Tag Archives: Herodias

Today’s Society Seeks Protection from Jesus (Part 2)

Today’s message summary of May 7, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

What you say in public can sometimes bring about trouble.  Our society often tries to relegate what is being said (even from the church pulpit) because of how people may respond.

Matthew 14:3-4

For Herod had arrested John, chained him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, since John had been telling him, “It’s not lawful for you to have her!”

John was speaking publicly about Herod and Herodias’ relationship.

It is not unheard of that people today have filed suit for emotional damages over what someone has had to say.  It is today’s societal norm.

Karl Marx once noted that “religion negates all that is dignified in a human being by rendering them like a slave, and more amenable to accept the status quo.

Have we come to a place in today’s society that we accept what is deemed to be the status quo?  Society and government says that we are to accept the status quo.

Jesus informs us that we need to count the cost when we go into ministry.  John the Baptist did not accept the status quo.  He pointed out that Herod and Herodias’ relationship was unlawful before God.

The rule today is that what is popular in society should be acceptable to everyone.

Have we reached a point where there is no room for the teaching of Jesus Christ?  It is hardly a popular view in today’s society.

John 8:36-37

Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill Me because My word is not welcome among you.

Matthew 11:12

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been suffering violence, and the violent have been seizing it by force.

Before Martin Luther, the church was very involved with government.  They were considered one and the same.  The pope had to recognize the king in a kingdom.  In many of today’s Arab countries, the government and the religious group are essentially the same entity.

Modern proponents of the separation of church and state, on the religious side, will fall back on Luther’s doctrine of two kingdoms.  This marked the beginning of the modern concept of the separation of church and state.

Anabaptists took this a step further. They were in agreement with Luther that there were two kingdoms.  They agreed that the two should be separate.  They held that no baptized member of the church should vote, serve in the military, nor hold a public office.  Why?  They were part of God’s kingdom, and the government was the other kingdom.

Ultimately, we don’t need this separation from society.  There is a huge need for believers to be actively involved in the political field.

In the life of the believer, there are two authorities:

First, there is one representing claims made by government.  You can challenge views and prevail or not, or bring about change.

Secondly, God is the one who represents the church.  While the church has authority, God has the highest authority (God’s Word).

Acts 4:19-20, 5:29, 16:4-5

Peter and John answered them, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God; you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people.

As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for the people to observe.  So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Romans 13:1-3

Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God.  So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval.

Churches have found themselves in court. Property, persons hired for employment, church discipline and employees who follow Jesus Christ have been affected in their own workplace.

The kingdom of God is being advanced by force because of the opposition that it faces.  Scripture reminds us of the “good fight” and of the need for “the armor of God.”

Matthew 11:2-6

Now when John heard in prison what the Christ was doing, he sent a message through his disciples and asked him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see. The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news, and blessed is the one who isn’t offended by me.”

Matthew 10:22

You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

The verse in Matthew 11:12 about the forceful advance of the kingdom (suffering of violence) notes the ongoing struggle of those who are following Jesus Christ:

  • You, yourself, are grabbing hold of the truth, or to the kingdom
  • You are pulling at it
  • You do so vigorously and energetically–pushing towards the kingdom

Anything that you desire will often require some effort.  You will really have to work at it.  When John the Baptist preached, this is when the real fight ensued between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of the world.

Luke 16:16-17

“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urgently invited to enter it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter in the law to drop out.”

Are you really running after God and His kingdom? While today’s society will tell you it is not worth your time, press ahead and go after Him.  When you serve Him, He will give you the energy that you need in order to be successful.


Living With the Flesh

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

There are words that we talk about in Scripture such as “persevere” and “endure,” but the only way we can have true understanding is through the heart. In looking at the word “flesh,” there needs to be an understanding of the spiritual things that counter the flesh.

We need to know and understand that the Holy Spirit is what empowers each of us to overcome the desires of the flesh. Without the Spirit of God, we are unable to control the flesh. The flesh will merely feed upon its own desires.

We’re going to look at three people today as a matter of focus in the book of Mark, which will give us a demonstration of what the flesh can and will do. We’re going to look at Solome, Herod and Herodius. None of these persons are born again, but each of them will give us clues about the power of the flesh.

Jesus warns about the power of the Spirit and the flesh, as well.

