Tag Archives: light

The Church and Its Priesthood (Part 2)

Today’s message summary of August 13, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

No one wants to see people falter outside of Jesus Christ.  With this in mind, God is looking for someone to stand in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30).  Not everyone can do it.

God is looking for those people who are willing to make a difference as ambassadors in this world…ready to serve at a moment’s notice.  He is looking for people to teach and encourage others.  It is God’s priesthood that is the example for others.  The priesthood is the people of his church, who have a heart of compassion for others and desire to minister to others.

The priestly office carries on today within the church.

People who come to church may often have the mentality that they are to be served by the church (and perhaps even entertained), when in actuality, it is the people that need to learn and understand that they are the ones who are being prepared to serve others.

Is the church more about worship or more about an experience?

When people come to church the big question is the same as one would get when going to a restaurant…”What can I get you?” or “What can I do for you?”

Starbucks isn’t just about coffee.  It is about the coffee drinking experience.

The birthday is not about the homemade cake anymore.  It’s about Chuck E. Cheese or wherever you go to have a birthday experience.

People won’t come to a church that is boring.  What qualifies as boring is defined by our own experiences.

The role of the pastor, the priesthood, once seen as shepherds and teachers, has evolved to that of a circus ringmasters and clowns who shout out to come to the Greatest Show on Earth.

The problem with external experiences, as Moses discovered, is that the transformation doesn’t last.  In a few days, over time, the glory begins to fade.

What do we want people to value, remember or experience when they come to Akron Alliance Fellowship?

When people hear or see the name of Akron Alliance Fellowship, they need to know what they are going to get…the teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  That is all we have to offer.

There is no show to put on–just the teaching of the Word.  (Even the music that is presented before the service should be that which glorifies God.)

The Priesthood was organized to take care of the tabernacle, the Temple and the Scriptures of God in order that those who entered into a relationship with God may be properly served in a manner in which God had provided.

The duty of the Priesthood is to keep the lights burning.  Light is also a representation of knowledge and understanding.

Leviticus 24:1-4

The Lord spoke to Moses: “Command the Israelites to bring you pure oil from crushed olives for the light, in order to keep the lamp burning continually. Aaron is to tend it continually from evening until morning before the Lord outside the veil of the testimony in the tent of meeting. This is a permanent statute throughout your generations. He must continually tend the lamps on the the pure gold lampstand in the Lord’s presence.

Exodus 27:20-21

You are to command the Israelites to bring you pure oil from crushed olives for the light, in order to keep the lamp burning continually. In the tent of meeting outside the veil that is in front of the testimony, Aaron and his sons are to tend the lamp from evening until morning before the Lord. This is to be a permanent statute for the Israelites throughout their generations.

The light is the Light of life for people.

John 1:4

Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.

Matthew 4:16

The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the shadowland of death, light has dawned.

Matthew 5:14-16

You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand,

and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

John 8:12

Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

1 John 1:5

Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him.

As a priest, you are responsible for keeping your light full of oil (represented by the Holy Spirit) shining in your life.

You are responsible to light up dark places in this community.  You are to keep your light before others in order that they can see in the dark.

We have the responsibility of taking care of the things belonging to God, which are His people.

Numbers 18:1-7

The Lord said to Aaron, You, your sons, and your ancestral family will be responsible for iniquity against the sanctuary. You and your sons will be responsible for iniquity involving your priesthood. But also bring your relatives with you from the tribe of Levi, your ancestral tribe, so they may join you and assist you and your sons in front of the tent of the testimony. They are to perform duties for you and for the whole tent. They must not come near the sanctuary equipment or the altar; otherwise, both they and you will die. They are to join you and guard the tent of meeting, doing all the work at the tent, but no unauthorized person may come near you.

You are to guard the sanctuary and the altar so that wrath may not fall on the Israelites again. Look, I have selected your fellow Levites from the Israelites as a gift for you, assigned by the Lord to work at the tent of meeting. But you and your sons will carry out your priestly responsibilities for everything concerning the altar and for what is inside the curtain, and you will do that work. I am giving you the work of the priesthood as a gift, but an unauthorized person who comes near the sanctuary will be put to death.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s sanctuary, God will destroy him; for God’s sanctuary is holy, and that is what you are.

