Tag Archives: blood

Revelation: Time For God’s Wrath (Part 1)

A message summary of March 13, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

God’s wrath is a pouring out of God’s anger with sinners.

In Revelation, the opening of the seals referred to mankind (Chapters 6 through 8).  The trumpets referred to God’s allowance of Satan to carry out judgment with limitations (Chapters 8 through 14).  The bowls (Chapter 15 through 17) referred to the wrath being poured out by God and Jesus Christ.

With the wrath carried out in judgment, there were still those who would choose not to repent.

The pouring out of the bowls was a completion of the wrath of God being poured out.  Sores were cast on man, all of the seas were turned to blood.  The sun would be so hot that men were scorched.  There was darkness and pain, and the great Euphrates River, the very river that was adjacent to the original Garden of Eden, would be dried up.

God’s wrath was being carried out.

The seals and trumpets are the time in which God allows people to see the hardness of their own hearts and the work of Satan.  Many will not repent, but some do.  They become saints of God.

The nature of the church and people at that time model the Laodicean Church…and that is true even today.

Revelation 3:14-22

Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea:

The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of Gods creation says: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, Im rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing, and you dont know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed[c] and repent. Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne.

 Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

Church will be going on as it has during the time of Revelation, but a large element of today’s church is like this today.  There is a lack of a desire to run after Jesus Christ and wholeheartedly seek and worship Him.  There is much more of a church today that is more about taking care of self rather than seeking Christ.  The attitude has grown within our culture and our society.

People will recognize Jesus Christ and be declared victorious by Jesus Christ (v. 21).

The seven bowls are God’s wrath poured out before the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 11:18 (it is coming):

The nations were angry, but Your wrath has come. The time has come for the dead to be judged and to give the reward to Your servants the prophets, to the saints, and to those who fear Your name, both small and great, and the time to come to destroy the earth.

Revelation 15:1

Then I saw another great and awe-inspiring sign in heaven: seven angels with the seven last plagues, for with them, God’s wrath will be completed.

Our trust in Jesus Christ will keep us from God’s wrath, which is definitely coming.  The people of Jesus Christ are not appointed to God’s wrath.  Suffering may occur, but that is not God’s wrath.

Romans 5:9

Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.

Romans 8:1

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.

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What John Sees in Heaven (Revelation Chapter 12) – Part 1

Today’s message summary of July 12, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Last week, we spent time in Revelation Chapter 11, where we looked at the two witnesses of God and how God’s Word tormented the people present who were in the temple worshiping the Antichrist, and the people, when the two witnesses were killed, celebrated over their death. We need to see clearly the character of the people who will be living at that time, and that there was not even the decency to remove the witnesses’ bodies from the streets.  When the witnesses came back to life after 3 1/2 days, we see not long after this in Revelation 11:19:

God’s sanctuary in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant appeared in His sanctuary. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings of thunder, an earthquake, and severe hail.

We will now look at Chapter 12 where John will describe what he sees in heaven. Revelation Chapter 12 is called by some as the key to understanding this book and all of the entire Bible.  Why? Because it reveals the conflict of the ages between Israel, Jesus Christ and Satan.  This chapter tells us of the conflct of the past and the conflict of the future.  Note that a lot of this conflict is taking place right now, but it is intensifying and it will continue to intensify.  Satan knows that his time is short.

The story has its main characters: Israel, Jesus, Satan, and we often that this is only about Israel. Please note the word, “nations.” Nations will include all other groups outside of Israel.

Matthew 24:7, 14

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

All nations will be involved in the presentation of the gospel, and then the end will come.

Revelation 18:3
For all nations have drunk
    the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
    and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.

Revelation 20:7-8

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.
Israel is used as a witness to every nation.

Revelation 11:9-10

For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.

All eyes, from every nation, are drawn to Jerusalem and the two witnesses.

In Revelation Chapter 12, a wondrous sign is seen in heaven:

Revelation 12:1-2
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in labor and agony as she was about to give birth.

That woman giving birth is Israel, the nation. She is in the process of giving birth to the Messiah.  This and the following passages will account for the past, present and the future.

Romans 9:4-5
They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Israel has been looking for the birth of the Messiah for some time.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us).

The promise of the Messiah was given in Genesis 3:15:

Genesis 3:15

“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

Hebrews 7:14-16
Now it is evident that our Lord came from Judah and Moses said nothing about that tribe concerning priests. And this becomes clearer if another priest like Melchizedek appears, who did not become a priest based on a legal command concerning physical descent but based on the power of an indestructible life.

