Tag Archives: believers

Today’s Society Seeks Protection from Jesus (Part 2)

Today’s message summary of May 7, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

What you say in public can sometimes bring about trouble.  Our society often tries to relegate what is being said (even from the church pulpit) because of how people may respond.

Matthew 14:3-4

For Herod had arrested John, chained him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, since John had been telling him, “It’s not lawful for you to have her!”

John was speaking publicly about Herod and Herodias’ relationship.

It is not unheard of that people today have filed suit for emotional damages over what someone has had to say.  It is today’s societal norm.

Karl Marx once noted that “religion negates all that is dignified in a human being by rendering them like a slave, and more amenable to accept the status quo.

Have we come to a place in today’s society that we accept what is deemed to be the status quo?  Society and government says that we are to accept the status quo.

Jesus informs us that we need to count the cost when we go into ministry.  John the Baptist did not accept the status quo.  He pointed out that Herod and Herodias’ relationship was unlawful before God.

The rule today is that what is popular in society should be acceptable to everyone.

Have we reached a point where there is no room for the teaching of Jesus Christ?  It is hardly a popular view in today’s society.

John 8:36-37

Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill Me because My word is not welcome among you.

Matthew 11:12

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been suffering violence, and the violent have been seizing it by force.

Before Martin Luther, the church was very involved with government.  They were considered one and the same.  The pope had to recognize the king in a kingdom.  In many of today’s Arab countries, the government and the religious group are essentially the same entity.

Modern proponents of the separation of church and state, on the religious side, will fall back on Luther’s doctrine of two kingdoms.  This marked the beginning of the modern concept of the separation of church and state.

Anabaptists took this a step further. They were in agreement with Luther that there were two kingdoms.  They agreed that the two should be separate.  They held that no baptized member of the church should vote, serve in the military, nor hold a public office.  Why?  They were part of God’s kingdom, and the government was the other kingdom.

Ultimately, we don’t need this separation from society.  There is a huge need for believers to be actively involved in the political field.

In the life of the believer, there are two authorities:

First, there is one representing claims made by government.  You can challenge views and prevail or not, or bring about change.

Secondly, God is the one who represents the church.  While the church has authority, God has the highest authority (God’s Word).

Acts 4:19-20, 5:29, 16:4-5

Peter and John answered them, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God; you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people.

As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for the people to observe.  So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Romans 13:1-3

Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God.  So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval.

Churches have found themselves in court. Property, persons hired for employment, church discipline and employees who follow Jesus Christ have been affected in their own workplace.

The kingdom of God is being advanced by force because of the opposition that it faces.  Scripture reminds us of the “good fight” and of the need for “the armor of God.”

Matthew 11:2-6

Now when John heard in prison what the Christ was doing, he sent a message through his disciples and asked him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see. The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news, and blessed is the one who isn’t offended by me.”

Matthew 10:22

You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

The verse in Matthew 11:12 about the forceful advance of the kingdom (suffering of violence) notes the ongoing struggle of those who are following Jesus Christ:

  • You, yourself, are grabbing hold of the truth, or to the kingdom
  • You are pulling at it
  • You do so vigorously and energetically–pushing towards the kingdom

Anything that you desire will often require some effort.  You will really have to work at it.  When John the Baptist preached, this is when the real fight ensued between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of the world.

Luke 16:16-17

“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urgently invited to enter it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter in the law to drop out.”

Are you really running after God and His kingdom? While today’s society will tell you it is not worth your time, press ahead and go after Him.  When you serve Him, He will give you the energy that you need in order to be successful.

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The Church’s Benefit is Truth About Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Church is a Corporate Witness to The World

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
The church witnesses corporately to the world. It is to build up, minister, and encourage one another in Jesus Christ. The world observes what the body of Christ does in its ministry and should be drawn to Christ through its actions.

Acts 4:13-16
13 When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 And since they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in response. 15 After they had ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What should we do with these men? For an obvious sign, evident to all who live in Jerusalem, has been done through them, and we cannot deny it!

Acts 2:46
Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.

Ephesians 4:16
From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Romans 14:19
So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.

God wants the people of the church to actively minister to the world, and to build up one another. We are to proclaim that God can change lives. When the church acts, the evidence of what has been accomplished is present for everyone to see, whether or not you believe in Jesus Christ.

The church has a tremendous responsibility to minister to the world. A church fails to lead and be a witness by deliberately becoming a secular organization–by not praying and looking to the Lord and by removing the teaching of God’s Word (the Bible).

There has to sincere prayer and God’s Word is to be taught in order for the church to act in accordance to God’s will.

