Tag Archives: message

What Do You Come to Church For?

Today’s message summary of May 28, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Why do people go to church?  Is it a possession that one holds onto?  Ultimately, every person needs to understand what the real purpose of church is.  We can lose our love for the Lord while being involved with church for a number of other reasons.  Somewhere, the church of Ephesus lost its first love…the love of Jesus Christ.

When one comes to church, one should be coming to see, hear and receive.

When you see what God is doing in the lives of His people, you can rejoice!

When you come to hear God’s Word, you come with the understanding that He teaches and also corrects you.  (Some will not come because they do not want to be corrected.)  God wants you to know that you are on a journey with Him, and His teaching will help you along as you go.

God wants you to receive Him.  He desires to catch your attention and hold it with the desire to hear Him speak to you and guide you.

You should want to see what God is doing…not only in your life, but in the bigger picture.  While there is often a focus on numbers in the church, God has done many great things with just a small number of people.

Church is not a place for gossip.  That is the wrong reason to attend a church.  The words reflected upon should be His words.

You should want to hear from God about the matters concerning you and your life, but also what He expects of you.

You should want to receive from God.  He wants you to receive His power, strength and faith (confidence) to do what He is asking of you.

There is a reason to come to church.  God desires to see you continue to grow within the church in these areas.  He wants you to have faith and the ability to step out when things are unknown or unclear.  That is where we see God’s greatest work and accomplishments.

People may argue that John the Baptist did not have a church, but John did indeed have a ministry, even if it was out in the wilderness.

Matthew 11:7-10

As these men went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothes?  Look, those who wear soft clothes are in kings’ palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and far more than a prophet. This is the one it is written about:  Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You; he will prepare Your way before You.

The wilderness, where John’s “church” was located, was far from town, or what many would consider to be the comfort of home.  Your going to church should be like going to a place where God’s word teaches and convicts you to a place where you learn, grow and develop a desire to fellowship with Jesus Christ.

Church should be a place of solitary for you.  The primary focus should be on Jesus Christ.  It should be free from restraints.  It fulfills a desire of quietness in your spirit.  Church can be your desert place (the wilderness), where you are alone with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Church is to be a place of education–teaching needs to be taking place, and effective teaching does take some time.

Your mind, within the church, is to be separated from everything in life and focused on what God is saying, understanding what you are hearing, and what you are receiving from God.  What you receive is what you are going to leave with.

If you’re always in a rush, you won’t be able to hear God speak to you the way He desires to.  Church is the place where you can slow yourself down and put aside those things that can distract you from Him.

A reed could grow twelve feet tall and be paper thin, and when the wind blows, it just lays down.  It goes with the wind.

The wind, represented here by religion and government, could have caused John to be indecisive or to be shaken.  To waver or to show doubt can cause one to be unsteady.

The religion was the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

The government was King Herod and his sinful life.

John stands against these two powerful forces.

Note that the gospel of Jesus Christ must be upheld within the church setting.  It’s not enough just to call yourself a Christian.   It is about living as God calls you to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Complaints about the church:

  1. It’s not relevant.

John was relevant according to his message.

  1. It lasts too long.

How long do you sit through a movie?

  1. Church is boring.

Is it boring because it is not what you want it to be?

  1. I don’t like the way church is being run.

It’s your place to determine how church is being run.

  1. It’s the same routine each Sunday.

It is all in your approach to being educated in the Word.  It is more important to see Christ in your life,                  and understand that He never changes.

 

Psalm 122:1

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

 

Psalm 73:16-25

When I tried to understand all this,

it seemed hopeless

until I entered Gods sanctuary.

Then I understood their destiny.

Indeed, You put them in slippery places;

You make them fall into ruin.

How suddenly they become a desolation!

They come to an end, swept away by terrors.

Like one waking from a dream,

Lord, when arising, You will despise their image.

When I became embittered

and my innermost being was wounded,

I was stupid and didnt understand;

I was an unthinking animal toward You.

Yet I am always with You;

You hold my right hand.

You guide me with Your counsel,

and afterward You will take me up in glory.

Who do I have in heaven but You?

And I desire nothing on earth but You.

 

The church should be providing information to you about how to live life in these perilous times.

We go to church to hear the message that God has to give to us.

