Tag Archives: godliness

Why Should Christians Care About the Church? (Part 2 of a Series)

Today’s message summary of July 23, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Many people think that they have no need of church.  We will explore why we do need it, and why.

The church has transitioned to such a degree where church, here in America, is more of an enterprise.  It is bigger than any corporation or business.  It is not organized as a business would be, but it functions in a similar way.  The product is in high demand, and it is only available through the church.  It is guaranteed for life.

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.

1 Corinthians 12:27-28

Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, various kinds of tongues.

The Holy Spirit is the distributor of information, and the head of it is Jesus Christ.  The priests that go forth on behalf of the church are its members—the body of Christ.  There is no company that exists that can do for you what the church does.

The church teaches how to live a spiritual life that emulates Jesus Christ.  In living such a life, you will see how that means living a sacrificial life for Him.

The church stands on its own.  It stands on the strength of the One who is its head—Jesus Christ.  It stands on its own without government existence.  The church is to raise up leaders that will provide societal leadership.  It provides godly people who can serve in government and society, and that will continue to honor the Lord Jesus Christ.  It provides guidance for generation after generation.

The church is strongest when the entire family is in the church hearing the message and worshiping together.

In the church, we have priests (servants) who lead the people.  They are a group of people that are chosen by God.  They stand with the mindset that is ready to serve God.

Exodus 19:5-6

Now if you will carefully listen to me and keep my covenant, you will be my own possession out of all the peoples, although the whole earth is mine, and you will be my kingdom of priests and my holy nation. These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.

The church is a congregation of priests ready to serve the Lord.  As a follower of Jesus Christ, God has chosen you to represent Him and serve Him.  You are His treasured possession!

Isaiah 61:6a

But you will be called the Lords priests;

they will speak of you as ministers of our God.

God will always provide the finances for His program.  If He wills it, He will fund it.  He knows what it takes to do His work.  God never assigns us to do anything in and of your own strength.  He does not want to open up the occasion where anyone can take the credit for it other than Himself.

1 Peter 2:9-10

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

The church moves in response to God’s voice speaking to the people, and the people’s actions are those of submissive hearts.

Romans 10:9-10

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. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.

If you are saved and serve in the church, Jesus Christ is the High Priest that leads you.  It is important for you to stay busy at what God has called you to do in ministry.  Remain faithful where God has called you to be, and work at it.  The High Priest, Jesus Christ, remains on the throne and He meets the needs of the church.

Many people in the church are willingly serving Jesus Christ, but there are still those in the church that largely serve themselves.  A lot of people who attend church do not know the Lord.  They’re not there to serve.

Hebrews 7:24

But because He remains forever, He holds His priesthood permanently.

Psalm 110:4

The Lord has shown an oath and will not take it back: “Forever, You are a priest like Mechizedek.”

It is the work of God that has to take place in a man’s heart.

1 Peter 2:4-5

As you come to him, a living stonerejected by people but chosen and honored by Godyou yourselves, as living stones, a spiritual house, are being built to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

God had chosen the Levites to serve as priests before Him and the Israelites.  Those who were born as Levites were not yet able to serve until they turned age 25.  Until that time, they had to undergo training within the temple.  They had to learn about service before they could serve.

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true 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.

We are challenged to represent God with holy hearts and a holy mind.  He expects us to live in such a manner as we serve Him.  Your work for Him is your sacrifice unto Him.

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.

When the priesthood is healthy, the church is healthy.  The healthy priesthood has one agenda, and that is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joshua 7:7-8

Oh, Lord God, Joshua said, why did you ever bring these people across the Jordan to hand us over to the Amorites for our destruction? If only we had been content to remain on the other side of the Jordan! What can I say, Lord, now that Israel has turned its back and run from its enemies?

Joshua was praying about the sins of the nation of Israel.  Keep in mind that there will be sin within the midst of the body of Christ, and He will challenge the church to pray.  The sin revealed hurts others and is a distraction to God’s agenda.  He calls for His believers to seek Him in all things and pray about those situations that hinder the work of Christ.

