Tag Archives: death

The Church and Salvation: The Teaching of God’s People

Today’s message summary of October 22, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

After the book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, there was a period of 400 years where there was no prophet from God on the scene, and man was left to himself as to how he would practice his faith.  During this 400 years, you would see different things occur, but the pursuit of religion was left to man’s own accord.

The Sadducees relied upon natural law and not upon any teachings or writings.  Even today, the issue is the lack of good, sound teaching of God’s Word.  We are in a society that receives very little education, especially in reasoning and understanding.

The church originally started schools for the purpose of teaching people how to read and write.  It was to help people be able to read and understand what they were reading, and it was to be able to gain something from God’s Word.

Hosea 4:6 KJV

My people perish from a lack of knowledge.

How well are we being taught?  Do we believe what we are being taught?

Teaching should not be just a repetition of what the teacher has said, but to go further into seeking the information that has been presented.

Acts 17:11

The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Many people will sit in church and hear the Word, but if it is not taught and the people decide it is not to be believed or understood, then it is just a waste of time.

One of the obvious things that one can observe in a believer’s life is a lack of progression.  It is from a lack of faith.  It comes down to trusting God more than just trusting yourself.  The Word of God is to be taught to help to develop you more into the type of person that God wants you to be.

Acts 20:27

…for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God.

Why would one go to a doctor for advice and leave without taking it?  Paul was not holding back in any way his knowledge of God.  It is important that the people of God may grow and mature with the proper instruction of God’s Word.

What happened during those 400 years?  There were groups that emerged:

The Essenes followed Greek philosophies that existed two centuries before Christ emerged.  They were a Jewish sect.  Note that their belief in how souls were transported was void of God’s teaching.

The Scribes emerged as a continuation of the group that existed during David and Solomon’s time.  They were known for recording words and also for accounting.  They set forth and maintain order when it came to how things were to be accomplished, and yet there was no prophet that provided additional inspiration.

The Sadducees did not believe in death and resurrection of the dead, nor angels or spirits.  They only believed in the present life they were living.  (Much like those who lack belief are today.  There are many who believe that there is nothing after this life.)

Acts 23:8

For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, and no angel or spirit, but the Pharisees affirm them all.

The Pharisees are believed to have emerged from the Maccabeans, and they kept up with the writings of Moses, but they also infused a number of new rules within their way of living that ultimately became much more important than that of God’s Word.

Matthew 15:7-9

Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said: These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.

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.

Luke 11:52

“Woe to you experts in the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge! You didn’t go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in.”

God desires for sincere worship and praise before Him.

There is something wrong with the number of churches that are existence today in that there is hardly any teaching.  Even worse, we are teaching the precepts of man rather than those from God.

The ministry of Jesus began with teaching.  Questions and answers follow this instruction.  There is learning that is taking place.

Luke 2:46

After three days, they found Him (Jesus at age 12) in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

Matthew 4:17

From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!”

Luke 4:14-15

Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity. He was teaching in their synagogues, being acclaimed by everyone.

A good teacher must also be a good listener.  He or she will always listen to the students in order to know what needs to be imparted.

Note that there was a 400-year gap before Jesus was teaching the people.  Many people were hungry for His words of instruction.

The church, as a whole, must return to teaching.  Teaching will either draw your nearer to Jesus, or it will chase you away.  Either way, the truth of Jesus Christ and His Word must be shared.

Our churches should be overflowing–not because of preachers who entertain, but because God’s Word is being proclaimed.

If a person comes to church to do anything other than hear God’s Word, it becomes idolatry.

The Spirit must be present in order that the teacher can be used to advance the will of the Father.  A teacher must recognize the evidence of God’s presence in order to teach well.  Jesus’s own ministry was not independent of the Father and of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:16-17

After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!

John 4:34

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,” Jesus told them.

John 5:19-20

Then Jesus replied, “I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing, and He will show Him greater works that these so that you will be amazed.

2 John 1:9

Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it, does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son.

God is a teacher.  It is the very character and nature of God.