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 does 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 walk 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 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle–is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

You are responsible for how you dress and your appearance. Remember your position in life.  You are not just an ordinary person running around in the world.  You are a priest, a saint and an ambassador.  You are representing more than just yourself.

Exodus 28:39-41

You are to weave the tunic from fine linen, and make an embroidered sash. Make tunics, sashes, and headbands for Aaron’s sons to give them glory and beauty (dignity and honor). Put these on your brother Aaron and his sons; then anoint, ordain, and consecrate them, so that they may serve Me as priests.

There are two different reasons for this dress style.  They were not to look like the rest of the people of Israel.

  1. To give them dignity
  2. To give honor…conduct oneself in high regard and be respected

Ephesians 4:1-3

Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.

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Understanding that Jesus is Coming

Today’s message summary of December 18, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Most of us conclude that Jesus’ coming is for salvation, but it is actually much more than that.  His coming does mean salvation for those who believe in Him, as He reconciles those who believe to the Father, but He came for a much deeper purpose.  Whether one responds to the gospel or not does not change who He is.

The general conception, which the Rabbis and Israel formed of the Messiah, is different from what was presented by Jesus Himself.

The purpose of Jesus’ coming was to have God speak to the people concerning His relationship with humanity.  He spoke about the desire that He had (and still has) to have a relationship with His people.  Bringing Christ forth was to show everyone who He really is.

Jesus, as God in the flesh, presented the fundamentals of the Christian life, and the final relationship in view of God towards humanity and humanity towards God.

It was a relationship of endearment expressed as follows:

  1. Expressed by the word Father (Matthew 6)
  2. Expressed by the word Servant (Philippians 2:6-7)

By His coming, He joins together the two ideals of the Son and the Servant.

Matthew 20:28

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His lifea ransom for many.

 

Matthew 4:10

Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”

 

Luke 1:73b-75

He has given us the privilege, since we have been rescued from our enemies’ clutches, to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness in His presence all our days.

 

As the servant of the living God, Jesus fulfills the threefold office of God.

Samuel fulfilled the offices of prophet, priest and judge.

Jesus fulfilled the office of Prophet (Hebrews 1:2).  He came to speak the words of His Father to us.  They were words of truth.

John 1:16-17

Indeed, we all have received grace after grace from His fullness, for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

 

When people do not receive the truth of God’s Word, they don’t know how to live a life pleasing to God.

Truth always gives the people light.

John 1:4, 9

Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.

The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

 

The light, at the time of Jesus’ coming, was not a true light.

Jesus as a Priest:  He became the Priest of all the people.  Israel was without a true priesthood…one that would serve God and the people.  The priesthood was the representation of an intercessor between God and man.  Jesus was the true high Priest.

Hebrews 4:10, 14-15

For the person who has entered His rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His.

 

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens–Jesus the Son of God–let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 5:9-10

After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him, and He was declared by God a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

 

Hebrews 7:23-26

Now many have become Levitical priest, since they are prevented by death from remaining in office. But because He remains forever, He holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them. For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

 

Hebrews 9:11

But the Messiah has appeared, high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation).

 

Hebrews 10:11-12

Every priest stands day after day ministering and offering the same sacrifices time after time, which can never take away sins. But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.

 

Without a godly priesthood—the true servants of God—the world and the people suffer.  The people were without God because the priesthood was without God. They were without God because of their willingness to forsake God; as a result, the world suffered because of its willingness to not obey God.

When there is no true priesthood, we lose teaching (of the law).  Without teaching, there is a lost relationship with God.  Without such a relationship, we lose His blessings and experience the suffering of humanity without the love and knowledge of God.  The teachings of man are inadequate.

Mark 7:6-7

He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.

 

Jesus came to be our King.  He was not just the King of the Jews, but the King of all.  King of all kings.

Matthew 2:2b

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

 

John 18:37

“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.”

 

Romans 14:11-12

For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God. So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

 

Revelation 17:14

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.

 


Uriah: A Faithful Servant

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

 

Our loyalty and faithfulness belongs to God Himself.

Today we will look as Uriah. We remember him as the person that David had killed in order to get to Bathsheba.

Uriah was a faithful servant. He may have been under-appreciated, but God welcomes your faithfulness in service for Him.

Proverbs 27:19

As water reflects the face,

so the heart reflects the person.

