Tag Archives: development

The Church and Salvation:  Learning to Receive Criticism and Instruction

Today’s message summary of December 31, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

There are periods when Jesus spent time with his apostles to train them for what was to come after He turned over His ministry to them.

How much do you like criticism?  Many of us don’t, but there are times when criticism is necessary.  For those of us at the forefront of ministry, this criticism is indeed constructive and beneficial.  The apostles had to receive instruction in this way in order to make sure that (1) they were living in the right way, and (2) to demonstrate before others a life of service in Jesus Christ.

We are to respect those who criticize us, because they are ultimately watching us.  It is the act of analysis or of the qualities as an evaluation in comparison to others.  There may be a finding of fault or even disapproval of what is being done, but it is in the spirit of correction.  (We are often not as critical of ourselves as we should be.)

Being a Christian is not easy.  It starts with obedience to Him, and it involves a surrendering to the Holy Spirit, who is developing you into the person that will serve Jesus.  This is how you can experience success–in spite of the flesh.

If you were to pick twelve people to do a task, and only one of the twelve failed, how would you grade yourself?  This was the result of Jesus’ training of his apostles.

There is a historical contrast between Jesus, the Jewish leaders, and John the Baptist.

The Jewish teachers and John the Baptist didn’t choose their disciples.  Their disciples chose them.  Jesus, in contrast, hand picked each of His disciples in order that they would become His apostles.

They were not self-made.  They had to stay chose to Jesus in order to continue to develop, learn and grow.

John 15:16

You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.

Mark 3:13-15

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them out to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons.

This was a change from what was the religious norm of the time (instead of what happened with John and the Jewish leaders).  Jesus wanted the apostles and appointed them.  He wanted them to be with Him.  He would sent them out to preach, and gave them authority to drive out demons.

The real wonder of the apostles lies in the making and development of the men for their ministry.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!

The real wonder of a Christian is their growth and development.  Jesus wants to not just give salvation, but He wants to be with the believer to help him grow.  Where the old has left, the new has come.

The apostles reveal what is going to happen in the life of those who will accept Jesus as Savior.  The old has gone, and the new has come.

They had to learn to take criticism from other religious people.  There were many (Jews and Pharisees) who were watching them.

Mark 7:1-13

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him. They observed that some of his disciples were eating bread with uncleanthat is, unwashedhands. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, keeping the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and dining couches.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, Why dont your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ceremonially unclean hands?

He answered them, Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,

but their heart is far from me.

They worship me in vain,

teaching as doctrines human commands.

Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human tradition. He also said to them, You have a fine way of invalidating Gods command in order to set up your tradition!  For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother; and Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. But you say, If anyone tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is corban’” (that is, an offering devoted to God), you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.

 

“Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders?” (from Mark 7:5)

Jesus reminded the critics of the words of Scripture in defense of the disciples and noted that those who professed to follow the Lord had hearts that were not following Him.  He teaches the critics with the words of Isaiah.

Isaiah 29:13-19

The Lord said:

These people approach me with their speeches

to honor me with lip-service

yet their hearts are far from me,

and human rules direct their worship of me.

Therefore, I will again confound these people

with wonder after wonder.

The wisdom of their wise will vanish,

and the perception of their perceptive will be hidden.

 

Woe to those who go to great lengths

to hide their plans from the Lord.

They do their works in the dark,

and say, Who sees us? Who knows us?

You have turned things around,

as if the potter were the same as the clay.

How can what is made say about its maker,

He didnt make me?

How can what is formed

say about the one who formed it,

He doesnt understand what hes doing?

 

Isnt it true that in just a little while

Lebanon will become an orchard,

and the orchard will seem like a forest?

On that day the deaf will hear

the words of a document,

and out of a deep darkness

the eyes of the blind will see.

The humble will have joy

after joy in the Lord,

and the poor people will rejoice

in the Holy One of Israel.

 

The disciples were observant of the dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees, but they were observing and learning from the exchange.

They learned how to move from answering their question to stating a fact about the accusers (Mark 7:9-13).

Now Jesus takes the question from the Pharisees to the multitude of people and His disciples–a much larger group.  He turns the question into a teachable moment for all who are listening.

