Tag Archives: faithfulness

Just Do It!

Message transcript of September 6, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

The mission of Nike, Inc., a renowned international athletic shoe and apparel company, is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world,” and they quickly add, “if you have a body, you are an athlete.”

Nike started from humble beginnings where employees were selling shoes out of their cars to become the world’s leader with global revenues of over $27 billion dollars.

The name “Nike,” originating from the Greek goddess of the same name standing for “victory,” has been around for over forty years, and over that time it has defined and redefined the sports fitness industry, but not without its own missteps. The company misjudged the popularity of the aerobics and fitness movement in the mid 1980s and veered off into the casual shoe market. Its growth also outpaced its management and effective decision-making, and it had slipped from its position as the top-selling shoe.

To reverse this trend, Nike hired Weiden+Kennedy, a well-known advertising agency, and they came up with the one of the top slogans of the 20th Century, “Just Do It,” which made its debut for the company in 1988. The words “just do it” propelled Nike’s popularity to its top position in the industry. Three years after the debut of “Just Do It,” the company had tripled its revenue to over $3 billion dollars, and has not looked back since.

“Just do it” may be a catchy slogan with staying power, but it is readily acknowledged as the language of today’s lifestyle that inspires people to get up and move. It is associated with good health, getting and staying in shape, and remaining active in all parts of life. This also has application within our faith.

Consider that the words “just do it” for Jesus Christ reflect a healthy relationship in service for Him. James expresses this very clearly as he addressed believers in Christ with the importance of a working faith:

James 2:14-17 ESV

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

A servant of Jesus Christ absolutely needs to live under the premise of “just do it” in order to live as Christ provided His life as an example for us. We are to live as servants of Christ in a world where servanthood is more of the exception than the rule. Chuck Swindoll notes, “we live in a world where many have adopted “an independent, self-sufficient, survival-of-the-fittest mentality.” God has called us to be distinct in a positive way in the world, and to make a difference. The difference is living the “just do it” way as Jesus did:

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.

Jesus provided a demonstration of what it is to be a servant by washing the feet of the apostles. He provided an explanation for them when He was finished:

John 13:12-17

When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

Jesus showed them the power of servanthood, which is the essence of living a Christlike existence. To be in service for Christ is to live for Christ. He assures those who are living for Him that He will always be present in whatever is being done in His name:

John 12:26 ESV

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

You can see how “just do it” can be a launching point for a person who is eager to serve Jesus Christ. Being a servant requires a willingness to do it and it takes practice to begin to master it. But what if you don’t know where to begin this process? In this instance, the best place to begin is the beginning.

  1. Just do it (now)!

Being a servant begins with a willingness to do something that will bring a positive change in someone’s life. It does not necessarily require that you need to use any special talent or ability. It may be moving furniture to reorganize a room or to help someone move from an apartment to a new home. It may be standing at the church doorway and greeting people while handing out the week’s church bulletin. Sometimes, it means buying a meal or even some groceries for a family who is in need. In a world where people are more often self-focused then not, the ability to step out and simply do something for someone is refreshingly distinctive. It’s the beginning step in a life of servanthood.

  1. Just do it without expecting anything in return

There is a way to treat people, and being a servant is no exception to this. A servant in Christ is to live in such a way that it is natural to do the right thing for someone, and to not expect anything in return or create a burden of obligation for the other person.

First, the essence of “doing what is right” is the foundation of what Jesus Christ represents:

Matthew 7:12 HCSB

Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them—-this is the Law and the Prophets.

The ways of the world normally see acts of compassion with suspicion. For some people, it is difficult to accept a person’s help because it is a societal norm that the help is to be reciprocated. As a servant of Jesus Christ, your acts of service are performed with a heart for Jesus and without any need or expectation for the person to do anything in return. The moment that the burden of returning the favor is left in place, that is when Christ’s presence is less visible, and when He is less likely to be glorified as you serve. We serve Christ freely and without any burden for ourselves and for others. People need to see the light and airy love of Christ in everything that you do in service for Him:

Matthew 11:28-30 HCSB

“Come to Me (Jesus), all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Our service for Christ, as we develop our heart for service, should also be an expression of what it is to live a life of freedom for Him (John 8:36).

