with my wife and even for the questions I have asked that made known my positions in a selfish manner.

To be forgiven is to experience freedom. When I was called to speak at a church, He told me that I needed to ask that congregation for forgiveness, as well, because of how I felt in my heart.

There is healing that needed to take place. God is the One who unscrambles the eggs.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from Gods Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For

who has known the Lords mind,

that he may instruct Him?

But we have the mind of Christ.

My wife and I are two different people, but we are joined together as one spirit in marriage. God proclaimed it, and it has been very good.

We need the Spirit of God in order to understand His Word; otherwise, it is a mystery. And, we cannot figure it out on our own.

God gave me the gift of evangelism and the gift of prophecy, and I don’t know if I like that! Because where much is given, much is required.

What are the wages of sin? The answer, of course, is death (Romans 6:23).

All of us are sinners, of course.

Once you are dead, you are dead. There are no degrees of dead. It’s all the same.

Thankfully, all of us received grace through our Savior, Jesus Christ, who took away our penalty of death.

I was asked to represent a person who was caught in a bank drive through with stolen checks and was high on meth. I went to the jail where the person was, and I told him that there is not much that I can do for you except tell you about Jesus.

Forgiveness is for both the perpetrator of sin and also the victim. It lifts a burden for both of them when there is complete forgiveness.

Ephesians 5:25-26

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word.

When you learn to forgive your wife in the way that Christ forgave those as He was being crucified, you understand how much love you need to give to your wife.

Luke 23:34

Then Jesus said, Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing. And they divided His clothes and cast lots.

Hebrews 4:11-13

Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.

For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.

1 Corinthians 3:19-20

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, since it is written: He catches the wise in their craftiness; and again, The Lord knows that the reasonings of the wise are meaningless.

1 John 5:11-12

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesnt have the Son of God does not have life.

He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son is perishing.

He is only the Lord of your life when you make Him Lord.

The fields are ripe with the harvest of those that need Jesus. The devil will tell you that it is too much trouble to witness for Christ. It is a lie from the devil.

One week after I accepted Christ, I was representing a young man who had a long juvenile record who was sent to jail. God spoke to me and told me to go back and speak to him about Me. I hesitated twice because I knew so little about Christ, but I was able to speak to him and he accepted Christ. We were holding hands in prayer in a jail cell and he made a decision for Him.

Psalm 127:3-5

Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,

children, a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior

are the sons born in ones youth.

Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them.

Such men will never be put to shame

when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.

If you leave church today alive, you won’t be half-dead. Be sure to share the Bible with everyone you come into contact with–to see people pass from death into life.

Make sure that you leave church today alive in a life for Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is Gods giftnot from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.


Go and Make Disciples

A message summary of February 28, 2016 from Asst. Pastor Travis Jackson:

Matthew 28:16-20

The 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted. Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The point of this passage is to go out and make disciples.

I have been thinking to myself as to why we, as a church, are not growing, as we should. I want all of us to go out and make disciples. If we are not making disciples, then why are we here?

The disciples were called to follow Jesus, and this passage represents one the last times they would see Him. They thought that they would return to their normal, daily lives, as fishermen and tradesmen. He informed them that He would go before them in Galilee repeatedly (earlier in the chapter). It was on this mountain that he would guide them into their own phase of the ministry. It was the beginning of their efforts to carry on the gospel of Jesus Christ. It leads into what we would read in Acts, chapter 1.

The summary of Jesus’ command is this: Go. Make. Disciples.

I.  In order to be a disciple here, it was Christ’s ascension that effectively turned over the gospel message to the disciples. They were empowered to believe in Him and follow Him to the point of persecution and death.

They worshiped Him. Their worship meant that they were surrendering their heart, mind and soul before Him.

Worship is indeed important in evangelism? Why is that? It gives one the fervor and energy to go out and worship before Him and reflect the same passion before others. You are now focused and can do this effectively. It should invigorate you to be able to say that you are recharged to go and make disciples.

In the passage, we see that “some doubted.” There were some disciples there that were beyond the eleven that traveled closely with Him. Those that doubted had lost focus on Him. They knew that Jesus was in authority, but perhaps they needed more evidence.

If there is any doubt in your faith that does not allow you to wholeheartedly serve Jesus Christ, then perhaps you need to see more evidence of Him working in your life.

Mark 9:17-27

Out of the crowd, one man answered Him, Teacher, I brought my son to You. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak. Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I asked Your disciples to drive it out, but they couldnt.

