Tag Archives: enemy

Salvation and the Church: Sent Out to Learn

Today’s message summary of November 26, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

We’re continuing with the topic of salvation and the church.  Life in the church is much more than just declaring Jesus as your personal Savior.  It is more than just sitting in church and taking things in.  It is about worshiping and serving the Lord day after day and growing more and more in your faith.  Salvation is the area where God grooms you and prepares you while giving you tests that involve experiences with places and relationships.

Remember what it is like to send your children off to school for the first time.  It is a similar experience in your faith.  There will be new and different experiences for you to see and learn from.  We are sent out to learn.

In Jesus’s time, the twelve disciples were sent out in Luke 9 and the seventy-two others are sent out in Chapter 10 of Luke.

  • The twelve are the Apostles
  • The seventy-two (some bibles refer to seventy) are disciples.
  • Both groups are sent out at different times–not together.
  • Both are given the same authority.
  • Both groups were given instructions by Jesus.
  • Both of these groups were sent out about nine months apart.

When you are being sent out to do ministry—discipling and shepherding different people—you are essentially leading and pastoring others.  You don’t need a degree to do it.  You just need a love of Jesus and the desire to share on His behalf—represent Him and act like Him.  He has given you authority to do this.  It is ultimately the responsibility of every person who declares the name of Jesus Christ.

In some ministries we share the same authority in order to achieve what God has assigned to us.  We are not to be caught up in titles.  It is all about your heart and your obedience to Jesus Christ.

For the groups’ instructions:

  • They were not to go to the Gentiles or Samaritans
  • They were given a message to give to the people of Israel
  • They were commissioned to drive out demons

The message was for the people that they were familiar with.  It was a message that was the gospel—the good news about the kingdom of heaven.

Whenever you enter into ministry with Jesus Christ, you are entering a battle with the enemy.  It can be personal, or even attack your family or close friends that can attempt to draw you away from what God has called you to do.

Mark 6:12-13

So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they were driving out many demons, anointing many sick people with olive oil, and healing them.

Matthew 10:7-8

“As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge.”

To the seventy-two:

Luke 10:8

“When you enter any town, and they welcome you, eat the things set before you. Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near you.’

They had to learn that a worker is worthy of His keep.

Philippians 4:19

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

God takes care of His people.

Matthew 10:11-13

When you enter any town or village, find out who is worthy, and stay there until you leave.  Greet a household when you enter it, and if the household is worthy, let your peace be on it; but if it is unworthy, let your peace return to you.

Luke 9:4

Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.

Luke 10:5-6

Whatever house you enter, first say, Peace to this household. If a person of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.

They were sent out to learn that everything will not go their way, and that some people will not like them, even though they were sent among people who were similar to them.

Matthew 10:16

“Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.”

They were learning how to do ministry without His presence.  Jesus was their leader and they had followed Him, but now they were to go out on their own.

Jesus was there but not seen.  They learned His spiritual presence in the power of His name.

Luke 10:17

The Seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.”

They were learning to walk by faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

They were learning how to represent Jesus, and not themselves.

2 Corinthians 5:20

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us.  We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”

Since Jesus was not with them, they had to learn to trust in more than themselves.  Two by two.  Trusting in one another.

When you trust another person, you are learning from that person as you build your relationship.  There is a development that must take place over a period of time.

Coming together into a group is only the beginning.

Staying together is a sign of progress.

Working together is success.

They had to learn that coming together was learning to work together to accomplish God’s will.

Four important lessons learned by being sent out:

  1. Jesus had to be brought into their lives and their way of thinking.

Psalm 26:2

Test me, Lord, and try me; examine my heart and mind.

Lamentations 3:40

Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord.

2 Corinthians 13:5

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith.  Examine yourselves.  Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?unless you fail the test.

  1. Learn to submit to the will of Jesus. By going out and doing it. We are not just going in His will, but learn how to function within it.

Acts 17:28

For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

  1. Commit your ways to Jesus.

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.

  1. Learn to transmit knowledge to others.

Acts 20:27

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

The twelve and the seventy-two had to deal with these four different areas of submission to Jesus Christ.  In the same manner, we have to learn how to speak to many different groups of people–different cultures and the like–in order to best communicate the gospel.  We are to submit to Jesus and do so in love in order that others can see Him in our efforts.

