Tag Archives: apostles

The Church and Salvation: Learning to Live Life Differently

Today’s message summary of January 14, 2018 from Pastor Gus Brown:

When you are called to live for Jesus Christ, it is a call to live in a different manner from how you lived in the past.  Something changes.  Your mind and attitude will change.

After Jesus called the twelve apostles, they were thrown into ministry to watch and see how it takes place.  They had to learn how to deal with people.  There will be some who will not listen to your words about Jesus Christ, but it is a privilege to share with others as God uses you.  Some will hear from what you share.

We will be examining passages from the book of Luke, Chapters 6 through 8, for the next few weeks.  We will see how the twelve will learn about ministry.  Jesus will be teaching them.

Do you know that the moment you are saved that you are in ministry?  The Holy Spirit begins the work in us that changes our words and language.

When does this ministry stop?  It doesn’t stop until God calls you home.  Ministry did not stop for the apostles until death.

Luke 6:17-19

After coming down with them, he stood on a level place with a large crowd of his disciples and a great number of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon. They came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those tormented by unclean spirits were made well. The whole crowd was trying to touch him, because power was coming out from him and healing them all.

The groups of people there were the apostles, the disciples of Jesus, and a multitude of people.  The large group of people came from all over.  They were from Judea, Jerusalem, Tyre and Sidon.  The book of Matthew added that there people from Galilee, Decapolis and beyond Jordan.

The apostles had to learn how to minister to all of these different groups of people.  Their world was being transitioned to a place of inclusiveness to different nationalities and ethnicities.  The people came with a number of ailments and wanted to be healed.

God empowers each of us who are called into ministry to meet needs if you are willing to do it.

When we minister to others, we are not losing something by giving to those in need.  We are, in fact, sharing what we have with the reminder that God provides it for us to share it.

The church today is still learning how to deal with people of different backgrounds.  Ministry challenges us to learn to minister to people with different views of life.  It helps us to overcome suspicion, uncertainty and mistrust.

Life is opening up for the apostles as they had never seen it.  Ministry showed them life from a new and tremendous perspective.  The apostles were going into a world that they had never expected.

Peter and John never imagined that they would be going from place to place to share the message of Jesus Christ.  When you are walking with the Lord, you will be amazed at where He will take you.

Jesus healed the multitude of people from the different lands (Luke 6:19) and they wanted to touch Him.

Ministry is interesting in that those who you are speaking to will teach you just as they are being taught.

Most of the people that Jesus was dealing with were poor (Luke 6:20).  The gospel was preached to them.  (Note that poor is not just associated with money.  Jesus refers to the poor in spirit.)

Matthew 11:1-6

When Jesus had finished giving instructions to his twelve disciples, he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns. Now when John heard in prison what the Christ was doing, he sent a message through his disciples and asked him, Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?

Jesus replied to them, Go and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news, and blessed is the one who isnt offended by me.

 

The average poor person did not have access to tutors for education, let alone a regular education.  Note that Sunday school was started in England in order that the common people could hear the gospel.

In Matthew, the people who hungered for God would receive righteousness.  The people desired righteousness, but they did not know yet what that meant or what it would look like.  Jesus promised that the people would understand and that they would be satisfied in the future.  He also stated that people will hate and reject you because of Him.

Luke 6:20-23

Then looking up at his disciples, he said:

 

Blessed are you who are poor,

because the kingdom of God is yours.

Blessed are you who are now hungry,

because you will be filled.

Blessed are you who weep now,

because you will laugh.

Blessed are you when people hate you,

when they exclude you, insult you,

and slander your name as evil

because of the Son of Man.

 

Rejoice in that day and leap for joy. Take noteyour reward is great in heaven, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the prophets.

 

Jesus tells the people to rejoice as they have a reward in heaven.  The prophets were treated in this same manner, such as Elijah.

1 Kings 19:9-18

He entered a cave there and spent the night.

Suddenly, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, What are you doing here, Elijah?

He replied, I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life.

Then he said, Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lords presence.

At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, What are you doing here, Elijah?

I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies, he replied, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and theyre looking for me to take my life.

 Then the Lord said to him, Go and return by the way you came to the Wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, you are to anoint Hazael as king over Aram. You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. Then Jehu will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Jehu. But I will leave seven thousand in Israelevery knee that has not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.

