Tag Archives: angel

The Church and Salvation: The Teaching of God’s People

Today’s message summary of October 22, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

After the book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, there was a period of 400 years where there was no prophet from God on the scene, and man was left to himself as to how he would practice his faith.  During this 400 years, you would see different things occur, but the pursuit of religion was left to man’s own accord.

The Sadducees relied upon natural law and not upon any teachings or writings.  Even today, the issue is the lack of good, sound teaching of God’s Word.  We are in a society that receives very little education, especially in reasoning and understanding.

The church originally started schools for the purpose of teaching people how to read and write.  It was to help people be able to read and understand what they were reading, and it was to be able to gain something from God’s Word.

Hosea 4:6 KJV

My people perish from a lack of knowledge.

How well are we being taught?  Do we believe what we are being taught?

Teaching should not be just a repetition of what the teacher has said, but to go further into seeking the information that has been presented.

Acts 17:11

The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Many people will sit in church and hear the Word, but if it is not taught and the people decide it is not to be believed or understood, then it is just a waste of time.

One of the obvious things that one can observe in a believer’s life is a lack of progression.  It is from a lack of faith.  It comes down to trusting God more than just trusting yourself.  The Word of God is to be taught to help to develop you more into the type of person that God wants you to be.

Acts 20:27

…for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God.

Why would one go to a doctor for advice and leave without taking it?  Paul was not holding back in any way his knowledge of God.  It is important that the people of God may grow and mature with the proper instruction of God’s Word.

What happened during those 400 years?  There were groups that emerged:

The Essenes followed Greek philosophies that existed two centuries before Christ emerged.  They were a Jewish sect.  Note that their belief in how souls were transported was void of God’s teaching.

The Scribes emerged as a continuation of the group that existed during David and Solomon’s time.  They were known for recording words and also for accounting.  They set forth and maintain order when it came to how things were to be accomplished, and yet there was no prophet that provided additional inspiration.

The Sadducees did not believe in death and resurrection of the dead, nor angels or spirits.  They only believed in the present life they were living.  (Much like those who lack belief are today.  There are many who believe that there is nothing after this life.)

Acts 23:8

For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, and no angel or spirit, but the Pharisees affirm them all.

The Pharisees are believed to have emerged from the Maccabeans, and they kept up with the writings of Moses, but they also infused a number of new rules within their way of living that ultimately became much more important than that of God’s Word.

Matthew 15:7-9

Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said: These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.

Luke 11:42

“But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of mint, rue, and every kind of herb, and you bypass justice and love for God. These things you should have done without neglecting the others.

Luke 11:52

“Woe to you experts in the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge! You didn’t go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in.”

God desires for sincere worship and praise before Him.

There is something wrong with the number of churches that are existence today in that there is hardly any teaching.  Even worse, we are teaching the precepts of man rather than those from God.

The ministry of Jesus began with teaching.  Questions and answers follow this instruction.  There is learning that is taking place.

Luke 2:46

After three days, they found Him (Jesus at age 12) in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

Matthew 4:17

From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!”

Luke 4:14-15

Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity. He was teaching in their synagogues, being acclaimed by everyone.

A good teacher must also be a good listener.  He or she will always listen to the students in order to know what needs to be imparted.

Note that there was a 400-year gap before Jesus was teaching the people.  Many people were hungry for His words of instruction.

The church, as a whole, must return to teaching.  Teaching will either draw your nearer to Jesus, or it will chase you away.  Either way, the truth of Jesus Christ and His Word must be shared.

Our churches should be overflowing–not because of preachers who entertain, but because God’s Word is being proclaimed.

If a person comes to church to do anything other than hear God’s Word, it becomes idolatry.

The Spirit must be present in order that the teacher can be used to advance the will of the Father.  A teacher must recognize the evidence of God’s presence in order to teach well.  Jesus’s own ministry was not independent of the Father and of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:16-17

After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!

John 4:34

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,” Jesus told them.

John 5:19-20

Then Jesus replied, “I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing, and He will show Him greater works that these so that you will be amazed.

2 John 1:9

Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it, does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son.

God is a teacher.  It is the very character and nature of God.

Deuteronomy 4:12-14

Then the Lord spoke to you from the fire. You kept hearing the sound of the words, but didn’t see a form; there was only a voice. He declared His covenant to you. He commanded you to follow the Ten Commandments, which He wrote on two stone tablets. At that time the Lord commanded me to teach you statutes and ordinances for you to follow in the land you are about to cross into and possess.

Isaiah 48:17

This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: I am Yahweh your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go.

Jeremiah 32:33

They have turned their backs to Me and not their faces. Though I taught them time and time again, they do not listen and receive discipline.