  1. Just do it…and put some heart into it!

A servant for Christ not only demonstrates the example of Christlike behavior to others, but also learns the perspective of servanthood with the heart and mind of Jesus. As you learn more about Jesus through His Word and live in obedience to Him, He will most certainly transform you as you live as His example before others. Being refreshingly distinctive from the world means being set apart in a positive way. People will see your heart for Christ in what you do. To be set apart involves changing from your old self to not only become a new creature, but a creature that becomes more and more Christ-like every day.”

Romans 12:1-2 HCSB

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. 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.

Chuck Swindoll notes that a servant for Christ must change to avoid the world’s reasoning and conform to the thoughts of Jesus:

“How? By a radical transformation within. By a renewed thought pattern that demonstrates authentic godlikeness. Living differently begins with thinking differently.”

Living for Christ in this renewed mind will allow you to see the compassion of Christ in everything that you do for others.

Your servanthood with a heart for Jesus will be seen by people who don’t know Him personally as a wonderful introduction (and perhaps an invitation) to who He is. A servant for Christ truly is a light in a very dark world:

Matthew 5:14-16 HCSB

“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Chuck Swindoll noted that the opportunities to reach the lost, through servanthood, are limitless, and in your service, you personally receive joy in your accomplishments through your fellowship with Jesus Christ:

“In every town, every neighborhood, and on every block there are lonely and sometimes unlovely men and women who need to experience the love of Jesus. In every city there are children who have never known a gentle touch or a loving smile.” “There are acts of love and mercy that God has already prepared for you, so that you might share in His joy–so that you might grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

A life of servanthood for Jesus Christ is a life that embodies ministry in fulfillment of His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Your obedience and faithfulness to Him will be a witness for Him in everything that you do. Now, all that you need to do is “just do it.”

 

For references, refer to Just Do It! research paper here.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines

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The Power of God in the Midst of Tribulation

Today’s message summary of June 28, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Often today, we are being challenged in many different ways. We are to stand on God’s Word and His Word alone, and trust in the results. You have to know what you stand for–what your principles are. Don’t allow others to dissuade you from your view of Jesus Christ.

God has a plan, and it will be fulfilled. Satan cannot prevent it from happening. God changes not.

Babylon represents rebellion against God. Every type of teaching that is false or heinous in nature had its origin in Babylon. It was constantly in opposition to God.

Revelation 18:1-10

After this I saw another angel with great authority coming down from heaven, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. He cried in a mighty voice:

It has fallen,

Babylon the Great has fallen!

She has become a dwelling for demons,

a haunt for every unclean spirit,

a haunt for every unclean bird,

and a haunt for every unclean and despicable beast.

For all the nations have drunk

the wine of her sexual immorality,

which brings wrath.

The kings of the earth

have committed sexual immorality with her,

and the merchants of the earth

have grown wealthy from her excessive luxury.

Then I heard another voice from heaven:

 

Come out of her, My people,

so that you will not share in her sins

or receive any of her plagues.

For her sins are piled up to heaven,

and God has remembered her crimes.

Pay her back the way she also paid,

and double it according to her works.

In the cup in which she mixed,

mix a double portion for her.

As much as she glorified herself and lived luxuriously,

give her that much torment and grief,

for she says in her heart,

I sit as a queen;

I am not a widow,

and I will never see grief.

For this reason her plagues will come in one day

death and grief and famine.

She will be burned up with fire,

because the Lord God who judges her is mighty.

The kings of the earth who have committed sexual immorality and lived luxuriously with her will weep and mourn over her when they see the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off in fear of her torment, saying:

Woe, woe, the great city,

Babylon, the mighty city!

For in a single hour

your judgment has come.

 

God calls His people out of darkness (v. 4) in order to prevent them from being swept away in His judgment.

Revelation 18:20

Rejoice over her, heaven,

and you saints, apostles, and prophets,

because God has executed your judgment on her!

 

God will declare His final judgment on Babylon a final time.

Revelation 18:21

Then a mighty angel picked up a stone like a large millstone and threw it into the sea, saying:

In this way, Babylon the great city

will be thrown down violently

and never be found again.

 

Isaiah 13:19

And Babylon, the jewel of the kingdoms, the glory of the pride of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them.

 

Jeremiah 51:9

We tried to heal Babylon, but she could not be healed. Abandon her! Let each of us go to his own land, for her judgment extends to the sky and reaches as far as the clouds.