 

Jeremiah 26:16-24

Then the officials and all the people told the priests and prophets, This man doesnt deserve the death sentence, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God!

Some of the elders of the land stood up and said to all the assembled people, Micah the Moreshite prophesied in the days of King Hezekiah of Judah and said to all the people of Judah, This is what the Lord of Armies says:

Zion will be plowed like a field,

Jerusalem will become ruins,

and the temples mountain will be a high thicket.

Did King Hezekiah of Judah and all the people of Judah put him to death? Did not the king fear the Lord and plead for the Lords favor, and did not the Lord relent concerning the disaster he had pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!

Another man was also prophesying in the name of the LordUriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim. He prophesied against this city and against this land in words like all those of Jeremiah. King Jehoiakim, all his warriors, and all the officials heard his words, and the king tried to put him to death. When Uriah heard, he fled in fear and went to Egypt. But King Jehoiakim sent men to Egypt: Elnathan son of Achbor and certain other men with him went to Egypt. They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who executed him with the sword and threw his corpse into the burial place of the common people.

But Ahikam son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.

 

Jesus then spoke to the people of the woes in Luke 6:

Luke 6:24-26

But woe to you who are rich,

for you have received your comfort.

Woe to you who are now full,

for you will be hungry.

Woe to you who are now laughing,

for you will mourn and weep.

Woe to you

when all people speak well of you,

for this is the way their ancestors

used to treat the false prophets.

 

It is hard for a rich person to enter into God’s kingdom because they are secure in their wealth.

Matthew 19:20-24

I have kept all these, the young man told him. What do I still lack?

If you want to be perfect, Jesus said to him, go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.

When the young man heard that, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.

Jesus said to his disciples, Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

 

The reversal of life will take place for those who are secure.  Those that are well fed will have hunger and weep.

If those speak well of you, note that Jezebel spoke well of her false prophets.  When you are pleasing others, be aware that it is God that needs to be pleased.  Godly people will recognize your life and offer the appropriate praise.

1 Kings 18:19

Now summon all Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebels table.

Jeremiah 5:31

The prophets prophesy falsely,

and the priests rule by their own authority.

My people love it like this.

But what will you do at the end of it?

1 Kings 22:8

The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, There is still one man who can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies good about me, but only disaster. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.

The king shouldnt say that! Jehoshaphat replied.

 

Know the people that you surround yourself with.

Jesus now comes from a completely different place as He speaks in Luke 6:27-36.  He speaks of forgiving enemies and showing mercy.

Luke 6:27-36

But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, dont hold back your shirt either. Give to everyone who asks you, and from someone who takes your things, dont ask for them back. Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High. For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

 

If you are going to minister to a large number of people, you need to be ready and prepared to forgive others.  Jesus reminds us that we are to treat others in the same way that we want to be treated.

If you come across someone who was raised in an entirely different place and background from you, there is a possibility that this person only trusts himself and distrusts others.  This person, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has to learn about trust.

Jesus tells us to love our enemies and do good to them (Luke 6:27-36).  He challenges us, in our salvation, to show others how life can be when we walk with Jesus.  God showed each of us kindness and mercy by loving us.  We are to do the same and show the love of Christ to others.

Jesus wanted his apostles and disciples to hear His teaching and recognize that this is how they were to minister to others.  They were to do just as their Father in heaven would have them to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Church and Salvation:  Learning to Receive Criticism and Instruction

Today’s message summary of December 31, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

There are periods when Jesus spent time with his apostles to train them for what was to come after He turned over His ministry to them.

How much do you like criticism?  Many of us don’t, but there are times when criticism is necessary.  For those of us at the forefront of ministry, this criticism is indeed constructive and beneficial.  The apostles had to receive instruction in this way in order to make sure that (1) they were living in the right way, and (2) to demonstrate before others a life of service in Jesus Christ.

We are to respect those who criticize us, because they are ultimately watching us.  It is the act of analysis or of the qualities as an evaluation in comparison to others.  There may be a finding of fault or even disapproval of what is being done, but it is in the spirit of correction.  (We are often not as critical of ourselves as we should be.)

Being a Christian is not easy.  It starts with obedience to Him, and it involves a surrendering to the Holy Spirit, who is developing you into the person that will serve Jesus.  This is how you can experience success–in spite of the flesh.

If you were to pick twelve people to do a task, and only one of the twelve failed, how would you grade yourself?  This was the result of Jesus’ training of his apostles.