The instruction that we receive is to help us in obedience and to follow and live according to His will.  That, ultimately, is what is best for us.

Jesus’s teaching is to help us to see something far greater from His instruction than just mere words.

John 7:46

The police answered, “No man ever spoke like this!”

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Revelation: The Bowls of His Wrath

Today’s message summary of May 22, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

We’re picking up into Revelation Chapter 16 and discussing the fourth, fifth and sixth bowls.

The judgment is coming against those who chose not to follow God and were following false teaching. This is not unlike what is being experienced today. There is an ongoing rendering of false doctrine. As it continues, hearts will be hardened. They have chosen to accept this style of teaching in spite of what God has declared.

The Antichrist is against everything that Christ stands for.

Revelation 16:8-16

The Fourth Bowl

The fourth poured out his bowl on the sun. He was given the power to burn people with fire, and people were burned by the intense heat. So they blasphemed the name of God, who had the power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give Him glory.

The Fifth Bowl

The fifth poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues because of their pain and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, yet they did not repent of their actions.

The Sixth Bowl

The sixth poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the east. Then I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming from the dragon’s mouth, from the beast’s mouth, and from the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons performing signs, who travel to the kings of the whole world to assemble them for the battle of the great day of God, the Almighty.

“Look, I am coming like a thief. The one who is alert and remains clothed so that he may not go around naked and people see his shame is blessed.”

So they assembled them at the place called in Hebrew, Armagedon.

With the fourth bowl, God uses the Sun by bringing intense heat (v. 8). This is in contrast to what happened in Revelation 8:12, where he blotted out part of the Sun.

Yet, the people were unrepentant. They became angry over the actions of God and cursed His name because of what He was doing to them. He was doing it to bring them to repentance, but they refused to do so.

It is not that they do not know that God is all-powerful. They readily know this is the case. We need to understand that Satan is nowhere near as powerful as God is.

You can be a highly intelligent person who is aware of all sorts of teaching, but without the knowledge of Christ, you are just foolish.

Have you noticed that the name of Jesus is always under attack? It is not the same as how the name of God is regarded. Men have come to a place where they will declare, “I don’t have to have reverence for God.”

Deuteronomy 5:11
Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His name.

Leviticus 24:13-16
Then the Lord spoke to Moses: “Bring the one who has cursed to the outside of the camp and have all who heard him lay their hands on his head; then have the whole community stone him. And tell the Israelites: If anyone curses his God, he will bear the consequences of his sin.” Whoever blasphemes the name of Yahweh is to be put to death; the whole community must stone him. If he blasphemes the Name, he is to be put to death, whether the foreign resident or the native.

Let God be the One who carries out justice. Let Him intervene in any battles that you are involved in.

2 Chronicles 32:16-21
His servants said more against the Lord God and against His servant Hezekiah. He also wrote letters to mock Yahweh, the God of Israel, saying against Him:

Just like the national gods of the lands that did not deliver their people from my power, so Hezekiah’s God will not deliver His people from my power.

Then they called out loudly in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem, who were on the wall, to frighten and discourage them in order that he might capture the city. They spoke against the God of Jerusalem like they had spoken against the gods of the peoples of the earth, which were made by human hands.

King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed about this and cried out to heaven, and the Lord sent an angel who annihilated every brave warrior, leader, and commander in the camp of the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria returned in disgrace to his land. He went to the temple of his god, and there some of his own children struck him down with the sword.

Don’t say or do things that will insult God or His name.

God takes His own name very seriously–whether we choose to do so or not.

In Revelation, there is no fear or reverence of God by the people. They knew who was in control of the plagues. They still refused to repent. They have thoughts about God, due to their own belief system, that refuse to acknowledge Him.

They understood the power of God.
They were aware of God (not that He is not known)
They chose not to acknowledge Him as God, or glorify Him

Even today, as a people, we are becoming less and less sensitive to God.

1 Timothy 4:1-2
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, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared.

The fifth bowl is a direct attack on the throne of the beast, who was giving false signs that he was powerful, but they were deceptive and were causing people to perish (they followed his signs and chose not to follow God).

Can he stop God’s attack or the power of God against his kingdom? No. His kingdom was plunged into darkness (confusion).

Darkness is to make them blind, including blinding the mind.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, 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. For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

The strong will of the people (v. 11) caused them to curse the God of heaven. They gnawed their tongues in agony, but they did not repent for what they had done.

Revelation 9:20-21
The rest of the people, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands to stop worshiping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which are not able to see, hear, or walk. And they did not repent of their murders, their sorceries, their sexual immorality, or their thefts.

Can one get so deep into sin that there is a refusal to repent? Wicked people can get to a place to believe that they are doing the right thing.

