Tag Archives: history

Remembering History (Family Series cont’d)

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

A true measure of a person is how one stands during the time of a crisis.  Will people stand for the Lord, or not?

History is important to remember and understand.  What we experience in our past will help in dealing with future events.  It is important to look upon where you came from, but even important to see God’s fingerprints throughout your life and how He has kept you.  You should be able to see where God has moved in your life.

Proverbs 23:10

Don’t move an ancient boundary marker, and don’t encroach on the fields of the fatherless.

 

There are markers throughout life that need to remain in place as reminders as to who God was at that time and to see His work.

Young children would ask mothers, fathers and grandparents, “Why is there segregation?” “Why is their racial discrimination?”  Sometimes, because a child was too young to understands, the answer would be, “That’s the way it is!” and to avoid trouble or not get in the way.

Dr. Martin Luther King inspired many people to take a different view…to get in the way and even into trouble.  He encouraged people to get active for the cause of freedom, but there were also times when it was best to speak up.  He wanted people to believe that change was possible, even with the society of his time.  This is still true today.  Change is possible even with the difficulty that many experience today (drugs, murder and lack of education).

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

In the midst of difficulty, we are to look for how God will act, and He reminds us to put the interests of others before yourself.

Life is not just about you.

It is OK to suffer as you recognize that you are becoming more like Jesus Christ.  God wants you to see Him in the midst of all of this.

If you really study Martin Luther King, you would see that his life was about those that he served.

In his life story, he certainly had his faults, but he also noted when he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.  God will use a person who is much less than perfect to accomplish His will and for His glory.  He used King to proclaim a dream for others during his time that others could not see.

King entered Morehouse College at age 15.  One of his heroes was Mordecai Johnson, President of Howard University.  He would read his speeches and studied him.  This was how he learned about speech and how to speak.  He heard Dr. Johnson say, “In the midst of death, life persists.  In the midst of darkness, light persists.”

John 1:4-5

Life was in Him (Jesus Christ), and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.

 

From the words of Dr. Johnson came the inspiration for Dr. King as he prepared to enter the seminary.  He said, “We are going to change this nation.”

Young people, are you looking for ways to do better than your parents or grandparents ever did?  Are you looking to go to greater heights to overcome your family history?  What matters most is what you set out to accomplish.  What are your goals?  Study your own family history to avoid the pitfalls.  It is wise to choose the ones in your family, or even outside of your family, that will provide wise counsel.  When you want to learn, God will put someone in your path to help you.

When looking at life in the present, history shows us what needs to be changed in order to do well in the future.

Stephen’s speech is a history lesson (Acts 7).  We learn how Stephen demonstrates his measure of being a man who takes a stand for Jesus Christ.  He asks for an audience, which is made up of people who are both younger and older than he is (Acts 7:2).

First, he spoke about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who was the father of the twelve patriarchs (tribes).  He then spoke about Joseph, who was forgotten, and also Moses, Joshua, David and Solomon.  Stephen brings his audience to a place of recognizing their history and facing it.  The people were just like their ancestors–they resisted God.

Acts 7:51-53

You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit; as your ancestors did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They even killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. You received the law under the direction of angels and yet have not kept it.

 

All cultures should be aware of their history…both the good and the bad things.

Paul shares his history as a Jew, and how he became a Pharisee (Philippians 3:4-8).

Paul also shares another history when he became an apostle (Galatians 1:11-18).

It is from these two experiences that make Paul the person that he was, and from this it is hoped that you can see that reviewing your own history is also helpful and provides perspective on the wonders of God in your own life.

History tells us that God had a hand on this country through very difficult and trying times.

God has given you a history.  God has given this country a history.  In both instances, there are things to be proud of, and some that bring shame and regret.  These things are still to be reckoned with and acknowledged in order to see how to avoid mistakes of the past and imitate those things that are good and proclaim God’s glory and presence.  We learn from our past to know how to live our future in Jesus Christ, and to please Him in your service.  God uses people who are visionaries to accomplish His will.

Like Stephen and Paul, if a person worries about personal safety and status, they will accomplish nothing.

Dr. King was an idealist and a visionary.  He transcended race, ethnicity, nationality and politics. He talked with those of little education as well as those with graduate degrees.  He walked with everyone. His faith in Jesus prevailed over fear and uncertainty, fatigue and depression.  He stood in the gap for our nation.

Ezekiel 22:30

I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found no one.

