Tag Archives: Fellowship

Church and Salvation and Church and the Saints

Today’s message summary of June 25, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

If you are in a church, you should be able to see if God is doing something.  Do you hear from Him?  Do you attend church with the desire to seek Him and understand Him?

You should be able to see God, hear Him, and receive from Him something of value.  When you leave church, you should feel fulfillment and blessings.

God has a plan for each one of us.  Your church experience should not be one where you are just moving along with others.

Church and salvation, and church and the saints.  They represent the same thing.  To be a saint in the church because you have been saved and redeemed by Jesus Christ.

Saints are called to serve in the body of Christ.  It’s more than just “walking with Jesus.”  Being called means that you have a purpose to do something in the body of Christ.  You are to be a participant in the body, and not just a spectator.

The church is the meeting place for those who desire to grow in relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is not just for those who are saved.  It is for those who are looking for Christ and who are willing to, eventually, make a decision to follow Him in a relationship with Christ.  It began with someone speaking to the person and sharing about Christ.

The church is a group of people who have been drawn together by God to do the will of Jesus on earth, the work of Jesus Christ on earth, and to be His witnesses on earth.

John 6:44-45

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets. And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me.

Your work will testify about the presence of Jesus Christ:

John 5:36

But I have a greater testimony than John’s because of the works that the Father has given Me to accomplish. These very works I am doing testify about Me that the Father has sent me.

You will do great things in Christ:

John 14:12

I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

You will be a witness for Jesus Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit:

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

You can be a witness for God in your flesh, and it can become a matter of pridefulness.  Your true witness for Him will be when the Spirit is in control.  If you are going to function well within the church and be a witness for Jesus Christ, you will need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Every approach within the church should be to constantly evaluate whether or not the endeavors of the church are glorifying Jesus Christ.

The greatest organization on earth is the Church.  A lot of people do not know this, because sometimes the church doesn’t get it right; however, it is the place where God takes the least of us, and raises them up to do great things in His name.

You may have heard these remarks:

“I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.”

“I don’t want to go to church.”

“The church isn’t doing anything for my spiritual life.”

The counter to these thoughts is that your Christian life is meant to provide works that are worth more than wood, hay or stubble.  To avoid church is to avoid functioning within the body of Christ. To not fellowship with other believers is more of a fleshly love than that of an agape love that Jesus desires for you to have.  Jesus wants you to have the heart of a servant and the desire to serve others, especially in this world where people feel that they are entitled to receive things.

When you come to church, everything won’t always be “nice.” Sometimes, you will need to be exposed to “iron sharpening iron.”  God’s Word is meant to convict and compel you to develop a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the United States Senate:

“In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centered on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And finally, it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.”

The church may indeed be a philosophy, an institution, a culture and an enterprise, but it does not mean that people see it as a place where they desire to seek and follow Jesus Christ.  That was what the original intent of the church, and that is what God desires for His people to see in today’s church.

A church has to function in today’s society in much the same way as a business.  The church is dealing with spiritual matters, but it also takes on a business venture, where its members are willing to undertake new and risky projects and have active participation in projects.

We are created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Ephesians 2:10).  The church in action is a church that does good works in His name.

You can be a witness of the many things that only God can do if you are a participant in the church.

Advertisements

His Gift…My Gift

Today’s message summary of December 25, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

There is a spiritual reward for those who give generously; however, we should not expect to become wealthy through giving to others. Those who receive your gifts will be helped, will be joyful, and comforted that someone thought about them. As you bless others, you will be blessed.

Giving is done because we love others.  It is the example of what God has done for us.

John 3:16

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.

 

Romans 5:8

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

 

Romans 8:32

He did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?

 

The gift of Jesus Christ is a gift that continually gives and it is for everyone who acknowledges Him.  It is a lasting gift that is beyond description.  It is His gift of eternal life for all who believe in Him.

2 Corinthians 9:12-15

For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. They will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with others through the proof provided by this service. And they will have deep affection for you in their prayers on your behalf because of the surpassing grace of God in you.  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.