 

Matthew 3:1-6

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea and saying, Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near! For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said:

A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

Prepare the way for the Lord;

make His paths straight! 

John himself had a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then people from Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the vicinity of the Jordan were flocking to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.

 

Romans 10:14-17

But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!  But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message?  So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

Advertisements

Saving Faith that Forgives (Luke 5:17-26)

Today’s message summary of December 27, 2015 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

Luke 5:17-26

On one of those days while He was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea, and also from Jerusalem. And the Lord’s power to heal was in Him. Just then some men came, carrying on a mat a man who was paralyzed. They tried to bring him in and set him down before Him. Since they could not find a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the mat through the roof tiles into the middle of the crowd before Jesus.

Seeing their faith He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”

Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to think: “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

But perceiving their thoughts, Jesus replied to them, “Why are you thinking this in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–He told the paralyzed man, “I tell you: Get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”

Immediately he got up before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. Then everyone was astounded, and they were giving glory to God. And they were filled with awe and said, “We have seen incredible things today!”

Everyone in the world expects something. What are your expectations? What is your greatest need in life? If you are honest, the latter question will answer the first question.

There are four different groups of people represented in this passage: The Pharisees and the teachers of the law, the crowd, the men who brought the paralyzed men, the crowd, and Jesus with His disciples.

The expectations of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law: they were spectators, and even instigators. They had traveled several miles to Nazareth to see Jesus. They were sitting there to observe His ministry, and that he had the power to heal others. They had heard of Him, and wanted to see Him in person in order to try to entrap Him in His words.

Matthew 22:15

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to trap Him by what He said.

Luke 4:24-30

He also said, I assure you: No prophet is accepted in his hometown. But I say to you, there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijahs days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of thembut to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. And in the prophet Elishas time, there were many in Israel who had serious skin diseases, yet not one of them was healedonly Naaman the Syrian.

When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They got up, drove Him out of town, and brought Him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl Him over the cliff. But He passed right through the crowd and went on His way.

In spite of this, keep in mind that Jesus’ main focus was presenting the gospel message.

John 9:39

Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, in order that those who do not see will see and those who do see will become blind.”

In this passage, it was noted that Jesus also had the power (Greek word – dynamis) to heal. Jesus was enabled by God to carry out His ministry.

Luke 4:14

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.

The Pharisees were policing their area of responsibility in order to uphold their own traditions. While some traditions are good, there are many that need to be left alone and let go. They wanted Jesus to submit to their own religious traditions.

The expectations of the crowd: some were there to glorify God and learn more about Jesus, some were there for healing, some were there just to be spectators.

The expectations of the four friends (of the paralyzed man):

they carried their friend to Jesus with determination that he would be healed (Luke 5:20). In case you missed it, they tore through the roof of the house to lower the man before Jesus because of the size of the crowd. They had to dig through different materials to accomplish their feat. It showed their degree of faith, and were hopeful that their friend would be made well.

Matthew 8:5-13

When He entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible agony!

I will come and heal him, He told him.

Lord, the centurion replied, I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. But only say the word, and my servant will be cured. For I too am a man under authority, having soldiers under my command. I say to this one, Go! and he goes; and to another, Come! and he comes; and to my slave, Do this! and he does it.

Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to those following Him, I assure you: I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith! I tell you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then Jesus told the centurion, Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you. And his servant was cured that very moment.

There is a great value having faith in the Lord.

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.

The expectations of the paralytic man: While Jesus saw that he was paralytic, the deeper meaning here is that Jesus saw that this person needed forgiveness of his sins. He needed not just physical healing, but spiritual healing.

Jesus perceived the thoughts of the man, and He knew the thoughts of all of those present.

The Pharisees missed the point of Jesus’ comments to the paralytic; however, what they needed to see was that Jesus Christ has the power and the authority to forgive sin (Luke 5:21-26).

The expectations of Jesus: He was able to identify who He was before all of the spectators. He always referred to Himself as the Son of Man.

Daniel 7:13-15

I continued watching in the night visions, and I saw One like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before Him. He was given authority to rule, and glory, and a kingdom; so that those of every people, nation and language should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.

Jesus expects us to do something. What do you think it is?