 

Jeremiah 51:61-64

Jeremiah told Seraiah, When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud. You must say, Lord, You have threatened to cut off this place so that no one will live in itman or beast. Indeed, it will remain desolate forever. When you have finished reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates River. Then say, In the same way, Babylon will sink and never rise again because of the disaster I am bringing on her. They will grow weary.’”

The words of Jeremiah end here.

 

In Romans 5:20-21, note whether or not is this true…

The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

If this is true, then Christ will use the tribulation as a place to bring many more to seek Jesus.

John 16:8

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

 

Man does not want to acknowledge his sinfulness. Only the Spirit can prompt a person to recognize that he is lost and needs a Savior.

Even Adam did not acknowledge his own sin and tried to blame Eve. He tried to hide from the Lord. He did not want to deal directly with the sin.

Genesis 3:7-11

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.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, Where are you?

And he said, I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.

Then He asked, Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?

 

Do you see God’s grace in dealing with Adam and Eve?

Rather than trying to hide from the Lord, we are to bring our transgressions to Him.

Jesus will come and judge Babylon. The process is to begin in Revelation, Chapter 6 with the opening of the seals. In Chapter 7, God wants us to hold onto the message that is given to those who are faithful to the Lord.

Revelation 7:1-17

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, restraining the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel, who had the seal of the living God rise up from the east. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were empowered to harm the earth and the sea: Dont harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we seal the slaves of our God on their foreheads. And I heard the number of those who were sealed: 

144,000 sealed from every tribe of the Israelites:

12,000 sealed from the tribe of Judah,

12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,

12,000 from the tribe of Gad,

12,000 from the tribe of Asher,

12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,

12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,

12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,

12,000 from the tribe of Levi,

12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,

12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,

12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,

12,000 sealed from the tribe of Benjamin.

After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

Salvation belongs to our God,

who is seated on the throne,

and to the Lamb!

All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell facedown before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom

and thanksgiving and honor

and power and strength

be to our God forever and ever. Amen.

Then one of the elders asked me, Who are these people robed in white, and where did they come from?

I said to him, Sir, you know.

Then he told me:

These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.

They washed their robes and made them white

in the blood of the Lamb.

For this reason they are before the throne of God,

and they serve Him day and night in His sanctuary.

The One seated on the throne will shelter them:

They will no longer hunger;

they will no longer thirst;

the sun will no longer strike them,

nor will any heat.

For the Lamb who is at the center of the throne

will shepherd them;

He will guide them to springs of living waters,

and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

 

Jeremiah 50:4-5

In those days and at that time

this is the Lords declaration

the Israelites and Judeans will come together,

weeping as they come,

and will seek the Lord their God.

They will ask about Zion,

turning their faces to this road.

They will come and join themselves to the Lord

in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.

 

Revelation 14:1-5

Then I looked, and there on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with Him were 144,000 who had His name and His Fathers name written on their foreheads. I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of cascading waters and like the rumbling of loud thunder. The sound I heard was also like harpists playing on their harps. They sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders, but no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are the ones not defiled with women, for they have kept their virginity. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They were redeemed from the human race as the firstfruits for God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

 

This group was distinguishable from the other multitude because of their purity. They desired to stay pure before God.

During the tribulation period, God was able to keep the people with Him through the worst of circumstances. In your time of need, He will keep you, as well.

You can be in the midst of all sorts of false teaching, but you can choose what to believe. You can separate yourself from this teaching and discern what is right and good to hold onto.

Don’t buy into the lies that are being proclaimed today as truth.

God desires to use each one of us who takes a stand for Jesus Christ. If you value yourself as a child of God, then you will do what is necessary to remain pure before Him. Each one of us has a choice to practice holiness and remain pure before Him.

The group that is a vast multitude from all nations (Revelation 7:9) is people who are being saved because they proclaim the power of Jesus Christ. On earth, it was the Antichrist who declared his own power. The people noted “Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10b)

God’s will, in the worst of times, remains firm. He desires for those who choose to believe in Him to be saved.

Are you determined to follow the Lord?


Walking By Faith (The Lord is Not Finished Yet)

Today’s message summary of December 28, 2014 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Walking by faith is not something that is done out of one’s own ability. It is to be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. In order to walk by faith, the Spirit leads, but we are to trust in Him.