 

The service of giving is addressing needs that others have.  It is to bring forth a great relief in someone’s life.  Your giving is a reflection of God’s gift to all people for all to see.

God’s gift of eternal life–salvation through Jesus Christ–brings peace, wisdom, knowledge, discernment and fellowship–and many other things.  It is a lasting gift that no one else can provide but Him.

Thanks be to God!


Be Filled (Part 5) – A Spirit-Filled Church

Today’s message of August 21, 2016 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

If you consider church planting, there are several things that can be considered.  Some leadership teams in this effort focus on only outreach to the unsaved.  Another church model is the teaching model, which focuses on doctrine.  Another model is that of discipleship.  All of these are good, but a better church model as derived from the text in Acts Chapter 2, which would be the model for a Spirit-filled church.

There are at least eight markers of a Spirit-filled church:

Preaching of the gospel
Devotion to God’s Word
Intentional fellowship
Prayer
Godly fear
Commonality
Corporate worship
Praising God

Acts 2:37-47 ESV

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them,“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

The preaching of the gospel is the most important marker for any church plant or any church ministry.  A Spirit-filled church must go to the cross of Jesus Christ.  Everything rests upon the gospel.  A church that is not preaching the gospel is an apostate church.

Galatians 1:6-9 ESV

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
How do you identify the church that preaches the gospel?  By the preaching of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Martin Luther and John Calvin challenged the Catholic Church on the doctrine of faith and grace.  It is faith and grace that saves, and not works.  Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man, and not the pope.  The reformers fought the Catholic Church with their very lives, because they deemed it to be paramount over everything.

Acts 2:16-25

16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
    before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus,[b] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
    for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;

The reformers noted what Peter was preaching, and that his audiences were cut to the heart by the Holy Spirit and needed to reckon with the judgment of God.  Only the power of the gospel can do this.

Five Solas:
Sola Scriptura (scripture alone)
Sola Fide (faith alone)
Sola Gratia (grace alone)
Sola Christus (Christ alone)
Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone)

The gospel not only convicts but helps people take personal responsibility by placing trust in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  Living a lifestyle of repentance is the result.

The gospel message is simple, and all that is required is belief by faith in Jesus Christ.

Being devoted to God’s Word (Acts 2:42)

The explicit meaning is for the desire of all who hear the gospel to study His Word.  The implicit meaning of v. 42 was the result of 3,000 people coming to know Jesus Christ.

The gospel is preached–people hear it and accept Christ–then make disciples within the group.

Acts 17:10-12

10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.

Psalm 119:1-7

1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
    who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
    who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
    but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
    to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
    in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
    having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
    when I learn your righteous rules.

“There is no such thing as a Spirit-filled Christian who neglects the study of the Word of God.  There is no such thing as a Spirit-filled church that does not give itself continually and steadfastly to the study of sacred Scripture. The first sign of a Spirit-filled church is one in which the Spirit-filled people do not flee from Scripture and seek a substitute for it but are driven to it to have their spiritual lives rooted and grounded in the Word of God.”  –R C Sproul

Intentional fellowship uplifts the group of believers.  Church fellowship is good, but intentional fellowship is encouraged throughout the week.  It is necessary to encourage and admonish one another.

Prayer, the fourth marker of a Spirt-filled church, is very important.  We are to pray for one another.

Colossians 4:2-6

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Prayer reveals the ways in which the gospel can go forth through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Godly fear (Acts 2:43)

Acts 5:1-11

1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.

After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
The word “awe” means “fear.”  The young church witnessed many miraculous things through the apostles, and they would revere God even more.  A church that is not fearing God is in a dangerous place.  There must be a reverence of God in order for people to remain obedient to Him.

Acts 5:12-13

12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.
The people understood what they had seen, and they had great reverence for God and His Word.

Commonality (v. 44)

The Word of God tells the Spirit-filled church to be of one mind and one accord.  The Holy Spirit showed the people what they were to do and did so accordingly.

This is important because (1) the church should be its own financial institution (not the government), and (2) it is to provide for the poor and less fortunate–their own members and members of the community.