Mark 7:14-19

Summoning the crowd again, he told them, Listen to me, all of you, and understand: Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.

When he went into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, Are you also as lacking in understanding? Dont you realize that nothing going into a person from the outside can defile him? For it doesnt go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated (thus he declared all foods clean).

Remember that his disciples–soon to be apostles–were raised in Jewish tradition.  They had to see how these traditions were not nearly as important as the heart of the person.  The heart is to lead all of the actions for the glory of God.  Are things being done out of tradition, or are they being done out of a love and obedience for God?

Mark 7:20-23

And he said, What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of peoples hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, self-indulgence, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person.

Jesus brings all of the observers into the discussion and shares this important truth.

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ should always be mindful of where their hearts are and remain obedient to the Lord–and not grieve the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Building the Family (Series Cont’d)

Today’s message summary of February 5, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

We’re moving back into the study of building the family.  God is the One who does the work in building and shaping the person, and this applies within the family, as well.

Every dream that you have requires sacrifice in order to bring it into existence, and it involves yielding to the Father according to His will.  Sacrifice is giving up something good to get something even better.

A person should always have the desire to do better.  As a child of God, that is what He desires for you.

With every predicament in life, God requires a new behavior to be developed within the life of the believer.  (New believers are not given more than what they can bear by God; however, there is an expectation of growth and progression for the believer.)

Each believer should experience…

  • A deeper love for God and for others
  • A greater wisdom and knowledge of Jesus Christ
  • More patience
  • A desire to seek more understanding of others
  • A deeper development in his personal life

When God allows you to go through a crisis or difficulty, it is not just about facing the crisis…it is more about Him dealing with you.

It is easy to run in the other direction or even quit when things get difficult, but God desires to personally develop you.

When you are really to allow God to work in your life, He will guide your steps.  He does not want to see you fail, and it is not His desire to set you up for failure.

Building your own self-worth within the family helps to build the self-worth of others within the family.  Everyone in the family contributes to the life of the family.  There is good, bad and sometimes ugly that makes up the family.

How does God accomplish all of this?

We build a healthy self-worth by seeing life through God’s eyes.  It is not about what you want.  It is about living according to His will.  Your self-worth comes from how God values you.

He sent His Son to die for you.  That is how much He values you.

Most of our lives are busy working at what we want our life to be.

Colossians 1:9-10

For this reason also, since the day we heard this (that you became a believer), we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.

 

You desire to do God’s will and not your own.

How does one build his self-worth? Focus on the will of God, and desire spiritual understanding of life.

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.

 

Psalm 84:11

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

 

Proverbs 2:3-6

…furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

 

God’s knowledge and understanding is the beginning of growing a good self-worth within yourself.

Your self-image (your own concept of yourself–your identity, your abilities, your self-worth) is what you outwardly want people to see.

Worth:  value, merit, honor.  It is the value that God has placed upon you.

1 Peter 1:18-19

For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.


Marriage and the Family (First in a Series)

Today’s message summary of September 11, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Marriage is not something that is an easy undertaking.  It’s tough.  It’s work.  It can wear you out.  But it also brings great joy into your life…that peace that surpasses all understanding.  It is very complex.  Marriage is something that it is constantly being worked on.

Society would like people to believe that attractiveness leads to love.  That’s not true.  Attraction is not love in itself.  Love is a development over time.  In a relationship, there will be days where love is prevalent, while in others it may be missing.  Love is a mental attitude where each day a person has to decide that you love the other person.  At times, it is the problems that come up over time that is the hindrance to love.

A relationship has substance and meaning, but it starts to fall apart when one is not seen as worthy or as valuable.

Marriage is a divine creation.  Adam and Eve were created as the first married couple, and that is what God intended for all of humanity.

God intended for two to become one, while Satan’s desire is to separate couples.  Satan is at war with married couples.  A person has to decide where the fight is coming from and, once it is recognized that Satan is the opposition to reject him.  Satan is out to defeat both the husband and the wife.  His goal is to have two bitter enemies and to also reflect all of this on the children involved.  Each of these will keep a person from recognizing Jesus Christ or the importance of Jesus Christ in life.  Satan is trying to steal that which God has given to you.