 

As far as this church, and its future, is concerned, it is much more than just a black church, or a mixed ethnicity church, or a church of people with different backgrounds.  It is a church of people who serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Why the Millennium? (Part 2)

Today’s message summary of August 14, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

These messages about the end times are for the benefit of sharing with those who want to know more about the Lord and to be aware of the signs that are present and yet to come.

Hosea 4:6a

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

Whose fault is it for the Millennium?  The Millennium is set up to show how mankind has been evil, and this period is to represent what it originally was like in the Garden of Eden (Adam and Eve).

Do we, as Christians, perform good works, or not?  Throughout history, people have tried every means possible to make the world a better place to live.

Some Christians think that this is the wrong thing to do.

Please understand that everything that Christians do should be with the purpose of presenting Jesus, in order that it brings people to encounter the presence of Jesus Christ.

People are to remember that we are the salt of the world (Matthew 5:13).  Salt is a seasoning and a preservative.  Christians are to be the seasoning and preservers of humanity.  We are in place to witness and work on His behalf to bring as many people as possible to Christ.

Even the best efforts of people to bring others to Jesus Christ have been unsuccessful.  A sinful nature creates an imperfect environment, but it does not mean that we do not continue to work for the best.

Ephesians 6:12-13

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.  This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.

What people have never been able to do, Jesus does in the Millennium by setting forth a perfect environment for people.

The Millennium is the last event that will take place on the old earth if you have the last battle with Satan at the end of the Millennium.  Everything from this point will take place in heaven.  The White Throne Judgment will be in heaven and follows the destruction of the old earth.

Important events of the Millennium:

  1. Jesus will be on earth in bodily form. He will, from that point, never leave His people again.
  2. Satan is bound. His activities will be restricted (Genesis 3:13).
  3. The people will live in the environment of Adam.
  4. People will have the free choice to worship and obey Jesus. (The same free will that Adam and Eve had.)
  5. One thousand years will not change the heart of Satan.

Romans 10:17 ESV

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

People work to try to improve their old nature, but the old nature cannot be improved.  It can only die.  Your old nature must die to self.  God has to create a new nature in you.

People that go through the Millennium will…

  1. Obey without knowing Jesus as Savior. Why? (You are in a disastrous place without Jesus Christ being at the head of your life.)

Isaiah 11:3-9

His delight will be in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge

by what He sees with His eyes,

He will not execute justice

by what He hears with His ears,

but He will judge the poor righteously

and execute justice for the oppressed of the land.

He will strike the land

with discipline from His mouth,

and He will kill the wicked

with a command from His lips.

Righteousness will be a belt around His loins;

faithfulness will be a belt around His waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,

and the leopard will lie down with the goat.

The calf, the young lion, and the fatling will be together,

and a child will lead them.

The cow and the bear will graze,

their young ones will lie down together,

and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

An infant will play beside the cobras pit,

and a toddler will put his hand into a snakes den.

None will harm or destroy another

on My entire holy mountain,

for the land will be as full

of the knowledge of the Lord

as the sea is filled with water.

Like the church, there can be an outward conformity without an inward reality of Jesus.  The heart of the person must change to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior.

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is more deceitful than anything else,

and incurablewho can understand it?

 

  1. There will be no war.

Micah 4:2-4

and many nations will come and say,

Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

to the house of the God of Jacob.

He will teach us about His ways

so we may walk in His paths.

For instruction will go out of Zion

and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He will settle disputes among many peoples

and provide arbitration for strong nations

that are far away.

They will beat their swords into plows,

and their spears into pruning knives.

Nation will not take up the sword against nation,

and they will never again train for war.

But each man will sit under his grapevine

and under his fig tree

with no one to frighten him.

For the mouth of the Lord of Hosts

has promised this.

 

  1. There will be no killing of people by other people.
  1. People will live a long life.

Isaiah 65:20-22

In her, a nursing infant will no longer live

only a few days, or an old man not live out his days.

Indeed, the youth will die at a hundred years,

and the one who misses a hundred years will be cursed.

People will build houses and live in them;

they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

They will not build and others live in them;

they will not plant and others eat.

For My peoples lives will be

like the lifetime of a tree.

My chosen ones will fully enjoy

the work of their hands.

 

  1. There will be no divorce, physical problems (no disease), drunkenness, or addiction. There will not be any poor, and there will not be any hunger.

It only makes you wonder how people can experience all of this and yet walk away from Him.

Who rules with Jesus, and why?

He will set up a ruling class of righteous people, and will give authority to those who are faithful in service to Him.