What we all learn from this:  Life itself will give the final examination on what you believe.

 

 

 

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The Seven Bowls

A message summary from April 24, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Revelation 16:1-2

Then I heard a loud voice from the sanctuary saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” 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.

Even in the midst of God’s judgment and wrath, He still does want people to repent from their sin and turn to Him.

Jesus is giving direction through the last of the seven bowls.

A loud voice was coming from the temple.  It belonged to Jesus.

Revelation 15:5-8

After this I looked, and the heavenly sanctuary—the tabernacle of testimony—was opened. Out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, dressed in clean, bright linen, with gold sashes wrapped around their chests. One of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven gold bowls filled with the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. Then the sanctuary was filled with smoke from God’s glory and from His power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

There was such glory and power that was present where no one could enter.  The great voice that comes out in Rev. 16:1 is that of Jesus Christ.  There is no great joy in what He is taking place, because we must remember that even though He is just and right, He still desired for all to be saved.

Isaiah 66:6

A sound of uproar from the city! A voice from the temple–the voice of the Lord, paying back His enemies what they deserve!

Revelation 11:15

The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever!”

Revelation 14:8-10a

A second angel followed, saying: “It has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, who made all the nations drink the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath.” And a third angel followed them and spoke with a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is mixed full strength in the cup of His anger.

While there are woes on earth, there is an excitement in heaven.  The excitement is the kingdoms of the earth are becoming part of the kingdom of heaven. God is not joyful in all of what will take place, because He loves even the worst of those who are sinners.

The pouring of the bowls will be a time a great distress.

Matthew 24:21

For at that time there will be great tribulation, the kind that hasn’t taken place from the beginning of the world until now and never will again!

Bowl: a vial with a wide mouth.  A bowl has a wide opening at its top.  A bowl pours out its contents all at one time.  This implies that His wrath will happen very quickly.  I think that the reason God does this is because He knows that this will be so terrible that it is to be done as quickly as possible.

The judgment of sin will move and end quickly. God will take swift action, which also still will reflect His grace and mercy.

God does indeed love everyone He has created.  There is not a person who God hates.

The judgment will be over quickly because:

Jeremiah 6:10

Who can I speak to and give such a warning that they will listen? Look, their ear is uncircumcised, so they cannot pay attention. See, the word of the Lord has become contemptible to them–they find no pleasure in it.

There comes a time when talking is over.

Ezekiel 18:23, 32

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “Instead, don’t I take pleasure when he turns from his ways and lives?

For I take no pleasure in anyone’s death.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “So repent and live!”

Understand that the heart of God will not take pleasure in punishing His children.  Remember that He witnessed His Son dying on the cross for all of mankind.

Ezekiel 33:11

Tell them: As I live” — the declaration of the Lord God — “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live. Repent, repent of your evil ways! Why will you die, house of Israel?

Ephesians 1:5

He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will.

Even God Himself does not get what He desires.  Some will perish even though He does not want that to happen.

We can’t picture God wrestling over this issue, but you can understand it better if you can see that God does not want any to perish, and that His love for us is measured in how Jesus Christ died for us.

The person born again in Jesus Christ is a completely different individual.  That is His pleasure…to see people get saved, and not be condemned.

He won’t make you do something that you don’t want to do.  His pleasure is to see His children get saved and not to suffer under His condemnation, for He will still act in righteousness. He is true to Himself.

 

 

 


Signs of the Last Days: Apostasy

Today’s message summary of March 8, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Lord, Your Word is able to reach into the deepest sin and transform those who are in sin. May we be a people of The Book that trusts the Word in The Book. We want to be doers of the Word. Thank you for strengthening us and ministering to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

We’re discussing today the word ‘apostasy,’ which means “to fall away.”

Revelation 3:20

Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.

 

Note that the Lord is referring to churches where He is on the outside looking in. These will be the places where churches will indeed be open, but God’s Word will not be in them. These are places where church will take place, but God is not present because His Word will be absent.

When a person falls away from truth, it is a falling away from God, who will keep you.

We’re in a day now where you can’t say anything about God’s Word in public places or areas. It is causing division and strife in those areas where people do not want to hear God’s Word anymore.