The purpose of the sixth bowl (v. 12) was to prepare for the king from the East to emerge across the dried bed of the Euphrates River for the Battle of Armageddon.

Luke 16:27-31
‘Father,’ he said, ‘then I beg you to send him to my father’s house — because I have five brothers — to warn them, so they won’t also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, “They have Moses and the prophets, they should listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said. ‘But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “But he told him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.'”

Don’t live in such a way that you remain in sin and fail to relent from a life without Jesus Christ.

Believe God and hold onto what He says.

The Scripture says, “Be ready” for Jesus Christ’s return.


The Antichrist and the Two Beasts

Today’s message summary of April 19, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The Antichrist is more than just a person–it is a spirit. That spirit is anywhere that you find those that are against Jesus Christ. It permeates throughout society. It is present in its opposition of the proclamation of Christ’s name, and it works through the power of deception.

The key to its presence is the pressure placed on our value system and everything that we stand for. Eventually, just as a heated pot of water eventually boils, all of this will boil over.

The Antichrist is essentially Satan operating in the world. He can appear as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:14

And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

 

Satan can only possess a body–he cannot create a body. He has to find a willing participant who desires to serve him. Demons function in this manner, as well.

Matthew 8:28-32

When He had come to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met Him as they came out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, “What do You have to do with us, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Now a long way off from them, a large herd of pigs was feeding. “If You drive us out,” the demons begged Him, “send us into the herd of pigs.” “Go!” He told them. So when they had come out, they entered the pigs. And suddenly the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water.

 

1 John 2:18

Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard, “Antichrist is coming,” even now many antichrists have come. We know from this that it is the last hour.

 

In contrast to the Antichrist (Satan), Christ did not always have a body. He was created by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin.

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Hebrews 10:5

Therefore, as He was coming into the world, He said: You did not want sacrifice and offering, but You prepared a body for Me.

 

Acts 2:31

Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay.

 

God the Father is not in a body.

John 4:24

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

 

In Revelation 13, the first and second beasts are false prophets. Satan mirrors the Holy Trinity with what we can see is the unholy trinity:

  1. Satan: Antichrist (not seen–see 1 John 2:18)

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.

  1. The first beast: given authority. He received what appeared to be a fatal wound to the head, but he survived. The whole world will follow him–who is like the beast (the head of the world). This is Satan’s effort to duplicate Christ’s resurrection, but even it is rooted in deception.
  1. The second beast: lamb (gentle); dragon (forceful) causes all to worship the beast. He will be allowed to exercise all authority on behalf of the first beast and be able to make political and military actions to bring about compliance.

The Holy Trinity:

  1. God the Father (Spirit–not seen).

John 6:38

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

  1. Son–Jesus Christ; resurrection–the head of all

Matthew 28:18

Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

1 Corinthians 15:4-6

…that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep.

 

Colossians 1:18

He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything.

  1. The Holy Spirit

John 16:8

When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.

 

John 16:14

He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you.

 

Romans 1:3-4

…concerning His son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh and who has been declared to be th epowerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead according to the Spirit of holiness.

 

The Antichrist and his followers are intent to slander and demean God’s name. Churches are losing interest amongst the people. Many stay away from this fellowship believing that “I can have church all by myself.” The problem with this (and Satan knows it) is that it is not what God intended for people to support each other in fellowship, which has a must greater impact on society in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Satan, in order to capture followers, attempts to follow the same plan as God in order to bring, and even force, people to comply with him through this unholy trinity.

Revelation 13:12-18

He (the second beast) exercises all the authority of the first beast on his behalf and compels the earth and those who live on it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He also performs great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in front of people. He deceives those who live on the earth because of the signs that he is permitted to perform on behalf of the beast, telling those who live on the earth to make an image of the beast who had the sword wound yet lived. He was permitted to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he requires everyone–small and great, rich and poor, free and slave–to be given a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of his name. Here is wisdom: The one who has understanding must calculate the number of the beast, because it is the number of a man. His number is 666.


God’s Plan of Salvation: Mary’s Journey

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

It is indeed God’s plan for every person to be saved. He makes the provision through Jesus Christ. Consider how Mary was taken on her own journey when she learned that she would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit to carry Jesus within her. Note that she was obedient to The Lord and noted that this was something that she was to carry out, and she praised God for it. There was a special thing inside her that she wanted to fulfill. She was now on a journey that she didn’t completely understand, but yet she was willing to do it in obedience to God.

Luke 1: 34
Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”

Mary asked the question that many of us ask…”How can this be done?” All that God calls for us to do is to be obedient to Him and walk with Him. We may not understand how things will be accomplished, but our challenge is to wait on The Lord. He is not asking us if we are able to do anything–He just wants us to be willing to do it. He is aware of our inadequacies and our deficiencies. He just asks us to be willing. Are you willing to say to God, “Lord, please let it be done according to your will?” That’s what Mary did–she was obedient to His will, and was ready to follow His direction. She could not do anything without the power of God through the Holy Spirit, and that is the same for us, as well.