Jeremiah 9:23-26
23 This is what the LORD says:
The wise man must not boast in his wisdom;
the strong man must not boast in his strength;
the wealthy man must not boast in his wealth.
24 But the one who boasts should boast in this,
that he understands and knows Me—
that I am Yahweh, showing faithful love,
justice, and righteousness on the earth,
for I delight in these things.
This is the LORD’s declaration.

25 “The days are coming”—the LORD’s declaration—“when I will punish all the circumcised yet uncircumcised: 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the Ammonites, Moab, and all the inhabitants of the desert who clip the hair on their temples. All these nations are uncircumcised, and the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”

John 5:39-40

39 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. 40 And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.

Romans 2:21-22
21 you then, who teach another, don’t you teach yourself? You who preach, “You must not steal”—do you steal? 22 You who say, “You must not commit adultery”—do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob their temples?

1 Corinthians 3:3
…because you are still fleshly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and living like unbelievers?

A church cannot be an effective witness to the world when it is in isolation from the world and withdraws from it.

John 17:15
I am not praying
that You take them out of the world
but that You protect them from the evil one.

Mark 2:15-17
15 While He was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also guests with Jesus and His disciples, because there were many who were following Him. 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Acts 10:25, 34-35
25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him.

34 Then Peter began to speak: “Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, 35 but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.

A church is an effective witness for the world when it engages the world in “holy worldliness.” God wants us to be Christlike as we live in the world, even though we are not of the world.

John 20:21
Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

1 Peter 2:12
Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.

Luke 5:27-32
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” 28 So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow Him.
Dining with Sinners

29 Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for Him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were guests with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to His disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus replied to them, “The healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”


The Purpose of The Resurrection of Jesus

Today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:
Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we would not have the ability to experience eternal life. It is an important part of history. Jesus taught it and gave reference to it, and it was a prelude to the beginning of today’s church. At the time he was teaching it, the words were not completely understood.
Matthew 16:21
From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.

The disciples only understood the present as it existed–they did not know that the death had to occur in order to bring life.

Mark 8:31
Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be killed, and rise after three days.

Mark 9:31-32
31 For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed[a] into the hands of men. They will kill Him, and after He is killed, He will rise three days later.” 32 But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.

They did not understand because the Spirit of God was not dwelling within them to compel and provide understanding. There are many people today who come to church but do not understand what is being taught. The Holy Spirit must be present to provide guidance and understanding to the gospel message.

John 2:18-22
18 So the Jews replied to Him, “What sign of authority will You show us for doing these things?”

19 Jesus answered, “Destroy this sanctuary, and I will raise it up in three days.”

20 Therefore the Jews said, “This sanctuary took 46 years to build, and will You raise it up in three days?”

21 But He was speaking about the sanctuary of His body. 22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this. And they believed the Scripture and the statement Jesus had made.

Even those who did not believe Jesus remembered His teachings, and that is important in that His words were acknowledged.

Matthew 27:63
and said, “Sir, we remember that while this deceiver was still alive He said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’

The most important thing for a believer to do is to learn and absorb God’s Word, for Satan will provide opposition and confusion in the process:

Mark 12:18-27
18 Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and questioned Him: 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaves his wife behind, and leaves no child, his brother should take the wife and produce offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and dying, left no offspring. 21 The second also took her, and he died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 So the seven left no offspring. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be, since the seven had married her?”
24 Jesus told them, “Are you not deceived because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. 26 Now concerning the dead being raised—haven’t you read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? 27 He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are badly deceived.”

God has a place for all believers and also for those who do not believe. The resurrection allows for fellowship with Him because we have been made righteous. Note the addition instruction of who Jesus proclaimed to be before many witnesses:

John 11:17-27
17 When Jesus arrived, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem (about two miles away). 19 Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. 20 As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him. But Mary remained seated in the house.
21 Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22 Yet even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”

23 “Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her.

24 Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.”

John 11:38-46
38 Then Jesus, angry in Himself again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 “Remove the stone,” Jesus said.
Martha, the dead man’s sister, told Him, “Lord, he’s already decaying. It’s been four days.”

40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You heard Me. 42 I know that You always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so they may believe You sent Me.” 43 After He said this, He shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him and let him go.”

45 Therefore, many of the Jews who came to Mary and saw what He did believed in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

The purpose of the resurrection:

Romans 1:3-4
3 concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh 4 and who has been declared to be the powerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead according to the Spirit of holiness.

Paul declares, as a witness of Christ’s teaching and His miracles, that Jesus Christ is the true Son of God. If we seek Him in all fervor, He will reveal Himself to you and what you are to do in service for Him.

