Tag Archives: Israel

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.

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Prayer: What Difference Does It Make? (Part 2)

Today’s message summary of December 11, 2016 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

Today, we will discuss three different postures of praying.  My goal in this series to discuss biblical characters and see that they reveal their experiences with God, and relate to their emotions.

  1. Prayer of Tears
  2. Prayer of Relinquishment
  3. Corporate Prayer

This is a timely discussion based upon what is going on within our own congregation.

Have you ever been cut to the heart?  Have you ever had the opportunity to release your emotions?  This leads us to our first posture of praying to God–the prayer of tears.  It is an emotional pain.  Many have experienced this, and may even experience it when receiving repentance from sin.

Psalm 6:6

I am weary from my groaning;

with my tears I dampen my pillow

and drench my bed every night.

 

Psalm 56:8

You Yourself have recorded my wanderings.

Put my tears in Your bottle.

Are they not in Your records?

 

Psalm 119:136

My eyes pour out streams of tears

because people do not follow Your instruction.

 

Jeremiah is often known as the “weeping prophet” because of how he cared about Israel as they remained disobedient to God.  He cared for them so much that he wept for them.

Jesus also cried for the people and prayed for even his own enemies:

Hebrews 5:7

During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.

 

John 11:35

Jesus wept.

 

Jesus did not just share a couple of tears for Lazarus, he expressed his agony and felt the pain of Lazarus’ passing.  This should show that Jesus indeed relates to us and understands what we go through.

Note that expressions of prayer and crying out is actually a renewal of yourself.  It relieves stress and eases the pain of your life.  Praying with tears is a measure of God’s grace.  It is a gift from God. It is how He wires us to be able to cope under difficult circumstances.

The second posture is the prayer of relinquishment.  It involves resting in the will of God.  Whatever has happened in your life, whether you agree with it or not, is to be turned over to Him.

Philippians 3:12-13

Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

 

When you think of this particular posture, ask yourself what it is that is holding you back and keeping you from giving the matter to God?

The third posture is corporate prayer.

Acts 2:42

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

 

This is the essence of the first church, and it is to be the same for today’s church.  When a church gathers corporately (as a group), it is to pray in this way on a consistent basis.

Matthew 18:20

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.

 

Corporate prayer is very important for the church. It is necessary to pray.  I encourage everyone to pray for whatever is on your heart.


Divorce: Not Commanded by God but Allowed (from continuing series on Marriage and Family)

Today’s message of November 6, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Divorce is never commanded by God but it is allowed.

God hates divorce.  He knows the pain and damage that it brings, and only He can heal it.

Malachi 2:16

If he hates and divorces his wife, says the Lord God of Israel, he covers his garment with injustice, says the Lord of Hosts. Therefore, watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously.

Divorce scars everyone in the entire family.  It hurts children the most, because what was once stable and secure at one time is no longer the case.

In the beginning, marriage was the union of a male and female (Adam and Eve), and there was no divorce.

When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, they tried to see if they could trap Him into something that would put Him in a negative light.  Not long before this dialogue, John the Baptist was beheaded for his comments of disapproval over Herod and his marriage to his sister.

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!”

Matthew 19:4-12

Havent you read, He replied, that He who created[a] them in the beginning made them male and female, and He also said:

For this reason a man will leave

his father and mother

and be joined to his wife,

and the two will become one flesh?

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.

Why then, they asked Him, did Moses command us to give divorce papers and to send her away?

He told them, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts. But it was not like that from the beginning. And I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

His disciples said to Him, If the relationship of a man with his wife is like this, its better not to marry!

But He told them, Not everyone can accept this saying, but only those it has been given to. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mothers womb, there are eunuchs who were made by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way because of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.

Exodus 20:14

Do not commit adultery.

 

God deals with adultery as He is forming a people for Himself.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (dealing with Jewish women)

Deuteronomy 24:10-14 (dealing with a foreigner)

Nehemiah 10:30

We will not give our daughters in marriage to the surrounding peoples and will not take their daughters as wives for our sons.

Ezra 9:1 (detestable practices)

Ezra 9:2 (mingling of the holy race)

Ezra 9:14 (intermarrying with people who commit detestable practices)

Ezra 10:3 (sending away)

Ezra 10:11 (separate)

God calls us to separate ourselves to Him

 

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what dies a believer have in common with an unbeliever? And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.

1 Corinthians 7:15

But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you to live in peace. For you, wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?