 

Proverbs 4:23

Guard your heart above all else,

for it is the source of life.

 

Psalm 39:1a

I said, “I will guard my ways

so that I may not sin with my tongue;

I will guard my mouth with a muzzle.”

 

Who is Uriah?

  1. His name means “Flame of The Lord” or “The Lord is Light.” Uriah is going to shine a bright light on David’s life.
  1. He is a Hittite: one of the earliest inhabitants of Palestine.
  1. He became a worshiper of Israel’s God.
  1. Look at the contrast between David, the Lord’s anointed, one brown a Jew, and Uriah, a convert–a man who was not born a Jew but accepted the faith of Israel and chose it for his own.
  1. Uriah is one of David’s “The Thirty” or “Mighty Men” because he was an outstanding warrior (2 Samuel 23:39).
  1. Uriah is fighting on behalf of God and David for Israel (2 Samuel 11:1).
  1. Uriah had to be a person of importance, because he was able to marry Bathsheba, a woman of unusual beauty, and daughter of Eliam (2 Samuel 23:34).

Uriah was faithful to God and the men he served with.

2 Samuel 11:6-11

6 David sent orders to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the troops were doing and how the war was going. 8 Then he said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king followed him. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the palace with all his master’s servants; he did not go down to his house.

10 When it was reported to David, “Uriah didn’t go home,” David questioned Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a journey? Why didn’t you go home?”

11 Uriah answered David, “The ark, Israel, and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my master Joab and his soldiers are camping in the open field. How can I enter my house to eat and drink and sleep with my wife? As surely as you live and by your life, I will not do this!”

 

Look at the heart of Uriah in his demonstration of loyalty to his fellow soldiers and to God and Israel. He camped out with the Ark of the Covenant for the good of the people. He was being faithful. Where is David’s heart here?

When you heart is involved in sin it is not focused on God. David could not see the faithfulness of Uriah because of his sin. Uriah was focused on nothing but God and His presence. When your focus is on The Lord, there are things that you will deny of yourself to remain focused upon Him.

When your heart is set on God, He will keep you.

David is acting as the enemy; yet, Uriah is the main faithful to his conviction., even after David got him drunk.

2 Samuel 11:12-13

12 “Stay here today also,” David said to Uriah, “and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 Then David invited Uriah to eat and drink with him, and David got him drunk. He went out in the evening to lie down on his cot with his master’s servants, but he did not go home.

 

2 Timothy 2:3

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

 

Uriah, as a result, shines light on David’s heart.

  1. He carried his own death letter from David to Joab.
  2. What could have been the thoughts of Joab about David from this time?
  3. After Uriah was killed, David only shared “not to let this upset you.

2 Samuel 11:24-25

24 However, the archers shot down on your soldiers from the top of the wall, and some of the king’s soldiers died. Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.” 

25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this matter upset you because the sword devours all alike. Intensify your fight against the city and demolish it.’ Encourage him.”

 

Uriah died being faithful to both God and David. He didn’t know of the deceitful heart of David, but he knew the loving heart of the God of Israel–the One he truly served.

In living out the life of a Christian, you cannot say “do this the right way,” and live wrongly. Be prayerful to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and to never be a stumbling block before others. You won’t be perfect, but your perfection comes in obedience and faithfulness to Christ.


The Moral Compass

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

If you watch television for any length of time, you will see commercials of full-length movies that feature many of the super heroes you grew up with from the world of DC Comics and Marvel Comics.  Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Iron Man, The Wolverine, and coming soon to a theater near you, The Flash, Captain America and The Justice League of America.

There is little wonder as to the huge popularity of these movies, beginning with the appeal of the spectacular special effects that bring the comic book characters to life right before your eyes.  In addition to this, all of these movies have similar compelling story lines.  The heroes of our childhood on the big screen are now a little edgier and cooler for this generation of viewers, but all of them are on the side of righteousness and good, and they battle the opposing forces of evil.

We use the movies as a way of retreat.  They help us to relax and unwind from our day-to-day routine, even with all of skirmishes and explosions that take place.  While we can relate to our super heroes battling through madness and mayhem, our personal daily experience is a similar struggle of good versus evil–except we are far from super or even heroic.  We are fallible and vulnerable, for we live in the reality of a fallen world surrounded by sin and transgression.