He expects you to have faith in Him. He expects that you know and understand that He is the Son of Man, who has the authority to forgive sins. He wants you to believe who He is and in His teaching and that He has the authority (Luke 4:36) and the power to forgive your sins.

Does your faith drive your determination to seek after Jesus Christ?

What are your expectations about Jesus Christ?

What is your greatest need?

Our greatest need is not for material things or even for our bodies to be healed…our greatest need is for a Savior–Jesus Christ. The One who forgives our sins.


The Power of God in the Midst of Tribulation

Today’s message summary of June 28, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Often today, we are being challenged in many different ways. We are to stand on God’s Word and His Word alone, and trust in the results. You have to know what you stand for–what your principles are. Don’t allow others to dissuade you from your view of Jesus Christ.

God has a plan, and it will be fulfilled. Satan cannot prevent it from happening. God changes not.

Babylon represents rebellion against God. Every type of teaching that is false or heinous in nature had its origin in Babylon. It was constantly in opposition to God.

Revelation 18:1-10

After this I saw another angel with great authority coming down from heaven, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. He cried in a mighty voice:

It has fallen,

Babylon the Great has fallen!

She has become a dwelling for demons,

a haunt for every unclean spirit,

a haunt for every unclean bird,

and a haunt for every unclean and despicable beast.

For all the nations have drunk

the wine of her sexual immorality,

which brings wrath.

The kings of the earth

have committed sexual immorality with her,

and the merchants of the earth

have grown wealthy from her excessive luxury.

Then I heard another voice from heaven:

 

Come out of her, My people,

so that you will not share in her sins

or receive any of her plagues.

For her sins are piled up to heaven,

and God has remembered her crimes.

Pay her back the way she also paid,

and double it according to her works.

In the cup in which she mixed,

mix a double portion for her.

As much as she glorified herself and lived luxuriously,

give her that much torment and grief,

for she says in her heart,

I sit as a queen;

I am not a widow,

and I will never see grief.

For this reason her plagues will come in one day

death and grief and famine.

She will be burned up with fire,

because the Lord God who judges her is mighty.

The kings of the earth who have committed sexual immorality and lived luxuriously with her will weep and mourn over her when they see the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off in fear of her torment, saying:

Woe, woe, the great city,

Babylon, the mighty city!

For in a single hour

your judgment has come.

 

God calls His people out of darkness (v. 4) in order to prevent them from being swept away in His judgment.

Revelation 18:20

Rejoice over her, heaven,

and you saints, apostles, and prophets,

because God has executed your judgment on her!

 

God will declare His final judgment on Babylon a final time.

Revelation 18:21

Then a mighty angel picked up a stone like a large millstone and threw it into the sea, saying:

In this way, Babylon the great city

will be thrown down violently

and never be found again.

 

Isaiah 13:19

And Babylon, the jewel of the kingdoms, the glory of the pride of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them.

 

Jeremiah 51:9

We tried to heal Babylon, but she could not be healed. Abandon her! Let each of us go to his own land, for her judgment extends to the sky and reaches as far as the clouds.

 

Jeremiah 51:61-64

Jeremiah told Seraiah, When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud. You must say, Lord, You have threatened to cut off this place so that no one will live in itman or beast. Indeed, it will remain desolate forever. When you have finished reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates River. Then say, In the same way, Babylon will sink and never rise again because of the disaster I am bringing on her. They will grow weary.’”

The words of Jeremiah end here.

 

In Romans 5:20-21, note whether or not is this true…

The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

If this is true, then Christ will use the tribulation as a place to bring many more to seek Jesus.

John 16:8

When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

 

Man does not want to acknowledge his sinfulness. Only the Spirit can prompt a person to recognize that he is lost and needs a Savior.

Even Adam did not acknowledge his own sin and tried to blame Eve. He tried to hide from the Lord. He did not want to deal directly with the sin.

Genesis 3:7-11

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, Where are you?

And he said, I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.

Then He asked, Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?

 

Do you see God’s grace in dealing with Adam and Eve?

Rather than trying to hide from the Lord, we are to bring our transgressions to Him.

Jesus will come and judge Babylon. The process is to begin in Revelation, Chapter 6 with the opening of the seals. In Chapter 7, God wants us to hold onto the message that is given to those who are faithful to the Lord.