With all of this, a Christian should never marry an unbeliever under the premise that he or she can “change” the other person.

All the schools of thought were in agreement that divorce was lawful.  The only question was as to the grounds for the divorce.  Why should it take place? (Note that God did not originally put into place any provisions for divorce.  He did not want to lower the standard of marriage.)

Jesus holds to the original plan…divorce was not the option to take.

What divorce does reveals is that what we often don’t want to face…it shows that God understands that, in a fallen world, the ideal of marriage can not always be realized.  God’s best for us is not always acceptable to us.

At a given time, God’s ideal for us is not always achievable.  His ideal doesn’t change to accommodate the failures of people.

God has given man the truth from the very beginning, but man has not always accepted it, and has made truth whatever he or she wants to accomplish.

John 18:37-38

“You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” “What is truth?” said Pilate.

1 Samuel 8:6-9, 19-20

When they said, Give us a king to judge us, Samuel considered their demand sinful, so he prayed to the Lord. But the Lord told him, Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected Me as their king. They are doing the same thing to you that they have done to Me, since the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, abandoning Me and worshiping other gods. Listen to them, but you must solemnly warn them and tell them about the rights of the king who will rule over them.

The people refused to listen to Samuel. No! they said. We must have a king over us. Then well be like all the other nations: our king will judge us, go out before us, and fight our battles.

 

Just as God never commanded remarriage of divorced couples, this doesn’t mean that He never permits it.  Note that the idea of divorcing someone for the sole purpose of marrying someone else is indeed adultery.  Adultery takes place in the mind and the heart of a person well before the bill of divorce was given.

If you wind up marrying three or four times, then it is time to try marriage according to God’s way rather than your own way.

There is a difference between what God commands and what He allows.

The subject of divorce is spoken of in greater detail in the book of Mark (written originally to the Romans–in Roman culture both men and women could write certificates of divorce).

Mark 10:1-12

He set out from there and went to the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Then crowds converged on Him again and, as He usually did, He began teaching them once more. Some Pharisees approached Him to test Him. They asked, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?

He replied to them, What did Moses command you?

They said, Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away.

But Jesus told them, He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female.

For this reason a man will leave

his father and mother

[and be joined to his wife],

and the two will become one flesh.

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.

Now in the house the disciples questioned Him again about this matter. And He said to them, Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.

 

When you send someone away you lose the right to have authority over the other person.

God does allow divorced couples to remarry as He recognizes the fallen state of man.  He offers forgiveness and mercy throughout the process.

If you make up your mind to marry according to God’s way, there is a better chance that the marriage will last.  God’s expectations are for the husband to be a godly man and for the wife to be a godly woman.  That standard has never changed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Satan’s Anger Revealed (Satan’s Downfall, Part 2)

 

Today’s message of August 9, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Satan hates you so much.  He throws stumbling blocks at you.  He wants to knock you out.

Satan wants to hinder your Christian walk and your faith. Why does he go to all of this trouble? You get all of his attention and you haven’t done anything. He does it because he knows he can’t defeat God, but he certainly can defeat you.

He fights with us on the decision that we make to trust Jesus Christ. If we obey Jesus, he persistently picks on us. Satan’s anger intensifies because he knows he is defeated in the end; however, he continues to attack the body of Christ and those who are God’s chosen people.

Satan’s defeat experiences come from God’s intervention:

  1. Satan’s first defeat–thrown out of heaven (Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:9)
  1. The fall of man (Genesis 3)
  1. Abraham and Sarah (Isaac) (Genesis 17:19)
  1. Israel’s destruction (Jeremiah 4:22; Jeremiah 25:8-11) – a period of 70 years
  1. Birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:13) – Escape to Egypt
  1. Jesus’ mission (Matthew 4:10) – “Get away from Me, Satan, for it is written…”
  1. Jesus’ death and resurrection (Romans 1:4)
  1. Satan cannot rule over the saints (Revelation 12:11)
  1. Satan’s beast and false prophet defeated (Revelation 19:20)
  1. Satan is defeated after being set free after being detained for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:10) – this time forever and ever.

Revelation 20:10

The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the

beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

 

Satan knows his end, and that is why he is angry. He will continue to wreak havoc on people and the church–those who follow Christ. Yet, God allows all of this to happen.

He wants you to believe that he does not exist. He wants you to believe that he cannot cause chaos in your life and family. He does indeed exist. Any belief that he is not around is contrary to Scripture.