John 20:21-23
21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 After saying this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Jesus had commissioned the disciples to go forth and proclaim the gospel. While the disciples were still learning from Jesus at that very moment, He gave each of them the authority to proclaim the gospel on His behalf.

The resurrection was proof that Jesus did return from the dead and that He is alive! We are to remember that all of Scripture, beginning with the Old Testament, proclaims that Christ is the One to follow–and in believing Him, you will have eternal life.

John 20:27-29
27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.”

28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”

Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. 15 And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus Himself came near and began to walk along with them. 16 But they were prevented from recognizing Him. 17 Then He asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged.
18 The one named Cleopas answered Him, “Are You the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?”

19 “What things?” He asked them.

So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene, who was a Prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb, 23 and when they didn’t find His body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see Him.”

25 He said to them, “How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

28 They came near the village where they were going, and He gave the impression that He was going farther. 29 But they urged Him: “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them.

30 It was as He reclined at the table with them that He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, but He disappeared from their sight. 32 So they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33 That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those with them gathered together, 34 who said, “The Lord has certainly been raised, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Romans 4:23-25
23 Now it was credited to him was not written for Abraham alone, 24 but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

The purpose of the resurrection is for believers to experience in the newness of life and to live in Christ today. It requires dying to self and living for Jesus.

Philippians 3:10
My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.

How does this apply to us today? How does a believer demonstrate this association with Jesus Christ visibly to others?

Romans 6:1-11
1 What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. 5 For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, 9 because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. 10 For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in light of the fact that He lives, He lives to God. 11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

The power of the resurrection is seen each time we have communion that there are people who recognize that Jesus Christ died for our sins and proclaims that He is the Son of God. The acknowledgment of Jesus in asking forgiveness of sin expresses that Christ is the authority that will return for His people.

Romans 7:4
Therefore, my brothers, you also were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah, so that you may belong to another—to Him who was raised from the dead—that we may bear fruit for God.

The resurrection is for the saints who love God and do His work to be fully equipped and empowered to demonstrate the love of Christ to everyone who sees them. Jesus Christ is indeed alive, and He lives with a burning fire in every believer for the glory of God. Amen.


God’s Promise To Abraham For Today

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
God has had a plan for the church throughout the ages, and He is actively working in the church today. God has always had a group of people that He has called His own. In the Old Testament, we note that God referred to Israel as His people. It is noted that Israel was not just a nation, but God’s chosen was a group of spiritual people within Israel. He desired for them to grow in Him and love Him, and in turn, God would be glorified. In the same way, the church today has a large number of people who go to church, but not all of them are really following Christ. How much adultery and double-minded behavior is taking place in the church? All sinners who accept Jesus are indeed saved by grace, but there comes a point where we are to live in holiness according to His Word. His grace is not an excuse to keep sinning (Romans 6:1).
Romans 2:28-29
28 For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. 29 On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter. That man’s praise is not from men but from God.

You’re not a Christian by outward appearances–by what you say or do before others. Even making a confession of faith is not enough…a true believer is when the Holy Spirit works from the inside of a person and moves a person to respond to Christ from the heart. It is this desire to serve Him that is manifested in everything that a believer does for Him.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory. 32 Give no offense to the Jews or the Greeks or the church of God, 33 just as I also try to please all people in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, so that they may be saved.

Luke 6:20-23
20 Then looking up at His disciples, He said:
You who are poor are blessed,
because the kingdom of God is yours.
21 You who are now hungry are blessed,
because you will be filled.
You who now weep are blessed,
because you will laugh.
22 You are blessed when people hate you,
when they exclude you, insult you,
and slander your name as evil
because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! Take note—your reward is great in heaven, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the prophets.

Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’

The outward displays or declarations made by people who profess Christ does not mean that they are serving Christ. It is more about the heart of the people that live for Christ that distinguishes them as people of God.

Both Israel and today’s church are called to be holy.

Galatians 3:29
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.

If we belong to Jesus Christ, we reflect the faith of Abraham in believing and trusting in God in all things. It is out of this seed comes today’s church, of which Christ is the head of the church. God knows the hearts of his people.

