Tag Archives: kingdom

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

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

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

Matthew 14:3-4

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

John was speaking publicly about Herod and Herodias’ relationship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 8:36-37

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

Matthew 11:12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 13:1-3

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

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

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

Matthew 11:2-6

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

Matthew 10:22

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

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

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

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

Luke 16:16-17

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

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


Not Facing the Second Death (Revelation 20:6)

Today’s message summary of April 16, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

We see death everyday.  Death reigns in this world.  We see this because Adam sinned against God in disobedience, and as a result, all who have followed Adam would pay the penalty of sin, and that is to die.  We all will die eventually.  It is inescapable.

The other dilemma in this is not knowing when it will happen.  It happens to all regardless of wealth or race.  Death is the great equalizer.

Ecclesiastes 9:1-6

Indeed, I took all this to heart and explained it all: the righteous, the wise, and their works are in Gods hands. People dont know whether to expect love or hate. Everything lies ahead of them. Everything is the same for everyone: there is one fate for the righteous and the wicked, for the good and the bad, for the clean and the unclean, for the one who sacrifices and the one who does not sacrifice. As it is for the good, so it is for the sinner; as for the one who takes an oath, so for the one who fears an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: there is one fate for everyone. In addition, the hearts of people are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they liveafter that they go to the dead. But there is hope for whoever is joined with all the living, since a live dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead dont know anything. There is no longer a reward for them because the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate, and their envy have already disappeared, and there is no longer a portion for them in all that is done under the sun.

All other religions try to address the problem that death presents.

The question to pose here:  Will we rise again?

The believer who is in Christ will not escape the first death but will escape the second one.

Please make a note of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It was unique in that he was the only one who did not die a second time.  All of the others, according to Scripture, who were raised up also died once again.

Revelation 20:6

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.

For those who were raised in the first resurrection, they were blessed.  There were many blessings of happiness as noted in the beatitudes:

Matthew 5:1-11

When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. Then He began to teach them, saying:

The poor in spirit are blessed,

for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Those who mourn are blessed,

for they will be comforted.

The gentle are blessed,

for they will inherit the earth.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed,

for they will be filled.

The merciful are blessed,

for they will be shown mercy.

The pure in heart are blessed,

for they will see God.

The peacemakers are blessed,

for they will be called sons of God.

Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed,

for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me.

I believe that John, in the Revelation text, is conveying that there will be great happiness and joy with the first resurrection.

Revelation 14:13

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: The dead who die in the Lord from now on are blessed.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “let them rest from their labors, for their works follow them!”

We will be raised with a sanctified, holy body, and in that resurrection we will be made perfect with a body that will never deteriorate.  Nothing unclean will ever enter the kingdom of God.  The first resurrection is for God’s people.  The second death has no power or effect over them.

What is the second death?  It is an eternal death.  If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, you will receive a body that will be suitable for eternal damnation.

Revelation 20:13-15

Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

This means there are some here today that will die and also “die again.”

Revelation 21:8

But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liarstheir share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

The two deaths differ.  The first is physical, and the second is spiritual.  It is eternal and filled with torment.

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.

The Lord gives a warning to the church about all of this:

Revelation 2:11

Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor will never be harmed by the second death.

In Revelation 20:6, the passage notes that all who follow Jesus Christ are referred to as priests.  Priests, in the Old Testament, were the ones appointed to speaking and carrying out the duties and responsibilities to the people.  We are all called priests, which was a high calling, as we are saints of God who believe.

It is true that we will be raised again after death, but the question is where will we find ourselves.  Those who believe in Jesus Christ will escape the second death, and will fellowship with Jesus Christ for all eternity.


Ladies Conference feat. Chrystal Evans Hurst – Saturday, November 5, 2016

Meet Chrystal Evans Hurst

Meet Chrystal Evans Hurst on Saturday, November 5, 2016 – 8 AM – 1 PM

Attention, Ladies!

Our special guest speaker for the program “Are You the Queen or the Concubine” is Chrystal Evans Hurst, daughter of Dr. Tony Evans of The Urban Alternative and tonyevans.org, and co-author of the book, Kingdom Woman.

Akron Alliance Fellowship Church, 688 Diagonal Road, Akron OH 44320 – 8 AM – 1 PM

Tickets have limited availability and are required for this conference!

Please go to our sister site akronalliancefellowship.com and click on the graphic to purchase tickets online or purchase tickets in Akron, Ohio at the following locations:

  • Lifeway Christian Store, 143 Rothrock Road, Suite A, Copley OH 44321 (in Montrose near Home Depot)

  • Wonder World Child Development Center, 688 Diagonal Road, Akron OH 44320 (Monday through Friday).