Deuteronomy 4:12-14

Then the Lord spoke to you from the fire. You kept hearing the sound of the words, but didn’t see a form; there was only a voice. He declared His covenant to you. He commanded you to follow the Ten Commandments, which He wrote on two stone tablets. At that time the Lord commanded me to teach you statutes and ordinances for you to follow in the land you are about to cross into and possess.

Isaiah 48:17

This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: I am Yahweh your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go.

Jeremiah 32:33

They have turned their backs to Me and not their faces. Though I taught them time and time again, they do not listen and receive discipline.

The instruction that we receive is to help us in obedience and to follow and live according to His will.  That, ultimately, is what is best for us.

Jesus’s teaching is to help us to see something far greater from His instruction than just mere words.

John 7:46

The police answered, “No man ever spoke like this!”

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Not Facing the Second Death (Revelation 20:6)

Today’s message summary of April 16, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

We see death everyday.  Death reigns in this world.  We see this because Adam sinned against God in disobedience, and as a result, all who have followed Adam would pay the penalty of sin, and that is to die.  We all will die eventually.  It is inescapable.

The other dilemma in this is not knowing when it will happen.  It happens to all regardless of wealth or race.  Death is the great equalizer.

Ecclesiastes 9:1-6

Indeed, I took all this to heart and explained it all: the righteous, the wise, and their works are in Gods hands. People dont know whether to expect love or hate. Everything lies ahead of them. Everything is the same for everyone: there is one fate for the righteous and the wicked, for the good and the bad, for the clean and the unclean, for the one who sacrifices and the one who does not sacrifice. As it is for the good, so it is for the sinner; as for the one who takes an oath, so for the one who fears an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: there is one fate for everyone. In addition, the hearts of people are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they liveafter that they go to the dead. But there is hope for whoever is joined with all the living, since a live dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead dont know anything. There is no longer a reward for them because the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate, and their envy have already disappeared, and there is no longer a portion for them in all that is done under the sun.

All other religions try to address the problem that death presents.

The question to pose here:  Will we rise again?

The believer who is in Christ will not escape the first death but will escape the second one.

Please make a note of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It was unique in that he was the only one who did not die a second time.  All of the others, according to Scripture, who were raised up also died once again.

Revelation 20:6

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of the Messiah, and they will reign with Him for 1,000 years.

For those who were raised in the first resurrection, they were blessed.  There were many blessings of happiness as noted in the beatitudes:

Matthew 5:1-11

When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. Then He began to teach them, saying:

The poor in spirit are blessed,

for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Those who mourn are blessed,

for they will be comforted.

The gentle are blessed,

for they will inherit the earth.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed,

for they will be filled.

The merciful are blessed,

for they will be shown mercy.

The pure in heart are blessed,

for they will see God.

The peacemakers are blessed,

for they will be called sons of God.

Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed,

for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me.

I believe that John, in the Revelation text, is conveying that there will be great happiness and joy with the first resurrection.

Revelation 14:13

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: The dead who die in the Lord from now on are blessed.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “let them rest from their labors, for their works follow them!”

We will be raised with a sanctified, holy body, and in that resurrection we will be made perfect with a body that will never deteriorate.  Nothing unclean will ever enter the kingdom of God.  The first resurrection is for God’s people.  The second death has no power or effect over them.

What is the second death?  It is an eternal death.  If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, you will receive a body that will be suitable for eternal damnation.

Revelation 20:13-15

Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

This means there are some here today that will die and also “die again.”

Revelation 21:8

But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liarstheir share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

The two deaths differ.  The first is physical, and the second is spiritual.  It is eternal and filled with torment.

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.

The Lord gives a warning to the church about all of this:

Revelation 2:11

Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor will never be harmed by the second death.

In Revelation 20:6, the passage notes that all who follow Jesus Christ are referred to as priests.  Priests, in the Old Testament, were the ones appointed to speaking and carrying out the duties and responsibilities to the people.  We are all called priests, which was a high calling, as we are saints of God who believe.

It is true that we will be raised again after death, but the question is where will we find ourselves.  Those who believe in Jesus Christ will escape the second death, and will fellowship with Jesus Christ for all eternity.