Satan will deceive you to believe that all of your problems are the result of your trusting in God. Sin is powerful and it breaks up relationships.

Revelation 12:13-17

When the dragon saw that he had been thrown to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. The woman was given two wings of a giant eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent’s presence to her place in the wilderness, where she was fed for a time, times, and half a time. From his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river flowing after the woman, to sweep her away in a torrent. But the earth helped the woman. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon had spewed from his mouth. So the dragon was furious with the woman and left to wage war against the rest of her offspring–those who keep God’s commands and have the testimony about Jesus.

 

Satan is out to persistently hurt those who desire to follow Jesus Christ. He is out to hurt you because you chose to be on “the other team.”

His goal is to break you down to the point where you lose your love (block your view) of Jesus Christ.

Even when there are days where you cannot see Jesus, keep looking for Him and trusting Him (Matthew 7:7).

God indeed provides protection for Israel.

Psalm 115:12

The Lord remembers us and will bless us. He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron.

 

Exodus 19:4

You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me.

 

2 Timothy 4:18

The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safety into His heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.

 

Satan is powerful, but God is more powerful. God is always present to preserve and protect his people.  Rome had threatened to destroy Christianity, but God enabled the people to help prevent this.

Matthew 16:18

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.

Ephesians 5:23

…for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body.

 

Colossians 1:18

He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything.

Satan is attacking the offspring (Revelation 12:17).

 

Galatians 3:29

And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.

Satan attacks those who obey God’s commandments (John 14:21). He opposes those

who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Those who provide evidence of salvation have a testimony that proclaims Jesus.

When you desire to keep Jesus’ commandments, evil will be there in your midst.

Turning your life over to Jesus gives you the ultimate victory. That is something to praise Him about!

Satan’s desire is to remove the evidence of salvation in the life of the believer–silence the believer in such a way that there is no visible evidence of Christianity.

Romans 10:13-17

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! But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

 

Isaiah 45:22

Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.

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.”

 

The good news is that God’s power remains evident in the life of a believer who trusts in Him. Satan will attack and try to cause difficulty, but you can be a powerful testimony for Christ to others…a witness for Christ.


The End Times: Babylon the Great

Today’s message summary of May 3, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Revelation Chapter 17 refers to Babylon as “Babylon, the Great.”

Revelation 17:1-18

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the notorious prostitute who sits on many waters. The kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and those who live on the earth became drunk on the wine of her sexual immorality.”  So he carried me away in the Spirit to a desert. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and 10 horns.  The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She had a gold cup in her hand filled with everything vile and with the impurities of her prostitution. On her forehead a cryptic name was written:

BABYLON THE GREAT

THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES

AND OF THE VILE THINGS OF THE EARTH.

Then I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the saints and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. 

Then the angel said to me, Why are you astonished? I will tell you the secret meaning of the woman and of the beast, with the seven heads and the 10 horns, that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present again. 

Here is the mind with wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated. They are also seven kings: Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes, he must remain for a little while. The beast that was and is not, is himself an eighth king, yet he belongs to the seven and is going to destruction. The 10 horns you saw are 10 kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they will receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.

He also said to me, The waters you saw, where the prostitute was seated, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. The 10 horns you saw, and the beast, will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, devour her flesh, and burn her up with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to carry out His plan by having one purpose and to give their kingdom to the beast until Gods words are accomplished. And the woman you saw is the great city that has an empire over the kings of the earth.

 

Satan knows that he can move nations, countries and people to a place where they adapt to more and more immoral behavior.  People are being conditioned mentally to accept things that you normally would not accept.  The worst is coming.  God warns His people to stay clear of this deception and see it for what it really is.

If you are not careful, Satan will rob you of many things.  He seeks to destroy.

Jeremiah 51:6

“Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins. It us time for the Lord’s vengeance; he will repay her what she deserves.”

 

Romans 13:11-14

Besides this, knowing the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.

 

1 Peter 5:8

Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.

 

Ephesians 5:8-14

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light–for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth–discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.  Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.

 

God will not force you to seek Him and His holiness.  He will let you continue into your ways, but God desires for you to come out of the “playpen” of the world, and to seek Him with a relationship.  He will respond to your prayers that seek Him and a humble way of living.

Nimrod was the founder of Babylon and builder of Assyria. He was a grandson of Noah.

From Babylon, and its founder, Nimrod, comes every heresy that has even been spoken or taught.

Abraham and Nimrod were two important men after the Great Flood.  Right after the tower of Babel is when Abram is called and is renamed Abraham by God.

