Tag Archives: mature

The Church and Salvation: The Teaching of God’s People

Today’s message summary of October 22, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

After the book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, there was a period of 400 years where there was no prophet from God on the scene, and man was left to himself as to how he would practice his faith.  During this 400 years, you would see different things occur, but the pursuit of religion was left to man’s own accord.

The Sadducees relied upon natural law and not upon any teachings or writings.  Even today, the issue is the lack of good, sound teaching of God’s Word.  We are in a society that receives very little education, especially in reasoning and understanding.

The church originally started schools for the purpose of teaching people how to read and write.  It was to help people be able to read and understand what they were reading, and it was to be able to gain something from God’s Word.

Hosea 4:6 KJV

My people perish from a lack of knowledge.

How well are we being taught?  Do we believe what we are being taught?

Teaching should not be just a repetition of what the teacher has said, but to go further into seeking the information that has been presented.

Acts 17:11

The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Many people will sit in church and hear the Word, but if it is not taught and the people decide it is not to be believed or understood, then it is just a waste of time.

One of the obvious things that one can observe in a believer’s life is a lack of progression.  It is from a lack of faith.  It comes down to trusting God more than just trusting yourself.  The Word of God is to be taught to help to develop you more into the type of person that God wants you to be.

Acts 20:27

…for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God.

Why would one go to a doctor for advice and leave without taking it?  Paul was not holding back in any way his knowledge of God.  It is important that the people of God may grow and mature with the proper instruction of God’s Word.

What happened during those 400 years?  There were groups that emerged:

The Essenes followed Greek philosophies that existed two centuries before Christ emerged.  They were a Jewish sect.  Note that their belief in how souls were transported was void of God’s teaching.

The Scribes emerged as a continuation of the group that existed during David and Solomon’s time.  They were known for recording words and also for accounting.  They set forth and maintain order when it came to how things were to be accomplished, and yet there was no prophet that provided additional inspiration.

The Sadducees did not believe in death and resurrection of the dead, nor angels or spirits.  They only believed in the present life they were living.  (Much like those who lack belief are today.  There are many who believe that there is nothing after this life.)

Acts 23:8

For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, and no angel or spirit, but the Pharisees affirm them all.

The Pharisees are believed to have emerged from the Maccabeans, and they kept up with the writings of Moses, but they also infused a number of new rules within their way of living that ultimately became much more important than that of God’s Word.

Matthew 15:7-9

Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said: 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.

Luke 11:42

“But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of mint, rue, and every kind of herb, and you bypass justice and love for God. These things you should have done without neglecting the others.

Luke 11:52

“Woe to you experts in the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge! You didn’t go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in.”

God desires for sincere worship and praise before Him.

There is something wrong with the number of churches that are existence today in that there is hardly any teaching.  Even worse, we are teaching the precepts of man rather than those from God.

The ministry of Jesus began with teaching.  Questions and answers follow this instruction.  There is learning that is taking place.

Luke 2:46

After three days, they found Him (Jesus at age 12) in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

Matthew 4:17

From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!”

Luke 4:14-15

Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity. He was teaching in their synagogues, being acclaimed by everyone.

A good teacher must also be a good listener.  He or she will always listen to the students in order to know what needs to be imparted.

Note that there was a 400-year gap before Jesus was teaching the people.  Many people were hungry for His words of instruction.

The church, as a whole, must return to teaching.  Teaching will either draw your nearer to Jesus, or it will chase you away.  Either way, the truth of Jesus Christ and His Word must be shared.

Our churches should be overflowing–not because of preachers who entertain, but because God’s Word is being proclaimed.

If a person comes to church to do anything other than hear God’s Word, it becomes idolatry.

The Spirit must be present in order that the teacher can be used to advance the will of the Father.  A teacher must recognize the evidence of God’s presence in order to teach well.  Jesus’s own ministry was not independent of the Father and of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:16-17

After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!

John 4:34

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,” Jesus told them.

John 5:19-20

Then Jesus replied, “I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing, and He will show Him greater works that these so that you will be amazed.

2 John 1:9

Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it, does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son.

God is a teacher.  It is the very character and nature of God.

Deuteronomy 4:12-14

Then the Lord spoke to you from the fire. You kept hearing the sound of the words, but didn’t see a form; there was only a voice. He declared His covenant to you. He commanded you to follow the Ten Commandments, which He wrote on two stone tablets. At that time the Lord commanded me to teach you statutes and ordinances for you to follow in the land you are about to cross into and possess.

Isaiah 48:17

This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: I am Yahweh your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go.

Jeremiah 32:33

They have turned their backs to Me and not their faces. Though I taught them time and time again, they do not listen and receive discipline.

The instruction that we receive is to help us in obedience and to follow and live according to His will.  That, ultimately, is what is best for us.