John 3:5-8
5 Jesus answered, “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. 8 The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

To say that one follows Christ must live according to the Spirit of God. If a life does not demonstrate life for Jesus but instead for the flesh is a contradiction of one’s testimony of Christ.

The body or flesh is the outward and visible sign of the flesh or spirit being in control of the person.

Flesh and spirit suggest only two ways for people to live: you will either live according to the flesh, or live according to the Spirit. There is no “gray area” or “middle ground.”

It is God’s will that none should perish, but He allows people to decide for themselves where they desire to be. Is there evidence in how you live your life that will show people that you really love The Lord and desire to live for Him?

The flesh has power to control people.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Romans 8:5 NIV)

Mark 6:14-28
14 King Herod heard of this, because Jesus’ name had become well known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that’s why supernatural powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He’s Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet—like one of the prophets.”

16 When Herod heard of it, he said, “John, the one I beheaded, has been raised!” 17 For Herod himself had given orders to arrest John and to chain him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife!” 19 So Herodias held a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 because Herod was in awe of John and was protecting him, knowing he was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him he would be very disturbed, yet would hear him gladly.

21 Now an opportune time came on his birthday, when Herod gave a banquet for his nobles, military commanders, and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When Herodias’s own daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 So he swore oaths to her: “Whatever you ask me I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

24 Then she went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?”

“John the Baptist’s head!” she said.

25 Immediately she hurried to the king and said, “I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head on a platter—right now!”

26 Though the king was deeply distressed, because of his oaths and the guests he did not want to refuse her. 27 The king immediately sent for an executioner and commanded him to bring John’s head. So he went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother.

Josephus the Jewish historian gives us insight into the life of Herodias, the wife of Herod.
Here incestuous marriage shocked the Jews. She was first married to a step-brother by who she had a daughter named Salome. Next, she married her uncle Philip, then she married Philip’s brother, Herod.

Herod enjoyed listening to the words of John the Baptist, who told him the truth about his relationship with Herodias. Even in this you can see how God was trying to reach Herod, but note that the flesh was still in control, and that Herodias had no shame in her relationships; furthermore, it was the flesh that allowed for the manipulation of Salome.

In Mark 6:14-25, observe Herod’s behavior and how he responds to Salome over his wife, Herodias. That is telling in their present relationship.

John was arrested because of Herodias. Herod was hearing truth, and actually wanted to protect John from Herodias by putting him in prison. When Herodias’ daughter danced, she pleased Herod. The idea of exciting one’s emotions is to be taken away by one’s senses. When the flesh is out of control, it will undo your reasoning and common sense. The flesh will suspend your mind from taking action. In verse 22, the flesh has overtaken Herod. He did something that was out of his control because he responded to the flesh. The flesh cause him to lose all memory of John and what he valued of him. The act of succumbing to the desires of the flesh had tremendous consequences, and later moved Herod to regret his actions.

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.

Note that the Spirit gives you the power to be in control, while the flesh is the essence of being completely out of control.

The true follower of the Spirit through Jesus Christ cannot stay in, or remain in, sin. God disciplines those that he loves.

1 John 5:18
We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the One who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.

Psalm 38:1-10, 18, 21-22
1 Lord, do not punish me in Your anger or discipline me in Your wrath. 2 For Your arrows have sunk into me, and Your hand has pressed down on me.

3 There is no soundness in my body because of Your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my sins have flooded over my head; they are a burden too heavy for me to bear.

5 My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness. 6 I am bent over and brought low; all day long I go around in mourning. 7 For my loins are full of burning pain, and there is no health in my body. 8 I am faint and severely crushed; I groan because of the anguish of my heart.

9 Lord, my every desire is known to You; my sighting is not hidden from You. 10 My heart races, my strength leaves me, and even the light of my eyes has faded.

18 So I confess my guilt; I am anxious because of my sin.

21 Lord, do not abandon me; my God, do not be far from me. 22 Hurry to help me, Lord, my Savior.

Thank you, Lord, for revealing unto us your Word. For that who is born to the Spirit will live in the Spirit and grow in the grace and knowledge of God. Thank you for showing us how the flesh can destroy us. We want to be a people dependent upon the Spirit of the living God. Lord, minister to us in this day and age and help us to overcome the flesh. Put within us a hunger for righteousness and Your truth, and the desire to please You. Thank you, in Jesus’ name, Amen.