Many who were widows and were poor and destitute, and it created the opportunity for a number of leaders within the church to serve those needed meals (one of these leaders over the food ministry in the early church was Stephen).

The opposite of commonality is that where there is separation:

Galatians 2:11-14

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Corporate worship (Acts 2:46-47)

Public worship is collectively being together in one place.  Paul planted a church and allowed leaders to be the governing board, and the process is repeated for every plant.  A multi-site church fulfills this requirement.

Praising God is an act of a Spirit-filled church

Acts 2:42

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.


Naomi: Triumph Over Tragedy

Today’s message text of May 24, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

The book of Ruth is a beautifully written short story of a family’s love, devotion and perseverance that overcomes hardship and despair by remaining faithful to God. It consists of three central characters—Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. All three of them, in the passages, demonstrate a high moral character and are devoted to God.

We will focus on one of these characters—Naomi, and also look at why Ruth followed Naomi as closely as she did. There was something about Naomi that was indeed special.

Naomi is the first central character introduced in the book of Ruth as the story begins. She is married to Elimelech and travels from their home in Bethlehem along with their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, to Moab in order to escape a famine in the land.

In this story, where Solomon is deemed as the narrator of this book, it is important to look at the names of the people involved, as it will reveal to us a glimpse of either the character or makeup of the individual. Elimelech means “My God is King.” Naomi’s name means “pleasant.” Of the two sons, Mahlon means “sickly,” while Chilion means “weak or failing.” Knowing these meanings sets the tone for the beginning of the story, and how the tragedy plays out.

From the story, after arriving in Moab, Elimelech dies. Their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, married Moabite women—Orpah and Ruth. Both Nahlon and Chilion also died while they were in Moab. Naomi is a widow and she has also lost her two sons. Only Orpah and Ruth remained with her in the family. Sadly, Elimelech’s effort to avoid the famine in Israel ends in tragedy for the family. Naomi, empty and broken, decides to return to Bethlehem. All of the moments of happiness in her adult life—marriage to a godly man and seeing her children get married—are now overshadowed with sadness and despair.

It is from the tragedy of losing her husband and sons that we learn of Naomi’s embittered state of mind. As she is traveling back to her original home in Judah, she reveals to Orpah and Ruth that “the Lord’s hand has turned against me” and she tells them to go back to their original homes and not accompany her to Judah because “my life is much too bitter for you to share.” (Judges 1:13) Naomi now prefers to be called “Mara” (meaning bitter) once she returns to Bethlehem.

“I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has pronounced judgment on me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (Ruth 1:21)

 

Naomi’s pain runs deep. It is real and it is profound. It is a vivid expression of her emotional state. She believed that God had rejected her as she was still lamenting the loss of her husband and her sons.

There are two directions that you can go when you are in this state of mind. Only two. A person who is in despair can continue down the road of anger and self-pity, or take a path that lends to healing.

Consider this when you are speaking to a person who has undergone unspeakable tragedy. At times, the unspeakable tragedy requires nothing more than an unspoken word and your comforting presence—with hugs, embraces, and prayers of comfort. The moment we become a facsimile of Dr. Phil or some other caricature of a TV psychologist, that is the time when we may be at our worst in providing support for the other person.

Proverbs 12:18 ESV

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

 

James 1:26 ESV

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

 

Be careful, believers! Having the title of Christian does not give you a license to say something silly like, “Well, I guess it was God’s will,” or “maybe something is not right in your life.” Heed the warning in Matthew, Chapter 7:

Matthew 7:1-5 HCSB

“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

 

We are to certainly identify sin when it is called for in the proper moment, but it is always to be done with prayerful consideration and at the appropriate time. The only appropriate time is God’s time. His timing is perfect when we are earnestly listening to the Spirit before we even open our mouths.

From everything that we can see in this story, Naomi, in her state of despair, did not project her personal feelings onto Ruth. She showed Ruth a kind, gentle and nurturing spirit, and readily shared her wisdom and good advice to help Ruth, a Moabite, adapt as a foreigner in the land.