Revelation 7:1-17

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, restraining the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel, who had the seal of the living God rise up from the east. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were empowered to harm the earth and the sea: Dont harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we seal the slaves of our God on their foreheads. And I heard the number of those who were sealed: 

144,000 sealed from every tribe of the Israelites:

12,000 sealed from the tribe of Judah,

12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,

12,000 from the tribe of Gad,

12,000 from the tribe of Asher,

12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,

12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,

12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,

12,000 from the tribe of Levi,

12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,

12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,

12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,

12,000 sealed from the tribe of Benjamin.

After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

Salvation belongs to our God,

who is seated on the throne,

and to the Lamb!

All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell facedown before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom

and thanksgiving and honor

and power and strength

be to our God forever and ever. Amen.

Then one of the elders asked me, Who are these people robed in white, and where did they come from?

I said to him, Sir, you know.

Then he told me:

These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.

They washed their robes and made them white

in the blood of the Lamb.

For this reason they are before the throne of God,

and they serve Him day and night in His sanctuary.

The One seated on the throne will shelter them:

They will no longer hunger;

they will no longer thirst;

the sun will no longer strike them,

nor will any heat.

For the Lamb who is at the center of the throne

will shepherd them;

He will guide them to springs of living waters,

and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

 

Jeremiah 50:4-5

In those days and at that time

this is the Lords declaration

the Israelites and Judeans will come together,

weeping as they come,

and will seek the Lord their God.

They will ask about Zion,

turning their faces to this road.

They will come and join themselves to the Lord

in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.

 

Revelation 14:1-5

Then I looked, and there on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with Him were 144,000 who had His name and His Fathers name written on their foreheads. I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of cascading waters and like the rumbling of loud thunder. The sound I heard was also like harpists playing on their harps. They sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders, but no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are the ones not defiled with women, for they have kept their virginity. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They were redeemed from the human race as the firstfruits for God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

 

This group was distinguishable from the other multitude because of their purity. They desired to stay pure before God.

During the tribulation period, God was able to keep the people with Him through the worst of circumstances. In your time of need, He will keep you, as well.

You can be in the midst of all sorts of false teaching, but you can choose what to believe. You can separate yourself from this teaching and discern what is right and good to hold onto.

Don’t buy into the lies that are being proclaimed today as truth.

God desires to use each one of us who takes a stand for Jesus Christ. If you value yourself as a child of God, then you will do what is necessary to remain pure before Him. Each one of us has a choice to practice holiness and remain pure before Him.

The group that is a vast multitude from all nations (Revelation 7:9) is people who are being saved because they proclaim the power of Jesus Christ. On earth, it was the Antichrist who declared his own power. The people noted “Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10b)

God’s will, in the worst of times, remains firm. He desires for those who choose to believe in Him to be saved.

Are you determined to follow the Lord?


Your Future…Is Jesus a Part of It?

Today’s message summary of January 4, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

How many of you truly believe that Jesus Christ is going to return? Are you prepared for it? Are you praying to see His return?

If you indeed are anticipating His return, you should be aware of the different views that have been taken from Scripture and be able to meditate over these views. We will not know which one is correct until the day of His return. We should always be thinking about His return, in contrast to being concerned about life as we live it, as it relates to how we can continue to develop our relationship with Jesus Christ. We can fall into a trap where we will look to the future may hold while leaving God out of it. God challenges us to think wisely over this and to include Him in your view of what is to come.

If we are thinking about Jesus Christ in comparison to this world, we know that the world is getting worse before it is getting better. Are we praying for a revival of the people?

Psalm 100:5

For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.

 

Psalm 117:2

For His faithful love to us is great; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Hallelujah!

 

God promises His people that He will be faithful to them, no matter what is happening around them. His Word is true.

Psalm 119:160

The entirety of Your word is truth, and all Your righteous judgments endure forever.

 

Revelation 3:10

Because you have kept My command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come over the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

 

Matthew 24:36

Now concerning that day and hour no one knows–neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son–except the Father only.

 

Matthew 24:31

He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

 

A lot of people may see the words written here as little more than mythology. Those persons may want to think differently.