We are not to believe that God brought us through all of the troubles of this world to say that we are finished. Lord, You’re not finished with us yet. Lord, you still have a work for this church to perform. You have a vital work that will have eternal value in the lives of people. It is Your work. It is Your church. The church was started by men who were being obedient to You, and Lord, You have sustained us and kept us. You have brought us a mighty long way, and we thank You. Amen.

God has not done what He has done in your life and said that it’s done. He is just beginning to work.

Satan wants to make things appear to be worse than they really are. Just believe in God and trust Him, He will show you some great and mighty things. The Lord asks if He will find any who are faithful when He comes. I pray that those that He finds here remain faithful to Him.

Satan wants to rob us of hope and keep you from looking forward. God, in contrast, wants you to dare to dream. He still wants to speak to you and dare people to dream beyond your present circumstances.

If this church will have it in its mind to pray and storm the doors of heaven, God will respond. He has not finished His work.

We may not have a lot, but we are rich in Jesus Christ, and we have each other. God is the One who started this church, and He is the One who has given the provision to pay the bills and sustain this church.

As long as we honor God, God will honor you, and He will bless you and keep you.

Genesis 15:1

After these events, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield; your reward will be very great.

 

God wants us to remain faithful and not fearful of what is to come. Don’t be afraid! We are to trust that God is the One who achieves great things–mighty things in spite of the number of people involved. Remain faithful to Him and to the task that God assigns to you.

Acts 10:19-20

While Peter was thinking about the vision, the Spirit told him, “Three men are here looking for you. Get up, go downstairs, and accompany them with no doubts at all, because I have sent them.”

 

If you spend too much time reflecting on God’s vision, you will wind up not acting upon it. God will give the direction and you need to take it and follow it towards the accomplishment of your goal. His will is in the midst of all of His promises. When you believe what is being accomplished is of God, don’t hesitate. Be ready to step out and move forward.

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.

 

Proverbs 29:18

Without revelation people run wild, but one who listens to instruction will be happy.

 

Of course, we need to remember hope:

Proverbs 23:17-18

Don’t let your heart envy sinners; instead, always fear the Lord. For then you will have a future, and your hope will never fade.

 

We are to be co-laborers with God. He wants you to be involved in the midst of your hope that God remains firmly in control. He is a sovereign God, and yet He will work His will through you, as you remain willing.

Believe, as a church, that God has a future for you. Your hope will not be cut off.

This church has always been about teaching and providing instruction. The most important thing of the church today is that we are to be teachers of the Word of God. When the psalmist declares that He will hide the Word in his heart that he may not sin, it is a constant reminder of obedience to God and to be pleasing to Him. The only way to really hide the word in your heart is to be a teacher and to allow yourself to be taught. The learning comes in being challenged by God’s Word and allowing it to build within you. There are things that God has planned for your life that have not yet been revealed to you, and yet God, through the Holy Spirit, wants to show these things to you. All that we need to do is seek Him, ask Him and be willing to hear Him speak.

This church is holy only because of the presence of God in our midst. Be mindful of this as you act in obedience to Him and live in such a way that you are striving for holiness.

It is important to separate what is man’s vision and what is God’s vision. (Don’t assume that they are the same.) In that vision, we want to show people who look upon the church as a people who are different.

Psalm 71:18

Even when I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me. Then I will proclaim Your power to another generation, Your strength to all who are to come.

 

Even when you get older, you are still called to teach the younger people coming along in order that they can grow in Jesus Christ. Have a heart to always be ready to teach the next generation. In order to do this, you need to be teachable. Keep learning. It is not about being in agreement with everything, but it does mean that you can be challenged to learn and grow in Christ.

I pray that you will always be ready to let people know the truth of what God has done for you. Whatever we have received from Him is a gift.


Uriah: A Faithful Servant

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

 

Our loyalty and faithfulness belongs to God Himself.

Today we will look as Uriah. We remember him as the person that David had killed in order to get to Bathsheba.

Uriah was a faithful servant. He may have been under-appreciated, but God welcomes your faithfulness in service for Him.

Proverbs 27:19

As water reflects the face,

so the heart reflects the person.

 

Proverbs 4:23

Guard your heart above all else,

for it is the source of life.

 

Psalm 39:1a

I said, “I will guard my ways

so that I may not sin with my tongue;

I will guard my mouth with a muzzle.”