The news and events of each day reinforce that we are in a fallen world.  Our own behaviors are challenged with conflicts, distractions and temptations to sin.  God’s Word provides ongoing support and guidance to avoid sin, but it is up to each of us to remain consistent in this endeavor with a constant effort to seek Him and His truth.

Psalm 119:9-11 (HCSB)

9 How can a young man keep his way pure?

By keeping Your word.

10 I have sought You with all my heart;

don’t let me wander from Your commands.

11 I have treasured Your word in my heart

so that I may not sin against You.

A few years ago I presented a message on the role of your conscience in determining and discerning right from wrong.  It was noted that it is not just reliance upon your conscience to make the right decisions but it involves your inclusion of the Holy Spirit within your thought process to provide guidance.  Both the Holy Spirit and your conscience will make up what we will call today your moral compass.  For the benefit of those of you who are of Generation-Y, a compass is the ancient, old-timers version of today’s GPS system.  It provides direction and guidance to successfully travel from one point to another.  In this way, your personal moral compass guides you to make the proper response to outside stimuli based upon your morals or value system.  A compass of any type is subject to deviation and sometimes need to be corrected for accurate readings; similarly, a person’s moral compass is only as good as his or her value system, which means that the Holy Spirit is not a factor when a person’s decisions reflect poor morals or values.  It is safe to conclude that one’s poor decision-making is the result of not relying upon godly wisdom.

James 1:5

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.

The actual use of the term “moral compass” describes the foundation of one’s values and behaviors from a moral perspective.  I will now take poetic license to expand my definition of a moral compass as a person who gives the perception of demonstrating high moral character.  This perception, in addition, carries a high degree of influence with others who know the person. For example, you are a “moral compass” amongst your friends if you can influence others, just by your presence, to clean up the other persons’ colorful language.  A person known as a “moral compass” can have a positive effect, but he can also drive people in a different direction if the people he interacts with are of their own mind and don’t want to focus on godly things.  This should not be strange to a believer, for remember Jesus’ comments when He was in the midst of His earthly ministry:

Matthew 10:34-36

34 Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to turn

a man against his father,

a daughter against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

36 and a man’s enemies will be

the members of his household.

It is reasonable to conclude that the gospel message that you convey to others is either going to draw a person near to you, or it will push the other person away from you.  It’s the same consistent message, but it depends upon the heart of the respondent as to which direction the person will go.

Have you checked your moral compass lately?  Do you have the proper focus in looking to Jesus Christ in everything that you do?  When others look at you, do they see you as salt and light in the world, or do you just blend in with everyone else?  These are important questions for the believer, and they require honest answers.  A believer in Jesus Christ is compelled by the love of Christ and the love of other people to serve Him for His glory.  A believer, as a result, should never blend in.

Matthew 5:13-16

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

In order to glorify God through Jesus Christ, you, as the moral compass of your sphere of influence to others, must continually show yourself as a vision of hope before those who are seeking the truth.  The very meaning of hope is to create the expectation that good things can happen in one’s life.  According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, hope is a “trustful expectation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God’s promises. Hope, is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God’s guidance–the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future.” Hope is a key element in the knowledge and understanding that comes in a love relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and how we are to love others, as well:

1 Corinthians 13:13

Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

In today’s world, those who are sincerely seeking the truth will want answers; therefore, they will seek out the persons who have godly character and who demonstrate the practice of living in truth.  While some will reject the truth, believers in Jesus Christ will possess the mind of Jesus Christ and will strive to live according to His will.  A true believer will live in accordance to the Great Commission and want to see people saved for Jesus Christ.

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.

How does a person regarded as a “moral compass” convey this hope to others?  There are four points that we will cover today whose first letters will each spell the word “hope.”  You will stand out as a moral compass that provides guidance and direction with your daily approach in these areas:

1. Humility

James 4:10

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Proverbs 22:4

The result of humility is fear of the Lord,

along with wealth, honor, and life.

Humility is the first step that every person must take when they first acknowledge the need for a Savior.  It begins there and continues throughout life as a believer as one grows and develops in the wisdom and knowledge of God’s Word.  This wisdom and knowledge begins with the appropriate reverence for God in your life–it requires a life of humility.

Psalm 111:10 (NIV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;

    all who follow his precepts have good understanding.

    To him belongs eternal praise.