The Wrath of God

A message summary of May 1, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

A lot of people go to church unaware of what or whom they are worshiping.

The saints of God are not appointed to God’s wrath, but it does not mean that there will not be suffering. The saints will be in opposition to those who are worshiping something other than God; specifically, the Antichrist. The world will eventually come more and more against those who are the true followers of Jesus Christ.

God is looking for a commitment from the people who are unsure about what to do. Paul said that he was not ashamed of God, and it is God’s power through salvation that protects the believer.

Wishy-washy Christians are unable to take a stand for Christ.

Believers will be under attack by Satan.

Revelation 6:9

When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the people slaughtered because of God’s word and the testimony they had.

Revelation 11:7

When they finish their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, conquer them, and kill them.

Revelation 13:7

And he was permitted to wage war against the saints and to conquer them. He was also given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation.

The saints will have to endure and persevere. Those, however, who worship the beast and especially those who received the mark (a firm commitment to Satan) will receive their due.

Revelation 14:11-13

“…and the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or anyone who receives the mark of his name. This demands the perseverance of the saints, who keep God’s commands and their faith in Jesus.” Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: The dead who die in the Lord from now on are blessed.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “let them rest from their labors, for their works follow them!”

Are you able to make your testimony stick before others?

In order to remain faithful to Jesus, you will need to endure a lot of hardship. The ones who remain faithful to the end will be blessed.

The content of the bowls have an effect only on those who have received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.

Revelation 16:2

The first went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and severely painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.

Exodus 10:21-23

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, and there will be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness that can be felt.” So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness throughout the land of Egypt for three days. One person could not see another, and for three days they did not move from where they were. Yet all the Israelites had light where they lived.

Exodus 9:25-26

Throughout the land of Egypt, the hail struck down everything in the field, both man and beast. The hail beat down every plant of the field and shattered every tree in the field. The only place it didn’t hail was in the land of Goshen where the Israelites were.

Exodus 8:22-23

But on that day I will give special treatment to the land of Goshen, where my people are living; no files will be there. This way you will know that I, Yahweh, am in the land. I will make a distinction between My people and your people. This sign will take place tomorrow.

Even through the time of the Great Tribulation, God is protecting His people, and even in death. You are assured of eternal life and happiness with Him.

Those who do not take the mark of the beast were treated differently that those who did, but it hardly got them off the hook from God’s judgment.

God does not hold the unbeliever in esteem. He makes the distinction between those who are His and those who deny Him. Believers have the seal of Christ upon them.

There will be those who will still try to decide whose side they will be on.

Joshua 24:14-15

“Therefore, fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship Yahweh. But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.

This is belief in Christ in action.

Exodus 32:25-26

Moses saw that the people were out of control, for Aaron had let them get out of control, resulting in weakness before their enemies. And Moses stood at the camp’s entrance and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites gathered around him.

Revelation 16:9

…and people were burned by the intense heat. So they blasphemed the name of God, who had the power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give Him glory.

Titus 1:10

For there are also many rebellious people, full of empty talk and deception, especially those from Judaism.

John 4:22

You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews.

Humanity has always been religious in some way, shape or form. No culture is without some sort of faith or some ritualistic practice of religion. Being religious is not a saving mark of God. You can be religious without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but you can’t be saved without Him.

Ephesians 1:13

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:9

You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Revelation 7:3

Dont harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we seal the slaves of our God on their foreheads.

2 Timothy 2:19

Nevertheless, Gods solid foundation stands firm, having this inscription:

The Lord knows those who are His, and

Everyone who names the name of the Lord

must turn away from unrighteousness.


Scrambled Eggs

A message summary of April 10, 2016 from Mr. Paul Buzzi:

This church is blessed with many different things. If you know that you have been blessed beyond belief, then you should share with others.

Today, we are going to talk about scrambled eggs, about life, about death and about living.

(Holding up a bible) What is this? Yes, it is a bible, and it is a Book of Instruction. I was reminded that the Lord has taught me a lot of lessons. You have to be willing to hear His Word and do it. Don’t add a question mark to something where God has a period!