Luke 1:67-79
67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because He has visited
and provided redemption for His people.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of His servant David,
70 just as He spoke by the mouth
of His holy prophets in ancient times;
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the clutches of those who hate us.
72 He has dealt mercifully with our fathers
and remembered His holy covenant—
73 the oath that He swore to our father Abraham.
He has given us the privilege,
74 since we have been rescued
from our enemies’ clutches,
to serve Him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness
in His presence all our days.
76 And child, you will be called
a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare His ways,
77 to give His people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the Dawn from on high will visit us
79 to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Acts 3:25-26
25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors, saying to Abraham, And all the families of the earth will be blessed through your offspring. 26 God raised up His Servant and sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”

The true church is the heir of the promise that God made to Abraham, who is the father of many nations that have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:14-18
14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.
15 Brothers, I’m using a human illustration. No one sets aside or makes additions to even a human covenant that has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Christ. 17 And I say this: The law, which came 430 years later, does not revoke a covenant that was previously ratified by God and cancel the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is from the law, it is no longer from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.

While God, according to Scripture, never extended a covenant with the church, He does show that the true church are the heirs of the promise that God made to Abraham. the true followers of Christ are the people of God–the seed of Abraham.

The law was added by God for His people to give Israel instruction and teaching and because of the transgression of the people. In today’s church, the correct teaching is that we are saved by grace, but that doesn’t cancel out the importance of the law. God says “if you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15).” The law represents discipline and is necessary to distinguish those who claim to follow Christ and those who are truly serving Him from the heart.

The Law is Direction For Life

  • The law is our condemnation–the gospel is our salvation
  • The law condemns us–the gospel justifies us
  • The law produces rebellion–the gospel produces submission
  • The law brings about false pride–the gospel brings humility and thankfulness

The law provides a blueprint as to how we are to please God, and it guides us to Jesus Christ.

God is working His plan and purpose in reaching many people for His glory. The true church–the believers in Christ–are Abraham’s seed.


Martin Luther King: Redemption of a Nation

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
When we look at African-American history, it is really American history, and the church plays an important role in American history.

Martin Luther King graduated with a Ph.D in Theology in 1955. He would only live for another 13 years afterward, but much was accomplished in that time in conveying the message of “The Dream.” His education and the teachings of the time he lived in were often in conflict with his understanding. While he believed that the church was an integral part of the lives of people, there were many instances where the church was silent to the affairs of the day. Throughout all of history, the lack of involvement of the church over and social issues of the day was problematic for all of society. He wanted not just blacks, but all Americans to live up to their best potential.

With King’s message, how do we build up for today? How do we overcome the areas of conflict that we may experience?

When we look at life today, we are often affected by how we grew up early in life.

  • How one sees himself
  • How he sees other people
  • How he sees God

A person who has been through a lot of difficulty may often ask about the presence of God.

  • The misuse of power and authority leads to false beliefs.
  • Accepting blame for being abused by someone else
  • Concluding that he is unimportant
  • A feeling of worthlessness
  • God is unable to help

Martin Luther King heard many church messages proclaim that God will not help those who are in need. His message was that God would be a help to those in need, but it requires each person to take a step of faith and work in cooperation with God. His message was about the redemption of a people and a nation.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

  • The root problem to all of the hatred and violence of his time was the sin of the people
  • Only God has the answer to sin and sinful behavior
  • Sin cannot be pardoned if you cannot see the reason or capacity of understanding that you need forgiveness

When people do not see their behavior as sinful, there is no desire to change their behavior. The sinful behavior reveals a social condition in how one person treats another. People were going to church claiming to love one another and yet hating people all the same. To hate was an act of sin, and not a justification of behavior. Only God can rectify sin. Man can only be forgiven of sin when it is acknowledged before God. When you acknowledge sin, there is a repentance and godly forgiveness, which brings about a change through God’s loving correction.

A healing in the land needed to take place–beginning with the church and its people, and not through politics.

1 John 1:8-10
8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

2 Chronicles 7:14
…and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

Psalm 38:1-22
1 LORD, do not punish me in Your anger
or discipline me in Your wrath.
2 For Your arrows have sunk into me,
and Your hand has pressed down on me.

3 There is no health in my body
because of Your indignation;
there is no strength in my bones
because of my sin.
4 For my sins have flooded over my head;
they are a burden too heavy for me to bear.
5 My wounds are foul and festering
because of my foolishness.
6 I am bent over and brought low;
all day long I go around in mourning.
7 For my loins are full of burning pain,
and there is no health in my body.
8 I am faint and severely crushed;
I groan because of the anguish of my heart.

9 Lord, my every desire is known to You;
my sighing is not hidden from You.
10 My heart races, my strength leaves me,
and even the light of my eyes has faded.
11 My loved ones and friends stand back from my affliction,
and my relatives stand at a distance.
12 Those who seek my life set traps,
and those who want to harm me threaten to destroy me;
they plot treachery all day long.