John 10:7-10

So Jesus said again, “I assure you: I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

The battle is not between ourselves—the battle is with Satan.

If a married couple acknowledges that they are together, the credit should also go to the One who they look to.  God is trying to build the relationship, while Satan tries to tear it down.

Genesis 2:25

Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.

Being naked at that time was not associated with anything corrupted.

Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?

Satan attacks us with our thoughts and perceptions, and as a result, our intellect.

Both God and Satan reveal themselves to people, but for different reasons and purposes.  His influence is bad because what he reveals causes a person to change and even become irrational.  A person winds up using his own reasoning and going to God less and less.

Satan has to be defeated by looking to God for reasoning that overcomes unspiritual strongholds.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

…since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.

The shame of sin is what created the environment of the need to be covered with clothing.  Our marriage does indeed have boundaries that are established, and it is important to understand what is good and proper within the marriage relationship.  It is important to be sensitive to the person that you are married to.  It speaks to our emotional state and the ability to trust the spouse.

The days where there is a struggle within the marriage should be the days where there is patience and understanding.  Couples need to remind themselves to refer back to how God is working with both the husband and the wife each day.  This will contribute greatly to demolishing any negative thoughts or arguments.

Eve did not take every thought into captivity when interacting with the serpent (and neither did Adam). They entertained thoughts that were not of God.

Genesis 3:6-7

Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

When Adam first saw Eve, there was no shame.  After their sin, they both saw each other differently and experienced a closed-off relationship.  The relationship changed from an open one to a more secretive one. (Also notice that Adam had the responsibility to warn Eve about the fruit, but failed to do so adequately, and did not intervene.  God came on the scene not at the point that Eve ate the fruit, but immediately manifested Himself when Adam ate it.  Adam failed to be the covering influence for their marriage by saying nothing.)

Numbers 30:10-12

If a woman in her husband’s house has made a vow or put herself under an obligation with an oath, and her husband hears about it, says nothing to her, and does not prohibit her, all her vows are binding, and every obligation she put herself under is binding. But if her husband cancels them on the day he hears about it, nothing that came from her lips, whether her vows or her obligation, is binding. Her husband has canceled them, and the Lord will absolve her.

In marriage, you should be able to share freely with each other.  You should be able to understand more about the other person as you gain understanding about what the person has gone through in life.  It is important to be able to know and understand one another’s places of security and insecurity.  In contrast, secretive relationships create boundaries that impede the marriage and, as a result, the development of the marriage in a positive manner.

The truth sets people free.  Lying only causes separation and mistrust.

God has created us, and not Satan.  God has given us His Word as a guide for personal development in every aspect of life. He has given us His Word for successful living in the marriage for both the husband and the wife.

Satan has not given us anything with which to build success on. What he has done is caused shame.  It is a damaging emotional and mental state.  Shame brings about discord, frustration and disappointment.

When a person begins to disconnect from another person, it is based upon some sort of disappointment.  Satan is definitely in it, and he desires to keep God out of the picture.

A person has to declare that nothing will separate me from the one that I love in marriage.

In marriage, we are to help each other. You are to consider their past experiences as they will surely be revealed.  Jesus took into consideration the person’s life experience (John 4:16-17).  He saw (and revealed) more than what the woman at the well wanted Him to see; yet, she needed to know that He was concerned about her insecurity.  Jesus already knows the hearts of everyone He encountered, and still does, but it is important for couples to share about themselves to each other.

In a marriage, you have to see more about the spouse than what is visible.

1 Peter 3:7

Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with an understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as co-heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

The King James version uses the word “knowledge” for understanding.  It comes with studying one another.  Husbands and wives are to be thoughtful to others as you understand the life of the other person.


How To Keep Sin Out of Your Life

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

God keeps us in the hollow of His hand with His love for us.  This doesn’t mean that we don’t experience sin.  We must note that sin must be kept out of our lives because it brings about spiritual death.

James 1:13-15

13 No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. 14 But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.

We’re going to look at our thought process and our way of thinking, which leads to our decision-making process.  If my thoughts are guided by our worldly system, then the thoughts that come forth will reflect what the world represents.  Those thoughts will generate sin, and they will generate spiritual death.  This is represented in uselessness for God’s kingdom.