There is a historical contrast between Jesus, the Jewish leaders, and John the Baptist.

The Jewish teachers and John the Baptist didn’t choose their disciples.  Their disciples chose them.  Jesus, in contrast, hand picked each of His disciples in order that they would become His apostles.

They were not self-made.  They had to stay chose to Jesus in order to continue to develop, learn and grow.

John 15:16

You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.

Mark 3:13-15

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them out to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons.

This was a change from what was the religious norm of the time (instead of what happened with John and the Jewish leaders).  Jesus wanted the apostles and appointed them.  He wanted them to be with Him.  He would sent them out to preach, and gave them authority to drive out demons.

The real wonder of the apostles lies in the making and development of the men for their ministry.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!

The real wonder of a Christian is their growth and development.  Jesus wants to not just give salvation, but He wants to be with the believer to help him grow.  Where the old has left, the new has come.

The apostles reveal what is going to happen in the life of those who will accept Jesus as Savior.  The old has gone, and the new has come.

They had to learn to take criticism from other religious people.  There were many (Jews and Pharisees) who were watching them.

Mark 7:1-13

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him. They observed that some of his disciples were eating bread with uncleanthat is, unwashedhands. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, keeping the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and dining couches.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, Why dont your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ceremonially unclean hands?

He answered them, Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,

but their heart is far from me.

They worship me in vain,

teaching as doctrines human commands.

Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human tradition. He also said to them, You have a fine way of invalidating Gods command in order to set up your tradition!  For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother; and Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. But you say, If anyone tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is corban’” (that is, an offering devoted to God), you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.

 

“Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders?” (from Mark 7:5)

Jesus reminded the critics of the words of Scripture in defense of the disciples and noted that those who professed to follow the Lord had hearts that were not following Him.  He teaches the critics with the words of Isaiah.

Isaiah 29:13-19

The Lord said:

These people approach me with their speeches

to honor me with lip-service

yet their hearts are far from me,

and human rules direct their worship of me.

Therefore, I will again confound these people

with wonder after wonder.

The wisdom of their wise will vanish,

and the perception of their perceptive will be hidden.

 

Woe to those who go to great lengths

to hide their plans from the Lord.

They do their works in the dark,

and say, Who sees us? Who knows us?

You have turned things around,

as if the potter were the same as the clay.

How can what is made say about its maker,

He didnt make me?

How can what is formed

say about the one who formed it,

He doesnt understand what hes doing?

 

Isnt it true that in just a little while

Lebanon will become an orchard,

and the orchard will seem like a forest?

On that day the deaf will hear

the words of a document,

and out of a deep darkness

the eyes of the blind will see.

The humble will have joy

after joy in the Lord,

and the poor people will rejoice

in the Holy One of Israel.

 

The disciples were observant of the dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees, but they were observing and learning from the exchange.

They learned how to move from answering their question to stating a fact about the accusers (Mark 7:9-13).

Now Jesus takes the question from the Pharisees to the multitude of people and His disciples–a much larger group.  He turns the question into a teachable moment for all who are listening.

Mark 7:14-19

Summoning the crowd again, he told them, Listen to me, all of you, and understand: Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.

When he went into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, Are you also as lacking in understanding? Dont you realize that nothing going into a person from the outside can defile him? For it doesnt go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated (thus he declared all foods clean).

Remember that his disciples–soon to be apostles–were raised in Jewish tradition.  They had to see how these traditions were not nearly as important as the heart of the person.  The heart is to lead all of the actions for the glory of God.  Are things being done out of tradition, or are they being done out of a love and obedience for God?

Mark 7:20-23

And he said, What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of peoples hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, self-indulgence, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person.

Jesus brings all of the observers into the discussion and shares this important truth.

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ should always be mindful of where their hearts are and remain obedient to the Lord–and not grieve the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Salvation and the Church: The Apostles Were a Mixed Up Group

Today’s message summary of November 12, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Church is a place where we learn how to live for Jesus Christ.  It counters how people have learned to live according to the world’s standards.

A person will truly change not just because someone tells him to change.  The true change will come with the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit in that person’s life.

In understanding the word “apostle,” one first has to note that the word was never found in the Old Testament.  It was only presented when Jesus used the word.  It was a word used at sea concerning the ships that first went out.  The ships were “sent out” before the rest of the fleet.  Jesus applied this term to people.  If you take the example of the apostles, Jesus sent them out before the church even comes into existence.  He sent them out beforehand with a message.