Revelation 20:4

Then I saw thrones, and people seated on them who were given authority to judge. I also saw the people who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of Gods word, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and who had not accepted the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with the Messiah for 1,000 years.

Why do they get to rule with Jesus and not the present saints?

They all come with a supernatural body, while others do not have such a thing.

1 Corinthians 15:40-57

There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is different from that of the earthly ones. There is a splendor of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars; for one star differs from another star in splendor. So it is with the resurrection of the dead:

Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption;

sown in dishonor, raised in glory;

sown in weakness, raised in power;

sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual.

The first man was from the earth

and made of dust;

the second man is from heaven.

Like the man made of dust,

so are those who are made of dust;

like the heavenly man,

so are those who are heavenly.

And just as we have borne

the image of the man made of dust,

we will also bear

the image of the heavenly man.

Brothers, I tell you this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and corruption cannot inherit incorruption. Listen! I am telling you a mystery:

We will not all fall asleep,

but we will all be changed,

in a moment, in the blink of an eye,

at the last trumpet.

For the trumpet will sound,

and the dead will be raised incorruptible,

and we will be changed.

For this corruptible must be clothed

with incorruptibility,

and this mortal must be clothed

with immortality.

When this corruptible is clothed

with incorruptibility,

and this mortal is clothed

with immortality,

then the saying that is written will take place:

Death has been swallowed up in victory.

Death, where is your victory?

Death, where is your sting?

Now the sting of death is sin,

and the power of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory

through our Lord Jesus Christ!

  1. Difference between a perishable and imperishable body
  2. There is a body of dishonor and a body raised in glory
  3. Weakness versus power
  4. Natural body and a spiritual body (one for earth and one for heaven)

There must be a change in the body of a person from corruptible to incorruptible…in other words, to be more like Jesus.

Romans 8:28-30

We know that all things work together[a] for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.

1 John 3:2

Dear friends, we are Gods children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is.

The rest of the dead that are not reigning with Christ because they will be the unbelievers:

Revelation 20:5-6

The rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1,000 years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of the Messiah, and they will reign with Him for 1,000 years.


Your Spiritual Journey

Today’s message summary of December 13, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

In recent months, I have come up with a phrase to describe my life today: “Every day is an adventure.”

Every day has its challenges. Some of them are expected, while some are new and require flexibility. If you had plans that day, they can and will change at a moment’s notice.  There’s no reason to get ahead of yourself beyond those moments, because each one requires your full attention.

Matthew 6:34 HCSB

Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Every day may indeed be an adventure, but each day, one after another, week after week, month after month and year after year—is a journey.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, your relationship with Jesus Christ makes your journey a spiritual journey.

I would like to provide you with an overview of my own spiritual journey with the hope that it will help you to look at where you are in your life journey with Jesus Christ. What I desire for you to see is how this journey, over time, is not so much better because life gets easier—it won’t get easier—but it will get better because your life in Christ will get richer with your personal growth in wisdom and knowledge because of the Spirit’s involvement in everything you do.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The more that you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future.”

In examination of my spiritual journey, Roosevelt was absolutely on-target. I had to learn more about who I was as a person in order to come to the realization that I needed to choose Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. From there, I recognized the necessity to make a series of progressions over time to bring me to this point of my journey.

My past as a non-believer was not filled with church experiences; in fact, I seldom went to church. I was only exposed to church on random Easter Sundays, and ironically, those visits involved hearing my grandfather, Rev. Ernest W. Stevens, Sr., preach as a guest speaker at Lee Road Baptist Church or some other church on the east side of Cleveland. I was never involved with church at Christmas time. My parents, at that time, were not believers in Jesus Christ, and there was one King James Version bible in the house that collected dust on a side table.

When I graduated from high school, my first job was work at my uncles’ florist shop in East Cleveland. Of the two uncles, Tyrone was a believer who spoke about the need to accept Christ, and Larry talked about the Lord but was not really following Him. Over the summer, I worked at the shop seven days a week, and I was exposed to a new, entirely different lifestyle. I delivered floral arrangements and took orders over the phone and in-person. A significant experience was dealing with families who had just lost a loved one and orders for bereavement flowers. I also became introspective about the delivery of flowers to funeral homes, where I had to place the flowers on and around the casket of the person. These events are fresh in my mind. In witnessing the aftermath of the death of others, including those of infants who had died prematurely, it made me think more about life and what I had to look forward to.