God is going to bring people to see Him in a miraculous way.

2 Thessalonians 2:3

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

 

We are to be alert as to what is going on around us. If you know that you are saved, there will be something that will try to draw you away from your faith.

Strong’s Dictionary on apostasy: a defection from the truth; forsaking the truth

Greek English Lexicon: a falling away from the truth

Jeremiah 2:19

Your own evil will discipline you; your own apostasies will reprimand you. Think it over and see how evil and bitter it is for you to abandon the Lord your God and to have no fear of Me. This is the declaration of the Lord God of Hosts.

 

Apostasy is a departure from the truth. It is to stand away from it. You have to make a choice to do so.

Romans 10:8-9

On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the message of faith that we proclaim: If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

 

Apostasy can result from being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mark 8:38

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

 

The goal of the Antichrist is to move you (society, church, individuals) away from the Word of God. He could care less if the church is full or not full. It’s about people who decide to devalue God’s Word.

Luke 11:28

He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed!”

 

Satan wants to diminish or lessen the value of God’s Word because it becomes easier to believe in lies or what is false. If you believe in what is false, you will rebel against truth.

When people fall away from the truth, here is what happens:

  1. They function under a made-up truth of their own creation.
  1. If truth sets you free from sin (John 8:32), then the rejection of truth only promotes more sin in your life.
  1. When truth is denied and not received in your life, you no longer can present yourself as an instrument of righteousness in your home (including before your children or your family), your workplace or within society (Romans 6:13).
  1. It is the word of truth that sets us apart from the sin of this world (John 17:16). If you reject the way of truth, you accept the ways of the world. Who is the God of this world? Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4).

John 8:32

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

Romans 6:13

And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness.

 

John 17:16

They are not of the world, as I am not of the world.

 

2 Corinthians 4:4

In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of believers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

 

The bottom line: you are under someone’s authority–God’s or Satan’s.

When you fall away from truth, all that is left is self-reliance (self-truth).

  1. Self-truth will not stand the test of time.
  2. Self-truth will never take the place of God’s Word. In God’s Word, you have the victory over Satan.
  3. Self-truth will not remove your sadness. In God’s Word, there is joy and peace.
  4. Self-truth will not allow you to stand and hold your ground.

 

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.

 

Psalm 127:1-2

Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain. In vain you get up early and stay up late, working hard to have enough food–yes, He gives sleep to the one He loves.

 

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is Gods power to us who are being saved. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the experts. Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasnt God made the worlds wisdom foolish? For since, in Gods wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is Gods power and Gods wisdom, because Gods foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and Gods weakness is stronger than human strength.

 

When you fall away from God, are you mocking Him?

Galatians 6:7

Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap.

 

1 John 5:10

The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within him. The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about His Son.

 

To fall away is to rebel from God.

1 Samuel 15:23

For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.

 

Witchcraft is trusting in works taught by demons (spells and curses). It is to trust in the word of another person outside of Christ.

Numbers 23:11, 19-20

“What have you done to me?” Balak asked Balaam. “I brought you to curse my enemies, but look, you have only blessed them!”

God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes His mind. Does He speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill? I have indeed received a command to bless; since He has blessed, I cannot change it.

 

Psalm 109:28

Though they curse, You will bless. When they rise up, they will be put to shame, but Your servant will rejoice.

 

When you fall away, you fight against the Spirit of Truth.

John 16:13

When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.

 

John 14:17

He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesnt see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.

 

Romans 8:1-2

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirits law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

 

2 Corinthians 3:6

He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit produces life.

When you fall away, you fall from grace.

 

Galatians 5:4

You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace.

 

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

When you walk away from truth, you walk away from God’s favor in your life. God’s grace and His truth are tied together.


Signs of the Last Days: First Major Battle of Israel

Today’s message summary of February 22, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Lord, we want to be a people who studies Your Word as we want to be faithful to You. We want to be true unto You and committed to You. Burn this unto our hearts as we commit to loving this life for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The first two World Wars set the stage for Israel to take center stage in the scope of the entire world. World War I allowed for the return of many Jews to their homeland. World War II presented the opportunity for Israel to become a nation (in 1948). God’s Word has declared that Israel would be a nation, and this has taken place.