Naomi was hurt, and she knows that God allowed the hurt, but to her credit, she did not reject God or His wisdom.

We are to credit Naomi as a person who relied upon godly wisdom and who spoke words of kindness to Ruth.

Proverbs 25:11 ESV

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

 

Proverbs 7:4 HCSB

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your relative.  

 

By sharing her godly wisdom and knowledge, Naomi showed herself to be unselfish, loving and caring—all of these are godly attributes. She demonstrated a steadfastness and strength that can best be attributed to God being ever-present in her life.

Was Naomi special in her ability to put aside bitterness? No. She was human just as we are. She was certainly feeling loss and despair for days, weeks and months at a time. Her key to recovery was choosing the correct path in response to her state of discouragement. She knew the direction to take because of her relationship with her husband, and she relied upon God to strengthen her, heal her and deliver her through the pain. She did not allow her personal feelings to completely overshadow her relationship with God. She chose to follow Him, trust in Him and remain in fellowship with Him; otherwise, we would have seen a different response in her relationship with Ruth.

The name of Ruth happens to mean “companion or friend.” Ruth was a relative of Naomi, but she certainly must have been a great friend. Ruth had been through a lot on her own, but she respected and admired Naomi and recognized her godly devotion. She implored Naomi to remain with her in returning to Bethlehem:

Ruth 1:16-17 HCSB

But Ruth replied:

Do not persuade me to leave you

or go back and not follow you.

For wherever you go, I will go,

and wherever you live, I will live;

your people will be my people,

and your God will be my God.

Where you die, I will die,

and there I will be buried.

May Yahweh punish me,

and do so severely,

if anything but death separates you and me.

 

Naomi was able to share her godly wisdom with Ruth and treat her as if she was her own child. She had the desire for Ruth to find a new husband once she returned to Bethlehem, and was prayerful that she would do so (Ruth 2:19-20). In order for her to have concern for Ruth, she could not dwell on her own pain. In the end, her reverence for God and her ability to nurture Ruth, Orpah and others superseded her own feelings of hurt and despair.

Each of us can learn from Naomi. Naomi was far from perfect, but she was steadfast in her faith. She triumphed over her tragedy. She was victorious. She conquered bitterness by allowing God to move her to a better state of mind.

Bitterness is the end result of anger and prolonged despair. There are two paths that you can take in response to life’s moments of difficulty. Which one will you choose? Will you continue down the road to nowhere to experience more self-pity, or will you take the better road—the high road—the right road, and seek the comfort of Jesus Christ? Ministry does not stop for you when you experience pain and hardship. In fact, ministry in your life is just beginning. Your life is a story waiting to be told to a person who needs your wisdom and knowledge. You need to lead people to see the face and character of Jesus Christ when you speak from your experience. You need to call on the Lord, Jesus Christ for strength, wisdom and discernment in order to move through your own pain and discomfort, and continue to develop a heart for God that others will see in you.

All of this involves a humble heart. Humility is the road to stability. A humble heart allows you to make the right choices.

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

James 5:13 ESV

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.    

 

Jesus Christ will strengthen you.

Jesus Christ will heal you.

Jesus Christ will lift you.

You will exalt Jesus for everything He does for you.

A humble heart allows God’s presence to shine forth in your relationship with Him and with other people. The book of Ruth shows how God orchestrates His will and His power in the lives of His people in preserving the genealogy of Jesus Christ. He readily works through those who remain faithful to Him as He is faithful.

Naomi was faithful. She is our example of triumph over tragedy.

 

For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. (Psalm 33:4 ESV)

 

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. (Deuteronomy 7:9 HCSB)

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


God’s Forgiveness is Your Business

Text of Sunday message of May 17, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

For the believer in Jesus Christ, it may seem to be a redundant discussion when considering God’s forgiveness.  I mean, it’s understood that he forgives you, right?  Hang on a second…

The moment that you take for granted how God has forgiven you is the very moment that you begin to take your relationship with Jesus Christ for granted, and perhaps even minimize it.  Believers will need to proceed with extreme caution here.  The act of forgiveness was certainly a one-time act when it came to our repentance of sin and acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior (Hebrews 10).  We get that.  What we also need to remember, though, is that we are always in need of His forgiveness.