I listened to the testimonies of my saved uncle and a fellow employee, a young woman named Renee. She mentioned to me that her life was different at that time because of her relationship with the Lord. She used to listen to gospel music and would even sing a few lyrics out loud. She was, and is today, an amazing singer. She also witnessed to my uncle Larry about the Lord. I knew deep down that he liked Renee for her appearance, but she was always a true professional. I respected her approach to life very much, and was a little envious of her contentment. I was anything but content. I was still living at home and I had already bombed out of college. My parents were fighting on a regular basis and were headed for a divorce. Work at the flower shop did not pay a lot, and I had to learn more about money management because I had purchased a new car that I could barely afford.

My past was telling me that my life, at that time, was on the road to nowhere, and it was fast approaching.

I had taken other jobs in order to try to determine what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and I circled back to working at the flower shop. In 1986, as the flower shop days were ending, I was invited to a church on the west side of Cleveland—Second Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Roland H. Crowder was the pastor that delivered about two or three Sunday messages where I had decided that enough was enough. I knew that I didn’t have any solutions on my own for where my life was going, but I knew that I needed Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. That June, I went forward and I got baptized two weeks later before some of my friends that I had invited to church. I was 26 years old, and I was baptized with a group of 8 and 9 year olds. Imagine the sight of that!

With a new beginning in Jesus Christ comes a new template of how to live. I knew that Christ was present, but I was still learning about the presence of the Holy Spirit and what all of it really meant to me. I knew where I was, but I could now see that there was more to life than my own personal experiences. God had to teach me that life is more about serving Him than my own needs or desires.

A. B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, writes about his own moral dilemma in his book, My Own Story, where at age 14, he willfully disobeyed his parents in spite of his own desire to pursue ministry for the sake of fulfilling his own desires. Simpson does not go into detail about what those things were except that they were things that people who aspire for ministry should not do. When his parents found out about it, his mother went off on him!

“It was the day of judgment for me…my mother wringing her hands and pouring out the vials of her wrath while I sat confounded and crushed. …That tragedy settled the question of the ministry. Soon after I…decided to give up these side issues and prepare myself…to be a minister of the Gospel.”

Everyone has a history to reckon with. At the moment that a person comes to Jesus Christ, that history is part of who the person is, but those periods of history become a part of one’s learning experience. A. B. Simpson learned about what it means to be fully devoted to a life with Jesus Christ. Thankfully, from the moment of our conversion to Jesus Christ, the transformation of our hearts and minds begins:

Romans 12:1-2 ESV

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I made a lot of mistakes, and I still do. My history before I became a believer in Christ consisted of looking to the world for answers to questions and problems. Following the world meant living a sinful lifestyle. After all is said and done, I took very bad advice. I am grateful that God has been merciful to me and has allowed me to learn from my mistakes with minimal consequences.

Lamentations 3:22-23 HCSB

Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish,

for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!

Even though sin is part of our fleshly nature, we learn over time that our Holy Spirit gives us the ability to resist the temptations that lead to sinful behavior. We have power in the Spirit to live a life that honors Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Early in my new life as a believer, God was gradually revealing to me what my talents and gifts were to use in my new faith. I liked art and English as a youth, and while I wasn’t a big reader, I did like to write. I also grew in my verbal communication skills with my career in Collections and as a supervisor. At my first church, I was a greeter, and then soon after that I was selected to teach Sunday school to the teens. My first class subject was the books of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus. God knew that the best way to study His Word was to make me a teacher! It was humbling and yet it launched me to where I am today as an adult Sunday school teacher. I would not be able to do any of these things without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 HCSB

Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person.

My growth as a believer continued as I developed my communication skills. I was able to finish my undergraduate degree in Business and Organizational Communication at the University of Akron (Go Zips!) in 2002, and it was not long after that when Pastor Gus gave me opportunities to speak from the pulpit. The first couple of times out were a little rough, but I managed to make progress and learn about the preparation and delivery process over time. I learned that while speaking from the pulpit is quite an honor, I was reminded that it is a privilege and that my approach should always be one with prayerful humility.

James 4:6 HCSB

But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says:

God resists the proud,

but gives grace to the humble.

A. B. Simpson was humble in his service. He was willing to sacrifice his time, and even his own personal stature for the sake of reaching people for Christ. His missionaries, educators and staff were all committed to their areas of service because he set the tone for the ministry. He prayed fervently and provided vision, determination and commitment to everything that he was involved in. His example is what I strive to demonstrate to those that I serve in my church and in my workplace. The desire is to honor Jesus Christ, and not myself.