These are the beginnings of the end times. We are to pay attention to how things are taking place in today’s world that are unprecedented in our time. What is accepted as normal today is far from what we can imagine. We have accepted teen pregnancy as the norm. While we can say that these things have been going on since the time of Adam, there is a greater intensity of these things that are taken place.

These things are leading us towards the tribulation or within the first years of the tribulation.

Ezekiel 38 and 39 are not part of Revelation 20, pertaining to the battle of Armageddon. My thought is that if Israel is going to sign a peace treaty, and the treaty is going to be broken, you won’t be able to have peace and conflict at the same time. What would be the circumstances where Israel would make a treaty with someone for peace? Something has to take place to lead up to the three and one half years that sets the stage for the Abomination of Desolation. There had to be a conflict that would set up Israel to enter a covenant that would grant them peace, and would allow them to rebuild the temple to resume their sacrifice. (Sometime during this period, Israel will get very comfortable with its practices and making sacrifices.) One who will promise peace, and then, at some point, step into the temple and call himself God will represent the treaty. It will take the entire world by surprise.

Daniel 9:27

He will make a firm covenant with many for one week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.

 

Daniel 11:31

His forces will rise up and desecrate the temple fortress. They will abolish the daily sacrifice and set up the abomination of desolation.

 

Amos 8:11

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

 

Our world is in the midst of this famine today. Christians have readily put down their bibles and will make it much easier for the opposition–the Adversary–to present himself as one who brings peace and deceives the nations.

Matthew 24:15-16

15 “So when you see the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place” (let the reader understand[), 16 “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains!

 

2 Thessalonians 2:4

He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s sanctuary, publicizing that he himself is God.

 

Ezekiel 38:5-6

Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shields and helmets; Gomer with all its troops; and Beth-togarmah from the remotest parts of the north along with all its troops–many peoples are with you.

 

Ezekiel 38:5-6 – Five other nations will join with Russia.

  1. Persia – Iran
  2. Cush – Ethiopia
  3. Put – Libya
  4. Gomer – Germany
  5. Beth-Togarmah – Turkey

Many nations with you (Not all nations are against Israel; however, in the battle of Armageddon, all nations will be involved.)

Russia and her friends are coming for the spoils of Israel.

Ezekiel 38:11-13

You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of open villages; I will come against a tranquil people who are living securely, all of them living without walls and without bars or gates–in order to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against ruins now inhabited and against a people gathered from the nations, who have been acquiring cattle and possessions and who live at the center of the world.’ Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its rulers will ask you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hordes to carry off plunder, to make off with silver and gold, to take cattle and possessions, to seize great spoil?’

 

Why the invasion of Israel? Why would Russia want to attack Israel?

Israel is considered to be in the center of the world. It links to three continents–Europe, Asia and Africa.

Israel may have the richest oil fields in the world.

To address hunger, Israel’s land is producing food (a land flowing with milk and honey)

The Dead Sea – salt, which has been taken from the earliest time of history

A land rich in minerals–sodium, chlorine, potassium, calcium, magnesium

Israel exports one million tons of potash (plant food) per year. Israel can supply potash for the next two hundred years.

 

In spite of all of this, God will restore Israel to Himself.

Ezekiel 39:21

I will display My glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the judgment I have executed and the land I have laid on them.

 

Scientists report general information about all nations. In this information:

“It now appears that no land in all of the world is near so rich in minerals as the little land of Israel. It is really the jewel of the world.” The salt alone has been valued at one trillion two hundred seventy billion dollars ($1,270,000,000,000.00).

In 1970, President Nixon said: “It isn’t a case of Israel versus the Arab states, but the Soviet Union is not moving into the Eastern Mediterranean (Afghanistan).

Ezekiel 38:12 – Israel is said to be in this midst of the land.

Ezekiel 5:5

“This is what the Lord God says: I have set this Jerusalem in the center of the nations, with countries all around her.”

 

A comparison of the two wars:

  • In Ezekiel, the main purpose was for God to be made known (8:23; 9:21).
  • In the battle of Armageddon, all nations of the world are involved (Joel 3:2, Zechariah 14:2, Revelation 16:14, 16; 20:7-8). Its purpose for its perpetrators was to come against Christ and the Jews.
  • Ezekiel 38:13 – the nations protest against Russia
  • Armageddon – Satan leads the opposition
  • God defeated the northern invaders in Ezekiel 38:22
  • In the battle of Armageddon, the slain will be from one end of the earth to the other (Jeremiah 25:33).
  • Russia (Gog) – the dead will be buried (Ezekiel 39:12-15). God will destroy them (Ezekiel 38:21-23).
  • In Armageddon, there will not be a burial.