Matthew 24:37-40

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

 

Luke 17:26-33

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man. People went on eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day Noah boarded the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It will be the same as it was in the days of Lot: People went on eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. But on the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, a man on the housetop, whose belongings are in the house, must not come down to get them. Likewise the man who is in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to make his life secure will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

 

Noah entered the ark because he believed God. No one else outside of Noah’s family heeded his message. Are you the type of person who hears from God and believes Him? It was Noah’s faith that allowed him to believe in God. He believed that there was going to be a flood without at first seeing it.

The Scriptures prepare us to be ready. Are you ready? Or do you believe that there is nothing to be concerned about and can go about life as it occurs?

Luke 18:8

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

 

Will He find any faith on earth? Consider the world’s condition and the absence of faith in countries in Europe, or even among people today. Will you remain faithful to Him before His return? The faith we are referring to is a saving faith from a belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you believe and trust in Him?

People today are looking for some sort of spirituality, but their looking in the places that do not involve Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:3-4

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

 

People will try to make light of the event of Christ’s return. Keep in mind that this will occur because there is a refusal to believe in His deity. To believe that Christ is coming back, along with the occurrence of the rapture and the coming of the tribulation is to believe that Jesus is true and that He keeps His word. It sanctifies the believer.

John 17:17

Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.

 

Keep watch on Israel. The Lord has made promises about the nation of Israel, and it bears watching how they fare in today’s world.

2 Timothy 3:1-7

But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people! For among them are those who worm their way into households and capture idle women burdened down with sins, led along by a variety of passions, always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

 

Here’s an important fact: God through the Holy Spirit cannot sanctify you unless you have the knowledge and wisdom that comes from God’s Word. Satan will give a person the impression that they are succeeding in something and make it appear to be a blessing, when in reality it is a person who fails to accept the truth, wisdom and knowledge that comes from a sincere relationship with Jesus Christ.

Is there a faith out there today? Is there a genuine belief in Jesus Christ?

Is there true instruction of God’s Word today, and do you know where to find it?

2 Timothy 4:3-4

For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.

 

Jude 1:17-18

But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they told you, “In the end time there will be scoffers walking according to their own ungodly desires.”

 

Have you observed the world’s behaviors and if they have intensified? Are people becoming more and more ungodly? Is our nation more and more ungodly?

Luke 21:28

“But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near!”

 

Look to Jesus Christ, who keeps all of His promises, and He will give you what you need. He will show you truth and wisdom if you merely trust in Him. God will keep you no matter what the storm brings. Make sure that you are anchored in Jesus Christ.


“The Talk” – When It’s Time to Share the Gospel

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

“Just wait until you’re father gets home!”

At that moment, when you heard those dreaded words from your mother, a sense of dread and doom was cast over you. You knew that the inevitable would happen once your Dad would hear the story about your latest transgression. When he gets home, your fate would be in his hands. Until that time, all that you want to do is hide somewhere. For those of you who remember the movie, A Christmas Story, Ralphie was hiding under the kitchen sink because he was afraid of what his Dad would do to him because he got in a fight. I thought of hiding in a closet or under my bed a few times. Maybe the amount of time it would take to find me would make everyone forget all about what happened…or, as I would find out later, maybe not.

As a parent, when my children looked at me as I was reprimanding them with my words and my very serious tone and facial expression, I could see the looks on their faces. They saw the unhappy father instead of happy Dad, and it wasn’t very cool. Their eyes were riveted to my eyes as they listened, and they were waiting for it all to be over and done with. They were enduring what I will affectionately refer to as “The Talk.” There are different names for this event, but the most effective “talks” are those that get the point across without the need for any other punitive action. If they are done correctly, the offense that is being addressed will never come up ever again.

When considering the impact of “The Talk,” the words spoken in this communication (and it’s pretty much a one-sided conversation) are made up of the following elements:

  • A subject
  • A statement of fact or facts
  • A declaration
  • A summary and conclusion
  • A clarification (as in “Do you understand?”)

All of us have been impacted in some way, shape or form by “The Talk.” Consider that it is not always communicated in a way that it is interpreted as negative or in such a way where you are being corrected; however, it should be noted that the gospel of Jesus Christ is indeed a message of love and peace that can be received either very positively or very negatively. Why is that? It’s interesting that a message that conveys hope can be seen either as a hopeful message, or as a message of dread.

