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God Provides and Empowers His Witnesses

Today’s message summary of July 5, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

There will still be some sort of religious ceremony or presentation within Revelation Chapter 11. We will still see that Jerusalem is the center of all activity, just as it is today.

God will provide witnesses for Him and His Name. He will empower them and enable them to glorify His name.

Revelation 11:1-19

Then I was given a measuring reed like a rod, with these words: “Go and measure God’s sanctuary and the altar, and count those who worship there. But exclude the courtyard outside the sanctuary. Don’t measure it, because it is given to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for 42 months. I will empower my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and consumes their enemies; if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These men have the power to close up the sky so that it does not rain during the days of their prophecy. They also have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every plague whenever they want.

When they finish their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, conquer them, and kill them. Their dead bodies will lie in the public square of the great city, which prophetically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. And representatives from the peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will view their bodies for three and a half days and not permit their bodies to be put into a tomb. 10 Those who live on the earth will gloat over them and celebrate and send gifts to one another because these two prophets brought judgment to those who live on the earth.

11 But after 3½ days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet. So great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” They went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies watched them. 13 At that moment a violent earthquake took place, a tenth of the city fell, and 7,000 people were killed in the earthquake. The survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe has passed. Take note: The third woe is coming quickly!

15 The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying:

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom
of our Lord and of His Messiah,
and He will reign forever and ever!

16 The 24 elders, who were seated before God on their thrones, fell facedown and worshiped God, 17 saying:

We thank You, Lord God, the Almighty,
who is and who was,
because You have taken Your great power
and have begun to reign.
18 The nations were angry,
but Your wrath has come.
The time has come
for the dead to be judged
and to give the reward
to Your servants the prophets,
to the saints, and to those who fear Your name,
both small and great,
and the time has come to destroy
those who destroy the earth.

19 God’s sanctuary in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant appeared in His sanctuary. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings of thunder, an earthquake, and severe hail.

In Revelation 11:1, God is not directing John to measure like a ruler, but to determine the quality, or the standard of what is being presented in the sanctuary. Measure the value of worship. Does it meets God standard? Does it qualify? The worship in the temple in Revelation will be for the Antichrist.

I. God has a standard. You have to be willing to make the sacrifices to be different from the world and be holy. The standard has been lowered so much in this day and time that everyone is made to be comfortable in the church. Well, everyone is welcome to the church, but everyone should not feel comfortable in their sin.

In Revelation 11:2-6, God brings the two witnesses to stand against the Antichrist.

We are challenged to worship the One, true God, and to grow in our relationship with Him.

John 4:23

But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.

Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. Instead of lowering our standards of worship, we need to keep them as high as possible. The world has lowered its standard of worship, but we are challenged to worship Him as He cleanses us and equips us to minister to others.

Hebrews 9:14

…how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God?

Psalm 51:2

Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.

II. Christ is the center of our worship–in Revelation 11, that will not be the case.

The gospel message is to be delivered. The gospel message will not be delivered in the temple; furthermore, the wrong style of worship will take place in the temple in Revelation 11.

Titus 3:5

He saved us–not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

God gives the authority and power to the two witnesses (Rev. 11:4-5). He gives them the power to perform their ministry and for their protection. God knew that they would face opposition. He gave them fire to proceed out of their mouths, to hold back the rain and turn water into blood.

Scripture does not reveal who the two men are, but some believe that they are Elijah and Moses. Elijah and Moses performed signs that duplicate what these men will do, and they both appeared with Jesus during the Transfiguration.

Matthew 17:3-4

Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good for us to be here! If You want, I will make three tabernacles here: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

Malachi 4:4

“Remember the instruction of Moses My servant, the statutes and ordinances I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

Exodus 7:20

Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded; in the sight of Pharaoh and his officials, he raised the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile was turned to blood.

1 Kings 17:1

Now Elijah the Tishbite, from the Gilead settlers, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, I stand before Him, and there will be no dew or rain during these years except by my command!”

They could strike the earth with a plague whenever they desired (Revelation 11:6).

III. When their ministry is complete, Satan has the power to kill them. (Revelation 11:7-10)

You will finish on time.

Psalm 39:4

“Lord, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days. Let me know how short-lived I am.”

It is OK to stand alone.

2 Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the proclamation might be fully made through me and all the Gentiles might hear. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.

God is with you.

Romans 8:31

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

There will be times in ministry where one needs to stand alone for Him.

There is an appointed time.

Job 14:5-6

Since man’s days are determined and the number of his months depends on You, and since You have set limits he cannot pass, look away from him and let him rest so that he can enjoy his day like a hired hand.

The two witnesses were empowered by God to perform as His witness. In the same way, recognize the power that God gives to you to be His witness for Him while you are able.

The fact that the beast can kill them reveals that they are physical beings. They are killed by the beast, who is also a person.

The two witnesses were killed in Jerusalem. The place is referred to Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified (Revelation 11:8).

Sodom – no morals; rebellion against God (Ezekiel 16:40)

Egypt – idols; captivity of God’s people

IV. God breaks up the party (v. 9-10)

All will see the bodies laying in the streets. Imagine all of the pictures uploaded on the internet and having them broadcast on YouTube!