Consider all of things that God did to communicate and reassure Mary through her journey.

Luke 1:34-38
34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”

35 The angel replied to her:

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the holy One to be born
will be called the Son of God.
36 And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

38 “I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.

Mary, not long after this encounter, was ready to take a trip. She was directed to Elizabeth to see evidence of what she was told. In the same way that we sometimes need to see the physical evidence of what God is doing, Mary would go to see “the barren one” who was now pregnant.

Luke 1:39-45
39 In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah 40 where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she exclaimed with a loud cry:

“You are the most blessed of women,
and your child will be blessed!

43 How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me! 45 She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!”

Note the words of encouragement from Elizabeth to Mary. She is not speaking of herself. The Spirit was speaking through Elizabeth to encourage Mary. Elizabeth had asked Mary about the blessing of her presence. When God uses you for something, do you recognize it as a blessing? When God is using you, it is a blessing indeed. It is all for His glory.

Note that God wanted Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah, Elizabeth’s husband, that God was more than able to accomplish these things according to His will. Elizabeth knows who this child is that Mary would give birth to, and it was through the Spirit.

The next person that Mary deals with is Joseph. Joseph was not aware of what was happening until the angel spoke with him in a dream:

Matthew 1:18-24
18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name Him Immanuel,
which is translated “God is with us.”

24 When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her.

This was one of those situations where Mary could only explain so much to Joseph about her pregnancy until God had to intervene with the presence of the Spirit in all things.

God now also communicates with Joseph and Mary through Simeon:

Luke 2:22-35
22 And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male will be dedicated to The Lord) 24 and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons).

25 There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said:

29 Now, Master,
You can dismiss Your slave in peace,
as You promised.
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation.
31 You have prepared it
in the presence of all peoples—
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and glory to Your people Israel.
33 His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Note first that Joseph and Mary were obviously poor when they brought Jesus to be consecrated. They only could bring what they had.

Leviticus 12:6-8
6 “When her days of purification are complete, whether for a son or daughter, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old male lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. 7 He will present them before the Lord and make atonement on her behalf; she will be clean from her discharge of blood. This is the law for a woman giving birth, whether to a male or female. 8 But if she doesn’t have sufficient means for a sheep, she may take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. Then the priest will make atonement on her behalf, and she will be clean.”

God was present here with the words of Simeon to communicate to Mary and Joseph through a righteous and devout man (Luke 2:25). God was working through people who were deemed righteous in their obedience to God, and Simeon provided additional words of encouragement to both Joseph and Mary, and they were both in this together.

Also note the three Gentiles–the wise men or Magi. God directed them to go to Jerusalem. They were the first Gentiles to worship Jesus. Only after their worship could gifts be presented.

Matthew 2:1-12
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

3 When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.

5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet:

6 And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the leaders of Judah:
because out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd My people Israel.”
7 Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him.”

9 After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure. 11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.

History dictates that the Magi heard about this Jesus from where they originated in their eastern land. How far would you go to seek Jesus Christ? God even confirmed to the wise men that what they were witnessing was His work. The signs that they had seen–the star directing them to the house–led them to the Messiah that they were told about.

2 Corinthians 5:16
From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way.

Here is something very important for us to learn about these events. The wise men saw the Messiah for who He was. When we really worship God and recognize who He is, the gifts would follow suit for there is the recognition that we would not withhold anything from Him. Even more that this, but it is not what we can provide, but it is His provision that allows us to work for Him and serve Him.


God’s Involvement with His Creation

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Last week, we spoke about God’s plan for His creation and His involvement.  We discussed that His creation was for each of us.  He is the One who performs miracles for His people.

God makes Himself evident to His people through his miracles.  God comes to us, and He always has historically come to His people.  We are unable to go to him in our state of sin.  He must provide the path of fellowship for us, including a desire to seek Him.  Because He loved us, He wants us to have the desire to love Him.

God was involved with His people from the very beginning–at the time of creation.  His desire was to reveal Himself through Jesus Christ.

John 14:7

Jesus Reveals the Father

“If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”

The word “magnify” is to reveal oneself in a very practical way.  God has indeed revealed Himself and magnified Himself.  It is God’s desire to be involved with us–do we have the desire to be involved with Him?

Luke 1:26-38

26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her: 

Do not be afraid, Mary,

for you have found favor with God.

31 Now listen:

You will conceive and give birth to a son,

and you will call His name Jesus.