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.


The Fruits of The Spirit – Faithfulness

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

As Christians, are we always faithful?  Faithfulness is something that we have lost in our relationships with others.  Trust is broken.  Loyalty is a principle that must be fulfilled in order to reflect faithfulness.

Faithfulness is something that has to be taught and built within a person.  The Holy Spirit is the One who must present it to a believer.

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

The faith referenced here is not a saving faith, but instead a faithfulness, or something that a believer is empowered with in the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Faithfulness is reflected in the service that is rendered to others, and people will see your commitment in that service.  Jesus Christ wants you to see that faithfulness is a reflection of His own character.

The laziness and indifference of our human nature doesn’t like to be constantly disturbed by the restlessness of faithfulness.

Faithfulness bears responsibility.  It is to assume responsibilities that are in line with God’s character, and in that situation or circumstance, God will remain faithful.

1 Corinthians 1:9

God is faithful; you were called by Him into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:24

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

 

Hebrews 3:6

But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household. And we are that household if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.

 

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.

 

God’s faithfulness is being carried out every day, regardless of how faithful we are.

Faithfulness is not about having all of the answers.  The most important thing is to believe in Him and then get started in trusting Him.  We are looking to God’s faithfulness as a work in us.

 

Deuteronomy 7:9

Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands.

 

The Holy Spirit is teaching us how to be faithful to:

1. His Word

2. Our assigned task

3. To people

 

Luke 16:10-12

10 Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much. 11 So if you have not been faithful with the unrighteous money, who will trust you with what is genuine? 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what is your own?

 

1 Corinthians 4:2, 17

2 In this regard, it is expected of managers that each one of them be found faithful.

17 This is why I have sent Timothy to you. He is my dearly loved and faithful son in the Lord. He will remind you about my ways in Christ Jesus, just as I teach everywhere in every church.

 

Matthew 25:21

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!’

 

Faithfulness is performed for the recipient of the kindness within one’s tasks and assignments.  Within this process, the Holy Spirit teaches one how to remain faithful and to grow in faithfulness.

The Lord keeps the faithful.  If you choose not to be faithful, you are the one who misses out.

 

Psalm 31:23

Love the Lord, all His faithful ones.

The Lord protects the loyal,

but fully repays the arrogant.

 

God watches over the faithful.

Psalm 101:6

My eyes favor the faithful of the land

so that they may sit down with me.

The one who follows the way of integrity

may serve me.

 

Three who were faithful:

1. Moses

Hebrews 3:2

He was faithful to the One who appointed Him, just as Moses was in all God’s household.

 

2. Paul

1 Timothy 1:12

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry.

 

3. Onesimus

Colossians 4:9

He is with Onesimus, a faithful and dearly loved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.

 

One who is faithful is one who is useful within the kingdom.  Your faithfulness is being used by God for His glory.  Look at where Onesimus was at one time, and where he was later when sent by Paul:

Philemon 1:9-12

9 I appeal to you, instead, on the basis of love. I, Paul, as an elderly man and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus, 10 appeal to you for my son, Onesimus. I fathered him while I was in chains. 11 Once he was useless to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back to you as a part of myself.

 

Ask yourself if you are indeed useful within the kingdom of God?  Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to change you and work within you in being faithful?  Are you truly faithful?


How To Keep Sin Out of Your Life

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

God keeps us in the hollow of His hand with His love for us.  This doesn’t mean that we don’t experience sin.  We must note that sin must be kept out of our lives because it brings about spiritual death.

James 1:13-15

13 No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. 14 But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.

We’re going to look at our thought process and our way of thinking, which leads to our decision-making process.  If my thoughts are guided by our worldly system, then the thoughts that come forth will reflect what the world represents.  Those thoughts will generate sin, and they will generate spiritual death.  This is represented in uselessness for God’s kingdom.

God’s desire is to develop a system of thinking in us that is above this world’s way of thinking.

Acts 20:32

“And now I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified.”

God provides us with the knowledge that allows us to overcome the world.

2 Peter 1:2-4

2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

3 His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.

Our thought process is developed through observation, our life experiences (trust or distrust, like or dislike) and education.  Keep in mind that all of this is coupled with our own desires if we are looking to the world for our values.  All of these work together in forming a person’s way of thinking.  God wants us to recognize His role in our thought process and look to Him for wisdom and knowledge through our observations, experiences and education.

God intends to build us up through His Word in order to help them to grow in Him and overcome the world.  Without His Word, you will succumb to the world and fall subject to sin.  The peace of God and His grace comes through the wisdom and knowledge of God through Jesus Christ.  There is a distinction between knowedge as we understand it in the world and godly knowledge.  God gives you everything you need to live in holiness and a godly life in Jesus Christ.

