Tag Archives: Christian

Church and Salvation and Church and the Saints

Today’s message summary of June 25, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

If you are in a church, you should be able to see if God is doing something.  Do you hear from Him?  Do you attend church with the desire to seek Him and understand Him?

You should be able to see God, hear Him, and receive from Him something of value.  When you leave church, you should feel fulfillment and blessings.

God has a plan for each one of us.  Your church experience should not be one where you are just moving along with others.

Church and salvation, and church and the saints.  They represent the same thing.  To be a saint in the church because you have been saved and redeemed by Jesus Christ.

Saints are called to serve in the body of Christ.  It’s more than just “walking with Jesus.”  Being called means that you have a purpose to do something in the body of Christ.  You are to be a participant in the body, and not just a spectator.

The church is the meeting place for those who desire to grow in relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is not just for those who are saved.  It is for those who are looking for Christ and who are willing to, eventually, make a decision to follow Him in a relationship with Christ.  It began with someone speaking to the person and sharing about Christ.

The church is a group of people who have been drawn together by God to do the will of Jesus on earth, the work of Jesus Christ on earth, and to be His witnesses on earth.

John 6:44-45

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets. And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me.

Your work will testify about the presence of Jesus Christ:

John 5:36

But I have a greater testimony than John’s because of the works that the Father has given Me to accomplish. These very works I am doing testify about Me that the Father has sent me.

You will do great things in Christ:

John 14:12

I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

You will be a witness for Jesus Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit:

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.

You can be a witness for God in your flesh, and it can become a matter of pridefulness.  Your true witness for Him will be when the Spirit is in control.  If you are going to function well within the church and be a witness for Jesus Christ, you will need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Every approach within the church should be to constantly evaluate whether or not the endeavors of the church are glorifying Jesus Christ.

The greatest organization on earth is the Church.  A lot of people do not know this, because sometimes the church doesn’t get it right; however, it is the place where God takes the least of us, and raises them up to do great things in His name.

You may have heard these remarks:

“I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.”

“I don’t want to go to church.”

“The church isn’t doing anything for my spiritual life.”

The counter to these thoughts is that your Christian life is meant to provide works that are worth more than wood, hay or stubble.  To avoid church is to avoid functioning within the body of Christ. To not fellowship with other believers is more of a fleshly love than that of an agape love that Jesus desires for you to have.  Jesus wants you to have the heart of a servant and the desire to serve others, especially in this world where people feel that they are entitled to receive things.

When you come to church, everything won’t always be “nice.” Sometimes, you will need to be exposed to “iron sharpening iron.”  God’s Word is meant to convict and compel you to develop a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the United States Senate:

“In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centered on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And finally, it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.”

The church may indeed be a philosophy, an institution, a culture and an enterprise, but it does not mean that people see it as a place where they desire to seek and follow Jesus Christ.  That was what the original intent of the church, and that is what God desires for His people to see in today’s church.

A church has to function in today’s society in much the same way as a business.  The church is dealing with spiritual matters, but it also takes on a business venture, where its members are willing to undertake new and risky projects and have active participation in projects.

We are created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Ephesians 2:10).  The church in action is a church that does good works in His name.

You can be a witness of the many things that only God can do if you are a participant in the church.


The Christian “Jihad”

Today’s message summary of January 17, 2016 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

When you hear the word, “terrorist,” what comes to mind? Does it make you stop and think, or have we become desensitized to it?

Islamic terrorists, such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram, are prepared to wage war against anyone they oppose. Over the past year, there have been numerous attacks over many parts of the world, but we need to know that these attacks also have an impact on us in the United States. There have been recent attacks in Paris, San Bernardino and in Philadelphia. The attacker in Philadelphia admitted an allegiance to ISIS.

How should we respond to these attacks? How should we respond to these crimes to humanity? How are we to respond to such evil?

We will explore the meaning of “jihad.” We will look at what it means from the terrorist perspective, and we will apply it to the Christian perspective.

Jihad has a negative connotation indeed. It is used often in the media; however, the clearest definition to the word is that jihad is an “inner struggle.” For the Muslim, this inner struggle takes on different forms. For some, it may be struggling against those who may dismiss Islam, and it means using words or even weapons to defend their faith. Going further, even Muslims who follow ISIS or Boko Haram will attack other Muslims because of internal disagreements. Within the Koran, there are texts that justify their actions.

Many have carried this jihad to be a worldwide struggle against those who oppose Islam. The Koran says in Chapter 9 to kill the unbelievers, ambush them and seize them. In the same way that the Bible has its own reference to the end times, there is also something similar in the Koran that refers to the elimination of all Jews.

Radical Islamic terrorism, or jihad, is to eliminate anyone who opposes them or fails to believe in them. It is a philosophy of convert or die.

During the Crusades, there was a very similar situation. There was a pledge by the Pope that anyone who participated in the battles that their sins would be forgiven. They fought against those who were Muslim as well as anyone that did not follow Christ.

The Crusaders’ Holy War was wrong just as the current jihadists are wrong.

Christians, today, are the ones who should expect to face opposition and persecution.

Romans 8:35

Who can separate us from the love of Christ?

Can affliction or anguish or persecution

or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

 

2 Timothy 3:12-13

In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived.

How are we to overcome this evil? It can be done, and it has been done before?

Revelation 12:11-12

They conquered him

by the blood of the Lamb

and by the word of their testimony,

for they did not love their lives

in the face of death.

Therefore rejoice, you heavens,

and you who dwell in them!

Woe to the earth and the sea,

for the Devil has come down to you

with great fury,

because he knows he has a short time.

 

One of the fastest growing churches in the world is in China. There are many house churches and underground churches for Jesus that are flourishing even though the government there provides opposition.

Everywhere that the church has been persecuted, it continues to flourish because God has provided the increase. Those who stand in the face of persecution, and even witnessing their own family members being persecuted, believe in proclaiming the name of Jesus. It is an amazing faith that drives these people.

How do we respond to these tragedies?

The best way to respond to these attacks is with prayer.

Ephesians 6:12, 18

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

 

Our enemy is not Muslims. Our enemy is not those who desire to persecute us. This is God’s battle, and we pray for His intercession in our lives. He intercedes on our behalf as we pray to Him.

With this in mind, what do you think the Christian jihad is? The word “jihad” is not found in the Bible, but using the word “struggle,” we can determine its proper application to us.

People have an inner struggle with sin. We struggle with our own sin, with our neighbors’ sin, and the sins of the world.

Romans 7:15-25

For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. So I discover this principle: When I want to do what is good, evil is with me. For in my inner self I joyfully agree with Gods law. But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.

Our jihad, the inner struggle, is not with other people, but in fact it is with Satan and sin.

The other aspect that we struggle with is love. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, highlights love as an important aspect of His character.

We are to love others, and even to bless those who persecute you.

Romans 12:14

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

It is impossible for us to love people in the way that Christ loves them. It is the love of Christ, through the Holy Spirit, that enables us to love our enemies.

I submit to you that the greatest commandment is found in Matthew:

Matthew 22:37-40

He said to him, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. .The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.

 

This vertical and horizontal love is what transcends culture and combats the evil in the world. It overcomes everything. This is love that sweeps across the globe.

We are far from perfect, but if we strive for this love in our lives and love others, many of our problems will cease.

The Christian inner struggle is indeed Jesus’ greatest commandment. Jesus Christ understood this Himself on the day before He was crucified; yet He remained obedient to God:

Luke 22:41-42

Then He withdrew from them about a stones throw, knelt down, and began to pray, Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Menevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.

 

He had to pray to God, the Father, for that inner struggle bothered Him greatly, but Christ gave His life on the cross was God’s eternal love–His atonement for our sins. He did it because He loved us.

John 3:16

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

 

Our struggle is not against other people–it is against sin. Jesus Christ is the answer to all of this. It is within His greatest commandment, and He is the reason that we can overcome sin and our enemies.

We are to look at our enemies as broken people who need the redemption of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is love. We are able to love others because He loved us.

1 John 4:7-12

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. Gods 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. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us.


Anticipate Fruit as you Witness for the Lord (Missionary Conference 2015)

Today’s message summary of November 22, 2015 from Jose Chinchilla, International Worker serving in Berlin, Germany:

I am thankful to be here this morning with you. I am also especially thankful for your contributions to the Great Commission Fund, which allows me and other international workers to serve everywhere that we are called to go.

“Anticipate fruit as you witness for the Lord.”

Four years ago, my wife and I responded to the call to go to Berlin, Germany. I responded to His call, and He kept asking if I was ready. I told him, “yes, I got it.”

He set me up.

While we are a Christian nation here, the way that we speak to people in another country, let alone another continent, will not work the same way. I learned that the hard way. I was discouraged and I want to go back to the United States. My wife told me to get it together and stay with it.

I had to learn a lesson in my growth as a believer and as a missionary.

I had to continue to develop myself as a godly leader, live in a missional way and live with desperate dependence upon Jesus Christ.

God started to teach me how to minister to people in Germany.

First theological truth:

The Holy Spirit is at work in the world.

John 16:8-11

When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

 

Romans 10:13-15

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!

 

As partners with the Holy Spirit, we should anticipate fruit as we minister in the world.

Sharing is not the easiest thing to do, but it does not have to be overly complicated for us. The Holy Spirit is doing the heavy work. He is already preparing the hearts of those who need to hear the gospel.

My desire is to share with people in Germany the gospel, and sometimes people will refuse to hear it because of their personal pluralistic beliefs. I am asking you to pray for me in that sometimes it is tough to face those rejections, but I am reminded that they are not rejecting me personally, but that they are rejecting Christ. I also pray that you are inspired, encouraged and motivated to allow God to change yourself in how you are ministering before Him and in sharing the Good News.

The second theological truth:

The harvest is plentiful.

Luke 10:2

He told them: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.

 

There are very few people who are running to hear the Good News about Jesus Christ; in fact, many are running away from it. In spite of this, if you believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed at work in the world, then He assures us that the harvest is plentiful. It’s important to ready to share your faith, because more people sharing are needed to meet this need.

How are we to encourage others (or even be encouraged) to share faith?

Guilting people into doing it will not work; however, if we have experienced joy from the salvation that Christ has given us, we will have compassion on others to help them to hear the gospel message. The Holy Spirit will show up right then and there to meet that person where he or she is.

If we want to see people share their faith, then we need to pray about it. We need to find creative ways to evangelize, and to pray about the harvest. Here is something that I do to remind myself about this: I set an alarm on my cell phone at 10:02 every day, to remind me of Luke 10:2, and pray for more workers to be made available for the harvest.

With the realization that there is so much before us with this harvest, it can be overwhelming. Here is a reminder that the Spirit is a big help within this process:

A third theological truth:

The Holy Spirit empowers us for effective witnessing.

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.

 

Germany is regarded is a very difficult place to reach people for the gospel. I had to pray to God and asked for the right skills to reach them. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to do things that, on the surface, we cannot see as possible to accomplish. You have to give up your own ways of thinking and doing things in order to see Him work. In our own strength, it is not possible, but the Holy Spirit empowers us with confidence and effectiveness in this ministry. We can bear fruit if we remain connected to Him.


Grace and Peace from a Triune God

Today’s message summary of September 27, 2015 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

Revelation 1:1-7

The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave Him to show His slaves what must quickly take place. He sent it and signified it through His angel to His slave John, who testified to God’s word and to the testimony about Jesus Christ, in all he saw. The one who reads this is blessed, and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it are blessed, because the time is near! John: To the seven churches in Asia. Grace and peace to you from the One who is, who was, and who is coming; from the seven spirits before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has set us free from our sins by His blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father–the glory and dominion are His forever and ever. Amen.

Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, including those who pierced Him, And all the families of the earth will mourn over Him. This is certain. Amen.

 

When it comes to greetings, such as those cards you purchase at the store, you will have funny greetings or serious ones. Greetings have a particular way of communicating one’s emotion.

Here is my greeting to you–it’s a happy Sunday morning greeting, which is the Lord’s greeting:

Within the text here, John is giving a greeting to the seven churches. This type of greeting to them was a means of comfort to the churches as they were facing a great deal of persecution. Of this group, Jewish Christians were not provided any protection under religious liberty.

Revelation 2:9

I know your affliction and poverty, yet you are rich. I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

 

Christians were being slaughtered at that time like animals. Under the Roman Empire, it is estimated that about 500,000 people were killed for their faith.

The persecution that those churches faces was wearisome, frightful and filled with despair. They needed to hear a message, through John’s greeting, from God Himself.

The persecution is being dictated by Satan himself as he is the ruler of this world. He is attacking today’s church in the same way that the attacks persisted on the seven churches.

As time progresses, Christians will see more persecution, and attacks will continue against the church. It will be a part of our culture today as “life in America,” as it was during the Roman Empire. Satan will continue to attack to cause a church to fall away and sin against God.

John’s greeting was a means of encouragement of God’s grace and peace. It is what sustains us as a church and as a means of overcoming persecution. He is writing the greeting to let them know that the sovereign God is working and that He will be glorified through the church. It was a way to counter the thought that God is nowhere to be found. John greets them with the message of grace, peace and comfort.

Look at the language that John uses in verse 4: John says, “from Him who is, who was, and who is coming…” He uses this language to remind us that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is working throughout the church. He is trying to comfort the church, who is always present and will remain present. God is sovereign, and by His providence He is working out all of the things we experience for our good and for His glory.

We can endure the difficult times when we face them because we trust in God’s grace and peace.

Find comfort knowing that God is sovereign in his control over all things.

Notice how he uses the number “7” in the text. Seven is the symbolic number for “completion.” In Revelation, the many uses of seven represent completion of something. The seven spirits who are before God’s throne represent God, the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 2:3

You also possess endurance and have tolerated many things because of My name and have not grown weary.

 

Revelation 2:7

Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in God’s paradise.

 

Jesus said “let them hear” seven times. This means that what He states is assured and definitive.

Notice in verse 5 how Jesus is identified with three titles:

  1. The faithful witness
  2. Firstborn from the dead
  3. Ruler of the kings of the earth

The faithful witness reference is for those who were martyred for Jesus Christ.

In Revelation 11, the two witnesses before God were killed for their faith in Him.

Jesus is the faithful witness that did so during His life. He did so during His own life in which He stirred people up to the point that they wanted to seize Him, throw Him over a cliff, and He eventually died on the cross. He was a faithful witness in order that all would see and understand God the Father.

Jesus was the firstborn from the dead, and He was raised as the firstborn from the dead. He promises that those who believe in Him will overcome death.

2 Timothy 2:10

This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

 

Jesus Christ is the ruler of the kings of the earth.

John declared to the churches that there is Someone over the Emperor, who made the declaration to have all Christians eliminated.

Any illustration in history of dictatorships or any rulers still does not represent them being over and above the rule of Jesus Christ. It is important to remember that Christ is the One that allows any ruler to come to power. John is telling the churches here to look at the King of Kings and reminds them that Jesus is still on the throne.

Jesus’ atoning love is the anchor of the church (v. 6).

The church is to endure because of the presence of God’s love for the church and its people. We are to endure because He loves His church. Christ has made us His kingdom. We, today, as members of the body of Christ, are part of His kingdom.

John tells the churches that He is returning with the clouds (v. 7).

The clouds are a representation of God’s glory for everyone to see. When God comes back, the people of Babylon will cry out to the mountains to fall on them because they will see His glory at His return.

The Lord is coming. When He returns, He will pay every good or bad deed with its reward.

Judgment does not come from Satan–it comes from the Lord. Since it comes from the Lord, all non-believers in Him will face judgment and torment. If you don’t obey the gospel and believe in the Son, you will go to hell.

What is being said you may deem irrelevant and that it does not apply to you, and that you don’t care about those who are being persecuted. It doesn’t matter. Everyone is still called to stand on the grace and peace of God.


God Will Make Himself Known

Today’s message summary of March 1, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

There a famine in the land.  People who claim that they are Christians have essentially put the bible down. Some Christians read the bible on an average of two times a week and maybe read it for 3 to 5 minutes at a time.

We have been conditioned to accept what society is saying is correct according to morals and what is right as opposed to what God’s Word states.

Young people today are struggling to figure out what is right or what is appropriate. If they choose to not accept the truth, there is a good chance that they will believe lies. Some have already chosen to reject Jesus Christ, but they have already been conditioned to reject Him.

God will not make you love Him–even if He is standing right before you. He will make Himself known, at some point in time, because there will be a point where man will no longer be a testimony for Him.

We can see how the bible is no longer looked upon as God’s Word of authority. According to today’s societal standard, it is not relevant to today. In spite of its true authority and its power, it is largely ignored.

Philippians 3:16-20

In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained. Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

A lot of people may say, “I don’t hate God,” yet, they really don’t love Him either. They may say they believe in Him, but it will seldom me seen by their actions. He wants those who profess Him to be zealous for Him.

Parents, help your children to see the goodness of God within your teaching them about God’s Word.

1 Thessalonians 2:5-6

For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives–God is our witness–and we didn’t seek glory from people, either from you or from others.

 

When proclaiming God’s truth, it is to be done with the mindfulness of Jesus Christ, and not for the purpose of “tickling someone’s ears.”

2 Thessalonians 2:3

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.

 

Rebellion implies that there is a departure from what is deemed to be a standard. In this case, rebellion is against the standards and principles of God and His Word. Many will deny Him and turn away from Him. We are seeing how society is already being conditioned for this.

Amos 8:11

Hear this! The days are coming–this is the declaration of the Lord God–when I will send a famine through the land: not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.

 

Romans 10:17

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

If you don’t have the Word of God, you will also have a lack of faith. God’s Word is what builds one up to be able to stand in faith. Satan is removing the Word from society bit by bit over time.

 

Luke 18:8

I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?

 

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

…and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, so that all will be condemned–those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

 

The lies are coming from Satan, today’s society and culture. Those lies are rooted in unrighteousness and are contrary to God’s Word.

Revelation 14:6

Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, having the eternal gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth–to every nation, tribe, language, and people.

 

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.”

 

In Ezekiel 39, God is going to communicate things more than once to its readers–take note of it.

Ezekiel 39:6

“I will send fire against Magog and those who live securely on the coasts and islands. Then they will know that I am Yahweh.”

 

Many people don’t want to know the Lord. If you do want to know Him, He will never hide Himself from you. He wants to guide you and embrace you, and you would know it within His presence. If you don’t want His presence in your life, it can be summed up that you do not desire to change how you live your life.

 

Ezekiel 39:21-22

“I will display My glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the judgment I have executed and the hand I have laid on them. From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am Yahweh their God.

 

God is going to show Himself holy amongst many nations (Ezekiel 39:26).

Ezekiel 39:29

“I will no longer hide My face from them, for I will pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.

 

Revelation 7:1-4

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, restraining the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.  Then I saw another angel, who had the seal of the living God rise up from the east. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were empowered[a] to harm the earth and the sea:  “Don’t harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we seal the slaves of our God on their foreheads.”  And I heard the number of those who were sealed:

144,000 sealed from every tribe of the Israelites.

 

Revelation 14:3

They sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elder, but no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

 

How is this going to happen?

  1. Gog (Russia) will fail (Ezekiel 39:3-6)
  2. For seven years they will use the weapons for fuel (Ezekiel 39:7-9)
  3. It will take seven months to bury the bodies (Ezekiel 39:12).
  4. Israel’s people will be brought back to its land (Ezekiel 39:25).
  5. The Spirit will be poured out onto the house of Israel (Revelation 7).

People will have to ask themselves if man is accomplishing all of these things, or is it God who is doing it?

We’re living in days that are frightening. Listen to the young people and what they value or hold as important. God is far from their hearts and minds. Take a good look at our churches. They are losing a cultural battle. The church message, nevertheless, must go forth and be delivered to the people. It will bring people the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. People will both hear it and acknowledge it, or it will be denied or disregarded as insignificant. Pray for your loved ones who don’t know Jesus Christ that the Spirit will give them that truth.


Isaac and Ishmael: Where the Conflict Began

Today’s message summary of January 25, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

As we continue this study on the End Times, we need to be able to see that God is exactly who He says He is…the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 22:13).

God has a plan, for sure, but note that Satan is allowed to act within God’s plan. He is more of a reactionary, and it is his desire to wreck God’s plan for your life. He cannot thwart God’s plan or avert it. God will accomplish what He says He will do.

In the End Times, the Word reveals that all nations will be against Israel.

Note that Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. It really began to take off after September 11, 2001. Have you ever considered that, at some time, Islam may be such a prominent teaching in America; yet look and see at the number of different teachings that we have here today. Even for those who call themselves Christians, there are those where the evidence of their Christianity cannot be seen in how they live their lives. Those that are saved are truly His, and God has affirmed that there will always be a remnant of His people.

Look at the signs of the times today, for they are very serious.

Mohammed, around 622, declared that the Jews were the enemies of Allah, when he had demanded that the temples were to be closed to worship Allah. Today, we see how the Jews and Islam are enemies today. There is either a submission to the Lord, or to Allah. As Christians, we submit to Jesus Christ.

Luke 18:8

I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?

 

Romans 10:17

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

 

Everywhere you look today, the name of Jesus Christ is trying to stifle the name of Jesus and His message. If you remove the name of Jesus, what happens to faith?

If you are really seeking God, He will reveal Himself.

Hosea 4:6

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from serving as My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your sons.

 

2 Corinthians 2:11

I have done this so that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his schemes.

 

Matthew 16:3

And in the morning, ‘Today will be stormy because the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to read the appearance of the sky, but you can’t read the signs of the times.

 

Sometimes we get so busy living that we miss what is taking place around us, and Satan is very subtle.

Has anyone seen the significance of Russia’s recently signed pact with Iran? Do you see the significance of this alliance in preparation for the number of nations who are aligning against Israel? Refer to Ezekiel 38 to see this prophesy.

The son of Hagar and the son of Sarah are the two covenants that God is using to set the stage for the final resolution of the struggles between the children of Ishmael and Isaac.

We need to remember, however, that Isaac is the recipient of God’s promise through Abraham, while Ishmael was in the flesh; yet God promised that he would have numerous descendants.

Both Jews and Arabs are descendants of Abraham. God noted in Genesis that Ishmael and Isaac and their descendants would live in conflict.

There are many people all over the world, including those who are followers within Islam, but we need to remember that just being good is not enough to have fellowship with God. This applies to people who profess to be Christians, as well.

The name Ishmael means “God hears.”

Genesis 21:17

God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard the voice of the boy from the place where he is.

 

The lesson in Genesis 21 about God’s love for Abraham and His respect for Abraham’s love for Isaac and Ishmael is the same as how God loves each and every one of us; yet, there is a difference–a distinction–between those people that He loves who have His promise and those who are in the flesh.

The name Isaac means “laughter.”

Genesis 17:17

Abraham fell facedown. Then he laughed and said to himself, “Can a child be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, give birth?

 

Genesis 18:12

So she laughed to herself: “After I have become shriveled up and my lord is old, will I have delight?”

 

When God promises something, is it too hard for God to accomplish it? God can, and will, provide.

Note that Abraham and Sarah, in their own plan to have a child, did not originally believe God’s promise and contrived their own plan to have a child through Hagar, Sarah’s slave. Their plan was not of the Spirit–in was in the flesh. God allowed it to happen, and because Abraham was deemed righteous before God, He responded to Abraham’s love for Ishmael and noted that he would have many descendants.

Genesis 16:9-12

Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “You must go back to your mistress and submit to her mistreatment.” The Angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will greatly multiply your offspring, and they will be too many to count.”

 

Then the Angel of the Lord said to her: You have conceived and will have a son. You will name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your cry of affliction. This man will be like a wild donkey. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; he will live at odds with all his brothers.

2 Peter 2:5

…and if He didn’t spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when He brought a flood on the world of the ungodly.

 

2 Peter 3:3-4

First, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, living according to their own desires, saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.”

 

Matthew 24:38-39

For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away. So this is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be.

 

Genesis 18:14

Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”

 

God is the Orchestrator of the End Times. It is the work of God that we are spiritual beings–born again. It is through a belief in Jesus Christ that this work is being accomplished.

John 3:18

Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.

 

Romans 9:7-8

Neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants. On the contrary, your offspring will be traced through Isaac. That is, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but the children of the promise are considered to be the offspring.

 

Galatians 4:22-30

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and the other by a free woman. But the one by the slave was born according to the impulse of the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things are illustrations, for the women represent the two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery–this is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written: Rejoice, childless woman, who does not give birth. Burst into song and shout, you who are not in labor, for the children of the desolate are many, more numerous times than those of the woman who has a husband. Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as then the child born according to the flesh persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so also now. But what does the Scripture say? Drive out the slave and her son, for the son of the slave will never be a coheir with the son of the free woman.

 

Note the descendants of Ishmael:

Genesis 25:17-18

This is the length of Ishmael’s life: 137 years. He took his last breath and died, and was gathered to his people. And they settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt as you go toward Asshur. He lived in opposition to all his brothers.

 

What are the times showing us today? Are we aware of the signs and what is happening?

There are two covenants in place with Isaac and Ishmael. God, in His sovereignty, promises to His people that they are truly saved and are not appointed to wrath.

Israel is comprised of approximately 8,000 square miles and has a population of about 6 million people. The nations that make up Islam make up approximately 8.8 million square miles with a population of 804,500,000 people. Can you see how God will need to intervene? Perhaps that is why the Scripture notes that God would have to intervene to prevent all from perishing.

Psalm 83:3-8

They devise clever schemes against Your people; they conspire against Your treasured ones. They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation so that Israel’s name will no longer be remembered.” For they have conspired with one mind; they form an alliance against You–the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them; they lend support to the sons of Lot.

 

As we step into this further, should we not conclude that Satan is gathering people together to fight against Christ and those who will ultimately stand for Christ?


The Bible is the True Word of God

Original post with editing from May 31, 2009 

Can we rely upon God’s Word as a faithful and trusted source of information?

Many people today are questioning whether or not God’s Word is truth because our society has evolved and changed over time, and people have challenged the Bible’s relevance to today’s world. Worse yet, the believability of His word may be an issue of how one sees it when contemplating today’s lifestyle choices. Even church-going people (and some Christians are included here) do not embrace the Word of God in its entirety. Some bible verses may be followed or agreeable while others may be ignored altogether. While many recognize the Bible as a good source of information, others may not deem it as reliable or worthy of trust.  Trust in the bible depends upon the individual’s outlook on God’s role in his or her life.

Is the Bible to be relied upon and is it a trustworthy source of information? Well, as much as we have changed over the years, God’s Word has not changed…ever. As much as some do not want to admit it, His Word is still very relevant to today. First, consider that the Bible was not originated by man (as some would argue):

2 Peter 1:20-21

First of all, you should know this: no prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, moved by the Holy Spirit, men spoke from God.

 

 

It is not about how we interpret life from our own perspective; it is more about the Holy Spirit allowing one to see how Christ can work in and through one’s life!  The Word of God is perfect and it is a rejuvenating testimony for anyone who wants to accept it. It is consistent and without blemish or errors and it is faithful. It provides those who are willing to accept its teaching the experience needed to live a joyful and abundant life (Psalm 19:7-9).

God’s Word will stand forever. It did not end with the passing of the disciples who followed Christ.

Isaiah 40:8

The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the Word of our God remains forever.

 

Psalm 93:5

Lord, Your testimonies are completely reliable; holiness is the beauty of Your house for all the days to come.

 

 

God’s Word remains firm, and it remains consistent and timeless. As long as there is a human race, there is a need for God’s Word to be proclaimed and presented throughout the entire world (Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20). The challenge that we have is to have faith in God’s Word and trust the reliability of His Word. We are to continually bolster ourselves with Scripture in how we live for Jesus Christ and with our daily reading and devotional time (Romans 12:1-2).