Jesus’s teaching is to help us to see something far greater from His instruction than just mere words.

John 7:46

The police answered, “No man ever spoke like this!”

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God’s Will and Man’s Choices

If God is not working in a person’s life, that person will not see the need for Christ or acknowledge the need for salvation. God must work in a person for them to realized the need for salvation. This is part of God’s will that all men come to know Jesus as Savior (1 Timothy 2:4).

While God wants all humans to be saved, He created all of us with the ability to make choices according to our will–we operate with free will. We develop our ability to make choices as be grow and mature from childhood to adulthood with education and information and societal influences. In this gathering of knowledge and information, each of us has learned that we are created beings and that there is a Creator. We also learn about morality–what is right and what is wrong. All of this, including societal pressures and influences, shapes our decision-making process over time.

In that process of discovery, there are things that appear to be good when, in fact, are not. For example, our society promotes that people who declare love for each other as being a good thing, but the problem with this reasoning is that, in this expression of love, it is acceptable to live with someone before marriage, have sex outside of marriage, or practice homosexuality. These are circumstances where a person’s feelings are equated with love and become more important than what is moral truth. In reality, truth should always trump that the fulfillment of one’s feelings or desires.

It is important to understand that the persons who follow and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior would have had to experience God at work in their lives prior to their acceptance of Christ. God had to be in this process because the act of choosing to follow Christ defies any human logic–we have difficulty grasping the ability to follow someone that we have never seen. Who is it that provides the stimulus that brings us to a point where we have a need and desire for repentance? God does. At this critical juncture in one’s life, it now becomes a matter of acceptance or rejection of the gospel.

John 6:65-66
He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father.” From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him.

Romans 2:4-11
Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed. He will repay each one according to his works: eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth but are obeying unrighteousness; affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. There is no favoritism with God.

Romans 8:6-8
For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

The mind of a sinful man ultimately will lead to death, for it constitutes a rejection of Jesus Christ and His gospel. In spite of this, God will give a person opportunities to turn from sin and repent of it. This is while the person still has the ability to make such a choice for himself. There does come a time, however, where a person is so engrossed with sinful behavior that God will allow the person to acquire a reprobate mind, which means that God will allow the destruction of that person’s life. God does eventually come to a place where He declares “enough is enough” for the person who willfully commits sin without repentance. The person is no longer able to turn from his sin because God has given over his ability to repel the sin and affect change for his life. Thankfully, the believer has the benefit of the presence of the Holy Spirit who teaches us about the things of God.

Romans 1:20
For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made.

Creation is a witness to the testimony of God as a creator, but it is clear that there are some who make a choice that God will not receive the reverence. It is a failure to submit to the true God.

Romans 1:21-23
For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images representing mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.

It is man’s choice to willfully live in sin while failing to acknowledge the deity of Christ and change the personhood of God. God, in turn, will remove any restraints in those persons lives, where lust for those things of man that allows sin to take over your life, and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. You cannot will your way out of it, and it is where you are no longer able to distinguish right and wrong.

Romans 1:24-28
Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen. This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions. For even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. The males in the same way also left natural relations with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error. And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong.

2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, so that all will be condemned–those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

Please note that this delusion or depraved mind is not only for those who practice homosexuality.

Romans 1:29-32
They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Although they know full well God’s just sentence–that those who practice such things deserve to die–they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.

Instead of rejecting God, when one accepts the Lord Jesus Christ, it is ultimately a work done by God and provided for you. He gives you what you need in faith to begin to follow Him (Romans 12:3; John 6:65; Romans 10:17).

With this measure of faith, now comes the responsibility to add to your faith (2 Peter 1:5). It is this process of adding to your faith where we can develop it to a greater level. From there, you progress to a gift of faith, which is different from the measure of faith and adding to your faith, for those are faiths that God gives you to help you to grow. The gift of faith comes from you, because it is where you have come to the place where you are now striving for others for the sake of Christ and the gospel. It is a willingness of doing things for God by faith, even in sacrifice. It is the culmination of dying to self and living for Christ. This gift of faith at work for the benefit of others.

Acts 21:13
Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Your faith increases by adding God’s Word and His biblical truths. Note that, on both ends of the spectrum beyond our free will choices, God is in control of everything. People who accept the truth of God will live according to His will, while others who reject God’s truth will eventually be given over to reprobate minds.

God enables you to work on His behalf because of His gift of salvation. He wants His glory to shine through us in everything that we say and do on his behalf. All of this is because God is working in your life. It may take some time, but it all starts with your belief in Him as your personal Savior.

Ephesians 2:8-10
For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift–not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

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.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
And in view of this, we always pray for you that our God will consider you worthy of His calling, and will, by His power, fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.