Note the prophecy of the sun and the moon with Joseph:

Genesis 37:9-11

Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

This is what is revealed in Revelation 12:1.

The woman cries out in pain.

Matthew 2:16-18

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Another sign is revealed in verses 3 and 4 of Chapter 12:

The red dragon is a portrayal of Satan.  The color red is the color of blood, representing all of the bloodshed that he has caused.  Satan came to kill.

John 10:10a
A thief comes only to steal and to kill and destroy.

Satan is out to steal your spiritual wealth.

John 8:44
You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

Revelation 17:6
Then I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the saints and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.

Revelation 7:9, 14
After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands.

I said to him, “Sir, you know.” Then he told me: These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

We, as a society, have been slowly, but surely, desensitized over time about murder. The people are hearing more and more about it and are less and less likely to be outraged over it.

To not respond to situations when we know sin is being committed is, in itself, sinful. We are to live as a community and be responsive, but Satan continues to push us back out of the picture.  As “the light of the world,” there comes a point where we, as the body of Christ, must engage with members of society and be the light that opposes darkness.  As long as God gives us breath, we are called to be the peacemakers.


The End Times: Babylon the Great

Today’s message summary of May 3, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Revelation Chapter 17 refers to Babylon as “Babylon, the Great.”

Revelation 17:1-18

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the notorious prostitute who sits on many waters. The kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and those who live on the earth became drunk on the wine of her sexual immorality.”  So he carried me away in the Spirit to a desert. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and 10 horns.  The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She had a gold cup in her hand filled with everything vile and with the impurities of her prostitution. On her forehead a cryptic name was written:

BABYLON THE GREAT

THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES

AND OF THE VILE THINGS OF THE EARTH.

Then I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the saints and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. 

Then the angel said to me, Why are you astonished? I will tell you the secret meaning of the woman and of the beast, with the seven heads and the 10 horns, that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present again. 

Here is the mind with wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated. They are also seven kings: Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes, he must remain for a little while. The beast that was and is not, is himself an eighth king, yet he belongs to the seven and is going to destruction. The 10 horns you saw are 10 kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they will receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.

He also said to me, The waters you saw, where the prostitute was seated, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. The 10 horns you saw, and the beast, will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, devour her flesh, and burn her up with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to carry out His plan by having one purpose and to give their kingdom to the beast until Gods words are accomplished. And the woman you saw is the great city that has an empire over the kings of the earth.

 

Satan knows that he can move nations, countries and people to a place where they adapt to more and more immoral behavior.  People are being conditioned mentally to accept things that you normally would not accept.  The worst is coming.  God warns His people to stay clear of this deception and see it for what it really is.

If you are not careful, Satan will rob you of many things.  He seeks to destroy.

Jeremiah 51:6

“Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins. It us time for the Lord’s vengeance; he will repay her what she deserves.”

 

Romans 13:11-14

Besides this, knowing the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.

 

1 Peter 5:8

Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.

 

Ephesians 5:8-14

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light–for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth–discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.  Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.

 

God will not force you to seek Him and His holiness.  He will let you continue into your ways, but God desires for you to come out of the “playpen” of the world, and to seek Him with a relationship.  He will respond to your prayers that seek Him and a humble way of living.

Nimrod was the founder of Babylon and builder of Assyria. He was a grandson of Noah.

From Babylon, and its founder, Nimrod, comes every heresy that has even been spoken or taught.

Abraham and Nimrod were two important men after the Great Flood.  Right after the tower of Babel is when Abram is called and is renamed Abraham by God.

Micah 5:6

They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod with a drawn blade. So He will rescue us from Assyria when it invades our land, when it marches against our territory.

 

Genesis 10:8-12

Cush fathered Nimrod, who was the first powerful man on earth. He was a powerful hunter in the sight of the Lord. That is why it is said, Like Nimrod, a powerful hunter in the sight of the Lord.” His kingdom started with Babylon, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, and Resen, between Nineveh and the great city Calah.

 

Nimrod means, “We shall rebel.”

Abram’s name means, “Father is exalted.”

Abraham’s name means, “Father of a multitude.”

Genesis 17:1-8

When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be blameless.  I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.

Then Abram fell facedown and God spoke with him: “As for Me, My covenant is with you: you will become the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram, but your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of many nations.  I will make you extremely fruitful and will make nations and kings come from you.  I will keep My covenant between Me and you, and your future offspring throughout their generations, as an everlasting covenant to be your God and the God of your offspring after you. And to you and your future offspring I will give the land where you are residingall the land of Canaanas an eternal possession, and I will be their God.

