Tag Archives: chosen

A Sovereign God Knows the Heart

Today’s message summary of December 20, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Today, I want you to see how God was working in the lives of people who were near Jesus Christ when He lived on earth. We will see how the sovereign God was at work. The Lord looks at the heart of the people as being most important.

1 Samuel 16:7-10

But the Lord said to Samuel, Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.

Jesse called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. The Lord hasnt chosen this one either, Samuel said. Then Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, The Lord hasnt chosen this one either. After Jesse presented seven of his sons to him, Samuel told Jesse, The Lord hasnt chosen any of these.

 

God is the one who chooses. Why is he doing so? It is because He knows the heart of the servant that He is choosing.

Jeremiah 17:9-10

The heart is more deceitful than anything else,

and incurablewho can understand it?

I, Yahweh, examine the mind,

I test the heart

to give to each according to his way,

according to what his actions deserve.

 

God rewards the person based upon his conduct.

John 2:24-25

Jesus, however, would not entrust Himself to them, since He knew them all and because He did not need anyone to testify about man; for He Himself knew what was in man.

 

John 15:16

You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.

 

These verses set the stage to look at the life of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus Christ.

Joseph is very special in the life of Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-23

The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 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.” When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus.

 

God knew every thought that Joseph had about what was going on, but God recognized Joseph’s faithfulness, and confirmed this by affirming his desire to love and care for Mary, and also care for a son that was not his own.

God knew the heart and conduct of Joseph as a father and as a husband. Joseph stepped out and obeyed God, and his actions were pleasing to God.

Remember that the angel had spoken to Joseph about the reason that Mary was pregnant. Joseph respected Mary and remained obedient to the Lord as he never consummated the marriage until after Jesus was born.

God is dealing with many people around the world about the proclamation of Jesus Christ as Savior during this season, but it is only God who can provide the knowledge that people can accept Him for who He is.

Luke 2:4-7

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for he to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough–because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

 

Joseph was trusting the Lord that He would do what He had said, and was willing to walk with God even though he did not completely understand. God, however, provided wisdom and confidence along the way.

Matthew 2:13-15

After they were gone, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Get up! Take the child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy Him. So he got up, took the child and His mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt. He stayed there until Herods death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called My Son.

 

God asked Joseph to take his wife and child to Egypt. He remains obedient and faithful to God by doing what he was asked to do.

Matthew 2:19-23

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Get up! Take the child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, because those who sought the childs life are dead. So he got up, took the child and His mother, and entered the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned in a dream, he withdrew to the region of Galilee. Then he went and settled in a town called Nazareth to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that He will be called a Nazarene.

 

If God entrusted you with something, how would you be able to respond?

God does not always appear at times that are convenient to you.

I want you to catch the level of character that was demonstrated by Joseph in his faithfulness and obedience to Jesus Christ.

When you live for the Lord and serve Him, life is not all that simple. You will be challenged with your level of obedience. He will show you your own heart for Him.

Advertisements

Satan’s Anger Revealed (Satan’s Downfall, Part 2)

 

Today’s message of August 9, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Satan hates you so much.  He throws stumbling blocks at you.  He wants to knock you out.

Satan wants to hinder your Christian walk and your faith. Why does he go to all of this trouble? You get all of his attention and you haven’t done anything. He does it because he knows he can’t defeat God, but he certainly can defeat you.

He fights with us on the decision that we make to trust Jesus Christ. If we obey Jesus, he persistently picks on us. Satan’s anger intensifies because he knows he is defeated in the end; however, he continues to attack the body of Christ and those who are God’s chosen people.