God’s desire is to develop a system of thinking in us that is above this world’s way of thinking.

Acts 20:32

“And now I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified.”

God provides us with the knowledge that allows us to overcome the world.

2 Peter 1:2-4

2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

3 His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.

Our thought process is developed through observation, our life experiences (trust or distrust, like or dislike) and education.  Keep in mind that all of this is coupled with our own desires if we are looking to the world for our values.  All of these work together in forming a person’s way of thinking.  God wants us to recognize His role in our thought process and look to Him for wisdom and knowledge through our observations, experiences and education.

God intends to build us up through His Word in order to help them to grow in Him and overcome the world.  Without His Word, you will succumb to the world and fall subject to sin.  The peace of God and His grace comes through the wisdom and knowledge of God through Jesus Christ.  There is a distinction between knowedge as we understand it in the world and godly knowledge.  God gives you everything you need to live in holiness and a godly life in Jesus Christ.

If you proclaim yourself to be a Christian, you will need to look to God’s Word for guidance in how you should live.  Satan wants to keep believers from obtaining that knowledge and wisdom, which will render you as ineffective and corruptible through sin and its worldly influences.  God’s Word provides you the ability to live in His divine nature and a Christlike existence.

There are two different ways that you can develop as a person:

1. Natural development (according to the world’s standards)

1 Corinthians 1:20

Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish?

Proverbs 13:20

The one who walks with the wise will become wise,

but a companion of fools will suffer harm.

Proverbs 12:15

A fool’s way is right in his own eyes,

but whoever listens to counsel is wise.

Proverbs 17:12

Better for a man to meet a bear robbed of her cubs

than a fool in his foolishness.

2.  Divine development (according to God’s will and His standards)

Proverbs 12:15

A fool’s way is right in his own eyes,

but whoever listens to counsel is wise.

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord

is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 2:6, 9-10

6 For the Lord gives wisdom;

from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

9 Then you will understand righteousness, justice,

and integrity—every good path.

10 For wisdom will enter your mind,

and knowledge will delight your heart.

Proverbs 13:20

The one who walks with the wise will become wise,

but a companion of fools will suffer harm.

Believers are to operate within a “kingdom system” in the development of their thought life.

To man belongs the plans of the heart, but God provides the answers (Proverbs 16:9).  God wants to give us knowledge that develops our thinking, our imagination, and our thought process.  It is up to the believer to receive it and live accordingly.

Proverbs 16:1-9

1 The reflections of the heart belong to man,

but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

2 All a man’s ways seem right to him,

but the Lord evaluates the motives.

3 Commit your activities to the Lord,

and your plans will be achieved.

4 The Lord has prepared everything for His purpose—

even the wicked for the day of disaster.

5 Everyone with a proud heart is detestable to the Lord;

be assured, he will not go unpunished.

6 Wickedness is atoned for by loyalty and faithfulness,

and one turns from evil by the fear of the Lord.

7 When a man’s ways please the Lord,

He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

8 Better a little with righteousness

than great income with injustice.

9 A man’s heart plans his way,

but the Lord determines his steps.

God knows our hearts and our thoughts.  We certainly can’t hide anything from Him.  He knows our sincerity in seeking Him, and He will provide answers that will guide us in every decision we make.

Here is an example with reference to David:

1 Chronicles 28:2-3, 6

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

6 He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon is the one who is to build My house and My courts, for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his father.

1 Chronicles 29:2-3

2 So to the best of my ability I’ve made provision for the house of my God: gold for the gold articles, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron, and wood for the wood, as well as onyx, stones for mounting, antimony, stones of various colors, all kinds of precious stones, and a great quantity of marble. 3 Moreover, because of my delight in the house of my God, I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the house of my God over and above all that I’ve provided for the holy house.

We are to use God’s thoughts, His ways, His standards and the enabling of the Holy Spirit to develop our thought process in order to keep our hearts and minds on Jesus Christ over the world’s view of life.  In this way, we will resist sin and remain focused on our service for Him.