32 He will be great

and will be called the Son of the Most High,

and the Lord God will give Him

the throne of His father David.

33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,

and His kingdom will have no end.

34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”

 

35 The angel replied to her:

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,

and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.

Therefore, the holy One to be born

will be called the Son of God.

36 And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

 

38 “I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.

Shekinah glory – this is a word that was brought into the Hebrew language and developed over time.  It speaks of the manifestation of God’s glory.

God walked in the garden with Adam.  He made Himself evident to Adam, and note that Jesus did the same thing when He came to minister to His people and declare that He was the Messiah.

God will never leave us nor forsake us, but He must deal with our sin each day.  Sin causes a broken fellowship with Him.  He will not magnify Himself with us in the midst of a broken relationship.

Exodus 40:34-38

The Lord’s Glory

34 The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses was unable to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud rested on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

36 The Israelites set out whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle throughout all the stages of their journey. 37 If the cloud was not taken up, they did not set out until the day it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and there was a fire inside the cloud by night, visible to the entire house of Israel throughout all the stages of their journey.

The glory of The Lord filled the tabernacle.  The cloud represents God’s glory.

God spoke to Moses from the tabernacle and speaks with Moses and the people.

Solomon, many years later, built the temple that replaced the tabernacle.  God would speak to His people from there, where the Ark of the Covenant was located.

2 Chronicles 5:13-14

13 The trumpeters and singers joined together to praise and thank the Lord with one voice. They raised their voices, accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and musical instruments, in praise to the Lord:

For He is good;

His faithful love endures forever.

The temple, the Lord’s temple, was filled with a cloud. 14 And because of the cloud, the priests were not able to continue ministering, for the glory of the Lord filled God’s temple.

The cloud is God’s shekinah glory.

God with Adam

God with the tabernacle

God with the temple

God is demonstrating that He wanted to have a relationship with His people.

After the temple was destroyed, it was rebuilt around 515 B.C.  The glory of God returned to the temple even greater than in the past, and note that Jesus spoke to the people from that very temple.  God sent His son to be involved in our lives.  God’s glory and presence is there.  The shekinah glory is the very presence of the living God.

Shekinah is a resting place in God’s presence.

Titus 2:11

For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people.

1 Timothy 3:16

And most certainly, the mystery of godliness is great:

He was manifested in the flesh,

vindicated in the Spirit,

seen by angels,

preached among the nations,

believed on in the world,

taken up in glory.

He was manifested in the flesh–he appeared in the flesh.  This is a form of God’s shekinah glory.

In Luke 1:31, note the declaration of Jesus’ name represents Jehovah saves–He delivers–He saves us from our sins.  God is involved in our lives through His Son, Jesus.  It is a great and glorious name.  All throughout the world, the name of Jesus is known.  The name is from the Greek word Yeshua , which means that He will save His people from their sin.

Matthew 1:18-23

The Nativity of the Messiah

18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 See, the virgin will become pregnant

and give birth to a son,

and they will name Him Immanuel,

which is translated “God is with us.”

In Luke 1:33, it is noted that Jesus will rule over the house of Jacob…why?  The meaning of Israel means “to contend with” or “to wrestle with.”  If you look at Israel, they were often fighting with enemies, and often they were at odds with God.  God was trying to communicate that there was no more wrestling or fighting with Jacob.  In the same way, Jesus Christ was declaring that He was no longer wrestling with His people.  God has a standard that His people have continually struggled with.

Genesis 32:24-34

Jacob Wrestles with God

24 Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that He could not defeat him, He struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip. 26 Then He said to Jacob, “Let Me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me.”

27 “What is your name?” the man asked.

“Jacob,” he replied.

28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” He said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”

29 Then Jacob asked Him, “Please tell me Your name.”

But He answered, “Why do you ask My name?” And He blessed him there.

30 Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For I have seen God face to face,” he said, “and I have been delivered.” 31 The sun shone on him as he passed by Penuel—limping because of his hip. 32 That is why, to this day, the Israelites don’t eat the thigh muscle that is at the hip socket: because He struck Jacob’s hip socket at the thigh muscle.

The word “Jacob” means “to take by the heel” (Genesis 25:26).  The word means to supplant, or take the place of something.  Lord, are you saying that Jesus will take the place of the God of this world?  Are you saying that Jesus is the God we are to follow after instead of the God of this world?  Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophesy stated in Genesis 3:15:

Genesis 3:15

I will put hostility between you and the woman,

and between your seed and her seed.

He will strike your head,

and you will strike his heel.

The story of Christmas being shared is much deeper than what we know about each year.  The story is really the fulfillment of God’s promise that He will always be with us.  The story is the understanding of the depth of meaning with God’s presence–everyday in our lives.  He came to us while we were yet sinners to draw us near to Himself.