The churches are not all the same, but all believers have different gifts that they are endowed with, and they have their role; for example, in the book of Acts, Dorcas and Lydia lived out their own roles that they fulfilled in their own ministries.

As a priest of God, you have direct access to Him.

Each priest is in charge of his own temple.  He or she is responsible for how to take care of one’s own body.

Today’s priest does not need to offer sacrifices as they did in the Old Testament.  He chose you to serve for Him.

Deuteronomy 7:6

For you are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be his own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.

John 15:16

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

God honors and glorifies His own name.  Believers need to stand up and represent Him with the appropriate service.  Our actions will glorify Him and reflect His goodness as a testimony to others.


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.


Anticipate Fruit as you Witness for the Lord (Missionary Conference 2015)

Today’s message summary of November 22, 2015 from Jose Chinchilla, International Worker serving in Berlin, Germany:

I am thankful to be here this morning with you. I am also especially thankful for your contributions to the Great Commission Fund, which allows me and other international workers to serve everywhere that we are called to go.

“Anticipate fruit as you witness for the Lord.”

Four years ago, my wife and I responded to the call to go to Berlin, Germany. I responded to His call, and He kept asking if I was ready. I told him, “yes, I got it.”

He set me up.

While we are a Christian nation here, the way that we speak to people in another country, let alone another continent, will not work the same way. I learned that the hard way. I was discouraged and I want to go back to the United States. My wife told me to get it together and stay with it.

I had to learn a lesson in my growth as a believer and as a missionary.

I had to continue to develop myself as a godly leader, live in a missional way and live with desperate dependence upon Jesus Christ.

God started to teach me how to minister to people in Germany.

First theological truth:

The Holy Spirit is at work in the world.

John 16:8-11

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.

 

Romans 10:13-15

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!

 

As partners with the Holy Spirit, we should anticipate fruit as we minister in the world.

Sharing is not the easiest thing to do, but it does not have to be overly complicated for us. The Holy Spirit is doing the heavy work. He is already preparing the hearts of those who need to hear the gospel.

My desire is to share with people in Germany the gospel, and sometimes people will refuse to hear it because of their personal pluralistic beliefs. I am asking you to pray for me in that sometimes it is tough to face those rejections, but I am reminded that they are not rejecting me personally, but that they are rejecting Christ. I also pray that you are inspired, encouraged and motivated to allow God to change yourself in how you are ministering before Him and in sharing the Good News.

The second theological truth:

The harvest is plentiful.

Luke 10:2

He told them: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.

 

There are very few people who are running to hear the Good News about Jesus Christ; in fact, many are running away from it. In spite of this, if you believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed at work in the world, then He assures us that the harvest is plentiful. It’s important to ready to share your faith, because more people sharing are needed to meet this need.

How are we to encourage others (or even be encouraged) to share faith?

Guilting people into doing it will not work; however, if we have experienced joy from the salvation that Christ has given us, we will have compassion on others to help them to hear the gospel message. The Holy Spirit will show up right then and there to meet that person where he or she is.

If we want to see people share their faith, then we need to pray about it. We need to find creative ways to evangelize, and to pray about the harvest. Here is something that I do to remind myself about this: I set an alarm on my cell phone at 10:02 every day, to remind me of Luke 10:2, and pray for more workers to be made available for the harvest.

With the realization that there is so much before us with this harvest, it can be overwhelming. Here is a reminder that the Spirit is a big help within this process:

A third theological truth:

The Holy Spirit empowers us for effective witnessing.

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.

 

Germany is regarded is a very difficult place to reach people for the gospel. I had to pray to God and asked for the right skills to reach them. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to do things that, on the surface, we cannot see as possible to accomplish. You have to give up your own ways of thinking and doing things in order to see Him work. In our own strength, it is not possible, but the Holy Spirit empowers us with confidence and effectiveness in this ministry. We can bear fruit if we remain connected to Him.


After Salvation–What Comes Next?