If you proclaim yourself to be a Christian, you will need to look to God’s Word for guidance in how you should live.  Satan wants to keep believers from obtaining that knowledge and wisdom, which will render you as ineffective and corruptible through sin and its worldly influences.  God’s Word provides you the ability to live in His divine nature and a Christlike existence.

There are two different ways that you can develop as a person:

1. Natural development (according to the world’s standards)

1 Corinthians 1:20

Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish?

Proverbs 13:20

The one who walks with the wise will become wise,

but a companion of fools will suffer harm.

Proverbs 12:15

A fool’s way is right in his own eyes,

but whoever listens to counsel is wise.

Proverbs 17:12

Better for a man to meet a bear robbed of her cubs

than a fool in his foolishness.

2.  Divine development (according to God’s will and His standards)

Proverbs 12:15

A fool’s way is right in his own eyes,

but whoever listens to counsel is wise.

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord

is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 2:6, 9-10

6 For the Lord gives wisdom;

from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

9 Then you will understand righteousness, justice,

and integrity—every good path.

10 For wisdom will enter your mind,

and knowledge will delight your heart.

Proverbs 13:20

The one who walks with the wise will become wise,

but a companion of fools will suffer harm.

Believers are to operate within a “kingdom system” in the development of their thought life.

To man belongs the plans of the heart, but God provides the answers (Proverbs 16:9).  God wants to give us knowledge that develops our thinking, our imagination, and our thought process.  It is up to the believer to receive it and live accordingly.

Proverbs 16:1-9

1 The reflections of the heart belong to man,

but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

2 All a man’s ways seem right to him,

but the Lord evaluates the motives.

3 Commit your activities to the Lord,

and your plans will be achieved.

4 The Lord has prepared everything for His purpose—

even the wicked for the day of disaster.

5 Everyone with a proud heart is detestable to the Lord;

be assured, he will not go unpunished.

6 Wickedness is atoned for by loyalty and faithfulness,

and one turns from evil by the fear of the Lord.

7 When a man’s ways please the Lord,

He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

8 Better a little with righteousness

than great income with injustice.

9 A man’s heart plans his way,

but the Lord determines his steps.

God knows our hearts and our thoughts.  We certainly can’t hide anything from Him.  He knows our sincerity in seeking Him, and He will provide answers that will guide us in every decision we make.

Here is an example with reference to David:

1 Chronicles 28:2-3, 6

2 Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brothers and my people. It was in my heart to build a house as a resting place for the ark of the Lord’s covenant and as a footstool for our God. I had made preparations to build, 3 but God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.’

6 He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon is the one who is to build My house and My courts, for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his father.

1 Chronicles 29:2-3

2 So to the best of my ability I’ve made provision for the house of my God: gold for the gold articles, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron, and wood for the wood, as well as onyx, stones for mounting, antimony, stones of various colors, all kinds of precious stones, and a great quantity of marble. 3 Moreover, because of my delight in the house of my God, I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the house of my God over and above all that I’ve provided for the holy house.

We are to use God’s thoughts, His ways, His standards and the enabling of the Holy Spirit to develop our thought process in order to keep our hearts and minds on Jesus Christ over the world’s view of life.  In this way, we will resist sin and remain focused on our service for Him.


God’s Grace and Truth Meets Us Where We Are

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

What path are you on? Who’s directions are you following?

We meet a man in Matthew 19 that is only referred to as the rich, young man. He was forced to make a choice of commitment.

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.

Jesus wants more than just our words of commitment…he wants commitment to Him through our actions. He wants us to truly live for Christ–a true commitment to Him. In the case of the rich man, it was his desire to keep his wealth and possessions that kept him from making a complete commitment to Him.

Grace brings to us to a place where we need to make a choice. We are to trust in Jesus or to trust in self.

Mark 10:17-22
17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call Me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good but One—God. 19 You know the commandments:

Do not murder;
do not commit adultery;
do not steal;
do not bear false witness;
do not defraud;
honor your father and mother.”
20 He said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth.”

21 Then, looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” 22 But he was stunned at this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.

Grace and truth comes from Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke the truth to the young man and spoke to him in grace.

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

John 15:22
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin. Now they have no excuse for their sin.

Titus 2:11
For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people.

God’s grace brings Jesus Christ face to face with us. He faces each one of us with His grace and truth, and extends it to us. In order for us to say “yes” to His truth, it would take His grace, for our self and our own reasoning would never do it on its own accord. Grace and truth was brought to us to deal with our sin. Sin prevents us from being faithful and obedient to God.