 

Who is Uriah?

  1. His name means “Flame of The Lord” or “The Lord is Light.” Uriah is going to shine a bright light on David’s life.
  1. He is a Hittite: one of the earliest inhabitants of Palestine.
  1. He became a worshiper of Israel’s God.
  1. Look at the contrast between David, the Lord’s anointed, one brown a Jew, and Uriah, a convert–a man who was not born a Jew but accepted the faith of Israel and chose it for his own.
  1. Uriah is one of David’s “The Thirty” or “Mighty Men” because he was an outstanding warrior (2 Samuel 23:39).
  1. Uriah is fighting on behalf of God and David for Israel (2 Samuel 11:1).
  1. Uriah had to be a person of importance, because he was able to marry Bathsheba, a woman of unusual beauty, and daughter of Eliam (2 Samuel 23:34).

Uriah was faithful to God and the men he served with.

2 Samuel 11:6-11

6 David sent orders to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the troops were doing and how the war was going. 8 Then he said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king followed him. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the palace with all his master’s servants; he did not go down to his house.

10 When it was reported to David, “Uriah didn’t go home,” David questioned Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a journey? Why didn’t you go home?”

11 Uriah answered David, “The ark, Israel, and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my master Joab and his soldiers are camping in the open field. How can I enter my house to eat and drink and sleep with my wife? As surely as you live and by your life, I will not do this!”

 

Look at the heart of Uriah in his demonstration of loyalty to his fellow soldiers and to God and Israel. He camped out with the Ark of the Covenant for the good of the people. He was being faithful. Where is David’s heart here?

When you heart is involved in sin it is not focused on God. David could not see the faithfulness of Uriah because of his sin. Uriah was focused on nothing but God and His presence. When your focus is on The Lord, there are things that you will deny of yourself to remain focused upon Him.

When your heart is set on God, He will keep you.

David is acting as the enemy; yet, Uriah is the main faithful to his conviction., even after David got him drunk.

2 Samuel 11:12-13

12 “Stay here today also,” David said to Uriah, “and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 Then David invited Uriah to eat and drink with him, and David got him drunk. He went out in the evening to lie down on his cot with his master’s servants, but he did not go home.

 

2 Timothy 2:3

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

 

Uriah, as a result, shines light on David’s heart.

  1. He carried his own death letter from David to Joab.
  2. What could have been the thoughts of Joab about David from this time?
  3. After Uriah was killed, David only shared “not to let this upset you.

2 Samuel 11:24-25

24 However, the archers shot down on your soldiers from the top of the wall, and some of the king’s soldiers died. Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.” 

25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this matter upset you because the sword devours all alike. Intensify your fight against the city and demolish it.’ Encourage him.”

 

Uriah died being faithful to both God and David. He didn’t know of the deceitful heart of David, but he knew the loving heart of the God of Israel–the One he truly served.

In living out the life of a Christian, you cannot say “do this the right way,” and live wrongly. Be prayerful to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and to never be a stumbling block before others. You won’t be perfect, but your perfection comes in obedience and faithfulness to Christ.


The Fruits of The Spirit – Faithfulness

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

As Christians, are we always faithful?  Faithfulness is something that we have lost in our relationships with others.  Trust is broken.  Loyalty is a principle that must be fulfilled in order to reflect faithfulness.

Faithfulness is something that has to be taught and built within a person.  The Holy Spirit is the One who must present it to a believer.

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

The faith referenced here is not a saving faith, but instead a faithfulness, or something that a believer is empowered with in the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Faithfulness is reflected in the service that is rendered to others, and people will see your commitment in that service.  Jesus Christ wants you to see that faithfulness is a reflection of His own character.

The laziness and indifference of our human nature doesn’t like to be constantly disturbed by the restlessness of faithfulness.

Faithfulness bears responsibility.  It is to assume responsibilities that are in line with God’s character, and in that situation or circumstance, God will remain faithful.

1 Corinthians 1:9

God is faithful; you were called by Him into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:24

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

 

Hebrews 3:6

But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household. And we are that household if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.

 

Philippians 1:6

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

God’s faithfulness is being carried out every day, regardless of how faithful we are.

Faithfulness is not about having all of the answers.  The most important thing is to believe in Him and then get started in trusting Him.  We are looking to God’s faithfulness as a work in us.