Colossians 3:16-17 HCSB

Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

In the midst of all of this, my flesh provides constant reminders of my history before Christ. I know that God’s power through the Holy Spirit is ever-present, but the allure of the things that support the flesh make things like “giving up” or “taking a break from Jesus” more appealing. This is where history can no longer determine the appropriate steps for me. I need to treat history for what it is, and remember that as I repent from my sinful past, God no longer remembers those sins. I am also thankful that Jesus took care of all of my sins once and for all.

Hebrews 10:16-18 HCSB

This is the covenant I will make with them

after those days, says the Lord:

I will put My laws on their hearts

and write them on their minds,

He adds:

I will never again remember

their sins and their lawless acts.

Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

It’s been just under thirty years for me as a believer in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I have grown in my faith and my ability to serve, but it was not until recently where I was very confident that I was in the place that God would have me to be. My next steps involve looking into serving as a chaplain or pursuing ordination with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. I’m sincerely open to what God has in store for me, and I readily acknowledge that, even after I obtain my Master’s degree, I still have a lot to learn as I exercise my faith.

Philippians 2:12-13 HCSB

So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.

As a Sunday school teacher, it is prudent for me to continue to practice what I teach—ongoing reading and meditation of the Scriptures and living a life of fullness in Christ wherever I may be.

Your spiritual journey in Jesus Christ, from today forward, continues.

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


The Importance of Your Name

Message summary for sermon of June 15, 2014 from Pastor Gus Brown:

How do you value your name?  What’s in your name?  What is its history?  Does it mean more to you or to anyone else than just a signature on a check?

In today’s world, men will form their manhood or fatherhood according to how society has formed it, or you will view it from a biblical perspective, and you can be assured that your children will recognize it.  What legacy will you leave with your children?

Your name should be considered valuable and something that can be passed on to your children.  Does the honor of your name proclaim who you are in Jesus Christ?  Is it valuable to the persons you are giving it to?  Can they see the value?

In America, there is such a strong push for individuality and there is less of a respect for those that came before us.

Your name speaks of who you are.  A name should mean more to you than just earning a paycheck.  It has a value to it that begins with giving recognition to God’s name for what it is.  He is the one to be honored.  While you may not think much of your own name, God’s name is indeed special and He is to be glorified.

Ezekiel 36:22-23

22 “Therefore, say to the house of Israel: This is what the Lord God says: It is not for your sake that I will act, house of Israel, but for My holy name, which you profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will honor the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations—the name you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am Yahweh”—the declaration of the Lord God—“when I demonstrate My holiness through you in their sight.

 

In the same way that God is our glory in that He created us, the fathers today are the children’s glory.  The child honors the father because of how proud he or she is of him for his example.

God will (and has) shown Himself as all-powerful for His own namesake.

Psalm 138:2

I will bow down toward Your holy temple

and give thanks to Your name

for Your constant love and truth.

You have exalted Your name

and Your promise above everything else.

 

God’s Word is as good as His Name.  His Name is as good as His Word.

Your word is as valuable as your name.  Your word is no good if your name is no good before others.

God reflects his value of upholding the name of a man.

Numbers 27:1-7

1 The daughters of Zelophehad approached; Zelophehad was the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh from the clans of Manasseh, the son of Joseph. These were the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 2 They stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, and the entire community at the entrance to the tent of meeting and said, 3 “Our father died in the wilderness, but he was not among Korah’s followers, who gathered together against the Lord. Instead, he died because of his own sin, and he had no sons. 4 Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan? Since he had no son, give us property among our father’s brothers.”

5 Moses brought their case before the Lord, 6 and the Lord answered him, 7 “What Zelophehad’s daughters say is correct. You are to give them hereditary property among their father’s brothers and transfer their father’s inheritance to them.

 

Are you willing to stand up for your father’s name to honor Him?

Proverbs 3:1-4

1 My son, don’t forget my teaching,

but let your heart keep my commands;

2 for they will bring you

many days, a full life, and well-being.

3 Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you.

Tie them around your neck;

write them on the tablet of your heart.

4 Then you will find favor and high regard

in the sight of God and man.

 

Proverbs 22:1

A good name is to be chosen over great wealth;

favor is better than silver and gold.

 

Ecclesiastes 7:1

A good name is better than fine perfume,

and the day of one’s death than the day of one’s birth.

 

Your name, as a righteous name, permeates the air when it is proclaimed.  It is a welcome sound like a welcome scent in the air.

Fathers need to be the example that their children will see in how one brings honor to your name.