Humility leads to the next acronym–

2. Obedience

You cannot love God and show God’s love to others, without being obedient to His Word.

The evidence of your obedience will be apparent in your daily, consistent approach in how you remain obedient and convicted to God’s Word.  It is your daily walk as that moral compass that will show the importance of trusting God and His Word to others.  You will show that obedience to God’s Word really matters.

1 Peter 1:20-23

20 He (Jesus Christ) was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

22 By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the brothers, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God.

Note that this obedience requires faith, which is a necessary component in your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 11:6

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

3. Prayer-filled

In order to be humble before the Lord and obedient to His Word, a life devoted to prayer must be in the mix.

Ephesians 6:18

Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

Your prayers are not just personal, but also for those persons that you interact with on a daily basis.  Prayer is a mighty force when you petition God to touch the people in your life to make a decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  When people know that you are prayerful and are sincerely praying for them, it speaks a powerful message of your love, care and compassion for others.

4. Exemplary

To be exemplary is to set the best example of living before others.  It is when you exhibit a great demeanor, a positive presence, and exceptional behavior as a believer in Jesus Christ where others will be drawn to you.  To be exemplary is not about being perfect, or even being the best at everything you do–you still need to show yourself to be a human being that recognizes when mistakes are made and own up to them.  In sporting events or competitions, you are to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.  Your exemplary behavior will draw people near to you, and also to Jesus Christ, when you show your love and concern for others.  This is the essence of your life as a moral compass standing up for Jesus Christ and standing out while living for Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:12

12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.

John 13:12-17

12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am.14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.

16 “I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

The “moral compass” has an important role in the body of Christ—both for the individual and for those he or she interacts with.  It starts with the reliance of the Holy Spirit in making all decisions, and it continues as you live for Jesus Christ in providing hope to others who need to make a decision for Him.  Your mission in the Great Commission is to show others the love of Christ through humility, obedience, prayer and exemplary behavior.  It is living in the best way that you can in being salt and light in the world before others, and it begins with your faith, hope and love in Jesus Christ.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines.


Youth Sunday: How To Be a Good Christian in Today’s Society

Today’s message from our youth team: How to be a good Christian in today’s society:

There are many things that people will do to distract you from focusing on God. God is your immediate help when you pray to Him. He will help you with whatever problems you have.

Ephesians 4:17-5:11 (HCSB)
Living the New Life

17 Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.

20 But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, 21 assuming you heard about Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus. 22 You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

25 Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. 28 The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. 29 No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

5 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. 2 And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. 3 But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. 4 Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks. 5 For know and recognize this: Every sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of the Messiah and of God.

Light versus Darkness

6 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. 7 Therefore, do not become their partners. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— 9 for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 discerning what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Proverbs 4:5
Get wisdom, get understanding;
don’t forget or turn away from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 29:27
An unjust man is detestable to the righteous,
and one whose way is upright
is detestable to the wicked.

The Lord will honor you when you stay righteous, even when others may be against you. Never be ashamed of God or the gospel of Christ, for there is power in its Word. In times of difficulty, God is Your rescuer.

Listen to God’s Word and the wisdom that comes from it. Don’t give in to peer pressure. Stay active in God’s Word and remain holy.


Be Light

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

We’re starting a new series that discusses who we are. Who are we? In Christianity, there are times where we are unsure of where we are. There are times when we need to know clearly what we are to do. The church, by itself, does not have a responsibility in getting you involved in something. That responsibility falls back to the believer in Jesus Christ to get involved.

Who are we? We’re all called to be witnesses, but often we are known by what we do rather than what we say. We are called to be different. People should see us as believers in Jesus Christ.

Thw Lord has called us to be a light. Where God has placed us, He wants us to shine for Him. We are called to “be light,” but what keeps our light from shining is sinfulness. We are called to serve–it’s more than just claiming to be saved by Jesus. Your prayer to God should be, “Lord, let me be a light in this dark place. Let me be the one who makes a difference for You.”

We want to be a light for The Lord, and Jesus set the example for us.

John 8:12
Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

As followers of Jesus Christ, we live to be His example for others who are indeed living in darkness. This is fitting as God has called you to “be light.” If you make a choice to live in sin, you are living in darkness and in failure, but living in the light gives you victory and the ability to conquer over those things that oppose you or would cause you to stumble.