Even with this, we still must make the decision to acknowledge His grace and His truth.

In Mark 10:17, the young man asked the question, “What must I do to gain eternal life?” The man asked the question to answer the question about immortality, everlasting, perpetual, enduring, never-ending life. Keep in mind that he was asking about this with the knowledge that he has wealth and riches. He did not really want to give those things up; instead, he was seeking eternity with what he already possessed. He wanted eternal life to encompass his present wealth and independence.

Salvation is never granted to us on our own terms or conditions. He will only provide on His terms, and His terms alone.

Jesus pointed out initially that only one is good, as He was directing the man to focus first on God.

John 17:3
(Jesus is speaking here)–
This is eternal life:
that they may know You, the only true God,
and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.

Salvation comes from God with the acceptance of Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior. It is the will of God that this occurs.

John 3:16-17
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. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Jesus provides the terms and direction to the young man for eternal life in Mark 10:18-19. God is the One who is good. He asks the young man how he has lived, and tells him that he already knows the commandments.

When Jesus was speaking with the young man, He was challenging about how He has done everything according to man, but now He was challenging him to look at his relationship with God. He approaches us with love, but note that His love and His truth go together.
God speaks to us in truth because of his love for you.

Mark 10:21
Then, looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”

The young man lacked a relationship with God because he had great wealth that hindered his true knowledge of God. He spoke the truth to the young man because He knew all about him, and truth always challenges each of us to live according to His will.

The challenge that we have as people is to see to it that we truly do leave everything behind that can keep us from following Jesus Christ.

Note what Peter says after witnessing the discussion with the rich young man.

Mark 10:28-30
28 Peter began to tell Him, “Look, we have left everything and followed You.”

29 “I assure you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children, or fields because of Me and the gospel, 30 who will not receive 100 times more, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come.

What is the treasure that is 100 times more that we will realize in the present age?

Note the question was asked by the disciples after Jesus tells the young man when he has to sell everything to realize treasure and how difficult it is for one to enter God’s kingdom.

Mark 10:23-26
23 Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 But the disciples were astonished at His words. Again Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 So they were even more astonished, saying to one another, “Then who can be saved?”

Look at Jesus’ response:

Mark 10:27
Looking at them, Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.”

It is impossible for man to save himself, but not with God. It is done through the work of the living God–through the grace of God.

The gospel message is an easy message to understand, but it is also hard for many people to hear and to live by because they don’t want to give up their present life. We have to always remember that we are saved by grace through faith because of how much God loves us.

Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.

Jesus Christ is in our presence with the fullness of grace and truth. Salvation is from His grace and mercy, and our salvation is not on our terms. Salvation comes only from repentance of sin and recognizing Jesus as Lord and Savior in your life. He loves us and is committed to save us because of our trust in Him. God will save you if you put yourself completely into His hands and trust Him.

The treasure that you will realize in trusting Jesus Christ is not an earthly treasure. It is a heavenly treasure because of your focus on God, and even with that, giving what you have for God will bring back much more than what you may have ever had.

Job 42:10-12
10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his prosperity and doubled his previous possessions. 11 All his brothers, sisters, and former acquaintances came to his house and dined with him in his house. They sympathized with him and comforted him concerning all the adversity the Lord had brought on him. Each one gave him a qesitah and a gold earring.

12 So the Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life more than the first. He owned 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.

2 Chronicles 1:7-13
7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him: “Ask. What should I give you?”

8 And Solomon said to God: “You have shown great and faithful love to my father David, and You have made me king in his place. 9 Lord God, let Your promise to my father David now come true. For You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Now grant me wisdom and knowledge so that I may lead these people, for who can judge this great people of Yours?”

11 God said to Solomon, “Since this was in your heart, and you have not requested riches, wealth, or glory, or for the life of those who hate you, and you have not even requested long life, but you have requested for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king, 12 wisdom and knowledge are given to you. I will also give you riches, wealth, and glory, unlike what was given to the kings who were before you, or will be given to those after you.” 13 So Solomon went to Jerusalem from the high place that was in Gibeon in front of the tent of meeting, and he reigned over Israel.

The rich young man must have assumed that God was asking Him to give up too much, which explains why he went away not wanting to part with what He had. God wants to change us and see that there is nothing greater than Him. Jesus paid everything for us to grant us salvation, but our cost to follow Him means to die to self and put everything aside for God. He doesn’t want a partial commitment, but a complete and full commitment to live for Him.

Galatians 2:19-20
19 For through the law I have died to the law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ, 20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.