Deuteronomy 22:13-21

13 “If a man marries a woman, has sexual relations with her, and comes to hate her, 14 and accuses her of shameful conduct, and gives her a bad name, saying, ‘I married this woman and was intimate with her, but I didn’t find any evidence of her virginity,’ 15 the young woman’s father and mother will take the evidence of her virginity and bring it to the city elders at the gate. 16 The young woman’s father will say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man as a wife, but he hates her. 17 He has accused her of shameful conduct, saying: “I didn’t find any evidence of your daughter’s virginity,” but here is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ They will spread out the cloth before the city elders. 18 Then the elders of that city will take the man and punish him. 19 They will also fine him 100 silver shekels and give them to the young woman’s father, because that man gave an Israelite virgin a bad name. She will remain his wife; he cannot divorce her as long as he lives. 20 But if this accusation is true and no evidence of the young woman’s virginity is found, 21 they will bring the woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city will stone her to death. For she has committed an outrage in Israel by being promiscuous in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from you.

 

In this passage, the father’s name is being discredited.  There is a value of a person’s name within Scripture when you look at the principles of life as presented.  Here, it was the father’s responsibility to take care of the daughter, but his values are being attacked here.  Today, the values of whether a woman is a virgin don’t mean as much, but it is relevant to see the level of importance in honor of proving that the standards were upheld, and it was all about the honor of his name.

1 Timothy 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his own, that is his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

 

When you live in such a way where your children are ashamed of you, it will only cause a myriad of problems for them.

A lot of self-esteem problems have been based upon their name and where it comes from (the father).  The name must have an example where we are worthy of respect.  When we call ourselves “Christian” there should be a respect and honor of Jesus that comes with it.

The name of the family must be treasured, and fathers have the opportunity to honor their name by standing and living in integrity.

Proverbs 17:6

Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly,

and the pride of sons is their fathers.

 

Fathers, remember the importance of how you raide your children and set the example that your children can emulate in their own walk of fauth in Jesus Christ.  They will honor you when they remain consistent in Christ as they bring ongoing honor to your name in how they live.


Standing Firm in God’s Truth

Today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:

How do you handle the truth? It is difficult to deal with, because the reality is that truth hurts. We are often not willing to accept it. Truth often deals with our attitude and our behavior, and often we run from truth.

If you took the time to write down the things of truth in your life (and if you are honest about it), you would not like what you would see. God wants us to acknowledge who we are as sinners. We try to hide from the truth and say we are good, or we will even blame our issues on others. No matter how we may feel, God speaks to us in the truth through His Word.

Romans 3:3-4
3 What then? If some did not believe, will their unbelief cancel God’s faithfulness? 4 Absolutely not! God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written:

That You may be justified in Your words
and triumph when You judge.

John 8:44-45
44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.

Most people who rather believe the lie instead of truth to avoid acknowledging it. The church is often confused, in much the same way, as to what is truth and what to believe. Either we stand on the truth and God’s Word or we choose to believe what Satan has to say, and he is a liar.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, 10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved.

Satan will be setting up many for deception and to believe in his lies, and he will cause many to fall to the side if not perish altogether. He is successful in the lives of those that choose not to love and accept the truth.

When you begin to believe the truth, it will greatly affect your behavior. This is evident to everyone around you. They will see a person who follows truth living a life of purity. There will be a life of productivity and improvement. In contrast, those who do not follow truth, trust in His Word and believe in His Word will often manifest behavior that shows an inconsistent life. God promises to train you in every area of life if you trust in Him.

2 Timothy 3:16-17, 4:5
16 All Scripture is inspired by God[a] and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

5 But as for you, be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

A person who believes in Jesus Christ must make sure that he or she reads God’s Word in order to begin the process of believing it, and acknowledging that it is true. We read it, we wrestle with it, and then we believe it; therefore, God begins to speak to us and give us the ability to apply it and share it with others. Note the progression of the believer who earnestly seeks The Lord.

2 Corinthians 4:13
And since we have the same spirit of faith in keeping with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak.

1 Timothy 3:15
But if I should be delayed, I have written so that you will know how people ought to act in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

Failure to accept truth does not mean that the truth is wrong. Many of us need to set the example before others and uphold His truth when dealing with others who refuse to acknowledge it. A person’s behavior will not change unless they hear the truth and accept it.

Often we get caught up in things such as misbelief and misbehavior, and even superstition. We can believe erroneously in old wives’ tales and things that take our focus off of God through Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 4:7
But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness,

1 Corinthians 3:18
No one should deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks he is wise in this age, he must become foolish so that he can become wise.