Satan’s defeat experiences come from God’s intervention:

  1. Satan’s first defeat–thrown out of heaven (Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:9)
  1. The fall of man (Genesis 3)
  1. Abraham and Sarah (Isaac) (Genesis 17:19)
  1. Israel’s destruction (Jeremiah 4:22; Jeremiah 25:8-11) – a period of 70 years
  1. Birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:13) – Escape to Egypt
  1. Jesus’ mission (Matthew 4:10) – “Get away from Me, Satan, for it is written…”
  1. Jesus’ death and resurrection (Romans 1:4)
  1. Satan cannot rule over the saints (Revelation 12:11)
  1. Satan’s beast and false prophet defeated (Revelation 19:20)
  1. Satan is defeated after being set free after being detained for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:10) – this time forever and ever.

Revelation 20:10

The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the

beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

 

Satan knows his end, and that is why he is angry. He will continue to wreak havoc on people and the church–those who follow Christ. Yet, God allows all of this to happen.

He wants you to believe that he does not exist. He wants you to believe that he cannot cause chaos in your life and family. He does indeed exist. Any belief that he is not around is contrary to Scripture.

Satan will deceive you to believe that all of your problems are the result of your trusting in God. Sin is powerful and it breaks up relationships.

Revelation 12:13-17

When the dragon saw that he had been thrown to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. The woman was given two wings of a giant eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent’s presence to her place in the wilderness, where she was fed for a time, times, and half a time. From his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river flowing after the woman, to sweep her away in a torrent. But the earth helped the woman. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon had spewed from his mouth. So the dragon was furious with the woman and left to wage war against the rest of her offspring–those who keep God’s commands and have the testimony about Jesus.

 

Satan is out to persistently hurt those who desire to follow Jesus Christ. He is out to hurt you because you chose to be on “the other team.”

His goal is to break you down to the point where you lose your love (block your view) of Jesus Christ.

Even when there are days where you cannot see Jesus, keep looking for Him and trusting Him (Matthew 7:7).

God indeed provides protection for Israel.

Psalm 115:12

The Lord remembers us and will bless us. He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron.

 

Exodus 19:4

You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me.

 

2 Timothy 4:18

The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safety into His heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.

 

Satan is powerful, but God is more powerful. God is always present to preserve and protect his people.  Rome had threatened to destroy Christianity, but God enabled the people to help prevent this.

Matthew 16:18

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.

Ephesians 5:23

…for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body.

 

Colossians 1:18

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

Satan is attacking the offspring (Revelation 12:17).

 

Galatians 3:29

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

Satan attacks those who obey God’s commandments (John 14:21). He opposes those

who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Those who provide evidence of salvation have a testimony that proclaims Jesus.

When you desire to keep Jesus’ commandments, evil will be there in your midst.

Turning your life over to Jesus gives you the ultimate victory. That is something to praise Him about!

Satan’s desire is to remove the evidence of salvation in the life of the believer–silence the believer in such a way that there is no visible evidence of Christianity.

Romans 10:13-17

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things! But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

 

Isaiah 45:22

Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.

Acts 1:8

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

 

The good news is that God’s power remains evident in the life of a believer who trusts in Him. Satan will attack and try to cause difficulty, but you can be a powerful testimony for Christ to others…a witness for Christ.


Seeking God’s Will in The New Year

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
Lord, help us to continue to seek You and to have the desire to serve You and be Your workmanship. Help us to focus and fix our eyes upon Jesus. Thank you for the ability to not grow weary and remain steadfast in the work that you would have us to do. We see the destruction that Satan has brought into the lives of people. Help us to go willingly with the mind to do your will and witness to those who are lost. As long as we have breath, we have the task before us to bring others to You. Thank you. Bless us, for we are Your people. We can do all things in Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
What do you have planned for the New Year? Even more than that, what would God have you to do in 2014? God has to prepare our hearts and minds for the work that needs to be done. He provides us the ability to see beyond our own personal needs, but it is something that we must seek and desire to do.
Did you choose God or did God choose you?
John 15:16
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.
Somewhere along the journey of your life, God has called you and chosen you to do His work. He knows all about us, and He knows the fruit that we can bear in doing His work for His glory.Where God guides, God provides.

Who God chooses, He uses.