Lot and the Consequences of a Lack of Confidence in God

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

God desires for each of us to be confident in Jesus Christ. That confidence does not come through the flesh, but through the God that we serve. Our confidence comes through The Lord and what He is doing in our lives.

Today we will examine what it is to live outside of confidence in God. There are consequences in not living in His confidence. It means that one will miss out on living the abundant life. By not living in the Lord’s confidence, it means that we would live in our own energy and strength, which will ultimately lead to disasterous results.

Ways of not living under God’s confidence has consequences. These areas include the following:
1. Drifting away from Him
2. Doubting Him — His Word means less and less relevance to you.
3. A dullness about God — a lack of zealousness for Him; a boredom over Him.
4. Despising Him — anything that is deemed of Him or “religious things.”
5. Defying Him — rebellion of Him and His Word; refusing to live as a child of God.

In 2 Peter 2:7, we have a description of a person who is not living in God’s confidence. We will look at Lot’s life and examine it in detail.

2 Peter 2:7
…and if He rescued righteous Lot, distressed by the unrestrained behavior of the immoral.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, there are consequences with living outside of God’s will. When a person decides to live outside of God’s authority and His will, He should expect to be brought down and oppressed, even surrounded, by evil. When you are away from The Lord, you are fair game with every demon. The world will treat you roughly, as well.

Lot had his struggles with all of the things noted above, but even in his righteousness, he did not actively witness and proclaim God to others, which is noted in that others did not take him very seriously as to his life. This also applies to us in the same way. God wants us to live in His confidence and honor Him by proclaiming our faith to others. There will come a point that one’s complacency over Jesus Christ will catch many off guard.

Luke 17:28-29
28 It will be the same as it was in the days of Lot: People went on eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. 29 But on the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all.

Lot was taken in by Abram (Abraham) at an early age. He learned a lot from Abram, and he was blessed because he was under Abram’s care. Abram loves Lot and cares for him. but Lot chose to live differently from the way Abram lived.

Genesis 12:5-6
5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people he had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the site of Shechem, at the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

Note that Lot was blessed by his association with Abram, but he chose to come out from under God’s covering instead of working with Abram.

Genesis 13:5-10
5 Now Lot, who was traveling with Abram, also had flocks, herds, and tents. 6 But the land was unable to support them as long as they stayed together, for they had so many possessions that they could not stay together, 7 and there was quarreling between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were living in the land.

8 Then Abram said to Lot, “Please, let’s not have quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, since we are relatives. 9 Isn’t the whole land before you? Separate from me: if you go to the left, I will go to the right; if you go to the right, I will go to the left.”

10 Lot looked out and saw that the entire Jordan Valley as far as Zoar was well watered everywhere like the Lord’s garden and the land of Egypt. This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

Note that Abram’s confidence was in God. He relied upon God’s care for him, and allowed Lot to decide where to go. Lot decided that he would take the best of the land by moving to the east. Lot moved close to the place where there was evil (Sodom), and it wasn’t long before he was right in the middle of it.

Genesis 13:11-12
11 So Lot chose the entire Jordan Valley for himself. Then Lot journeyed eastward, and they separated from each other. 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, but Lot lived in the cities of the valley and set up his tent near Sodom.

1 Thessalonians 5:22
Stay away from every kind of evil.

Look at where Lot winds up–he eventually moved into Sodom.

Genesis 14:11-13
11 The four kings took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food and went on. 12 They also took Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, for he was living in Sodom, and they went on.

13 One of the survivors came and told Abram the Hebrew, who lived near the oaks belonging to Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol and the brother of Aner. They were bound by a treaty with Abram.

A believer needs to proceed with extreme caution in his association with those who choose to live in an ungodly manner. It will have a negative effect on how you live your life and it will eventually cause you to suffer some loss. This happened to Lot because he moved out from under the blessing of Abram and his household. Lot lost much of his wealth because of where he chose to move himself and his family.

When Abram discovers what happens to Lot, he shows the love that he has for his nephew, Lot. He puts everything he owns at risk by going out to rescue Lot.

Genesis 14:13-16
13 One of the survivors came and told Abram the Hebrew, who lived near the oaks belonging to Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol and the brother of Aner. They were bound by a treaty with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken prisoner, he assembled his 318 trained men, born in his household, and they went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 And he and his servants deployed against them by night, attacked them, and pursued them as far as Hobah to the north of Damascus. 16 He brought back all the goods and also his relative Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the other people.

Even when Lot was rescued, he returned to Sodom. Do you find yourself going back to areas in your life where God would not have you to go? Because of Abraham’s love for his nephew, Lot was brought out of Sodom and rescued. God intended to judge Sodom, but he rescued Lot because of Abraham’s appeals to not destroy Sodom with Lot in it.