Galatians 1:6-7
6 I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news about the Messiah.

Matthew 19:16-22
16 Just then someone came up and asked Him, “Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?”

17 “Why do you ask Me about what is good?” He said to him. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” he asked Him. Jesus answered:

Do not murder;
do not commit adultery;
do not steal;
do not bear false witness;
19 honor your father and your mother;
and love your neighbor as yourself.
20 “I have kept all these,” the young man told Him. “What do I still lack?”

21 “If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”

22 When the young man heard that command, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.

Note that Jesus answered the man’s question, but he did not like Jesus’ answer. As a result, he was unhappy because he chose not to follow Jesus’ advice. This is exactly what happens when we fail to be obedient to God’s Word and when we lack faith.

Mark 6:4-6a
4 Then Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his household.” 5 So He was not able to do any miracles[a] there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He was amazed at their unbelief.

The only thing that can overcome a lack of faith or one who believes in lies is to teach the truth.

Hebrews 11:6
Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.

Romans 10:17
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

There are many in our midst that are all of one mind that will welcome those who are in unbelief. They are malicious and spiteful, and in the case of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, they happened to be the religious leaders of the time.

Matthew 3:7-8
7 When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to the place of his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance.

Just because you choose to make an alliance with others who are unbelievers does not mean you are in a good place or that you can rationalize your position. God challenges us not to use our own reasoning or way of understanding–He wants you to listen to Him and to reason with Him. It will work with each one of us who seeks His Word and His understanding, and He will give us correction and direction.

In the 19th Century, it was the free thinkers that came up with evolution and the development of life forms–which means no creator and; therefore, no God. In the 20th Century, the move was towards modernism–modern practices because “everyone was doing it” and that is what made it right. In the 21st Century, the movement has evolved to hatred of God’s Word, where man knows more than God and the desire to move away from truth. Today, there is a demand for a new doctrine (teaching) that is not according to Scripture; as a result, society dictates to the Christian that they will need to abandon God’s truth in order to adapt and survive in today’s culture. We are being challenged daily to follow truth and to look to God for guidance and answers.

Acts 5:29
But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men.

Galatians 1:10
For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.

Hebrews 13:20-21
20 Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to Him forever and ever. Amen.

Matthew 7:21
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Romans 3:4
Absolutely not! God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written:

That You may be justified in Your words
and triumph when You judge.

Lord, we pray for those who may doubt you that you will release them from their unbelief, for your Word is true and it will provide guidance and training in everything that they will do. Help us to be obedient to You and to Your Word and to seek you with a desire to learn and grow in You. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.


Remembering What Christ Did For Us

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

As we are approaching the Christmas season, the presence of Christ Himself is less and less apparent. It’s no longer about “Merry Christmas” but more about “Happy Holidays.” This is, in fact, the very time that we should be paying attention to who He is. We (believers) are the people that need to say the words “Merry Christmas” to others rather than risk offending someone for stating the name of Christ.

Christmas is the time to reflect what God did for us. It’s a time to seek God’s Word and see what it says.

We often question the evidence of God’s presence in the world, but we are reminded that God is doing His work in our lives not according to our time, but according to His time. We need to wait upon The Lord and be patient and courageous. His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8).

2 Peter 3:8-9
8 Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 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.

It takes God’s own time to grow and mature us. He is a patient and loving God because He cares about each and every one of us. Time is not an issue with God. He provides guidance for us that He is going to act at the appropriate time. Note this in Galatians 4:4:

Galatians 4:4
When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

God acted in the fullness of time (according to His schedule), He sent His Son. The same thing will take place in future…Jesus will return in the fullness of time. When a fair trial has been given to all other schemes of salvation by mankind, God would send forth His Son.

The promise of Jesus’ first coming was noted in Genesis 3:15:

Genesis 3:15
I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.

Then God provides a little more information about this seed…

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.

After the great flood, man came up with their own ways to get to heaven.

Genesis 31:19
19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household idols.

Many historians point to this time period as the origin of Hinduism…the emergence of many different Gods. It’s origin goes back 4,000 years.

During the time of Daniel, Buddhism is growing through two branches:

Hinayana – Teaching primarily rationality
Mahayana – Exalts the individual’s salvation by faith and good works.