As God has chosen you, His plan is to use you, and in that He will provide for you as you follow Him. In all of this, it may not be how you plan it out to be, but we need to keep in mind that God’s will in your life is most important.

1 Chronicles 28:2-8
2 Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brothers and my people. It was in my heart to build a house as a resting place for the ark of the Lord’s covenant and as a footstool for our God. I had made preparations to build, 3 but God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.’

4 “Yet the Lord God of Israel chose me out of all my father’s household to be king over Israel forever. For He chose Judah as leader, and from the house of Judah, my father’s household, and from my father’s sons, He was pleased to make me king over all Israel. 5 And out of all my sons—for the Lord has given me many sons—He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the Lord’s kingdom over Israel. 6 He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon is the one who is to build My house and My courts, for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his father. 7 I will establish his kingdom forever if he perseveres in keeping My commands and My ordinances as he is today.’

8 “So now in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and follow all the commands of the Lord your God so that you may possess this good land and leave it as an inheritance to your descendants forever.

God chose David to be king over all of Israel, but even though he had the desire to build God’s temple, God chose Solomon to build it.

1 Chronicles 28:9-10
9 “As for you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever. 10 Realize now that the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary. Be strong, and do it.”

Even as you are chosen by God, you still need to have the desire to seek Him and demonstrate that you have a heart for Him. In 2014, if you seek after Him, you will learn about Him in new ways and in ways you may not believe. Be strong in The Lord and don’t let anything separate you from Him–even difficult situations and circumstances.

1 Chronicles 28:20-21
20 Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He won’t leave you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the Lord’s house is finished. 21 Here are the divisions of the priests and the Levites for all the service of God’s house. Every willing man of any skill will be at your disposal for the work, and the leaders and all the people are at your every command.”

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. This is contrary to many in today’s culture. Working is something that we need to do in order to remain vibrant and healthy in The Lord. God will provide for you as you seek Him in the desire to do the work in service for Him. You may never know who God will send along to come aside you in doing the work. You never need to fear being alone in the work, for both you and God together are in the majority.

Do you know that The Lord is always present and is with you in everything that you do? Your confidence in Him helps you to face others who may not be with you in what you are doing. Note that your godly living is outside of the norm of what we experience in today’s world. There will be those who come against you because of where you stand. It’s good to keep in close communication with God as you encounter difficulty to make sure that you are following His will. It is not about what you are able to accomplish; instead, it is what God can accomplish through your efforts and your obedience to Him. In Him, there is no failure. In 2014, be sure to make your mind to say that you are going to walk with Him.

1 Chronicles 29:1
Then King David said to all the assembly, “My son Solomon—God has chosen him alone—is young and inexperienced. The task is great because the temple will not be for man but for the Lord God.

Youth and inexperience are not a deterrent to God. When God chooses you to perform a task, it has nothing to do with who you are, but it has everything to do with being work for The Lord.

1 Chronicles 29:10-12
10 Then David praised the Lord in the sight of all the assembly. David said,

May You be praised, Lord God of our father Israel, from eternity to eternity.

11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. 12 Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all.

Remember that the task to build the temple was great, but God was making the provision for Solomon and the people. The same is true for you as you consecrate yourself to work for The Lord.

The result of your willingness to step out and do the work that God calls you to do will be a testimony to others as you are used of Him now and in 2014.


Being Called For Ministry

We don’t need a title or a position to serve the Lord within the body of Christ…it only requires a willing heart. There is a clear role of ministry in place for each person involved in God’s work. God always operates with an order and purpose in how He desires for each of us to carry out His ministry. It is, ultimately, up to man to follow His direction, and man has, at times, deviated from God’s plan in the name of serving Him. While man’s involvement has attempted to redefine the roles that God had put in place, God has not changed.

In order to know how God operates, we can go back to the early Old Testament to see the consistency of His Word. He demonstrates this to affirm His purpose (Mark 10:2-7). Note that God will allow situations and circumstances to occur, but He always makes it clear what His intent is, and His intent for us has been consistent and it does not change.