13 I am like a deaf person; I do not hear.
I am like a speechless person
who does not open his mouth.
14 I am like a man who does not hear
and has no arguments in his mouth.
15 I put my hope in You, LORD;
You will answer, Lord my God.
16 For I said, “Don’t let them rejoice over me—
those who are arrogant toward me when I stumble.”
17 For I am about to fall,
and my pain is constantly with me.
18 So I confess my guilt;
I am anxious because of my sin.
19 But my enemies are vigorous and powerful;
many hate me for no reason.
20 Those who repay evil for good
attack me for pursuing good.

21 LORD, do not abandon me;
my God, do not be far from me.
22 Hurry to help me,
Lord, my Savior.

God responds to each of us not from our performance, but from our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a relationship with a foundation of our humility as we look to Him and focus upon Him in everything that we do.

Martin Luther King believed that true justice was rooted in the kingdom of God.

Proverbs 21:15
Justice executed is a joy to the righteous
but a terror to those who practice iniquity.

Proverbs 29:4
By justice a king brings stability to a land,
but a man who demands “contributions”
demolishes it.

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.”

Is the church neglecting justice today? Is it unwilling to step out for righteousness and only willing to be silent in spite of the moral issues that are facing its people? There are some arguments that the church was silent just before the American Civil War as it failed to address the social issues of the day. If it had done so, it could have prevented an outbreak of war.

Martin Luther King also held faith and love as being inseparable. These two elements of the gospel could not be in conflict with each other. You could not have one without the other; moreover, you cannot say you love Jesus and stand for injustice.

Job 2:9-10
9 His wife said to him, “Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!”

10 “You speak as a foolish woman speaks,” he told her. “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Throughout all this Job did not sin in what he said.

In the end, it is about love and loving one another. King realized that only then can a nation of people truly begin to heal and grow in Jesus Christ.

1 John 4:20-21
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen. 21 And we have this command from Him: The one who loves God must also love his brother.

Matthew 22:34-40
34 When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. 35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: 36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”
37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”


Living God’s Will in a Conflicted World

A summary of today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:

Is Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream relevant today? How are we to live, as a nation, with respect to the dream that was declared almost 50 years ago? Even more specifically, what is the responsibility of the church today? If you look at history, the silence of the church has caused people to suffer. There must be a desire to understand the times that we live in and to do what is right (1 Chronicles 12:32). There will be a negative impact on society if people do not care about getting an education and if values are continuing to erode from God’s standard. A believer in Jesus Christ should care about these things and many others. Believers must take the lead to provide the best courses of action to help the church, help those who are in need, and to make the message of Christ relevant in today’s world.

1 Chronicles 10:13-14
Saul died for his unfaithfulness to the LORD because he did not keep the LORD’s word. He even consulted a medium for guidance, but he did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

If you fail to follow the Lord’s teaching, it has a negative effect on you and it also has a negative effect on others.

The social issues of the today should also be a part of the church. We are in the world but not of the world, yet, the church should take action in the community about issues related to marriage, children having children, education, and helping people become gainfully employed.

Do you believe that God had a plan for Martin Luther King’s life? If you were to look at his life, you would learn that he was not called to lead a church, but he was destined to lead a nation.

Jeremiah 29:11-12
For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the LORD’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

Martin was very smart–an intellectual–and had questions in his early years about matters of faith and teachings, yet he grew and developed over time to become a dynamic speaker. He learned and studied from the very best, and was heavily influenced by Martin Luther. Religion was always a part of his life, and he grew up reading and studying from the age of 15 at Morehouse through seminary and a doctorate at Boston University. He looked at life as it existed in his time, and concluded that many of the things that he learned were at conflict with life for himself and for many Americans.

“Segregation is morally wrong because it seeks to defeat the purpose of God.” –Martin Luther King

Ephesians 2:13-19
But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it. When the Messiah came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. The whole building, being put together by Him, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord. You also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.

Hebrews 10:32-39
Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions, and at other times you were companions of those who were treated that way. For you sympathized with the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession. So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised.

For yet in a very little while,
the Coming One will come and not delay. But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back,
I have no pleasure in him.

But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.

When you have been taught right from wrong and when you have the light, will you take a stand? If you, as a Christian, know what is right and you fail to stand up for truth, God refers to your inaction is sin. If believers are sanctified and set apart for the Lord’s work, it should be evident in everything that is done–in spite of any opposition or conflict. You don’t draw back from doing what is right–you continue to do it, and never lose sight of Him in your righteous living.

To do the will of God is never easy, especially in the face of those who oppose you. You will receive God’s blessings and loving kindness because you choose to do what is right and endured because you were obedient to His will. Martin Luther King pressed on and persevered in spite of those who readily opposed him, but he made a tremendous impact on many who embraced his dream.