My wife tells me not to brag about anything, but I am willing to brag about what the Lord Jesus has done in my life.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and do not rely on your own understanding;

think about Him in all your ways,

and He will guide you on the right paths.

We are all a bunch of Humpty Dumptys. We scramble our eggs, and we don’t know how to unscramble them. Jesus knows how to do it.

Romans 3:23

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

I have had to ask the Lord for forgiveness for my behavior with my wife and even for the questions I have asked that made known my positions in a selfish manner.

To be forgiven is to experience freedom. When I was called to speak at a church, He told me that I needed to ask that congregation for forgiveness, as well, because of how I felt in my heart.

There is healing that needed to take place. God is the One who unscrambles the eggs.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from Gods Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For

who has known the Lords mind,

that he may instruct Him?

But we have the mind of Christ.

My wife and I are two different people, but we are joined together as one spirit in marriage. God proclaimed it, and it has been very good.

We need the Spirit of God in order to understand His Word; otherwise, it is a mystery. And, we cannot figure it out on our own.

God gave me the gift of evangelism and the gift of prophecy, and I don’t know if I like that! Because where much is given, much is required.

What are the wages of sin? The answer, of course, is death (Romans 6:23).

All of us are sinners, of course.

Once you are dead, you are dead. There are no degrees of dead. It’s all the same.

Thankfully, all of us received grace through our Savior, Jesus Christ, who took away our penalty of death.

I was asked to represent a person who was caught in a bank drive through with stolen checks and was high on meth. I went to the jail where the person was, and I told him that there is not much that I can do for you except tell you about Jesus.

Forgiveness is for both the perpetrator of sin and also the victim. It lifts a burden for both of them when there is complete forgiveness.

Ephesians 5:25-26

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word.

When you learn to forgive your wife in the way that Christ forgave those as He was being crucified, you understand how much love you need to give to your wife.

Luke 23:34

Then Jesus said, Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing. And they divided His clothes and cast lots.

Hebrews 4:11-13

Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.

For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.

1 Corinthians 3:19-20

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, since it is written: He catches the wise in their craftiness; and again, The Lord knows that the reasonings of the wise are meaningless.

1 John 5:11-12

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesnt have the Son of God does not have life.

He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son is perishing.

He is only the Lord of your life when you make Him Lord.

The fields are ripe with the harvest of those that need Jesus. The devil will tell you that it is too much trouble to witness for Christ. It is a lie from the devil.

One week after I accepted Christ, I was representing a young man who had a long juvenile record who was sent to jail. God spoke to me and told me to go back and speak to him about Me. I hesitated twice because I knew so little about Christ, but I was able to speak to him and he accepted Christ. We were holding hands in prayer in a jail cell and he made a decision for Him.

Psalm 127:3-5

Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,

children, a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior

are the sons born in ones youth.

Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them.

Such men will never be put to shame

when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.

If you leave church today alive, you won’t be half-dead. Be sure to share the Bible with everyone you come into contact with–to see people pass from death into life.

Make sure that you leave church today alive in a life for Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is Gods giftnot from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.


Discovering Your Gifts

A message summary of March 20, 2016 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

Ephesians 4:8, 11-12

For it says: When He ascended on high, He took prisoners to captivity; He gave gifts to people.

And he personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.

We, as a church, based upon the command of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20), need to advance the gospel. If we fail to do so, we will decline in the body of Christ. We are called to advance the gospel. It is our main focus…to reach lost people, locally and globally.

In Ephesians 4:8, 10-11, we see what amounts to be the five pillars of the gospel.

Christ needed to ascend in order for His people to receive gifts. Without His ascension, the church’s call to advance the gospel would have been incomplete. Jesus told Mary Magdalene not to cling to Him was because He had not ascended yet. His work was not totally complete. While His work on the cross was finished through His crucifixion, His ascension gave the church the tools that it needed to be effective in proclaiming the gospel.

When Christ defeated all of the enemies of God, He received the rewards that were passed on to the church. He conquered those who conquered us, including Satan, sin and death. He had all authority to defeat His enemies and dispense His gifts to the people.