He replied to them, You unbelieving generation! How long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to Me. So they brought him to Him. When the spirit saw Him, it immediately convulsed the boy. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. How long has this been happening to him? Jesus asked his father.

From childhood, he said. And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.

Then Jesus said to him, “‘If You can? Everything is possible to the one who believes.

Immediately the father of the boy cried out, I do believe! Help my unbelief.

When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly coming together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, You mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!

Then it came out, shrieking and convulsing him violently. The boy became like a corpse, so that many said, Hes dead. But Jesus, taking him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.

Matthew 14:31

Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, You of little faith, why did you doubt?

Matthew 17:20

Because of your little faith, He told them. For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Our faith is very important when it comes to evangelism.

II.  Christ’s authority

Who Christ is to the person who is evangelizing means everything.

Ephesians 1:20-23

He (God) demonstrated this power in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens–far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.

No one, on his own, has any power to keep himself from death and raise himself up. Only Christ has such power.

We are to understand that Christ’s ascension gives us cause to worship Him, and that His authority reinforces His deity.

III. His confirmation of baptism reflects His authority.

Baptism is a sacrament that reflects obedience to Christ and His authority in our lives. It is an appeal to God for a good conscious in the power of Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:4

Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life.

IV. Perseverance in the Lord

After baptism now comes the teaching and instruction of God’s Word in order to help a person to endure what is to come. A person who is prepared in the Word is conforming to the truths of Jesus Christ, and it leads to a strengthening of the person in Christ.

Matthew 28:19-20

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, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

The disciples were to head out to the ends of the earth, as commanded by Jesus Christ.

Acts 1:7-11

He said to them, It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. 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.

After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. While He was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. They said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.

Our Jerusalem is our city of Akron. Judea is beyond the city, and our Samaria is even further away from that. As we hold the fort here in Akron, we move on to the next destination, and so forth.

Luke 24:46-49

He also said to them, This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.

The disciples were witnesses, and they were also martyrs. Only John was a survivor, but he lived in exile on the island of Patmos. They were all willing to sacrifice themselves, endure and persevere for the cause of Christ. We have an idea as to where they began, and where there lives ended. While we may not experience the same fate, we understand the importance of serving a life for Christ, and that means enduring and facing opposition, yet it is a worthy cause to serve the living Christ.

Go. Make. Disciples.


Teamwork

Today’s message summary of January 31, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Scripture tells us that Jesus was on a mountain as He looked over Jerusalem–and He wept.  He wept because He did not like what He saw.

When you look at the city of Akron, what do you see? Sometimes we see that things aren’t very good, but we also need to pay attention to those things that are good. Good things are happening, and sometimes they are overlooked.

We have a hand in the good things that are taking place here. It is good to recognize that things are positive in the community, but it is up to us to be involved. It takes many hands to accomplish this. We all have to be willing to help. Many hands make up a team.

One of our elders, Ken, has been involved with a neighborhood football team, the Titans. In his community involvement, all of us are involved.

We are planters. We are teachers.

A football team has to be successful on the field. Someone has to carry the ball. Others have to block. There has to be cooperation on the team.

In the life of a Christian, there has to be teamwork, as well. Some will run with the ball while others will block. Everyone must use their talents to accomplish the goal of proclaiming the gospel. The team’s success of reaching people for Jesus Christ is most important.

A coach for a team is a lot like a pastor. Both are coaching, but just on different fields. A team works well both on the field and off the field, as well. God gives those individuals who are working with our young people the gift of patience. It is important to have a very important part of a young person’s life in order to create a positive influence.

Let’s look at a few words:

Team – A group of people working together.

Community – People living in a particular district for a common good. It is a team of people who are working to make it better.

Church – A group of people who worship together for the good of one another (public worship).

For one to be able to participate in any community event is a divine gift from God.

Acts 17:28

For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

What comes out of a person’s life is left up to him.

A team will practice in good weather or bad weather, such as wind, rain and cold. It’s a choice that, at times, has to be made to desire to get better as a team.

Matthew 12:35

A good man produces good things from his storeroom of good, and an evil man produces evil things from his storeroom of evil.

What do you choose–good or evil?

Ministry – It comes from the Greek word meaning to serve.

The word “ministry” has somehow been misused and is only defined within the arena of the church. Ministry has become a clerical/church word that most people never apply to themselves. It seems too grand for ordinary people. Ministry is a professional word.