Micah 5:6

They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod with a drawn blade. So He will rescue us from Assyria when it invades our land, when it marches against our territory.

 

Genesis 10:8-12

Cush fathered Nimrod, who was the first powerful man on earth. He was a powerful hunter in the sight of the Lord. That is why it is said, Like Nimrod, a powerful hunter in the sight of the Lord.” His kingdom started with Babylon, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, and Resen, between Nineveh and the great city Calah.

 

Nimrod means, “We shall rebel.”

Abram’s name means, “Father is exalted.”

Abraham’s name means, “Father of a multitude.”

Genesis 17:1-8

When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be blameless.  I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.

Then Abram fell facedown and God spoke with him: “As for Me, My covenant is with you: you will become the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram, but your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of many nations.  I will make you extremely fruitful and will make nations and kings come from you.  I will keep My covenant between Me and you, and your future offspring throughout their generations, as an everlasting covenant to be your God and the God of your offspring after you. And to you and your future offspring I will give the land where you are residingall the land of Canaanas an eternal possession, and I will be their God.

 

Abram was raised by Terah (Genesis 11:26) and came up under Nimrod’s system.  His family moved to Ur of the Chaldeans.  The Lord scattered everyone throughout the earth.  God called Abram in Genesis 12:1:

Genesis 12:1

Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

 

Note that the Tower of Babel was a move to become independent from God.  God had to scatter the people in order to prevent this from happening.  Nimrod had set up a system of self-worth and independence from God.  Through God, Abraham set up a system of faith.  Of this, two groups emerged: Christianity and Islam.

From Nimrod comes Babylon and Assyria (Ninevah).  These are the two cities that destroyed the nation of Israel.

Assyria destroyed the Northern Kingdom in 721 B.C.  Babylon destroyed the Southern Kingdom of Israel in 586 B.C.

Jonah 1:1-2

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted Me.


Signs of the Last Days: First Major Battle of Israel

Today’s message summary of February 22, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Lord, we want to be a people who studies Your Word as we want to be faithful to You. We want to be true unto You and committed to You. Burn this unto our hearts as we commit to loving this life for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The first two World Wars set the stage for Israel to take center stage in the scope of the entire world. World War I allowed for the return of many Jews to their homeland. World War II presented the opportunity for Israel to become a nation (in 1948). God’s Word has declared that Israel would be a nation, and this has taken place.

These are the beginnings of the end times. We are to pay attention to how things are taking place in today’s world that are unprecedented in our time. What is accepted as normal today is far from what we can imagine. We have accepted teen pregnancy as the norm. While we can say that these things have been going on since the time of Adam, there is a greater intensity of these things that are taken place.

These things are leading us towards the tribulation or within the first years of the tribulation.

Ezekiel 38 and 39 are not part of Revelation 20, pertaining to the battle of Armageddon. My thought is that if Israel is going to sign a peace treaty, and the treaty is going to be broken, you won’t be able to have peace and conflict at the same time. What would be the circumstances where Israel would make a treaty with someone for peace? Something has to take place to lead up to the three and one half years that sets the stage for the Abomination of Desolation. There had to be a conflict that would set up Israel to enter a covenant that would grant them peace, and would allow them to rebuild the temple to resume their sacrifice. (Sometime during this period, Israel will get very comfortable with its practices and making sacrifices.) One who will promise peace, and then, at some point, step into the temple and call himself God will represent the treaty. It will take the entire world by surprise.

Daniel 9:27

He will make a firm covenant with many for one week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.

 

Daniel 11:31

His forces will rise up and desecrate the temple fortress. They will abolish the daily sacrifice and set up the abomination of desolation.

 

Amos 8:11

Hear this! The days are coming–this is the declaration of the Lord God–when I will send a famine through the land: not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.

 

Our world is in the midst of this famine today. Christians have readily put down their bibles and will make it much easier for the opposition–the Adversary–to present himself as one who brings peace and deceives the nations.

Matthew 24:15-16

15 “So when you see the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place” (let the reader understand[), 16 “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains!

 

2 Thessalonians 2:4

He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s sanctuary, publicizing that he himself is God.

 

Ezekiel 38:5-6

Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shields and helmets; Gomer with all its troops; and Beth-togarmah from the remotest parts of the north along with all its troops–many peoples are with you.

 

Ezekiel 38:5-6 – Five other nations will join with Russia.