The Benefits of a Church

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
I pray that God will bring understanding of His truth to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. As we read and hear His Word, allow the Spirit to speak to you and provide insight and direction as we trust in Him, and let Him minister to you.

How many of us know the real reason that we go to church? Only you can answer this question for yourself. Are you going to show your fashions or simply out of duty? Are you going to seek the Lord with all your heart?

Is coming to church beneficial to you? Do you understand its value and importance? Do you see how God is working in your life and in those around you? There really is something to gain in your participation. What are its benefits?

1. A church will teach you how to conduct yourself in life.

1 Timothy 3:15
But if I should be delayed, I have written so that you will know how people ought to act in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

Do you see your relationship with God as joyful and all-inclusive in your life? A child of God is a member of His family, and you know how to behave and conduct yourself.

Philippians 1:27
Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel.

In church, you surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you. In comparison, the world does not care about you nearly as much. In your obedience, you see the presence, power and glory of God working through the church. God renews your mind and changes your heart to become Christlike in your actions.

Psalm 63:2-5
2 So I gaze on You in the sanctuary
to see Your strength and Your glory.
3 My lips will glorify You
because Your faithful love is better than life.
4 So I will praise You as long as I live;
at Your name, I will lift up my hands.
5 You satisfy me as with rich food;
my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.

2. In church you will gain understanding about life.

Do you know who you are in Jesus Christ? Have you asked about the advantages of being a Christian as opposed to living life as a sinner?

Psalm 73
God’s Ways Vindicated

A psalm of Asaph.

1 God is indeed good to Israel,
to the pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet almost slipped;
my steps nearly went astray.
3 For I envied the arrogant;
I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have an easy time until they die,
and their bodies are well fed.
5 They are not in trouble like others;
they are not afflicted like most people.
6 Therefore, pride is their necklace,
and violence covers them like a garment.
7 Their eyes bulge out from fatness;
the imaginations of their hearts run wild.
8 They mock, and they speak maliciously;
they arrogantly threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against heaven,
and their tongues strut across the earth.
10 Therefore His people turn to them
and drink in their overflowing words.
11 The wicked say, “How can God know?
Does the Most High know everything?”
12 Look at them—the wicked!
They are always at ease,
and they increase their wealth.
13 Did I purify my heart
and wash my hands in innocence for nothing?
14 For I am afflicted all day long
and punished every morning.
15 If I had decided to say these things aloud,
I would have betrayed Your people.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it seemed hopeless
17 until I entered God’s sanctuary.
Then I understood their destiny.
18 Indeed, You put them in slippery places;
You make them fall into ruin.
19 How suddenly they become a desolation!
They come to an end, swept away by terrors.
20 Like one waking from a dream,
Lord, when arising, You will despise their image.
21 When I became embittered
and my innermost being was wounded,
22 I was stupid and didn’t understand;
I was an unthinking animal toward You.
23 Yet I am always with You;
You hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with Your counsel,
and afterward You will take me up in glory.
25 Who do I have in heaven but You?
And I desire nothing on earth but You.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart,
my portion forever.
27 Those far from You will certainly perish;
You destroy all who are unfaithful to You.
28 But as for me, God’s presence is my good.
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
so I can tell about all You do.

When you look at life for what it is, the blessing is more about doing the right thing as opposed to doing what your flesh desires to do. There is often hardship in following Christ, including persecution. You will find yourself making choices that will separate yourself from some friends and acquaintances, and it won’t be easy to do. There may even be some envy or jealousy over what others may do, but your love for God and your desire to please Him keeps you from sinning against Him and seeking righteous living. Please know and remember that there is are good consequences of faithful living and there are dire consequences of unrighteous living. The love of Christ strengthens you and builds you up, while ongoing sin only corrupts the mind and the heart of the perpetrator. In church, you learn about this and the clear distinctions between the two.

3. In church you learn reverence for God.

Psalm 5:7
But I enter Your house
by the abundance of Your faithful love;
I bow down toward Your holy temple
in reverential awe of You.


What is the Role of Today’s Church?

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
Does the church stand behind what it teaches? Does it hold to the authority of Scripture? If the church is to remain relevant, it must continue to focus on the importance of Jesus Christ in its ministry.