These five pillars of the gospels (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) are the highest gifts to be desired because these are the people that keep the gospel message going forward. All five of these gifts are distinct in their functionality, and they are synonymous with each other in that they are present to achieve the same goal.

Apostle: One who is sent for.

Jesus chose these individuals to be messengers of the gospel. Paul was later chosen as an apostle (Acts 2 and Acts 13). These individuals were chosen by Jesus to spread the gospel. Their primary responsibilities involved being an ambassador for Jesus Christ. Each of these apostles experienced the presence of Jesus Christ.

We know that the apostle Paul went on at least three missionary journeys (Rome, Corinth and Philippi) and started churches. He spread the good news. He was a church planter. He also allowed other leaders to take hold as pastors of these churches (Timothy at Ephesus, Titus at Corinth, etc.). If we are ambassadors here at our church, we are to continue this same process of planting churches and leaders.

By the way, there are no apostles today. You must have been trained by Jesus and even witnessed His resurrection. Even though there are no apostles, the work of these ambassadors for Christ is still present in today’s church. What we have today was built on the foundation of what the apostles accomplished.

Prophets are different from apostles. They are gifted to tell people what is to come. John the Baptist was the last prophet that emerged from the Old Testament, but the emergence of the church brought forth many more of them.

While you may not be a prophet, there is wisdom in looking to God’s Word for guidance as to what is coming in the future.

The church sends evangelists. It is totally different from that of the pastor and teachers. An evangelist does not necessarily have to tend to the flock of the church. Evangelists today are missionaries. As you contribute to the Great Commission Fund, you are contributing to the church evangelistic process.

It is our hope that we can, one day at our church, have a full-time evangelist on our staff. Are we evangelizing in the same way that Paul speaks of here?

If you did not have a pastor or a teacher here in the church, who would perform the duty?

A pastor needs to know how to teach. He is also the shepherd of the flock. He is to care for the members of the congregation.

Being a pastor can be rather frustrating, and heavy, at times.

Numbers 11:12-14

Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth so You should tell me, ‘Carry them at your breast, as a nursing woman carries a baby,’ to the land that You swore to give their fathers? Where can I get meat to give all these people? For they are crying to me: ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I can’t carry all these people by myself. They are too much for me.

While the burden may be heavy at times, it is still what God calls them to do; furthermore, it is not the pastor’s burden alone.

Hebrews 13:20

Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus–the great Shepherd of the sheep–with the blood of the everlasting covenant.

1 Peter 2:25

For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Pastors should always make the effort to live more like Christ and less like themselves.

The teacher gives sound doctrine to the flock. They present sound wisdom that declares what is right or wrong according to God’s Word.

Ephesians 4:13-14

until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of Gods Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christs fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.

Do you know what your gifts are?

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person. A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:

to one is given a message of wisdom

through the Spirit,

to another, a message of knowledge

by the same Spirit,

to another, faith by the same Spirit,

to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

to another, the performing of miracles,

to another, prophecy,

to another, distinguishing between spirits,

to another, different kinds of languages,

to another, interpretation of languages.

But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.

The Holy Spirit gives these gifts to people for the purpose of the members of the body to be empowered to proclaim the gospel. While we are not all teachers, pastors or prophets, each one of us has a gift to proclaim the gospel message and build up the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:27-31

Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has placed these in the church:

first apostles, second prophets,

third teachers, next miracles,

then gifts of healing, helping,

managing, various kinds of languages.

Are all apostles? Are all prophets?

Are all teachers? Do all do miracles?

Do all have gifts of healing?

Do all speak in other languages?

Do all interpret?

But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way.

The purpose of knowing your gift is to fulfill your purpose in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we apply what Paul said about people being ambassadors for Christ, can we say that we are prepared to do these things?

We are looking forward to the future to build up the church to the place where we will bring forth ambassadors, evangelists and those who are compelled by God to move in the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ.


The Fourth Seal: Death & Hades

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

Revelation 6:7-8

When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come! And I looked, and there was a pale green horse. The horseman on it was named Death, and Hades was following after him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill by the sword, by famine, by plague, and by the wild animals of the earth.