All that is needed is people who are willing to give of themselves.  People who are willing to serve in the community.

When people serve they teach.

1. They teach attitude. There is an attitude of a winner and a loser. In life, we win some and we lose some.

2. When you serve you teach people to shine. You teach them to do their best, and then live with the results.

3. When you serve, you teach others about failure. We are not going to win all of the time, we live in our failure. We live through it while we are preparing for the next game.

4. While serving others, you give them purpose and meaning in life. They are important.


Who is Worthy to Judge and Open the Scroll?

Today’s message summary of August 23, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

We will be looking at Revelation, Chapters 5 and 6, this week and next week. They involve the opening of the scrolls and the sounding of the trumpets. This will reveal what mankind will do to one another–some of the worst things imaginable–when the Holy Spirit is not present to restrain evil.

The Holy Spirit has to be at work to allow a person to withstand the enemy.

When we look at the seals being opened, note that it is not so much as Christ doing it Himself, but rather Christ allowing it to take place. Christ is allowing people to see mankind at its worst. He is allowing Satan to outpour his rage against mankind.

Jesus is the only One who can open the seven seals (Revelation 5-6). He is the only One who has the authority to judge, and no one else.

The beginning of the tribulation starts with the seals being opened. This is God allowing Satan to do whatever he desires with the people without the restraint of the Holy Spirit.

Job 1:9-12

Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Haven’t You placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out Your hand and strike everything he owns, and he will surely curse You to Your face.” “Very well,” the Lord told Satan, “everything he owns is in your power. However, you must not lay a hand on Job himself.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence.

 

2 Thessalonians 2:7

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way.

 

In Revelation 5, the question is asked, “Who can open the scroll? Who is worthy?”

Jesus is not a secret, of course. Heaven had to recognize who He was! It is not so much a question for those in heaven as it was for those who are on earth.

Revelation 5:1-4

Then I saw in the right hand of the One seated on the throne a scroll with writing on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. I also saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals? But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or even to look in it. And I cried and cried because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or even to look in it.

 

No man or angel has the authority. No one can control the antichrist except the One.

John is a “visitor” in this vision of heaven. He learns that only One can open the scroll and start the process of judgment on humanity.

Revelation 5:5-7

Then one of the elders said to me, Stop crying. Look! The Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has been victorious so that He may open the scroll and its seven seals. Then I saw One like a slaughtered lamb standing between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent into all the earth. He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of the One seated on the throne.

 

Jesus has the ability to judge. He who is the Creator has the right to be able to judge.

Colossians 1:16

For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.

 

Acts 17:30-31

“Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”

 

There is a day when there will be a day of reckoning. (Whether one chooses to believe it or not.) No man or woman will miss it.

1 Corinthians 4:3-4

It is of little importance to me that I should be evaluated by you or by any human court. In fact, I don’t even evaluate myself. For I am not conscious of anything against myself, but I am not justified by this. The One who evaluates me is the Lord.

 

Romans 14:4

Who are you to criticize another’s household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand. For the Lord is able to make him stand.

 

God has the authority to judge.

John 5:26-27

For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself. And he has granted Him the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

 

God is still the Judge of those who reject Him.

John 12:48

The one who rejects Me and doesn’t accept My sayings has this as his judge: The word I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

 

Everyone will give an account of his life.

Romans 14:7-12

For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and came to life for this: that He might rule over both the dead and the living. But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before the tribunal of God. For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God. So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

 

There is only One Lawgiver–One Judge.

James 4:12

There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

 

The Lamb is worthy to open the scroll (Revelation 5:6).

He looked weak when He was slain, but He is indeed strong.

Seven horns refer to complete authority (one who rules).

Seven eyes refer to complete knowledge of all life. Nothing is hidden from Him.

John 4:24-25

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”

 

Revelation 6:1-2

Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there was a white horse. The horseman on it had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he went out as a victor to conquer.

 

The word “come” can also be interpreted as the word, “go.” In other words, the antichrist was given permission to go forth over the world.

There are three different horses mentioned. Of the riders, Christ is not one of them. One of the riders is the antichrist.

The rider had a bow–a weapon of war.

He was given a crown to rule as a person with authority.

He rode out as a conqueror who was determined to conquer what was not his to subdue.

There is no timeframe mentioned here as to how long this would take place, but it involves the time when the restraint of the Holy Spirit was removed.