The witnesses were proclaiming God’s Word, but when they were killed and the word of God was removed from the people, the people were celebrating their demise.

Imagine the terror of the people when they came back to life 3 1/2 days later! (v. 11)

For the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no reason to be ashamed of the gospel. It will require personal sacrifice, but it will be worth it for the testimony that is made before others.

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How To Glorify God

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

Every day that we live is a day of opportunity.  There are many different events within the day that, when they are all lumped together, make up the events that summarize your day of opportunity.  The mini-events have such an effect where we can conclude that the overall day was “a good one” or “a bad one,” and we readily recognize days where there are triumphs, successes, and, of course, setbacks or tragedies.  We often measure our personal progress in segments that are broken down to the days we live, but we need to always remember that personal success or failure is not to be the defining measurement of our life.  Our true success is in how we glorify God in everything that we do.

When we look at the things that we do each day, we don’t often think about glorifying God in what we do.  We don’t, for example, look at the act of brushing our teeth as a way of glorifying God, but consider that your good habits of caring for your teeth will keep your healthy and make a contribution towards your overall appearance as you do your work for the Lord! When we look at this verse, it gives greater evidence to the fact that the Lord wants you to have the same focus in everything you do:

Colossians 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

This includes everything that you do in work, in leisure, at home, at the grocery store—everywhere that you go.  This involves a lifestyle of living eagerly for Christ—and it means that everything that you do will reflect your love for the Lord.  It will be evident in your appearance, your speech, and your actions.  You are a living testimony for Jesus Christ, and it will be evident to everyone who sees you.  All of your words and actions will, in turn, glorify God!

Your approach to your life has a profound effect on how you glorify God.  If you wake up every day “on the wrong side of the bed,” your focus will often reflect on negativity rather than on being positive or having a favorable outlook on life.  Your approach to life is often about your attitude.  A person with an attitude problem is more focused on self and all of the issues surrounding the cause of the attitude than on doing anything enthusiastically for the Lord.  Your attitude will invariably have a positive or negative impact on your day of opportunity.

In order to maximize your ability to glorify God in everything that you do, it is important for you to develop a living philosophy and approach to each day.  This is not about reading more self-help books or looking for something that the world offers about feeling good about yourself, but there is a lot to be said about the importance of confidence in who you are and what you do, and that confidence comes with your understanding of who Jesus Christ is in your life and the loyalty that you have for Christ because of what He has done for you.

1 Peter 2:24

He Himself bore our sins 
in His body on the tree,
so that, having died to sins,
we might live for righteousness;
you have been healed by His wounds.

Remember that everything that you do or say is because of your healthy relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is working within you as you work through Him, which, in turn, brings Him glory.

Philippians 2:13

For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.

Philippians 4:13

I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Glorifying God to the best of your ability consists of three important elements:

1.) Being yourself

To be yourself is not the essence of living any way you want to as we are addressing it here, for to do so means that you are focusing more upon self than upon God.  Being yourself is about living as the very person that God created you to be.  To be who you are in Christ is the opposite of living in your own strength or ability, or even living in such a way where you are conforming to the expectations of others.  God would rather that you not listen to what your friends or family say that you should be, but instead would rather that you would be obedient to His Word and to His will as you live your life.  He knows you better that anyone else does, and He reminds you over and over how much He values you as a person:

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For it was You who created my inward parts; 
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.
15 My bones were not hidden from You
when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in Your book and planned
before a single one of them began.

Ephesians 2:10

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.

You should also be yourself because God knows your heart, which indicates your sincerity in your relationship with Him as you perform your daily routine.

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.”

2.) Use your gifts and talents

Since God created you to be yourself, He gave you certain gifts and talents that He wants you to use and develop in order to be a living testimony—which will glorify God as you use your gifts.

Romans 12:6-8

6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

   If prophecy,
use it according to the standard of one’s faith;
7 if service, in service;
if teaching, in teaching;
8 if exhorting, in exhortation;
giving, with generosity;
leading, with diligence;
showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

Notice that our gifts are to be used with humility but also with the confidence that our gifts promote a position of leadership in our ministry for the Lord.  You don’t have to be a leader in your group to exhibit leadership qualities.  Those who are great in hospitality are performing acts of service, but it is in those acts of service you are exhibiting leadership as a member of the body of Christ.  Your acts cannot help but glorify Him because you are using your gifts for Him.

3.) Seek excellence in everything you do

As you live and grow each day, you discover that there is always room for even more growth and more improvement.  Life is meant to be a learning experience, and if you continue to find ways to grow in the use of your gifts and talents, you will continue to glorify God in your actions.  It is when you believe that there’s nothing more that you can do to improve how you do your work that there is less humility in your way of thinking and there is more self-centeredness in your approach to life.  The person who yields to the Spirit in everything that they do will conform and act according to the Spirit.  If you are seeking the best in everything you do for the Lord, you are open to learn and grow for God’s glory.

Proverbs 16:3

Commit your activities to the LORD, 
and your plans will be achieved.

Matthew 5:14-16

14 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15No 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.

Your good works will glorify God as you seek excellence in everything that you do.  If we always remember that God wants not only the best for us but also for each of us to be the best that we can be, we will glorify God in everything that we do.  Our best for Him comes through the realization that He loves us.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.