The church is the continuation of Jesus’ ministry. It is a ministry that serves its people. The Holy Spirit gives direction for those who are serving in the church. The church must also recognize that change and evolution of society and its values. With that, the teaching of Scripture does not change with society. Sin is still sin as it always was, and is to be recognized as such. The church must stand firm in God’s Word.

When society is troubled, the church is also troubled out of concern for its people. The church must deal with the troubles in society.

Nehemiah 2:17
So I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned down. Come, let’s rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, so that we will no longer be a disgrace.”

Do you see the trouble that we are in with people who are fleeing from the church? Do you see how men are not taking responsibilities for their children and families? Do you see how fornication affects our society? Do you understand that God will provide for anyone who is willing to serve?

Some people will refuse to serve because they refuse to see the troubles in society…even in our own homes. There is less safety and security all around but you need to acknowledge those who set out not to do good but to do evil. There is calamity everywhere, but it can’t be ignored. Unfortunately, some people do not care if they live in their sin and in its disgrace. The persons in the church need to develop a heart of love and concern for those in society who are in sin and out of fellowship. Do you weep for others because God’s Word is not being followed? We cry because of the danger and hardship that people put themselves into because of their sin.

Psalm 119:136
My eyes pour out streams of tears
because people do not follow Your instruction.

Nehemiah 2:3
…and replied to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should I not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

Ezekiel 9:4
“Pass throughout the city of Jerusalem,” the Lord said to him, “and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the detestable practices committed in it.”

The church is to be actively involved in all areas of life where there is a need for service.

The people of the church must look at the problems of society and seek what needs to be accomplished.

The church needs to train the people to do the work to provide solutions to the problems.

Look at the work of Jesus Christ to understand what the work of the church is. Jesus came to be about His Father’s business, just as the people of the church are to do. For example, Jesus took on the troubles of Zacchaeus.

Luke 19:7-10
7 All who saw it began to complain, “He’s gone to lodge with a sinful man!”

8 But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, I’ll give half of my possessions to the poor, Lord! And if I have extorted anything from anyone, I’ll pay back four times as much!”

9 “Today salvation has come to this house,” Jesus told him, “because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”

The difference between those who are lost and those who are saved is often the troubles of the world are a negative influence in the non-believers life. Sin always brings about troubles in life. God is always seeking those who have troubles in their life. The people in trouble are always seeking solutions to their problems, but they may not readily understand that it is Christ who is the answer to their problems. They must see the people of the church willing to serve and help those in trouble and have a heart to save a dying world. It is a lifelong commitment.

Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life —a ransom for many.”

The model for the church is found here:

1 Peter 2:21
For you were called to this,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example,
so that you should follow in His steps.

Jesus mingled with the people, as the people of the church are to interact with people in the world. There is a lesson in listening to the Lord and a blessing when you are obedient and trust in Him:

Luke 5:1-11
As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God’s word, He was standing by Lake Gennesaret. 2 He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then He sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat.

4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at Your word, I’ll let down the nets.”

6 When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, because I’m a sinful man, Lord!” 9 For he and all those with him were amazed at the catch of fish they took, 10 and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s partners.

“Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people!” 11 Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed Him.

We are to interact with people who are not healthy. We are to seek those who are in need of guidance and who want to be helped.

Luke 5:27-32
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” 28 So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow Him.

29 Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for Him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were guests with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to His disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus replied to them, “The healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

We are to meet the needs of the people where they are. It requires trusting in God to go beyond your own human reasoning to accomplish this. It takes faith and trusting in Him.

Luke 9:11-17
11 When the crowds found out, they followed Him. He welcomed them, spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and cured those who needed healing.

12 Late in the day, the Twelve approached and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, so they can go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find food and lodging, because we are in a deserted place here.”

13 “You give them something to eat,” He told them.

“We have no more than five loaves and two fish,” they said, “unless we go and buy food for all these people.” 14 (For about 5,000 men were there.)

Then He told His disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about 50 each.” 15 They did so, and had them all sit down. 16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them. He kept giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 Everyone ate and was filled. Then they picked up 12 baskets of leftover pieces.

The people of the church must have the will and desire to do what God would have them to do, and by trusting in Him, it will be accomplished.