 

Deuteronomy 7:9

Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands.

 

The Holy Spirit is teaching us how to be faithful to:

1. His Word

2. Our assigned task

3. To people

 

Luke 16:10-12

10 Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much. 11 So if you have not been faithful with the unrighteous money, who will trust you with what is genuine? 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what is your own?

 

1 Corinthians 4:2, 17

2 In this regard, it is expected of managers that each one of them be found faithful.

17 This is why I have sent Timothy to you. He is my dearly loved and faithful son in the Lord. He will remind you about my ways in Christ Jesus, just as I teach everywhere in every church.

 

Matthew 25:21

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!’

 

Faithfulness is performed for the recipient of the kindness within one’s tasks and assignments.  Within this process, the Holy Spirit teaches one how to remain faithful and to grow in faithfulness.

The Lord keeps the faithful.  If you choose not to be faithful, you are the one who misses out.

 

Psalm 31:23

Love the Lord, all His faithful ones.

The Lord protects the loyal,

but fully repays the arrogant.

 

God watches over the faithful.

Psalm 101:6

My eyes favor the faithful of the land

so that they may sit down with me.

The one who follows the way of integrity

may serve me.

 

Three who were faithful:

1. Moses

Hebrews 3:2

He was faithful to the One who appointed Him, just as Moses was in all God’s household.

 

2. Paul

1 Timothy 1:12

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry.

 

3. Onesimus

Colossians 4:9

He is with Onesimus, a faithful and dearly loved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.

 

One who is faithful is one who is useful within the kingdom.  Your faithfulness is being used by God for His glory.  Look at where Onesimus was at one time, and where he was later when sent by Paul:

Philemon 1:9-12

9 I appeal to you, instead, on the basis of love. I, Paul, as an elderly man and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus, 10 appeal to you for my son, Onesimus. I fathered him while I was in chains. 11 Once he was useless to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back to you as a part of myself.

 

Ask yourself if you are indeed useful within the kingdom of God?  Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to change you and work within you in being faithful?  Are you truly faithful?


The Fruits of The Spirit – Peace

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

It is the Holy Spirit that ministers to each one of us.  God’s love is vital within that ministry.  Peace is needed throughout the world today.  Many are looking for peace in the world, but unfortunately in many of the wrong places.  Our society is over-medicated and looking for ways to find peace through artificial means; yet, The Lord speaks about peace that comes from Him and overcomes the troubles of this world.  God is not a god of confusion–He is a God of peace.

Peace is missing in the lives of many people today.

You have to want peace, but you need to know where to look for it.

Psalm 34:14

Turn away from evil and do what is good;

seek peace and pursue it.

 

Real peace is only found in the Scriptures

Psalm 119:165

Abundant peace belongs to those

who love Your instruction;

nothing makes them stumble.

 

You search the Scriptures not just because you’re saying you read it and that’s it–you do it because you have a desire to live out what your reading and allowing it to have a positive effect in your life.  God’s Word can bring you peace and understanding.

We should nor settle for a false peace.  You really cannot hear God’s voice in the midst of confusion.

Isaiah 59:8

They have not known the path of peace,

and there is no justice in their ways.

They have made their roads crooked;

no one who walks on them will know peace.

 

Their is a need to learn about the experience of real peace.  It comes from learning the rules within life and being obedient or compliant.  Peace is lost by those who practice disobedience.

Until you learn how to do what is right, you will not have peace.  It is about knowing justice…knowing how to do good.

Until one comes under God’s authority, it will be impossible to experience peace.

We need to listen to good advice in order to learn the ways of peace.  When it comes to Scripture, we need to have “ears to hear.”

Psalm 85:8

I will listen to what God will say;

surely the Lord will declare peace

to His people, His godly ones,

and not let them go back to foolish ways.

 

Proverbs 20:18

Finalize plans with counsel,

and wage war with sound guidance.

 

If you are not living faithfully, God will not speak to you.  (You’re also not ready to hear from Him.)

There is peace within faithfulness.  God will speak to His people.

There is no peace in the midst of foolishness.

Proverbs 12:15

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

but whoever listens to counsel is wise.

 

It is important to have peace in your life.  Without peace, certain things cannot take place.

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”

 

Peace in Jesus keeps the heart from trouble and removes fear.

You can hear His instruction to help you endure and overcome any obstacles.