  1. Persia – Iran
  2. Cush – Ethiopia
  3. Put – Libya
  4. Gomer – Germany
  5. Beth-Togarmah – Turkey

Many nations with you (Not all nations are against Israel; however, in the battle of Armageddon, all nations will be involved.)

Russia and her friends are coming for the spoils of Israel.

Ezekiel 38:11-13

You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of open villages; I will come against a tranquil people who are living securely, all of them living without walls and without bars or gates–in order to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against ruins now inhabited and against a people gathered from the nations, who have been acquiring cattle and possessions and who live at the center of the world.’ Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its rulers will ask you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hordes to carry off plunder, to make off with silver and gold, to take cattle and possessions, to seize great spoil?’

 

Why the invasion of Israel? Why would Russia want to attack Israel?

Israel is considered to be in the center of the world. It links to three continents–Europe, Asia and Africa.

Israel may have the richest oil fields in the world.

To address hunger, Israel’s land is producing food (a land flowing with milk and honey)

The Dead Sea – salt, which has been taken from the earliest time of history

A land rich in minerals–sodium, chlorine, potassium, calcium, magnesium

Israel exports one million tons of potash (plant food) per year. Israel can supply potash for the next two hundred years.

 

In spite of all of this, God will restore Israel to Himself.

Ezekiel 39:21

I will display My glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the judgment I have executed and the land I have laid on them.

 

Scientists report general information about all nations. In this information:

“It now appears that no land in all of the world is near so rich in minerals as the little land of Israel. It is really the jewel of the world.” The salt alone has been valued at one trillion two hundred seventy billion dollars ($1,270,000,000,000.00).

In 1970, President Nixon said: “It isn’t a case of Israel versus the Arab states, but the Soviet Union is not moving into the Eastern Mediterranean (Afghanistan).

Ezekiel 38:12 – Israel is said to be in this midst of the land.

Ezekiel 5:5

“This is what the Lord God says: I have set this Jerusalem in the center of the nations, with countries all around her.”

 

A comparison of the two wars:

  • In Ezekiel, the main purpose was for God to be made known (8:23; 9:21).
  • In the battle of Armageddon, all nations of the world are involved (Joel 3:2, Zechariah 14:2, Revelation 16:14, 16; 20:7-8). Its purpose for its perpetrators was to come against Christ and the Jews.
  • Ezekiel 38:13 – the nations protest against Russia
  • Armageddon – Satan leads the opposition
  • God defeated the northern invaders in Ezekiel 38:22
  • In the battle of Armageddon, the slain will be from one end of the earth to the other (Jeremiah 25:33).
  • Russia (Gog) – the dead will be buried (Ezekiel 39:12-15). God will destroy them (Ezekiel 38:21-23).
  • In Armageddon, there will not be a burial.

1 Timothy 4:1-3

1Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth.

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5

But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people!


Isaac and Ishmael: Where the Conflict Began

Today’s message summary of January 25, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

As we continue this study on the End Times, we need to be able to see that God is exactly who He says He is…the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 22:13).

God has a plan, for sure, but note that Satan is allowed to act within God’s plan. He is more of a reactionary, and it is his desire to wreck God’s plan for your life. He cannot thwart God’s plan or avert it. God will accomplish what He says He will do.

In the End Times, the Word reveals that all nations will be against Israel.

Note that Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. It really began to take off after September 11, 2001. Have you ever considered that, at some time, Islam may be such a prominent teaching in America; yet look and see at the number of different teachings that we have here today. Even for those who call themselves Christians, there are those where the evidence of their Christianity cannot be seen in how they live their lives. Those that are saved are truly His, and God has affirmed that there will always be a remnant of His people.

Look at the signs of the times today, for they are very serious.

Mohammed, around 622, declared that the Jews were the enemies of Allah, when he had demanded that the temples were to be closed to worship Allah. Today, we see how the Jews and Islam are enemies today. There is either a submission to the Lord, or to Allah. As Christians, we submit to Jesus Christ.

Luke 18:8

I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?

 

Romans 10:17

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

 

Everywhere you look today, the name of Jesus Christ is trying to stifle the name of Jesus and His message. If you remove the name of Jesus, what happens to faith?

If you are really seeking God, He will reveal Himself.

Hosea 4:6

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from serving as My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your sons.

 

2 Corinthians 2:11

I have done this so that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his schemes.

 

Matthew 16:3

And in the morning, ‘Today will be stormy because the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to read the appearance of the sky, but you can’t read the signs of the times.