Of the people that Jesus chose to be apostles, they were a mixed up group of people!

All but one of the disciples were from Galilee, which turned out to be a hotbed of activity and rebellion against the Romans.  Nazareth was within Galilee, where it was spoken, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46a)

There was a controversy with Jewish authority (a religious group).  Jesus was concerned about what was being taught within these groups.

The apostles witnessed miracles–things that no other person could do.  They may not have completely understood what they were seeing, but yet they witnessed them.  The miracles said something about Jesus, and that He was different from everyone else.

The apostles received private instruction–it was time alone with Jesus.

The apostles witnessed His resurrection.  They saw Him in His new body.

They were able to see things that no one else had seen.  In all of this, they could not even begin to explain all that they had witnessed to others.

Remember that Jesus was involved in two major ministries at that time (in the same way that today’s church is involved with these ministries today):

  1. Calling and training the twelve. (While there was emphasis on the twelve, there was other teaching and instruction that was taking place.)
  2. Healing and teaching in the community. (Jesus spoke to crowds of people and provided valuable wisdom and knowledge.)

The condition of our very society should be a flashpoint as to how the church is to respond, as the church is indeed the light for a dark world.

The church is to train people within its walls to be able to go out and execute Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), and that is to make disciples of other people–to win people to Jesus Christ and to bolster up and encourage other believers.

The apostles become Jesus’ traveling companions.

The disciples are those who receive Jesus’ teaching and even the direction of the apostles.

The community receives the teachings, and members of the community also go out in an effort to reach others.

Luke 10:1, 17

After this, the Lord appointed 70 others, and He sent them ahead of Him in pairs to every town and place where He Himself was about to go.

The Seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.”

The apostles were godly men who showed their sincerity by following Jesus; yet at the time of their calling, they were ignorant, narrow-minded, superstitious, and full of Jewish prejudices and misconceptions.

And yet, God calls these men.  They soon learn that Jesus taught them differently from what they had heard in the past.  Even though they were considered godly men, it was Jesus’ words that gave them the ability to look at their own hearts and minds.

The apostles were aware of their own Jewish traditions, but lacked understanding as to their true meaning and application.  They also had prejudice (Jews verses Gentiles, Samaritans) and superstition (ghosts).  This is a lot like many of us today.  Many people have ongoing misconceptions about what the church represents.

The apostles has much to unlearn of what was bad.

They had much to learn of what was good.

There were old beliefs that were incorrect that needed to be challenged in order to make room for new beliefs to be recognized and understood.

The greater number of disciples (70) were occasional followers.  The (12) apostles would be with Him most of the time.  They would become His traveling companions and His real ministry companions.  He was teaching them in order to be able to send them into the world.

Mark 3:13-15

Then He went up the mountain and summoned those He wanted, and they came to Him.  He also appointed 12He also named them apostlesto be with Him, to send them out to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons.

Matthew 13:36

Then He dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached Him and said, “Explain the parable of the weeds in the field to us.”

Matthew 6:5

“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by the people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward!”

Luke 11:1

He was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.”

Godly men need to learn how to pray.

Matthew 5:1-2

When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.  Then He began to teach them…

Jesus is still teaching today if you find the time to be with Him.

Are you willing to learn?  Ask Him to teach you.

Do you desire to know more?  Ask Him for more.

Look at these men who Jesus selected (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16)

  • Peter and Andrew were brothers (John 1:40-41; Matthew 4:18)
  • James and John were brothers who left their father (Matthew 4:21)
  • Matthew was a government tax collector
  • Thaddeus was known by three different names, including Jude
  • ..a zealot…a killer and hater of Romans
  • Judas was a deceiver and a thief
  • James, son of Alpheus, brother of Matthew
  • ..one who learns, spoke Greek
  • ..also known as Nathanael; was skeptical (John 1:45-49)
  • ..a doubter; was unsure (John 20:27)

Some of the brothers were bidding for a position within their role as apostles (who sits on the right hand of God or the left).  This mixed up group of people had to learn from Jesus what was really important.

John 13:34-35

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.  By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 8:31-32

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

Jesus can take anyone, regardless of their past, and transform a person to become a faithful servant of God.  Jesus just wants you to come.