Matthew 5:14-16
14 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

It is sin that dims our light. The light may still be there, but we need to understand that we are not to be ashamed of the gospel. To do so would be live contrary to who you are and what you were called to do.

Exodus 27:20-21
20 “You are to command the Israelites to bring you pure oil from crushed olives for the light, in order to keep the lamp burning continually. 21 In the tent of meeting outside the veil that is in front of the testimony, Aaron and his sons are to tend the lamp from evening until morning before the Lord. This is to be a permanent statute for the Israelites throughout their generations.

This verse conveys the importance of recognizing that God Himself is light, and it is a constant and continuous light. The oil as a gift would allow for God’s light to shine continuously. If we are being as God would call us to be, our light would shine continuously.

Why are we to “be light”?

1 John 1:5
Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him.

Exodus 14:19-20
19 Then the Angel of God, who was going in front of the Israelite forces, moved and went behind them. The pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and stood behind them. 20 It came between the Egyptian and Israelite forces. The cloud was there in the darkness, yet it lit up the night. So neither group came near the other all night long.

As Christians, we should be very distinctive in where we are in Jesus Christ. When He tells us to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-13), He also becomes our protector when we remain obedient to Him. Those who are disobedient to The Lord will see darkness, which is allowed in my God. Those who live in darkness are often stumbling around, while God protects and preserves those who are in the light. You can “see” what is going on in your life.

Proverbs 13:9
The light of the righteous shines brightly,
but the lamp of the wicked is put out.

Your light shines because of your righteousness through Jesus Christ.

Exodus 27:20-21
20 “You are to command the Israelites to bring you pure oil from crushed olives for the light, in order to keep the lamp burning continually. 21 In the tent of meeting outside the veil that is in front of the testimony, Aaron and his sons are to tend the lamp from evening until morning before the Lord. This is to be a permanent statute for the Israelites throughout their generations.

We are to shine brightly for Jesus Christ. We are not forced to do this, for it remains a choice. You have to be willing to walk in the light, for the world loves darkness. The world has conditioned us to live more in darkness, and we need to focus on those matters that keep us in the light. God wants you to shine for Him as you are representing Him. You also need to have the desire to be kept by God in this way.

1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

God gives good counsel and wisdom to His children as we are willing to be light for Him (Matthew 5:16). To let your light shine means that you are not ashamed of showing who you are before others–family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. People need to see the good things that you are doing for The Lord, and that He is worthy of the praise for what you do. Sometimes, we need to make sacrifices in how we do things in order for your light to shine. People will see that you are being enabled by God in what you are accomplishing. It’s not about praise for you, but for the praise of our Heavenly Father.

We are to set the standards and the example when we live in the light for the world. Let your light shine continuously before others, and watch how God will work through you in reaching others for Jesus Christ.


Spring Break 2013 Seminar – Join Us April 19-20 in Stow Ohio

 

Our Annual Relationship Conference Series takes an exciting approach that will not just grow but enhance your relationship with God through Jesus Christ!  You’ll be not just salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), you’ll be–

 

Melvin Gaines, Host

Seasoning with Brightness!

A special weekend retreat where you can rest, relax, renew and recharge!

Now, more than ever, it is vital to grow in your personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ!  Your growth in Christ will help you communicate with Him at a high level, and will also help you to make a greater impact in your daily ministry with others!  We are called to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), but you can become more seasoned and brighter than ever as you grow into the best relationship with Jesus ever!  We will provide tools to hep you develop effective, daily habits of prayer and meditation to grow and learn much more of what God has in store for you!

With your participation, this relationship seminar promises to be a fun, relaxing and fulfilling experience!  Singles and married couples are welcome!  The event is free and open to the public.

Note:  You do NOT need to stay at the hotel to attend the seminar.  The seminar is free.  Call 234.206.0345 for more information and start times.

Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hampton Inn, Stow OH

4331 Lakepointe Corporate Drive   •  330.945.4160

 

Special room rate for overnight stay only $79.00 plus tax.  If you are interested in staying at the hotel, please call and check for availability.  When booking your room ask for the Akron Alliance Fellowship Church special rate.  A free hot breakfast is available for hotel guests.  Don’t wait another day–be sure to register today!

 

Free internet  •  pool  •  fitness center  •  comfortable amenities  •  newly remodeled  •  restaurants nearby