Death is coming eventually.  It is comes in many different ways, but God is greater than death.

Jeremiah 14:14-17

But the Lord said to me, These prophets are prophesying a lie in My name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a false vision, worthless divination, the deceit of their own minds. Therefore, this is what the Lord says concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, though I did not send them, and who say, There will never be sword or famine in this land. By sword and famine these prophets will meet their end. The people they are prophesying to will be thrown into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword. There will be no one to bury themthey, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. I will pour out their own evil on them. You are to speak this word to them:
Let my eyes overflow with tears;
day and night may they not stop,
for the virgin daughter of my people
has been destroyed by a great disaster,
an extremely severe wound.

 

Hosea 13:12-14

Ephraims guilt is preserved;
his sin is stored up.
Labor pains come on him.
He is not a wise son;
when the time comes,
he will not be born.

I will ransom them from the power of Sheol.
I will redeem them from death.
Death, where are your barbs?
Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion is hidden from My eyes.

 

People need to be able to turn the right way to the Lord in order to live.  Without the Lord, they are lost.  God will rescue those who seek Him and declare Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

God is so close to coming back, and many do not know what to do.  Even though God has compassion for those who have sought for Him, He will show no compassion for those who do not know Him.

The pale green horse referred to in Revelation 6 is noted as a sickly color.  In the Phillips translation it uses the word “grave” instead of “Hades.”

Deuteronomy 32:34-43

Is it not stored up with Me,
sealed up in My vaults?
Vengeance
 belongs to Me; I will repay.
In time their foot will slip,
for their day of disaster is near,
and their doom is coming quickly.

The
 Lord will indeed vindicate His people
and have compassion on His servants
when He sees that their strength is gone
and no one is left
slave or free.
He will say:
Where are their gods,
the
rock they found refuge in?
Who ate the fat of their sacrifices
and drank the wine of their drink offerings?
Let them rise up and help you;
let it
 be a shelter for you.
See now that I alone am He;
there is no God but Me.
I bring death and I give life;
I wound and I heal.
No one can rescue anyone from My hand.
I raise My hand to heaven and declare:
As surely as I live forever,
when I sharpen My flashing sword,
and My hand takes hold of judgment,
I will take vengeance on My adversaries
and repay those who hate Me.
I will make My arrows drunk with blood
while My sword devours flesh

the blood of the slain and the captives,
the heads of the enemy leaders.

Rejoice, you nations, concerning His people,
for He will avenge the blood of His servants.
He will take vengeance on His adversaries;
He will purify His land and His people.

 

As noted in this passage, the day of the world’s disaster is coming soon.

Note that the book of Revelation is not a book of doom, but a book of revelation, salvation and how God is to be glorified in how He will keep His people.

Referring back to Revelation 6:7-8…the pale horse’s rider is Death.  Death is coming in such a way that it is unforeseen and in an unprecedented way.

The fourth seal talks about a mass death, or one-fourth of the world’s population.  In 2009, the world population was reported to be 6,783,421,727 people.  One fourth of that number would be 1.8 billion people, which is about the same number of people as in the United States and in China.

Matthew 24:22

Unless those days were limited, no one would survive. But those days will be limited because of the elect.

 

It is still the time of God’s salvation.  Today is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:2

For He says:

I heard you in an acceptable time,
and I helped you in the day of salvation.

 

Isaiah 49:8-9

This is what the Lord says:

I will answer you in a time of favor,
and I will help you in the day of salvation.
I will keep you, and I will appoint you
to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land,
to make them possess the desolate inheritances,
saying to the prisoners: Come out,
and to those who are in darkness: Show yourselves.
They will feed along the pathways,
and their pastures will be on all the barren heights.

 

The first seal represents conquest.

The second seal removed peace and men were to slay one another.

The third seal represents famine.

Death is the fourth seal.

With the seal of death following the first three seals, Revelation reflects the emergence of different types of death to be experienced by different people.

Today, death is taking place in a variety of ways that we have not seen before.