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Today, we are starting a new series pertaining to salvation, but this series is more about how one is to behave after one gets saved. Salvation, in itself, helps to remove some of the struggles of life. It doesn’t remove them completely, but now we have, along with the ability to endure life as it happens and to see the hope through a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. There must be a desire to grow in your salvation; otherwise, you will miss out on the blessings that God bestows upon you and the maturity that comes with a healthy relationship in Jesus Christ.

Salvation is real. It is real if you allow yourself to experience the goodness and blessings of God.

Why were you born?

Were you born to carry on a name or to be a part of a family? Was it to be a great professional or something like that?

Do you know that you were born with a real purpose?

Your purpose for being born the first time and the second time is that you might know God. The second time is your salvation–to be born again for the purpose of having a real relationship with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

To be born again is a real privilege. You are born again because God reveals Himself to You for who He really is.

God knows who you are, but now you have to get to know them (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Your real purpose in life is to have a relationship in which you learn and experience the person of God.

  1. The first blessing that God grants us is to know Him and to experience Him.

Psalm 14:1-4

1 The fool says in his heart, “God does not exist.”

They are corrupt; they do vile deeds.

There is no one who does good.

2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the human race

to see if there is one who is wise,

one who seeks God.

3 All have turned away;

all alike have become corrupt.

There is no one who does good,

not even one.

4 Will evildoers never understand?

They consume My people as they consume bread;

they do not call on the Lord.

 

Psalm 40:1-3

1 I waited patiently for the Lord,

and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.

2 He brought me up from a desolate pit,

out of the muddy clay,

and set my feet on a rock,

making my steps secure.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear

and put their trust in the Lord.

 

God helps us to see the purpose of life. Without the first birth, we could never experience the second birth.

John 17:3

This is eternal life:

that they may know You, the only true God,

and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.

 

God blesses a person with life and the ability to experience it.

John 17:4

I have glorified You on the earth

by completing the work You gave Me to do.

 

Romans 5:1-2, 10

1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!

 

  1. To know and to be known by God is very important. To not do this is to not experience His blessings.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

 

In order to see God’s blessings in big things, we need to see how he blesses us in the smallest of things. It’s all about appreciation for what you have.

Psalm 73:25-26

25 Who do I have in heaven but You?

And I desire nothing on earth but You.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart,

my portion forever.

 

Jeremiah 1:5

I chose you before I formed you in the womb;

I set you apart before you were born.

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

 

Exodus 33:17

The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.”

 

John 10:14

“I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me.

 

2 Timothy 1:12

and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.

 

  1. Too many people live life in a state of failure. Why?

There is an absence of a relationship with God.

 

John 17:15-17

15 I am not praying

that You take them out of the world

but that You protect them from the evil one.

16 They are not of the world,

as I am not of the world.

17 Sanctify them by the truth;

Your word is truth.

 

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.

 

John 14:16, 18, 26

16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.

18 I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.

26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

 

  1. There are two concepts that determine your experience of victory and blessings in your life–maturity and freedom.

Ephesians 4:13-15

13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ.

 

Luke 22:31

Simon, Simon, look out! Satan asked to sift you like wheat.

 

John 10:10

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

 

2 Peter 1:3

His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.

 

1 Corinthians 10:23

“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up.

 

When we acknowledge the truth and wisdom of Jesus Christ, we mature in the faith.

Satan knows how to block out growing and blessings in the faith:

  1. To be against the things of God. Satan tries to make you believe that God wants you to have it.
  2. He keeps your mind on your past life. You are to forget the past and press on.
  3. Keep you prone to failure.
  4. Controlled by your bad habits. The fact is that you can change your habits.
  5. Confusion. Remember that God is not the author of confusion.
  6. Blinded to the truth.
  7. Refuse to listen to or hear the truth. Faith enables you to receive truth.
  8. We will not speak truth to self. You have to accept the truth when other people give it to you.
  9. We choose to believe a lie. Remember that Satan lies all of the time (John 8:44).
  10. He wants you to believe that you don’t have a godly inheritance. You do have a hope and a future.

Always remember that God is able to guide you into a better life. He is the Author and Originator of your faith, and He delivers on His promises. You have to trust that He can and will do these things for you.