When the mailman delivers a tax refund check to you, he is the greatest person alive at that very moment. When he delivers bills to you, not so much. When he is delivering a tax bill, he becomes an agent of Satan.

An important thing to keep in mind here is that it is not so much an issue as to how one responds to the gospel message—it is simply important to be the messenger and deliver the message.

Most of you are aware of the Great Commission verses in Matthew 28:19-20, but I want to share with you how Jesus had “The Talk” with His disciples after He rose from the dead because of their fear and unbelief that He indeed had returned. Note that, at the same time, He told his disciples to go and declare the truth to all the people:

Mark 16:9-20 (HCSB)

Early on the first day of the week, after He had risen, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons. 10 She went and reported to those who had been with Him, as they were mourning and weeping. 11 Yet, when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe it. 12 Then after this, He appeared in a different form to two of them walking on their way into the country. 13 And they went and reported it to the rest, who did not believe them either.

14 Later, He appeared to the Eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw Him after He had been resurrected. 15 Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages; 18 they will pick up snakes; if they should drink anything deadly, it will never harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well.”

19 Then after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the accompanying signs.

 

When you give someone The Talk, there must be substance within the message. There must be evidence that the words within the message have a meaning and a purpose to promote the greatest opportunity for understanding.

Jesus gave His disciples The Talk, and they listened. But even in their listening to His words, there had to be evidence to support Jesus’ words. Without evidence, the words lose all meaning and purpose. Jesus backed up each and every one of His words with evidential proof in the results of their obedience to His words. His words, as a result, became even more powerful and meaningful to them as they proclaimed the gospel.

OK, so with this in mind, we are to present “The Talk” of the gospel to others.

Maybe it will happen sometime later today. Perhaps it will even be tomorrow. It will almost certainly happen sometime in the near future.

Knowing this, are you prepared to give someone “The Talk” when the time comes?

You need to be ready. If you’re not ready now, you need to get ready ASAP.

Assuming you’re not ready, or at least not completely comfortable with this prospect, let’s take some steps to get you to a place where you’ll feel better about where you are.

First, keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is your guide in all discussions about the gospel of Jesus Christ. You’re less likely to trip over tongue-tied words if you allow the Spirit to guide you.

John 16:13 (ESV)

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

 

Luke 12:12 (HCSB)

For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said.

 

Next, you will need to read, study and pray over God’s Word in order to grow in your knowledge about Him, and as a result, become more confident in your message.

Psalm 1:2 (ESV)

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (HCSB)

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

 

John 15:7 (ESV)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

 

Finally, and most importantly, be consistent in your life as a believer in Jesus Christ to show yourself as a true follower of Jesus Christ. Your communication will be believable as you show the evidence of a Christlike existence.

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

 

Romans 5:1 (ESV)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Galatians 2:20 (ESV)

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

Proverbs 22:4 (HCSB)

The result of humility is fear of the Lord,
along with wealth, honor, and life.

 

Again, here is how you prepare to deliver “The Talk”:

  1. Read and study God’s Word to obtain greater knowledge and understanding about your relationship with Him
  2. Live with consistency as a believer to show yourself as a credible witness for Christ
  3. Allow the Spirit to speak freely through you at all times

This is how you will be ready when the Spirit prompts you to present the gospel message to a person. When He prompts you, keep in mind that, in your testimony, it is God who prompts a person to make a decision for Jesus Christ. It will be accepted or rejected, but all that God asks from each of us is His obedience in proclaiming the message.

Let’s look again at the elements of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is not just any talk, but THE Talk…

The subject – Salvation and Jesus Christ

The statement of facts

  • All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23)
  • The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a)
  • Jesus Christ died on the cross as a Sacrifice for all of mankind (Romans 3:25)
  • God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Jesus Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
  • The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23b).
  • If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9, 13)

The declaration

  • Jesus is the only way to salvation (John 14:6)
  • Forgiveness in Christ begins with repentance (turning away) of your sin (Mark 1:15)
  • Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31)

The summary and conclusion – You can have eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ.

The clarification

  • “Do you know what this means for you?”
  • “Do you know what to do now with this good news?”
  • “Are you ready to pray with me?”