Genesis 19:1-14
19 The two angels entered Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting at Sodom’s gate. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them. He bowed with his face to the ground 2 and said, “My lords, turn aside to your servant’s house, wash your feet, and spend the night. Then you can get up early and go on your way.”

“No,” they said. “We would rather spend the night in the square.” 3 But he urged them so strongly that they followed him and went into his house. He prepared a feast and baked unleavened bread for them, and they ate.

4 Before they went to bed, the men of the city of Sodom, both young and old, the whole population, surrounded the house. 5 They called out to Lot and said, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so we can have sex with them!”

6 Lot went out to them at the entrance and shut the door behind him. 7 He said, “Don’t do this evil, my brothers. 8 Look, I’ve got two daughters who haven’t had sexual relations with a man. I’ll bring them out to you, and you can do whatever you want[a] to them. However, don’t do anything to these men, because they have come under the protection of my roof.”

9 “Get out of the way!” they said, adding, “This one came here as a foreigner, but he’s acting like a judge! Now we’ll do more harm to you than to them.” They put pressure on Lot and came up to break down the door. 10 But the angels reached out, brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 They struck the men who were at the entrance of the house, both young and old, with a blinding light so that they were unable to find the entrance.

12 Then the angels said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here: a son-in-law, your sons and daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of this place, 13 for we are about to destroy this place because the outcry against its people is so great before the Lord, that the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were going to marry his daughters. “Get up,” he said. “Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

When Lot tried to communicate with his sons-in-law, he wasn’t taken seriously at a critical time because they did not see Lot’s dedication or zeal for God. They did not see Lot’s sincerity for The Lord. When people see your sincerity for Jesus Christ in everything that you do, they will take you seriously.

Genesis 19:15-22
15 At daybreak the angels urged Lot on: “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he hesitated. Because of the Lord’s compassion for him, the men grabbed his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters. Then they brought him out and left him outside the city.

17 As soon as the angels got them outside, one of them said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop anywhere on the plain! Run to the mountains, or you will be swept away!”

18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords—please. 19 Your servant has indeed found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness by saving my life. But I can’t run to the mountains; the disaster will overtake me, and I will die. 20 Look, this town is close enough for me to run to. It is a small place. Please let me go there—it’s only a small place, isn’t it?—so that I can survive.”

21 And he said to him, “All right, I’ll grant your request about this matter too and will not demolish the town you mentioned. 22 Hurry up! Run there, for I cannot do anything until you get there.” Therefore the name of the city is Zoar.

Note that Lot was hesitant when he was told to get out of Sodom. He was looking more at what he wanted for the moment than what could happen to him and his family. You’ve heard the saying, “He who hesitates is lost”? The angels had to rescue Lot and his family, and he even chose to go to a place that was different from where the angels told him to go (the mountains). He chose instead to go to Zoar, where he thought he would be safe. Here is where God will sometimes allow us to go places that are not necessarily the best for us. He desires for us to have His best, but it is our choice to accept His best.

Do you see how a person can be given good information and guidance, and how some can refuse to take it and use it? A person can make a conclusion to do something different, and sometimes it is void of reasoning.

God listened to Abraham’s intercessory prayers for Lot. He prayed for Lot’s safety, and God remembered him.

Genesis 19:29
So it was, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, He remembered Abraham and brought Lot out of the middle of the upheaval when He demolished the cities where Lot had lived.

When you lose confidence in God, you have already lost a great deal. Lot had lost his wealth and whatever he owned. He lost his family and even his daughters after he was rescued because of the type of the relationship that he had with them. He also lost the closeness of his relationship with Abraham and his family. Many things that Lot experienced were because of his lack of confidence and trust in God.

Abraham was blessed in the land of Canaan where he was. Lot wound up in a different place then where he had intended.

Genesis 19:30
Lot departed from Zoar and lived in the mountains along with his two daughters, because he was afraid to live in Zoar. Instead, he and his two daughters lived in a cave.

A person has to make a choice to allow God to govern his or her life, and make decisions with His guidance. That is how we are to live the life that God would have us to live. He desires that you live the abundant life in Jesus Christ. It begins with our faith and trust in Him, and He will bring us out of those areas that break our fellowship with Him. Our prayer is that you will listen to God and yield to Him and His goodness. God loves you more that you can ever imagine. He wants you to prosper,


The Gift of Christ for Christmas

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
Many of us will wake up Christmas morning in anticipation of what we will find as gifts under the Christmas tree, but consider that we already have a wonderful gift that we have in Jesus Christ!At the time of Christ’s birth, there was not much stated about it publicly…note that it was a message of good news that was carried forth by the angels.Matthew 1:18-21

18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

The angels proclaimed the message but even they did not have a complete understanding of what God was doing.