The Fruits of The Spirit – Self-Control

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.

 

Self-control is the measure of keeping one to remain focused on following Jesus Christ. It is an area that is controlled by the Holy Spirit. A lack of self control comes from being controlled by the flesh. Fleshly control is an opening to demonic influence. The Holy Spirit is present to allow for self control but a person must yield to the Spirit in order to maintain self control.

In Galatians 5, it is noted that the law is present because of sin, but it is the fruits of The Spirit that are beyond the law because you are acting in self control under God’s presence.

Self-control helps to capture all of our emotions. It is the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites.

Paul witnesses to Felix:

Acts 24:24-25

24 After some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus. 25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I find time I’ll call for you.”

 

Felix is being addressed because he is in desperate need of exhibiting self-control. He has been through three marriages. He needed to hear from Paul about:

1. Faith in Christ

2. Righteousness

3. Self-control

4. Judgment to come

 

Paul is in control.

Matthew 10:19-20

19 But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, 20 because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.

 

You may feel you have a right to take action against a person for their mistreatment of you.

1 Samuel 24:4-6

4 so they said to him, “Look, this is the day the Lord told you about: ‘I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire.’” Then David got up and secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.

5 Afterward, David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “I swear before the Lord: I would never do such a thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed. I will never lift my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.”

 

1 Samuel 26:7-10

7 That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!” 

9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless?” 10 David added, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.

 

Self-control is a quality for anyone in leadership.

Titus 1:8

…but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled.

 

Titus 2:2

Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.

 

1 Timothy 3:2

An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher.

 

1 Corinthians 9:25

Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.

 

Having knowledge of God’s Word helps to build us up in self-control. Training under God’s Word requires it, and it will teach you how to rely more and more on the presence of God in your life to rely upon Him in maintaining self-control.

The value of self-control is perseverance (patience).

 

2 Peter 1:6

…knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness.

 

Self-control can bring you respect (honor). It teaches how to avoid strife.

Proverbs 20:3

It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute,

but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.

 

Self-control (calmness) brings rest. It provides the ability to work things out.

Ecclesiastes 10:4

If the ruler’s anger rises against you, don’t leave your place,

for calmness puts great offenses to rest.

 

Without self-control, you can only display the flesh at its worst and all of its foolishness.

Proverbs 14:29

A patient person shows great understanding,

but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.

 

2 Timothy 3:3

…unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good.

 

You are being evaluated by others in your words, actions and behaviors to see if you really are who you claim to be–a Christian. The Christian is expected to have self-control. Living a life of carnality will show only a lack of control.

God wants you to be able to have the joy of the presence of the Holy Spirit by operating in self-control. When the characteristics of the fruits of The Spirit are manifested before others, the very presence of God and His power can be experienced by others as you remain faithful to Him.


The Fruits of The Spirit – Godly Patience

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.

 

These are the characteristics of the Holy Spirit that He manifests and produces within us as we live for Jesus Christ.  It is a happiness that is derived from Jesus Christ, and you won’t find it in the world.  Without love, joy and peace, you will not be effective in ministry.  It is all about presenting the agape love that God represents to each of us.

Now we will look at a difficult fruit for many of us…patience.  If you are going to be in ministry, it will require patience.  It will not be about your timing; instead, it is about God’s timing.

God is patient with us, of course.  He knows that we need to learn from Him and how to be patient with others.  God wants us to see how He is working within our acts of patience.

The patience of God reveals to us that God is more concerned about the worker than the work.  The people that we are sharing with who need to be ministered to are more important to Him than the work itself.

God could have delivered the people of Israel just by speaking.  Instead, He took time to build the people up and work with Moses (in training) for 80 years.

God could have fed Jacob by providing for him without a Joseph.

The issue is not getting the job done so much as it is about building character.  You don’t build character by taking short cuts.

In order to build godly men or godly women, there are no short cuts.  To be a servant of God, there are no short cuts.  To be obedient to God’s will, there are no short cuts.

We miss the best that God has to offer when we act impatiently.