1 Timothy 4:1-3

1Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth.

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5

But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people!


God Builds People of Faith

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

There are times when we need to learn how to face our enemies and deal with them. Today, we will look at Rahab.

God is the One who desires to do the work in each of us and builds us up. He wants us to grow to a higher standard for the sake of His kingdom. It’s not about where you are, but where you are going.

Rahab is most often known as a prostitute and is not Jewish, but she also happens to be Jesus Christ’s great-grandmother.

Matthew 1:4-6

4 Aram fathered Amminadab,

Amminadab fathered Nahshon,

Nahshon fathered Salmon,

5 Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab,

Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth,

Obed fathered Jesse,

6 and Jesse fathered King David.

 

This higher standard also applies to Rahab, because she saw God differently. She stepped out in faith and supplied for her need as she exercised it. Interestingly, her name meant “boldly disrespectful or prideful.” Her name stood for one thing, but her faith made her distinctive from those around her.

 

Hebrews 11:1-2, 31

1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. 2 For our ancestors won God’s approval by it.

31 By faith Rahab the prostitute received the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed.

 

James 2:22-25

22 You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected. 23 So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness, and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by a different route?

 

She is an example of one’s faith in action.

Rahab recognized the God of the Israelites was no ordinary god. He is powerful. She saw that God could defeat the armies across the Jordan River.

Isaiah 44:24, 46:6-11

24 This is what the Lord, your Redeemer who formed you from the womb, says:

I am Yahweh, who made everything;

who stretched out the heavens by Myself;

who alone spread out the earth.

 

6 Those who pour out their bags of gold

and weigh out silver on scales—

they hire a goldsmith and he makes it into a god.

Then they kneel and bow down to it.

7 They lift it to their shoulder and bear it along;

they set it in its place, and there it stands;

it does not budge from its place.

They cry out to it but it doesn’t answer;

it saves no one from his trouble.

8 “Remember this and be brave;

take it to heart, you transgressors!

9 Remember what happened long ago,

for I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and no one is like Me.

10 I declare the end from the beginning,

and from long ago what is not yet done,

saying: My plan will take place,

and I will do all My will.

11 I call a bird of prey from the east,

a man for My purpose from a far country.

Yes, I have spoken; so I will also bring it about.

I have planned it; I will also do it.

 

She saw what God did and responded to Him.

Joshua 2:1-7

1 Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two men as spies from the Acacia Grove, saying, “Go and scout the land, especially Jericho.” So they left, and they came to the house of a woman, a prostitute named Rahab, and stayed there.

2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelite men have come here tonight to investigate the land.” 3 Then the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab and said, “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, for they came to investigate the entire land.”

4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. So she said, “Yes, the men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they were from. 5 At nightfall, when the gate was about to close, the men went out, and I don’t know where they were going. Chase after them quickly, and you can catch up with them!” 6 But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them among the stalks of flax that she had arranged on the roof. 7 The men pursued them along the road to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as they left to pursue them, the gate was shut.

 

Rahab was fearful of her life and the life of her family. She recognized that God was able to defeat the enemy and she was determined to keep the men who came under her roof as a secret. Yes, she lied about the presence of the men to those who were looking for them (and there is no justification for lying), but Rahab was in a predicament that only God could address with her. She did what was necessary to protect herself and her family.

Rahab tried to negotiate with the spies, even from a bad position.

Joshua 2:8-11

8 Before the men fell asleep, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings you completely destroyed across the Jordan. 11 When we heard this, we lost heart, and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.

 

Rahab was insightful in her discussion. She knew that God was mighty and capable of destruction. The other people did not change their way of thinking, but she did.

Joshua 2:12-14

12 Now please swear to me by the Lord that you will also show kindness to my family, because I showed kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all who belong to them, and save us from death.”

14 The men answered her, “We will give our lives for yours. If you don’t report our mission, we will show kindness and faithfulness to you when the Lord gives us the land.”