Death may come about:

  1. By the sword. The weapon of that day.  Note that the weapons of today are guns, bombs, knives, etc.
  2. By famine. People will be unable to eat–there will be no farming.  There will be food shortages.  War will destroy farmland, and there will be no one to work the land.
  3. By plague. Gangrene, infection, bacteria that ravages the body, including new diseases not previously experienced.

Because of man’s disobedience, death is naturally happening.

Revelation also notes that there will be death by wild beasts, as well.  Wild animals normally follow their own food chain, but there will be a need for food by bears, rats, bobcats, wolves, etc.  This is another way that people will experience death because of disobedience.  God will give correction and grab the attention of others who are witnesses.

Ezekiel 14:21

For this is what the Lord God says: How much worse will it be when I send My four devastating judgments against Jerusalemsword, famine, dangerous animals, and plaguein order to wipe out both man and animal from it!

 

Leviticus 26:23-24

If in spite of these things you do not accept My discipline, but act with hostility toward Me,  then I will act with hostility toward you; I also will strike you seven times for your sins.

 

Christians at that time will also experience death in this same way, but God is able to rescue them from the grave!

In Revelation Chapter 6, Hades follows death.  Hades refers to the grave, which is not a place of punishment or torment.  While the body goes to the grave:

2 Corinthians 5:7-9

For we walk by faith, not by sight, and we are confident and satisfied to be out of the body and at home with the Lord. Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him.

 

Philippians 1:21-24

For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I dont know which one I should choose. I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christwhich is far betterbut to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.

 

Psalm 49:15

But God will redeem my life from the power of Sheol, for He will take me. Selah

 

Revelation 1:17-18

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me and said, “Dont be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but lookI am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.

 

Who is in control of it all?  God is.

Job 19:25-27

But I know my living Redeemer,
and He will stand on the dust at last,
Even after my skin has been destroyed,
yet I will see God in my flesh.

I will see Him myself;
my eyes will look at Him, and not as a stranger.
My heart longs within me.


What is the Gospel?

Today’s message summary of August 16, 2015 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

What is the true message of the gospel? What is the gospel?

It is the message that Paul gave to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

 

The Corinthians were practicing immorality, and Paul had to remind them of what the true gospel was in order to refute other messages or beliefs that were prevalent in the day. There were differing opinions on the resurrection of the dead, and in what to believe. The Sadducees did not believe there was a resurrection. In fact, many believed that there was spiritual truth in opening other doors and seeking one’s own way. Gnosticism is a result of this way of thinking.

Our church needs reminders of the foundational gospel of Jesus Christ. Do you remember this gospel when you are cursed at or mistreated by someone? Remember that Christ died for you and was treated much worse than you can ever imagine.

What the gospel is not…

  • It is not about good deeds (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10)
  • It is not about self help.

There is nothing in Scripture that says that self-help is in righteousness. There is nothing that one can do to save himself…it is only in righteousness from God.

  • It is not about listening to gospel music.

You do not become more holy when you sing louder. It is only the sound preaching and teaching of the gospel.

  • It is not about the preacher.

A pastor is not to be the primary focus of hearing him speak. It is about coming to church to praise the Lord and hear His Word.

This popularity contest was what drove the Corinthians to elevate the apostles and people of the church to a higher status.

1 Corinthians 1:11-13

My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?

 

What are the implications of the gospel?

  1. Preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:14)
  1. Salvation of sinners (1 Corinthians 15:2; 1 Peter 2:24)
  1. Priority of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1)

The gospel must become the first of all things taught within the church before anything else is taught.

So, what is the gospel?  (How this question is addressed will determine your eternal state before God.)

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

He was with God in the beginning.

All things were created through Him,

and apart from Him not one thing was created

that has been created.

Life was in Him,

and that life was the light of men.

That light shines in the darkness,

yet the darkness did not overcome it.

  1. The gospel is about the birth of Jesus.
  1. The gospel is about the life of Jesus.
  1. The gospel is about the death of Jesus.

1 Peter 1:18-19

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

  1. The gospel is about the resurrection of Jesus.

 

1 Corinthians 15:13-17

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-22

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.