Why? Even though we have the Holy Spirit as a guide that dwells within us, we still have the flesh present in our hearts and in our thoughts.  Our souls are indeed protected with our eternal salvation, but we still must actively call on the power of God to withstand living in Satan’s domain, and everything that goes with that.  We cannot have true fellowship with God as long as we are unrepentant and unwilling to seek His forgiveness.

God’s forgiveness is indeed His business, but you need to make His forgiveness your business.

Here is how you can do this.

God continues to forgive us if we exhibit the following:

  1. A sincere heart.  You can’t fake it with God and expect to make it. Giving Him everything that you’ve got means just that…everything. Nothing held back–especially your honest feelings.  Come clean the way you know that you should, and don’t pretend to be close to God when you’re not.  That’s rooted in the sin of pridefulness.

 

Matthew 6:5-8 HCSB

“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words.  Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.

 

1 John 1:8-10

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

 

Hebrews 10:22 HCSB

…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.

 

  1. A willingness to repel sin.Even when you do sin, our desire to have a healthy relationship with God through Jesus Christ will drive you to make things right with Him sooner rather than later.  And He absolutely loves receiving you back in fellowship with Him.  Prayer must be at the forefront of your desire to repel sin.

 

Psalm 119:10-12

I have sought You with all my heart;

don’t let me wander from Your commands.

I have treasured Your word in my heart

so that I may not sin against You.

Lord, may You be praised;

teach me Your statutes.

 

2 Peter 3:9 HCSB

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

 

Leviticus 26:11-12 HCSB

I will place My residence among you, and I will not reject you.  I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.

 

Matthew 26:41 ESV

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

  1. Give God His due in worship and praise.If we take the time to stop and thank God for all that He has done for us, there is little time for sin to occupy our hearts.

 

Psalm 33:1-5

Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones;

praise from the upright is beautiful.

Praise the Lord with the lyre;

make music to Him with a ten-stringed harp.

Sing a new song to Him;

play skillfully on the strings, with a joyful shout.

For the word of the Lord is right,

and all His work is trustworthy.

He loves righteousness and justice;

the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love.

 

A believer who is living for Christ understands the importance of keeping a solid relationship with Him and maintaining a healthy fellowship.

He forgives you as often as you turn to Him asking for forgiveness, and He never refuses you!

God is in the business of forgiveness.

It’s very important for you to make God’s forgiveness your business.

 

Psalm 73:28 ESV

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

 

© Melvin Gaines


Spring Break 2015 Relationship Conference a Week Away!

Our annual Spring Break Relationship Conference is next Friday!

There’s no need to avoid dealing with forgiveness any longer! If you are harboring animosity, resentment or dread over past hurts or injustices, then this two-day seminar is for you! We will discuss and share how forgiveness, with the healing power and grace of God, is the best way to conquer the past, free your mind and soul and experience true rest in Jesus Christ! Join us on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18 for lively conversation, prayer time and fellowship! The seminar is free! Hotel rooms, if you choose to stay overnight on the 17th, are based upon availability.

Our program starts next Friday at the Hampton Inn in Stow OH at 5:00 PM. We will break for dinner and resume at 7:45 PM and continue until 8:30 PM, where we will break for the evening. The program resumes Saturday morning after breakfast (hotel guests only) at 9:00 AM, and we will continue through the morning and conclude at about 12 noon.

For more information, call Melvin Gaines at 234.206.0345 or visit our Spring Break 2015 tab at akronalliance.org.Spring Break 2015 Flyer Quick Text


Your IMAGE and Forgiveness – Free Seminar Apr. 17-18, Stow OH

Spring Break 2015 Flyer Quick Text

For more information, please see our Spring Break 2015 page.

Hotel reservations can still be made pending room availability.