 

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord

is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and discipline.

 

Romans 10:17

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

 

It’s not what Rahab had seen of God but what she had heard about Him. From that, she believed in Him. She confessed that God was the One true God on heaven and earth.

Even when we ask God for help, God will challenge us to follow His instructions and be obedient to Him in your step of faith.

Joshua 2:15-19

15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, since she lived in a house that was built into the wall of the city. 16 “Go to the hill country so that the men pursuing you won’t find you,” she said to them. “Hide yourselves there for three days until they return; afterward, go on your way.”

17 The men said to her, “We will be free from this oath you made us swear, 18 unless, when we enter the land, you tie this scarlet cord to the window through which you let us down. Bring your father, mother, brothers, and all your father’s family into your house. 19 If anyone goes out the doors of your house, his blood will be on his own head, and we will be innocent. But if anyone with you in the house should be harmed, his blood will be on our heads.

 

1.) She had to follow the instructions of the men (from God), which means she needed to be obedient.

2.) She had to get her entire family under her roof in order for them to be spared.

3.) She had to keep the invasion a secret; otherwise the guarantee for safety would have been broken.

 

Joshua 2:15

Then she let them down by a rope through the window, since she lived in a house that was built into the wall of the city.

 

Note tha Rahab’s house was on the outer wall of Jericho. While the walls came down, her house was preserved. Rahab had to see that God kept His Word. She trusted God and saw that He could destroy everything around her but kept her and her family.

 

Joshua 6:24-25

24 They burned up the city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 However, Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, her father’s household, and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent to spy on Jericho, and she lives in Israel to this day.

 

Rahab started out as a prostitute, but look where she wound up because of her faith! It was credited to her for righteousness. It’s not where you start from, but it is all about where you finish in Jesus Christ. Amen.


The Fruits of the Spirit – Love

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

 

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith.

 

The fruit of The Spirit is the character or attitude displayed in ministry within your life.

Romans 12:4-8

4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

If prophecy,

use it according to the standard of one’s faith;

7 if service, in service;

if teaching, in teaching;

8 if exhorting, in exhortation;

giving, with generosity;

leading, with diligence;

showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

These gifts are referred to as administrative gifts. The body of Christ has different functions (v. 4) and there are different gifts within the body (v. 6).

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person. 7 A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:

8 to one is given a message of wisdom

through the Spirit,

to another, a message of knowledge

by the same Spirit,

9 to another, faith by the same Spirit,

to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

10 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.

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

 

These gifts are for the common good (v. 7). All of these are works of the same Spirit. He gives them to each person as He determines.

The gifts that are made visible in their evidence and functionality. The attitude in which these gifts are presented will not be of the flesh, for the Spirit and the flesh are incompatible.

A note of caution: Satan and his demons can duplicate the very things that we see here. There are some things that must be evident with these gifts, however, that Satan cannot duplicate…love is the key element. Satan cannot copy agape love. Agape love comes only from God, and it is evident in your best interest when He is involved.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

1 If I speak human or angelic languages

but do not have love,

I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 If I have the gift of prophecy

and understand all mysteries

and all knowledge,

and if I have all faith

so that I can move mountains

but do not have love, I am nothing.

3 And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,

and if I give my body in order to boast

but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind.

Love does not envy,

is not boastful, is not conceited,

5 does not act improperly,

is not selfish, is not provoked,

and does not keep a record of wrongs.

6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness

but rejoices in the truth.

7 It bears all things, believes all things,

hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends.

But as for prophecies,

they will come to an end;

as for languages, they will cease;

as for knowledge, it will come to an end.

 

The Spirit gives these gifts, but love must be the foundation of the manifestation of these gifts.

Love must be about the other person. Genuine love never fails and will touch the hearts of the people. (Note that love is the first fruit mentioned in Galatians 5:22.)

1 John 4:8 – God is love

Romans 5:8 – God demonstrated His love

How do you demonstrate your godly love to people. You do it without ego trips, pride, vain glory, self need, rewards, or showing off your knowledge.

Real love brings people you minister to along side of you–not behind you.

Romans 12:9

Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good.

1. A love that gives of self. John 3:16-17

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.

 

2. A love that covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

1 Peter 4:8

Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.