 

Abram was raised by Terah (Genesis 11:26) and came up under Nimrod’s system.  His family moved to Ur of the Chaldeans.  The Lord scattered everyone throughout the earth.  God called Abram in Genesis 12:1:

Genesis 12:1

Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

 

Note that the Tower of Babel was a move to become independent from God.  God had to scatter the people in order to prevent this from happening.  Nimrod had set up a system of self-worth and independence from God.  Through God, Abraham set up a system of faith.  Of this, two groups emerged: Christianity and Islam.

From Nimrod comes Babylon and Assyria (Ninevah).  These are the two cities that destroyed the nation of Israel.

Assyria destroyed the Northern Kingdom in 721 B.C.  Babylon destroyed the Southern Kingdom of Israel in 586 B.C.

Jonah 1:1-2

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted Me.


Understanding Salvation

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

This is a very important time to pray for our community, and especially for our church and our nation. We need to pray for those who are in Christ to remain in Him, and for those who are not following Him that they will recognize and seek the truth.

In these uncertain days you will hear people proclaim that “I am saved,” yet, there are many whose actions do not follow the righteousness of Christ. We’re living in a world that is full of darkness. The person who lives a reckless, careless life while declaring that he or she is saved is playing a dangerous game with their soul.

Salvation is to be taken very seriously. The Word of God must fall in line with a person who is truly saved. Salvation is to be understood through the teaching of the Word of God through the Holy Spirit’s guidance. After all is said and done, only you and God will know that you are truly saved. The evidence of your life would support it. There must be a distinction in your life that people would see. If someone were to watch you for ten minutes, would they see a distinct way of living in you?

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.

2 Peter 1:10
Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble.

2 Peter 2:21-22
21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy command delivered to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to its own vomit, and, “a sow, after washing itself, wallows in the mud.”

There is one thing that God confesses in Revelation: you need to be either hot or cold; if you are lukewarm, He will spit you out of His mouth.

Hebrews 3:11-12
Therefore I was provoked with that generation
and said, “They always go astray in their hearts,
and they have not known My ways.”
11 So I swore in My anger,
“They will not enter My rest.”
12 Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God.

1 John 3:6
Everyone who remains in Him does not sin; everyone who sins has not seen Him or known Him.

2 Corinthians 13:5
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail the test.

Matthew 7:22-23
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!’

Salvation is too serious for carelessness. You can’t say that you are saved and yet continue to walk on the edge. There must be a faithfulness to God’s Word and a wholehearted commitment to follow it.

2 Timothy 1:12
…and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.

Salvation transforms us. It makes something beautiful of our lives…if we truly understand it.

The meaning of salvation:

a. Greek: simply denotes “deliverance”
b. Latin: denotes one who is “safe”
c. It is “immunity from harm or danger”
d. It is to be “rescued from all harm”

Salvation is the process by which we are delivered from all that would prevent us from attainng the highest good that God has prepared for us (Daniel 10:13).

Psalm 84:11
For the Lord God is a sun and shield.
The Lord gives grace and glory;
He does not withhold the good
from those who live with integrity.

Romans 8:28
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

James 1:17
Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.

John 3:27
John responded, “No one can receive a single thing unless it’s given to him from heaven.

Salvation comes to us because:
1. Of who He is. God reveals His love for us.

1 John 4:8-9
8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

Romans 5:8
But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

2. Of His promises.

Galatians 3:14
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.

Romans 4:21
…because he was fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Matthew 1:22-23
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.”

The source of our salvation:
1. The love of God (John 3:16)
2. The wisdom of God

1 Corinthians 2:6-7
6 However, we do speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory.

1 Corinthians 1:21, 24
21 For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.

24 Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom,

3. The power of God

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.

John 1:12
But to all who did receive Him,
He gave them the right to be children of God,
to those who believe in His name.

1 Corinthians 1:18
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.

1 Thessalonians 1:4-5a
4 knowing your election, brothers loved by God. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance.

In the work of salvation there is no weakness on God’s part. The failure is on our part when we do not confess our sin and the need for a Savior to realize our true salvation.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. The love, wisdom and power of God, with the proper investment on our part, reinforces the salvation that we can possess.

Do you value the investment that God has made in you? Your salvation is covered in the blood of Jesus Christ, which was shed for you.


Audio – The Lord’s Table: The Body and The Blood

Today’s message on the significance of the Lord’s Table from Melvin Gaines (Body) and Pastor Gus Brown (Blood) in downloadable audio format.  You will need QuickTime or an MP3 player on your computer or music player to listen.

01_The_Lord_s_Table__The_Body_and_The_Blood_-_Part_1.mp3

02_The_Lord_s_Table__The_Body_and_The_Blood_-_Part_2.mp3

03_The_Lord_s_Table__The_Body_and_The_Blood_-_Part_3.mp3

04_The_Lord_s_Table__The_Body_and_The_Blood_-_Part_4_and_Conclusion.mp3


Taking Inventory of Your Life

We’re coming up on one of the busiest times for retailers across the country–inventory time. The big sales during the holidays and the after-Christmas rush will clear much of it beforehand, but it is always an important function to check inventory levels for fiscal year-end financial reporting purposes. Businesses also need to measure the effectiveness of product movement over the course of the year, and how to plan the amount of inventory necessary to remain profitable for the coming year.

Taking inventory of a business is certainly important, but it also has application pertaining to our own spiritual growth. As this year comes to a close, and a new year awaits, we can look back over this past year and make an analysis of our growth as a believer in Jesus Christ. If we were to take inventory of our spiritual growth, what would be the results? Was there growth? Has this year been a year where you lived according to God’s will? No one else can examine you or say where your heart is, but God’s Word declares that you will know where a person is by his or her fruit.

John 6:38

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

From the time you were saved, has it occurred to you that you are to carry out God’s will for the remainder of your life? There are blessings that result from being obedient to God and carrying out His will. It is far from adequate to simply live according to your own will or way with the reasoning that the covering of the blood of Christ in your life is sufficient. There’s more to life as a believer in Jesus Christ than that. There should be a desire to live for Christ and seek Him in all things that goes far beyond the sacrifice of His blood for your sins. You were bought for a price, and with that comes responsibility in how you live your life for Christ.

Philippians 2:12-18

So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, [enabling you] both to will and to act for His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. Hold firmly the message of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run in vain or labor for nothing. But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.

One of the challenges that Christians face at times is the willingness to slow down long enough to be still enough to hear what God is saying to you, and how He wants to work through you. This approach will help you as you take inventory of your spiritual growth. We may not have all of the answers or understand about everything that is going on in our lives, but we are to live in confidence that He is always with us as we remain obedient to Him and His Word. This, of course, is contingent upon your ongoing reverence for Him and how you live effectively for Christ.

Ephesians 4:30-32

And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption. All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

Sometime in this coming year, we should be declaring to God that you want to be used as His witness. In doing this, however, He demands that we seek and live lives of holiness. Our focus is to be taught and prepared to serve God according to His will and His pleasure.

Is your love for Jesus Christ truly growing and developing each year? If it is not, your challenge is to find out why this is the case. Just as a marriage relationship grows over the course of time (Proverbs 10:12), your love for Christ should also grow. That growth in loving God is inherent upon keeping His commandments–even more importantly, knowing what God’s Word is.

John 14:15, 23-24

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me.

Too often, even though we may profess that we love God, our failure to know God’s Word and keep His commands result in the fact that our lives and our actions actually say that we hate Him. God still loves those that do not love Him, but He wants those that are disobedient to turn away from their ways that prevent fellowship with Him in order for them to grow personally, as well as spiritually. There must be a distinction of those who serve Christ and those who live in the world.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18

Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.

Making a difference in living for Christ means being different from the ways and thinking that the world presents itself. It is an important distinction to live in holiness and live as children of God. In your salvation, God has transformed you to live a life of holiness through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are to trust God in every area of our lives and make a difference. As we take our personal inventory, we need to seek God and trust in Him throughout this process. God wants us to give everything to Him and trust in Him as we live for Him.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

But test all things. Hold on to what is good.  Stay away from every form of evil.

As God has asked us to test all things, He wants us to see how God is working in our lives. We need to be cautious that we are not trusting in our own abilities as we live for Christ. To live a life for Him that is blameless comes from Him, and as you take an inventory of your spiritual life for Christ, you may find that there is still room for improvement. What are you doing to help yourself to grow in Christ? Where is your prayer life in this area? You should be looking at how to continue to develop your relationship with Him.

Psalm 17:3

You have tested my heart; You have visited by night; You have tried me and found nothing [evil]; I have determined that my mouth will not sin.

Proverbs 10:31

The mouth of the righteous produces wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be cut out.

To grow in Christ is to declare a desire to live for Christ, not just in words. but in deeds and actions. God can work in and through your life even when your circumstances are not always the best. He wants us to examine our own behavior and put aside the things that keep us out of fellowship with God.

Lamentations 3:38-40

Do not both adversity and good come from the mouth of the Most High? Why should [any] living person complain, [any] man, because of the punishment for his sins? Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the LORD.