Through these periods in history, man gained knowledge and was developing civilizations. This additional knowledge also led people to seek their own ways rather than seek God;
1300 BC – Pharoahs
1195 BC – Saul becomes king
1155 BC – David becomes king
1115 BC – Solomon becomes king

At about the time of Solomon, China and Buddhism begins to emerge. All of these things and even more over time were taking place in history, but Jesus was not presented yet. It was only on the appointed time that God had chosen for Jesus’ emergence.

Galatians 4:1-2
1 Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 2 Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father.

Basic principles of the world were taught to the people such as reading, writing, and many inventions were taking place. At the same time, all of the different religions and philosophies (or ways to focus away from God) were also taking place (and they continue to exist today):

Galatians 4:3
In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world.

God sent His Son. He is coming from another place…not only to save us, but to teach us with knowledge AND truth.

John 1:17
…for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

1. God wants to bless us and provides grace (because He favors us)
2. He wants to deliver us from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13-17)
3. He is revealing the living God to us…God’s manifestation in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16)
4. He would be our faithful High Priest (Hebrews 7:25)
5. He came to destroy the work of the Devil (1 John 3:8)

Galatians 4:4-7
4 When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”

Hebrews 2:14-18
14 Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the Devil— 15 and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that He does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring. 17 Therefore, He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.

God promised to bring forth Jesus from a woman. A woman is the medium for how all of us were presented in birth. He became like us, born of a woman, to bring us to Himself. He relates to us in every way of the flesh yet He was without sin. He took on the role of a High Priest and gave of Himself as the sacrifice by shedding His blood for us.

Galatians 3:13-17
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed. 14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.

15 Brothers, I’m using a human illustration. No one sets aside or makes additions to even a human covenant that has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Christ. 17 And I say this: The law, which came 430 years later, does not revoke a covenant that was previously ratified by God and cancel the promise.

The law constantly revealed to us as a people our sinfulness (as we are reminded each day). Christ sacrificed Himself for our sake to become the law because of his righteousness over the flesh. Without Him, we could never be righteous under the law.

Romans 8:3-11
3 What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live[d] according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.


Sunday School Today: The Mosaic Covenant

When God made a covenant with Israel, Moses was the intermediary.  The covenant is often referred to as the Mosaic Law.  The points of this covenant, which can also be referred to as “blessings and curses” are as follows:

1.  Preamble/Historical Prologue (Exodus 19:1-4)

2.  Invitation (Exodus 19:5-6)

3.  Terms of the Covenant (Exodus 20-23)

4.  Blessings and Curses (Deuteronomy 27-28; Numbers 15:30-31)

5.  Ratification of the Covenant, with blood (Exodus 24)

6.  Sign of the Covenant—Sabbath (Exodus 31:13-17)

7.  Storage of the Covenant (Deuteronomy 31:24-26)

8.  The Covenant Meal (Exodus 24:9-11) (Lusk, 1994, pp. 54-56)

It is important to realize that all of God’s mighty acts of deliverance that resulted in the Israelites’ exodus from Egyptian slavery were all completed prior to this covenant.  Therefore, God delivered them out of slavery by His grace and not by their works of righteousness and uprightness.  In fact, He delivered them out of slavery because of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 2:24; 6:8; Deuteronomy 9:5).

However, the Israelites had become deeply steeped in idolatry during their stay in Egypt.  They carried their idols with them when they came out of Egypt (Amos 5:25-26; Acts 7:42-43).  They openly demonstrated their idolatry when Moses went up on the mountain to receive the Law (Exodus 32:1-6).  They did this even after seeing how God overthrew Egypt with the ten plagues and parted the Red Sea so they could pass on dry ground.  They did this even though they saw God overthrow Pharaoh and his army by causing the Red Sea to come down upon them.  Except for their lineage to the Patriarchs, there was nothing about them that would make them worthy of God’s favor.  Therefore, they were saved by God’s grace and mercy and because He is a covenant-keeping God who remembered His promises to the Patriarchs.  Only after these dramatic acts of deliverance did God give them the Mosaic Law so that they would understand how they should live before the King of the Universe, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Thus, God Himself restored the covenant He made with the Patriarchs when He delivered their offspring from bondage and gave their offspring the land of Israel.

Some Gentiles think they are under the Mosaic Law in this present time.  However, Paul best describes the place of Gentiles prior to salvation by Christ as follows:

11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  Ephesians 2:11-12 (NASB)

But thanks be to God, Paul continues in Ephesians 2:13-22 to show that the only hope for us is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

From God’s Covenants and Restorations by Victor Vadney, Desert Willow Publishing.  This material is protected by copyright.