A person called by God is considered to be a priest of God, just as Aaron was called to serve. In the same way, Jesus Christ, who is our High Priest, was also called to serve all of humanity for eternity. Those of us who are called to serve are part of a “priesthood of believers” (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 20:6)

All of us are chosen for ministry to serve others. The title of “believer in Jesus Christ” is not something to rest upon; instead, the Holy Spirit gives direction to work in a specific place or places within the body of Christ. This is part of His orderly function. The priesthood of believers, through our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, continues to serve Him in ministry and will reap the benefit of Christ’s eternal priesthood.

The Levites were the priests of God in the Old Testament. The priesthood of believers are those believers as described in the New Testament. Why? We know there were changes that took place within the Levite priesthood. Levites were found to have not been supported by the people. They did not follow God’s plan and purpose, and the Levites had to rely upon God to provide for them. When the non-support of the people was evident, they were forced to go back to their fields to make a living (Nehemiah 13:10). Note that God’s intent had not changed, but it was the hearts of the people who had changed, and it created a change within the Levites in their role as priests for the nation.

With the onset of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, we find a new priesthood that was set up by the Jewish authorities…the Sanhedrin, which was made up of the Sadducees (the righteous ones) and the Pharisees (the separate ones). This priesthood was not merged within God’s church. God’s emphasis was on the entire priesthood of believers. All who are saved are ministers of the priesthood of believers.

We also need to keep in mind what the words minister, preacher and priest stand for. All of us are called into ministry, and all of us are acting as mediators between the persons me minister to and God Himself (Acts 6:8-15, 7:1-56, 8:34-38). As ministers, we are to always be prepared to be a witness for Him. Stephen and Philip were both students of God, and they were prepared to speak up about God when given the opportunity. For example, baptism is not something that is to be done out of duty to the church–it is to be done when the heart of the person who wants to serve the Lord has the desire to live out his or her faith and demonstrate it to others.

A minister is one who serves another. A preacher is one who tells another person what God has declared. It is the oldest function within ministry (2 Peter 2:5).

All are called to preach and minister to others. We are to be priests to the lost of this world and to one another within the body of Christ.

I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. This is what I command you: love one another” (John 15:15-17).

Our calling comes from God according to His direction and purpose, which remains in line with God’s order and intent. God has a specific role for men in this order, and a specific role for women. While man may have desires to live a certain way, he still needs to remain obedient to God’s Word, which brings those desires under control. There is much to learn, of course, by the believer who is responding to God’s calling, just as Jesus Christ was learning and growing during His earthly service (Hebrews 5:7-10).

For those that look to women being pastors, some have pointed to Acts 12:12: “When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many had assembled and were praying” (Acts 12:12). While ministry was occurring in the home, it does not mean that Mary was a pastor in her home.  Note another passage–Acts 16:14-15:  “A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was spoken by Paul. After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us” (Acts 16:14-15). Lydia and her household were ministered to, and had the desire to be baptized and serve others. That does not mean that Lydia operated in a pastoral role. Chloe alerted Paul that there were problems within her home, and she was seeking help and direction (1 Corinthians 1:11). That did not mean that she was a pastor. Priscilla (a woman) and Aquila (a man, her husband) used their knowledge of God to provide assistance to a learned man (a man willing to learn) to instruct him with additional information (Acts 18:24-26). This is a great example of a team, as husband and wife, to share and minister within the body. Neither of them were pastors, yet they gave freely of themselves. Priscilla may have had more knowledge of the word than Aquila (as implied here by being mentioned first), but that does not mean that he was not willing to learn more about God.

God calls one into ministry, but His calling comes with guidelines that are not a burden for those who serve Him. His calling follows his plan, order, and purpose, and all of these are scripturally supported. Make sure that your service for Christ, in all aspects, is based in scripture.