At times, we fail to take God seriously, or even discount His Word. What God declares in His Word is truth, and He means it. We may not like what He states in His Word, and how it may convict us. It’s not about one’s feelings. It is about taking Him seriously and being obedient to Him and to His Word. This means living for Him on a daily basis and not just declare your allegiance to Him when it is convenient to do so. We can’t expect God’s promises if we do not desire to live for Christ. He already knows what you need.

Philippians 4:19

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Are you rich in your life with the person of Christ? Is He overflowing in your life? The power of Christ is in your ability to trust and obey in Him.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.

When you are unable to identify with your weaknesses, you cannot truly see the power of God. In your weaknesses, as you acknowledge them, comes the desire to see God working in your life.

Philippians 4:13

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

In all of these things, we need to be content with what we have, for often it is what we think that what we do not have that takes our focus off of Jesus Christ. No matter where you are, God is right there with you.

Hebrews 13:5-6

Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Now we just need to believe it. If we are serious about what God’s Word declares to us, we would see and understand that He is always present and wants to be a presence in our lives. He has made the commitment to be with us. Our response is to live for Him by loving Him through obedience to Him through His Word. Pray to Him that you will see more of His presence and to be more conscious of Him now and in the coming year. As you evaluate your life over the past year, pray for recognition of where you are now and where you want to grow in your development and relationship with Christ. Seek Him and the desire to live for Jesus Christ in everything that you do.


Sunday School Today: Bible Doctrine on Man

If we want to know the truth about man, we must turn to the Bible. “Truth is what God says about something.” The Bible tells us about man’s creation, nature, and relation to other beings. Man is the focal point of creation. All the earth is subject to him.  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female (Genesis 1:26-27). However, to really know man we must obtain God’s perspective, not man’s ideas.

I. MAN’S ORIGIN

It is only natural that man should be curious about his origin. Philosophers have put various theories forward at different times throughout history. The most modern is the theory of evolution, which asserts that man’s ancestors are the lower animals. There is no evidence that primitive man is any different from modern man. The fact that human blood is one blood throughout the world proves that it is not a process of evolution. Acts 17:26. Animal blood will not sustain life for man. We cannot mix our blood with animal blood. From fish to fowls to animals to man, God created each one after their own kind. Genesis 1:24-25.

Man is distinctively different in that he was created in the image of God. Genesis 1:26-27. God created the first man from the dust of the ground. Genesis 2:7. However, throughout history God created human beings in one of the following ways: (A) By conception with man and woman. (B) Without the aid of a woman, as Eve. (C) Without a man or woman, as Adam. (D) Without the aid of a man, by a woman, as Christ. This is another evidence of God’s power over life.

God says concerning His creature man, “Everyone called by My name and created for My glory. I have formed him; indeed, I have made him.” Isaiah 43:7. So the question is “What is the chief end of man?” Properly answered, “The chief end of man is to glorify God.”

II. MAN’S NATURE

Anyone who has witnessed a person dying understands vividly that man has a physical body and also a soul or spirit. At one moment the person is alive … the next he is gone. Yet his body is still there. But the life principle has departed; a dead body remains. The Bible teaches us that man is a threefold being: body, soul and spirit.  1 Thessalonians 5:23. While it is hard for us to distinguish between soul and spirit, since both are in contrast with the physical body, the Bible shows that there is a difference. A plant is a body without soul or spirit. An animal has a body and soul but no spirit. Man is body, soul and spirit. The soul distinguishes a living being from a dead one, but the spirit distinguishes a man from an animal. The spirit of man makes it possible for him to have communion or fellowship with God.

Man is the only created being that prays. Prayer is a universal practice. From the most pagan people to the most enlightened people—we pray. Why? Have you ever seen a monkey thank God for his bananas? Also, man is the only created being with a conscience. Have you ever seen a monkey that felt guilty for stealing another monkey’s coconuts or for committing adultery? The writings of history are filled with the testimonies of human beings who were struck with conviction that they had done wrong.  Romans 1:18-32.  Animals make decisions through instinct.  Only man can make decisions by reasoning.

When fallen man becomes a Christian, he receives the indwelling Holy Spirit. We received the old nature through the fall of Satan, which he brought into the human race through the fall of Adam. If we will come to Him in faith, receiving Him as our personal Savior, He literally, in the person of the Holy Spirit, takes up residence in our lives. At that point we receive a new nature, which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).  The soul is the seat of the emotions and passions. The term spirit includes our ability to know and reason. Man is responsible to God and it is his greatest duty to find out what God wants him to do, and then do it.  These two natures, the flesh and the Spirit, are an internal warfare that we as Christians battle throughout life.

Content courtesy of BBN International.