 

Sometimes we get so busy living that we miss what is taking place around us, and Satan is very subtle.

Has anyone seen the significance of Russia’s recently signed pact with Iran? Do you see the significance of this alliance in preparation for the number of nations who are aligning against Israel? Refer to Ezekiel 38 to see this prophesy.

The son of Hagar and the son of Sarah are the two covenants that God is using to set the stage for the final resolution of the struggles between the children of Ishmael and Isaac.

We need to remember, however, that Isaac is the recipient of God’s promise through Abraham, while Ishmael was in the flesh; yet God promised that he would have numerous descendants.

Both Jews and Arabs are descendants of Abraham. God noted in Genesis that Ishmael and Isaac and their descendants would live in conflict.

There are many people all over the world, including those who are followers within Islam, but we need to remember that just being good is not enough to have fellowship with God. This applies to people who profess to be Christians, as well.

The name Ishmael means “God hears.”

Genesis 21:17

God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard the voice of the boy from the place where he is.

 

The lesson in Genesis 21 about God’s love for Abraham and His respect for Abraham’s love for Isaac and Ishmael is the same as how God loves each and every one of us; yet, there is a difference–a distinction–between those people that He loves who have His promise and those who are in the flesh.

The name Isaac means “laughter.”

Genesis 17:17

Abraham fell facedown. Then he laughed and said to himself, “Can a child be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, give birth?

 

Genesis 18:12

So she laughed to herself: “After I have become shriveled up and my lord is old, will I have delight?”

 

When God promises something, is it too hard for God to accomplish it? God can, and will, provide.

Note that Abraham and Sarah, in their own plan to have a child, did not originally believe God’s promise and contrived their own plan to have a child through Hagar, Sarah’s slave. Their plan was not of the Spirit–in was in the flesh. God allowed it to happen, and because Abraham was deemed righteous before God, He responded to Abraham’s love for Ishmael and noted that he would have many descendants.

Genesis 16:9-12

Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “You must go back to your mistress and submit to her mistreatment.” The Angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will greatly multiply your offspring, and they will be too many to count.”

 

Then the Angel of the Lord said to her: You have conceived and will have a son. You will name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your cry of affliction. This man will be like a wild donkey. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; he will live at odds with all his brothers.

2 Peter 2:5

…and if He didn’t spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when He brought a flood on the world of the ungodly.

 

2 Peter 3:3-4

First, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, living according to their own desires, saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.”

 

Matthew 24:38-39

For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away. So this is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be.

 

Genesis 18:14

Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”

 

God is the Orchestrator of the End Times. It is the work of God that we are spiritual beings–born again. It is through a belief in Jesus Christ that this work is being accomplished.

John 3:18

Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.

 

Romans 9:7-8

Neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants. On the contrary, your offspring will be traced through Isaac. That is, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but the children of the promise are considered to be the offspring.

 

Galatians 4:22-30

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and the other by a free woman. But the one by the slave was born according to the impulse of the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things are illustrations, for the women represent the two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery–this is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written: Rejoice, childless woman, who does not give birth. Burst into song and shout, you who are not in labor, for the children of the desolate are many, more numerous times than those of the woman who has a husband. Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as then the child born according to the flesh persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so also now. But what does the Scripture say? Drive out the slave and her son, for the son of the slave will never be a coheir with the son of the free woman.

 

Note the descendants of Ishmael:

Genesis 25:17-18

This is the length of Ishmael’s life: 137 years. He took his last breath and died, and was gathered to his people. And they settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt as you go toward Asshur. He lived in opposition to all his brothers.

 

What are the times showing us today? Are we aware of the signs and what is happening?

There are two covenants in place with Isaac and Ishmael. God, in His sovereignty, promises to His people that they are truly saved and are not appointed to wrath.

Israel is comprised of approximately 8,000 square miles and has a population of about 6 million people. The nations that make up Islam make up approximately 8.8 million square miles with a population of 804,500,000 people. Can you see how God will need to intervene? Perhaps that is why the Scripture notes that God would have to intervene to prevent all from perishing.

Psalm 83:3-8

They devise clever schemes against Your people; they conspire against Your treasured ones. They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation so that Israel’s name will no longer be remembered.” For they have conspired with one mind; they form an alliance against You–the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them; they lend support to the sons of Lot.

 

As we step into this further, should we not conclude that Satan is gathering people together to fight against Christ and those who will ultimately stand for Christ?