 

3. A love that deals with our sin. Psalm 103:11-12; Micah 7:18-19

Psalm 103:11-12

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is His faithful love

toward those who fear Him.

12 As far as the east is from the west,

so far has He removed

our transgressions from us.

 

God wants us to have this very attitude when we minister to others…not seeing the sin, but seeing the person who needs to be ministered to.

Micah 7:18-19

18 Who is a God like You,

removing iniquity and passing over rebellion

for the remnant of His inheritance?

He does not hold on to His anger forever,

because He delights in faithful love.

19 He will again have compassion on us;

He will vanquish our iniquities.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

 

4. A love that doesn’t remember my sin. Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:12

Isaiah 43:25

“It is I who sweep away your transgressions

for My own sake

and remember your sins no more.

Jeremiah 31:34

No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “For I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sin.”

Hebrews 8:12

For I will be merciful to their wrongdoing,

and I will never again remember their sins.

 

5. We are called to love our enemies. Matthew 5:43

Matthew 5:43

“You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”

 

6. We are called to love each other. John 13:35

John 13:35

“By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

God wants you to have the type of love that people who are your enemies will see the difference of Christ in your life. You have to love them in order to minister to them. Love conquers all things.

If we are to use the gifts that the Spirit gives to us in the proper manner, they must all begin with agape love. It can only come from God Himself through the Holy Spirit. We can extend grace to others because we have received grace from Him. Amen.


Understanding Sin and its Effect

Today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:

We will be discussing over the next couple of weeks how to understand sin. Can we understand or grasp the recent events of today, such as the mass shooting of children or even the gunman killing his own mother? These events are hard to explain or understand. What we want to explore is what sin really does to us.

Men has done everything he can to try to lessen or minimize the effects of sin. We can’t really understand or grasp what sin is because it is illogical. It is difficult to understand, but it does give us a greater understanding of our need for Jesus Christ. It will also help us to see that there is only one name under heaven and earth that can save us. Please note that we have people who may have said Jesus’ name or confessed that they know Him, but they may not believe that He is Lord and Savior.

Sin robs us from reaching our full potential. It always causes one to be disobedient to God. It can rob us of our integrity, even our shame. We may become insensitive to its embarrassment or guilt.

Romans 7:15
For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.

Sin never shows us its destructive tendencies. It is deceptive to us. Satan wants us to believe that sin is not destructive and that it is not that big of a deal, when in fact it really is. Satan becomes your master when you believe the lie that sin is harmless to you.

Romans 7:18
For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it.

Satan puts us on a road that seems harmless, but it eventually leads to a problem for us. We may think we are in control in the midst of our sin, but it brings us to a place where we are not in control of anything, including our destruction.

Romans 7:24-25
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.

Paul recognizes that God through Jesus Christ is the only one that can rescue us from sin. He sees that Jesus is the One who tells the truth, while Satan only lies (John 8:44). The question is whether or not we will allow Jesus to guide us away from sin.

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.

Sin is the opposite of righteousness. When God declares matters as sin, He did not make any mistakes. Man tries to rationalize unrighteous acts and still declares himself to be righteous. There is no ambiguity in God’s message about obedience and sin.

Sin is the transgression of God’s divine will for your life. Sin interrupts and prevents us from carrying out God’s will for us.

Sin is always unjust. If someone commits an act of sin against us, we will try to justify our actions against the other person as righteous or necessary. This is another deception from Satan. Sin is never justifiable.

What defines the person who is spiritually dead? There are different ways to define death from a physical realm, but spiritual death is much different.

The effects of sin:
1. Failure to walk in the ways prescribed by Jesus Christ. There is only one way, and the path is narrow, and few will find it.
2. Rebellion against any authority, which is lawlessness.
3. It involves internal and external attitudes and behaviors. Sometimes the attitude is discovered in facial expressions or body language (which is internal), and then manifests itself in behaviors (which are external).

Romans 1:29-31
29 They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful.

The verses above do not describe a person who is truly following Jesus Christ.

4. It makes slaves of the person involved in it.

Romans 6:16-18
16 Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness?
17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, 18 and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.

5. It suppresses the truth and distorts it. Satan will give you half-truths and it keeps out godly truths. Truth sets one free from the deception of Satan. A person who is a Christian who does not believe in truth will suffer from guilt and oppression and fail to live an abundant life.