James 5:7-11

7 Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near. 

9 Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door!

10 Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord. The Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

 

Consider that Job’s patience was blessed by God.  Job’s faithfulness and loyalty to God was rewarded because he saw the God that he served in all righteousness.

Patience is built within ministry.  It is one of the first lessons learned, and it is all about God’s timing and not your own.

Patience is being willing to be serviceable to others.  It has to be developed from within and reflect true godliness.  A patient person does not lack anything in Christ.

James 1:2-4

2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

 

1 Timothy 1:16

But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

 

2 Corinthians 6:4

But as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves in everything:

by great endurance, by afflictions,

by hardship, by difficulties.

 

2 Corinthians 12:12

The signs of an apostle were performed with great endurance among you—not only signs but also wonders and miracles.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:14

And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

 

Your patience will be tested (Psalm 78).

People will rebel against teaching or learning (Psalm 78:1, 8, 17, 40, 56).

He sees them as useless (unreliable) as a crooked bow (v. 57).

People will forget what you have done for them.

Psalm 78:9-18

9 The Ephraimite archers turned back

on the day of battle.

10 They did not keep God’s covenant

and refused to live by His law.

11 They forgot what He had done,

the wonderful works He had shown them.

12 He worked wonders in the sight of their fathers

in the land of Egypt, the region of Zoan.

13 He split the sea and brought them across;

the water stood firm like a wall.

14 He led them with a cloud by day

and with a fiery light throughout the night.

15 He split rocks in the wilderness

and gave them drink as abundant as the depths.

16 He brought streams out of the stone

and made water flow down like rivers.

17 But they continued to sin against Him,

rebelling in the desert against the Most High.

18 They deliberately tested God,

demanding the food they craved.

 

God was patient with Israel.

 

Psalm 78:70-72

70 He chose David His servant

and took him from the sheepfolds;

71 He brought him from tending ewes

to be shepherd over His people Jacob—

over Israel, His inheritance.

72 He shepherded them with a pure heart

and guided them with his skillful hands.

 

Patience allows for a person to grow in Christ while they are bouncing around in life.  Sometimes people will put you through the test to see how you will respond, including to your own teaching.

God’s desire for us is to walk with Him.  He wants us to be obedient to Him and to His Word.

God’s patience does have a limit as He is holy and righteous, and He deals with prolonged unrighteousness.

 

Psalm 78:31-34

31 God’s anger flared up against them,

and He killed some of their best men.

He struck down Israel’s choice young men.

32 Despite all this, they kept sinning

and did not believe His wonderful works.

33 He made their days end in futility,

their years in sudden disaster.

34 When He killed some of them,

the rest began to seek Him;

they repented and searched for God.

 

Even with all of the rebellion, God remains long-suffering.  When God’s patience runs out:

 

Psalm 95:11

So I swore in My anger,

“They will not enter My rest.”

 

Hebrews 3:7-11

7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

Today, if you hear His voice,

8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,

on the day of testing in the wilderness,

9 where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,

and saw My works 10 for 40 years.

Therefore I was provoked with that generation

and said, “They always go astray in their hearts,

and they have not known My ways.”

11 So I swore in My anger,

“They will not enter My rest.”

 

As believers in Jesus Christ, no one can take away from you how you respond to their behavior.  Your patience is to remain in God’s agape love for that other person.  God has the right to do whatever He pleases, yet He has remained patient with us.

 

Romans 9:22-24

22 And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction? 23 And what if He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory— 24 on us, the ones He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

 

Luke 8:15

But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.


Cutting Away Pride

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Pride is defined as:
1. an overhigh opinion of oneself
2. a proper respect for oneself; a sense of one’s own dignity or self worth. (Webster’s Dictionary)

Romans 12:3
For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.

John 3:30
He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John recognized that he was to transition his ministry to someone who was far greater than him. It wasn’t about putting himself down, but instead about giving honor to whom honor is due. It is a respect of one’s authority.

An example of pride of life: The Titanic in 1912 was made and called the unsinkable ship. It sunk on its maiden voyage after striking an iceberg.