Hebrews 2:6-7
6 But one has somewhere testified:

What is man that You remember him,
or the son of man that You care for him?
7 You made him lower than the angels
for a short time;
You crowned him with glory and honor.

The angels asked of God why He cared so much for them:

Psalm 144:3
Lord, what is man, that You care for him,
the son of man, that You think of him?

The angels understood the power of God and how he could eliminate those who did not regard who He was.

1 Peter 1:12
It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you. These things have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Angels desire to look into these things.

Why is it that the angels wondered about these things and yet we, human beings, are less concerned about God, His presence, and His second coming?
If the angels were questioning how God gave favor to man, why don’t we? Note that angels were not redeemed or any means of salvation. They saw evidence of God working in the lives of people, and yet, after 400 years of silence, God used the angels to bring forth His message. Perhaps the angels were busy doing this because man had forgotten the God that they were to serve because we were occupied with other things.

Matthew 2:1-6
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

3 When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.

5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet:

6 And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the leaders of Judah:
because out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd My people Israel.”

Note that Herod was not a Jew. The religious people were not the ones initiating the search for the Christ child. Herod was the one who called for information about the Messiah. He asked if this child was the “King of the Jews.” The three wise men were also not Jews. They came from different lands to seek Jesus. The ones that had the information were apparently not seeking Him.

Note that we have the information available to us as believers in Christ. Do we believe the information in Scripture about Christ’s presence and act upon it?

Micah 5:2
Bethlehem Ephrathah,
you are small among the clans of Judah;
One will come from you
to be ruler over Israel for Me.
His origin is from antiquity,
from eternity.

The birth of Jesus caused some men to seek Him out, while others were troubled by it (Matthew 2:3). Many religious people had the knowledge but were not even looking or acting upon it (Matthew 2:4-5) and were even fighting amongst themselves. The priests saw the same information over and over and yet did not seem to believe what they already knew. They were not looking for the sign that The Lord gave to them in Isaiah 7:14:

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.

The birth of Christ was not hidden from us. Isaiah 7:14 was a sign of what would come. Are we conscious of when God is speaking to us? Some of us spend more time trying to disprove Jesus’ existence instead of choosing to believe in Him.

The angels were providing the messages. They can’t see the future, though.

Luke 1:10-17
10 At the hour of incense the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11 An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and overcome with fear. 13 But the angel said to him:

Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you will name him John.
14 There will be joy and delight for you,
and many will rejoice at his birth.
15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord
and will never drink wine or beer.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit
while still in his mother’s womb.
16 He will turn many of the sons of Israel
to the Lord their God.
17 And he will go before Him
in the spirit and power of Elijah,
to turn the hearts of fathers
to their children,
and the disobedient
to the understanding of the righteous,
to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.

The angel spoke to Zechariah that the person to prepare for Jesus through Elizabeth would be John. Elizabeth was well beyond child-bearing years, but this was to be a testimony to others.

Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her:

Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
31 Now listen:
You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you will call His name Jesus.
32 He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him
the throne of His father David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and His kingdom will have no end.
34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”

35 The angel replied to her:

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the holy One to be born
will be called the Son of God.
36 And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

38 “I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.

Do you see how God is working in this matter? The people that were chosen were all to provide the testimony of Jesus Christ as Savior. Joseph’s role was very important, too:

Matthew 1:18-24
18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name Him Immanuel,
which is translated “God is with us.”

24 When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus.

Finally, the angels provided a message to the shepherds.

Luke 2:8-20
8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

14 Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favors!
15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.

We need to keep in mind that God had been silent for quite some time before this moment because the people were enemies of God. They were not paying attention to Him or regarding His presence. It is to the wonderment of the angels that God paid so much attention to His creation, yet they were rejoicing over what God had done.

The message had been passed on from the angels to the people. The shepherds proclaimed the message and praised God while doing so, and the people who heard it were amazed! The people are proclaiming the gospel message to everyone who hears it to this day.

God will show Himself to you if you truly want to see Him. He will make Himself known to you if you truly want to know Him. God wants each of us to know that Jesus Christ is your Savior and He is ready to make Himself known to you. All it takes is believing that He is your Lord and Savior with all of your heart.

There’s no pastor that can save you. There’s no deacon or elder that can save you. There’s no church denomination that can save you. There’s only one name under heaven and earth that can save you…Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17, 14:6). You can come to Jesus Christ just as you are, but you will not stay as you are.

This Christmas, do not allow yourself to be troubled or uncaring about Jesus Christ and the gospel of His saving message. If there is any time that we need to be telling the truth about Christ, this is the time. Leave the results to Him.