Romans 1:18-19
18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.

We are to recognize sin for what it is. Sinful behavior is often justified because of cultural norms. The truth will overcome sin.

6. It disagrees with the person of God as described in Scripture. People who try to justify behaviors are attributing issues to God when it fails to acknowledge God’s Word and who He is. God has revealed Himself to us, but we fail to recognize who He is because of our lack of understanding; therefore we try to make Him a different God.

Romans 1:25
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.

Do you know that sin did not originate with mankind? Mankind was drawn into sin. Remember that the angels, who were created by God, also had free will. They must have had free will in order to decide whether to follow God or not.

1 John 3:8
The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works.

Understanding sin recognizes the need for Jesus Christ. Jesus is the One who helps us to overcome sin.

Luke 10:18
He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a lightning flash.

Look at this verse as an illustration as to how quickly he will deal with sin. Be thankful that He is long-suffering, but the moment that you sin, you incur consequences for that sin even in repentance.

Isaiah 14:12-15
12 Shining morning star,
how you have fallen from the heavens!
You destroyer of nations,
you have been cut down to the ground.
13 You said to yourself:
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will set up my throne
above the stars of God.
I will sit on the mount of the gods’ assembly,
in the remotest parts of the North.
14 I will ascend above the highest clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you will be brought down to Sheol
into the deepest regions of the Pit.

Sin begins within the heart of the person committing it, and it declares that the person is in charge of his or her own life. That’s exactly what Lucifer (Satan) did himself before he was expelled by God from heaven. Satan knew that he could not be God or above God, but he readily acknowledged his desire to be like Him. This is what we do when we are caught up in sin. We deny that we want to be in the presence of God, but our actions are such that we are in defiance of Him.

Every person was created for the purpose of worshiping God and His authority. Sin declares that we deny His worship and declare selfishly that we are more important. The deception is that it is natural to do so because of our fleshly nature. Sin is when man tries to live on his own in violation of God’s law. He makes his own law in the course of his sin. He sets his own rules and regulations that contradict what God’s Word says.

People are often deceived by a mere consciousness of God. It is not enough to say “I believe in God.” You need to do more than believe in Him. You need to acknowledge His presence in your life by following Him and living for Him. Just believing in Him does not mean you acknowledge and trust Him as Lord and Savior.

Failure to live for God is a rejection of what Scripture declares about the nature and characteristics of who God is. When God’s Word is revealed to us, we learn that He is unchangeable. God is not going to change to satisfy our personal whims and desires. Sin corrupts our thinking of how God sees us and how we see Him. It also corrupts our views on how we make choices as to what is good and what is evil. Note that the more you are educated does not mean that one can sin less or not at all. The other flaw is that there are areas of influence that causes one to sin, such as television, video games or other media. Sin, in reality, begins in the heart of the person who commits it.

Some people believe, erroneously, that you can accept Jesus in your heart to go to heaven but that you don’t have to be obedient to Him. You cannot accept Jesus just to go to heaven and not fulfill the responsibilities that come with being a believer. Many people accept Jesus not to follow Him but to escape punishment after death. You cannot accept Jesus under your own conditions. He is either The Lord of your life or He isn’t. The deception of the enemy distorts our thinking about who Jesus really is.

Matthew 5:17
17 “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.”

Jesus understood that without the law, there is lawlessness. He stated that He is the fulfillment of the law. If Jesus Christ lives within you, it gives you the ability to live as He would have you to live. It is your desire to live for Him and please Him in your obedience to Him and His Word.

Matthew 5:19-20
19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Just saying that you know Jesus will not grant you entry into heaven. It is most important to hear what God has to say about salvation and live according to what is declared.

Luke 11:28
He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed!”

Psalm 119:11
I have treasured Your word in my heart
so that I may not sin against You.

James 1:19-26
19 My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.

22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself.

A true love for Jesus Christ is an acknowledgment that His Word is in the person’s heart, and then one’s mind. The heart of a person who is in sin is far from God. As we learn more about the effects of sin, we will see how we truly need Jesus Christ. His presence brings joy to a person’s life with the realization that His truth overcomes sin and our sinful nature.