1 John 2:16
For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world.

One’s boasting can become overconfidence. It’s one thing to say “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), but there is a fine line when the things that you accomplish becomes more about what you are doing than what God is doing.

Pride is an arrogant manner of living (self-importance)

Pride is made up of pretense (a false claim made is unsupported)

False pride uses worldly sources for strength.

How false pride is developed and how it hurts us–

2 Chronicles 26:3-5
3 Uzziah was 16 years old when he became king and reigned 52 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. 4 He did what was right in the Lord’s sight as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He sought God throughout the lifetime of Zechariah, the teacher of the fear of God. During the time that he sought the Lord, God gave him success.

Uzziah allowed someone to teach him to respect and honor God, and it bore out as success as long as he sought God.

2 Chronicles 26:8
The Ammonites gave Uzziah tribute money, and his fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for God made him very powerful.

2 Chronicles 26:9, 11-15
9 Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, the Valley Gate, and the corner buttress, and he fortified them.

11 Uzziah had an army equipped for combat that went out to war by division according to their assignments, as recorded by Jeiel the court secretary and Maaseiah the officer under the authority of Hananiah, one of the king’s commanders. 12 The total number of heads of families was 2,600 brave warriors. 13 Under their authority was an army of 307,500 equipped for combat, a powerful force to help the king against the enemy. 14 Uzziah provided the entire army with shields, spears, helmets, armor, bows and slingstones. 15 He made skillfully designed devices in Jerusalem to shoot arrows and catapult large stones for use on the towers and on the corners. So his fame spread even to distant places, for he was marvelously helped until he became strong.

With all of this, Uzziah became prideful, and it led to his downfall. (While he had every reason to be proud of his nation and the army he presided over, he forgot where those things came from and how he became powerful.) Pride led him to become unfaithful to The Lord. He lost his ability to be honored by God (see v. 18).

2 Chronicles 26:16-21
16 But when he became strong, he grew arrogant and it led to his own destruction. He acted unfaithfully against the Lord his God by going into the Lord’s sanctuary to burn incense on the incense altar. 17 Azariah the priest, along with 80 brave priests of the Lord, went in after him. 18 They took their stand against King Uzziah and said, “Uzziah, you have no right to offer incense to the Lord—only the consecrated priests, the descendants of Aaron, have the right to offer incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have acted unfaithfully! You will not receive honor from the Lord God.”

19 Uzziah, with a firepan in his hand to offer incense, was enraged. But when he became enraged with the priests, in the presence of the priests in the Lord’s temple beside the altar of incense, a skin disease broke out on his forehead. 20 Then Azariah the chief priest and all the priests turned to him and saw that he was diseased on his forehead. They rushed him out of there. He himself also hurried to get out because the Lord had afflicted him. 21 So King Uzziah was diseased to the time of his death. He lived in quarantine with a serious skin disease and was excluded from access to the Lord’s temple, while his son Jotham was over the king’s household governing the people of the land.

Pride led to anger (v. 19)
Pride brings a punishment from God that is visible to others (v. 19)
God’s punishment can be lasting (v. 21)
Pride can cause you to be excluded from worship (v. 21)

Pride will cause you to lose perspective as to your position and where it came from. When fleshly pride is being corrected, anger is often the response. In the end, God will respond in such a way that everyone can see the correction taking place.

King Uzziah was a king at age 16, but he could no longer function as king because of his affliction. He lost his authority and ability to govern the people because of his pride. This is how pride can put one on the sidelines with the inability to function or do what you were originally called to do.

Psalm 73:6
Therefore, pride is their necklace,
and violence covers them like a garment.

Psalm 119:21
You rebuke the proud,
the ones under a curse,
who wander from Your commands.

Proverbs 11:2
When pride comes, disgrace follows,
but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 16:18
Pride comes before destruction,
and an arrogant spirit before a fall.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:6 NIV)

When you are obedient to God, He will indeed exalt you. Don’t allow pride to keep you from humility…humbling yourself before Him will keep you on the path to godliness and a growing relationship with Him.