John 16:33

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

 

God’s peace guards your heart.

Philippians 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Proverbs 4:23

Guard your heart above all else,

for it is the source of life.

 

Do not let the faults of others be a distraction.

Colossians 3:13-15

13 accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 14 Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.

 

God’s desire is to use you for His purpose.

2 Timothy 2:21

So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

 

God’s wisdom will always bring peace.

James 3:17

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.

 

Our obedience to God brings us peace and gives each of us victory over the enemy.

Romans 8:37

No, in all these things we are more than victorious

through Him who loved us.


Love is a Commitment

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

The other day, my supervisor at work asked me to provide him with a text that he needed to preside over a wedding ceremony taking place this weekend. He originally asked me to select some Bible verses to reference within the ceremony, and he narrowed in on two of them.  One was Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, which notes that three strands of a cord are not easily broken, and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7—the love is patient and kind verses.  From there, I put together a brief talk for him incorporating those verses.

It was likely not a coincidence that these two verse selections were chosen, for both of them have a very common thread in marriage—the importance of endurance.

Love is indeed important in marriage, but in order for a marriage to last, you must be ready to endure.

A believer in Jesus Christ has a foundation of love within the relationship, but the believer must also endure.

In both a marriage and as a believer, the ability to endure requires the participants to act in love with a commitment for success in the relationship.

Love is a commitment.

Note the various synonyms you can find in a dictionary for the word commitment: dedication, devotion, loyalty, fidelity and faithfulness.

There is a lot that can be said about not making a commitment to do something until you are ready to do it.  Many people make commitments to themselves that they can’t keep, let alone those that may be made with others.  When a couple, for example, says that they’re in love and want to get married, is there consideration given to what the commitment of marriage really means?

Love is not just the lovey-dovey stuff with hearts and smiley-faces.  Love is a commitment.

Our best example of a lasting commitment is in God’s covenant with His people, and especially the covenant that Jesus Christ has with His people.

Ezekiel 37:26-28 (HCSB)

26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. I will establish and multiply them and will set My sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 When My sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, Yahweh, sanctify Israel.”

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.

 

2 Corinthians 6:16

And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said:

I will dwell among them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be My people.

 

These verses show that God has been pursuing His people throughout history for the purpose of having a relationship—a loving relationship.  A loving relationship requires commitment.

Love is a commitment.

In any relationship, it will stand or collapse based upon the level of commitment.  A strong union will be able to rejoice during the good times and endure during the bad times.  God must be the source of strength and encouragement in any relationship.

Here is one of the verses that was chosen for the wedding ceremony:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

 

In a marriage, two of the strands represent the husband and wife, but the third strand represents the presence of God in your life.  Three strands are not easy to break, but it requires a husband and wife to stand together, even in disagreements.

Marriage is a commitment to live faithfully and without holding grudges.  Some of us have been married long enough now where the honeymoon may be over, and the reality of life has kicked in.  Here’s some free relationship advice:

Men, ladies don’t like to be ignored when they speak to you.

Ladies, men don’t like to be nagged.

Men, ladies want to be honored and feel safe in your presence.

Ladies, men want to be respected and appreciated.

Here is where this commitment of love has to be at the forefront of your marriage, all marriages and even in your relationship with Jesus Christ:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,
does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

 

Note the words used in this passage to describe true love (not just lovey-dovey love)…it’s not envious, not boastful, not conceited, not acting improperly, not selfish, not provoking, not holding grudges.  Love is all about patience, kindness, truth, righteousness, unselfishness and endurance.

Marriage is a commitment for the long haul, and true love will get you through the long haul.

Love is a commitment.

Jesus Christ made a commitment to love us for the long haul.  He loves us and showed it through His sacrifice for us for all eternity (John 3:16-17).  All that He asks of us is a commitment to complete a relationship with Him by acknowledging Him as Lord and Savior.

Loving Jesus Christ is a commitment, and the benefit is for all eternity.

1 John 4:7-10

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 

With this knowledge, is there something that you need to evaluate in your relationship with your husband?  Your wife?  Members of your family?  Or even with Jesus Christ?

In any relationship worth having and keeping…love is a commitment.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”

37 He said to him, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

 

Jesus Christ has made this commitment for you.  If you don’t have a commitment to Him, now’s your opportunity.

Love is a commitment.

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines