Tag Archives: conflict

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.


A Biblical View of the World

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
A person who knows what they enjoy doing will pursue their passion. Some people are passionate about reading. Some like sports. Some even express how much they love the Lord and live their life accordingly! If you are passionate about Jesus Christ, there should be an excitement about going to church and participating in the fellowship with other believers and learning more about living a Christlike life.With our understanding of what it is to learn about Christ, we are to look at the world we live in with a biblical perspective. We need to understand that there is a clear difference between the world and its humanistic view and how God’s Word provides perspective on this world. A biblical world view is seeing the world in the same way that God sees the world. Seeing the world in the way God sees it provides the proper perspective that establishes boundaries and the proper way of thinking. It starts with His love for all people.

John 3:16-17
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. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Matthew 28:19
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

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.”

God’s love for us is not limited under time or place…He allows for each believer to minister to the entire world through His people.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

Christians need to rely on God’s view of the world and stay away from the world’s view of things, which distorts God’s Word. Biblical thinking leads to a biblical view of the world, which deals in truth and understanding in spite of the world’s view. It causes to one to focus into righteous actions.

A person who calls themselves a Christian and is following a worldly view is in conflict. Loving the principles of this world is in direct conflict with God

1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

If you go back and view Israel’s interaction with God, you would see that they would declare a love for God but a disdain for His ways. It was more about loving the world and its view more than God.

Christians need to practice the action of living daily for the Lord and refrain from issues that can cause a separation from God. In all of this, believers should never be concerned about the long term or the final outcome.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
6 think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.

Romans 10:17
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

Walking in faith is a faith that allows you to grow in Christ and in your relationship with Him. It is a progression that is moving beyond your faith at the time you saved by grace.

Are you adding to your faith daily? It is the only way to truly grow in the Lord.

2 Peter 1:3-9
1 Dear friends, this is now the second letter I have written to you; in both letters, I want to develop a genuine understanding with a reminder, 2 so that you can remember the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles. 3 First, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, living according to their own desires, 4 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.” 5 They willfully ignore this: Long ago the heavens and the earth were brought about from water and through water by the word of God. 6 Through these waters the world of that time perished when it was flooded. 7 But by the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8 Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

James 4:7
Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.

To have a biblical view for life helps keep Satan out of your life. The church’s obligation in this area is to change the minds of people for the sake of God’s truth and present functioning in this world with a biblical world view instead of a worldly view.

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

A biblical worldview prepares a believer for certain conflicts with those who oppose them and Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics[a] of the Devil. 12 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. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore,

with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,
15 and your feet sandaled with readiness
for the gospel of peace.
16 In every situation take the shield of faith,
and with it you will be able to extinguish
all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is God’s word.
18 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.

Romans 8:37-39
37 No, in all these things we are more than victorious
through Him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life,
angels or rulers,
things present or things to come, hostile powers,
39 height or depth, or any other created thing
will have the power to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

1 John 4:4
You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

1 John 5:4
…because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.

A biblical world view is a healthy view of the world from God’s perspective. Yes, it is a lost world filled with corruption and evil, but it is also a world that is ripe for the harvest of souls for those that desire seeking salvation through Jesus Christ. God has called believers to live in righteousness and to trust in the Lord.

Martin Luther King: Redemption of a Nation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luke 11:42
“But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of mint, rue, and every kind of herb, and you bypass justice and love for God. These things you should have done without neglecting the others.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where Are The Crowds for Christ?

We have often read in the newspaper or heard about challenges from groups or individuals that have tried to remove God or prayer from schools or public settings.  There has to come a point that, in a country where there is freedom of speech or expression, where Christians need to defend their own rights to take a stand for God’s Word.  Yes, there will certainly be conflict when we take this stand, but even today we need to remember what occurred when Jesus was in His ministry here on earth.  At first, there were always crowds that gathered when He traveled from place to place.  Within the crowds of people that gathered, there were those that sincerely wanted to hear what He had to say, and there were those who doubted Him or flat out refused to acknowledge who He was (John 2:23-25).  Jesus knew the hearts of every man and woman that He encountered, yet He still ministered to those who were in need.  When Jesus was arrested and had to face the Sanhedrin (Luke 22:66-71) and stand before Pilate (Luke 23:1-5), the crowds disappeared.  When there was opposition to Christ, where did the crowds go?  Where were the people who supported Jesus Christ?

The crowds that Jesus encountered in His ministry were ever-present and persistent everywhere that He traveled.  “When Jesus saw large crowds around Him, He gave the order to go to the other side of the sea.  A scribe approached Him and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go!’ Jesus told him, ‘Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head” (Matthew 8:18-19).  He had the huge, frequent crowds because of the many miracles that He performed in healing sicknesses and those who were demon-possessed (Matthew 8:14-17).  There was never a shortage of people that came to see Him and to hear Him speak; as a result, at times He needed to withdraw.  He understood that not everyone in those crowds were gathering to see Him as the Messiah.  There are many people today that still refuse to take Jesus, and for that matter, God’s Word, seriously.  “When Jesus came to the leader’s house, He saw the flute players and a crowd lamenting loudly. ‘Leave,’ He said, ‘because the girl isn’t dead, but sleeping.’ And they started laughing at Him.  But when the crowd had been put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up.  And this news spread throughout that whole area” (Matthew 9:23-26).  Even members of the crowds around Jesus were not seeking the truth.  It took the example of two blind men, who could not see anything, to seek more from Jesus than what the others did.  “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, shouting, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’ When He entered the house, the blind men approached Him, and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I can do this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ they answered Him. Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘Let it be done for you according to your faith!’ And their eyes were opened (Matthew 9:27-30a).  The crowds that followed Jesus and that were with Him all day were stirred by Jesus’ compassion for them in the feeding of more than 5,000 (Matthew 14:15) and they rejoiced for Him during His triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:4-10).

With all of this popularity, why didn’t more people support Jesus Christ when He went before Pilate (Matthew 27:17-21) and when He was forced to carry the cross?  Only Simon help Him bear the cross (Matthew 27:32).  Others looked on, but those who supported Christ did not speak up for Him for fear of reprisals, and His disciples were in hiding.  Note that Pilate’s wife had told Pilate to “have nothing to do with that righteous man, for today I’ve suffered terribly in a dream because of Him!” (Matthew 27:19). When there is opposition to Christ, can we do, at the very least, as much as what Pilate’s wife had said? Can we bear the burden of the gospel with Him?

When the world attacks Jesus Christ with issues of God, family values, and prayer, where are the saints who will defend the faith?  Where are the holy ones?  Will we continue to allow the world to say whatever it wants to remove Christ from the forefront and we simply acquiesce? It’s time to pick up your cross and follow Him.  Don’t wait for others to assist you.  God, in His sovereign wisdom, will send others to bolster you and to stand with you in your faith and trust in Him.  The crowds may scatter and dissipate, but you, the believer in Christ, must stand firm. Jesus Christ makes the same declaration. “Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven.  But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.  Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.  The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Anyone finding his life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of Me will find it” (Matthew 10:32-39).