(A quick note: Repentance paves the way for confession, and a mere confession with believing that Christ died for one’s sins is all that is necessary for eternal life. There are no other conditions for salvation—not in how much one believes or how much one knows or understands about Jesus Christ. All of that comes as a person grows and develops in his or her faith.)

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


God’s Plan of Salvation

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

We’re going to discuss salvation and having the knowledge as to whether or not a person knows if he or she is saved, and not because of what a person declares on their own–instead, it is a realization of what God says that you need to do to be saved. Many people claim that they are saved but yet they are not living like they are saved.

God has a plan for a person to be saved, and it is up to a person to acknowledge that it is necessary. The plan of salvation from God only comes through Jesus Christ and with the power of the Holy Spirit.

It is good news that God has provided this message to mankind. The good news that we read about in Luke 2 comes from the angel for all to hear.

Luke 2:10-11
10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.

The good news here is just more than just one thing (the announcement of Christ being born). Salvation is important, but it is only the beginning. Look at salvation as a mother giving birth to a child. Salvation is a new birth and we’re just beginning to learn how to walk with God.

What is in this message of good news? The good news refers to a Savior. The Jewish word is Messiah. The good news is used when speaking about salvation. It begins the instruction given to the people concerning what is needed for salvation…how one is to live as a believer in Jesus Christ…how to live as a Christian.

The meaning of the word “news” is new information–unknown information. The phrase “good news” is evangelise–meaning the messenger of good news. To evangelize is to proclaim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a gift unto us.

Gospel: good news /good tidings / good story
1. Teaching of Jesus
2. The story of redemption through Jesus Christ.
3. The history of the life of Jesus–from His birth through his youth and the period of life from age 29 (His baptism) through age 33 and His crucifixion.

Luke 1:34-37
34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”

35 The angel replied to her:

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the holy One to be born
will be called the Son of God.
36 And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Man will argue that it is not possible to be saved. A man ultimately does not determine under his own power as to his salvation. The power of the Holy Spirit is the one that moves one to recognize salvation through Jesus Christ. It requires faith and trust in the power of Christ. It means that God is speaking to you about your need for a Savior in recognition of your desire to repent from sin.

1 Corinthians 15:1-3
1 Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. 2 You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed for no purpose. 3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received:

that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures.

Christ was born to be the Redeemer for all of us.

Acts 2:21
Then everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Salvation is only possible through Jesus Christ. Man cannot save himself. It is up to each person to accept the gift of salvation. It is impossible for man, but completely possible for God.

It is truly good news that all you need to do is call on His name in order to be saved. After this, the Holy Spirit will be teaching you so much more.

Jesus says that He knows what is in the heart of a person, and He knows your sincerity. In your sincerity, if you call upon His name, He will definitely save you.

People are still caught asking the question “How can I be saved” or “I was saved once and I got saved again.” There is only one way to be saved (acknowledging that you need to repent from sin and acknoweldging that you need Jesus Christ, and you only need to do it once for your lifetime.

Many will need to take this message seriously in order to experience eternal life in Christ.

What else is in this message of good news?

Philippians 2:10-11
10 …so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow—
of those who are in heaven and on earth
and under the earth—
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is above all others. It removes all questions concerning His deity.

He is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30).
He is our peace with God (Romans 5:1-2; John 16:33; Philippians 3:7)
The good news reveals a joy that is not found in life. There is great joy (Luke 2:10). Also see Romans 5:2, 14:17.

It is a great joy to know that you are forever removed from the wrath of God through His salvation. In His righteousness, you are made righteous before Him because of your faith.

The good news tells us about Jesus as a Mediator.

1 Timothy 2:15
But she will be saved through childbearing, if she continues in faith, love, and holiness, with good judgment.

What does a mediator do for you?

1 John 2:1
My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the Righteous One.

The good news is for all people (Luke 2:10).

Ephesians 2:11-19
11 So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands. 12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. 14 For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, 15 He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. 16 He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it. 17 When the Messiah came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household.

Ephesians 3:6
The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

2 Corinthians 10:15-16
15 We are not bragging beyond measure about other people’s labors. But we have the hope that as your faith increases, our area of ministry will be greatly enlarged, 16 so that we may proclaim the good news to the regions beyond you, not boasting about what has already been done in someone else’s area of ministry.


God’s Presence in His Kingdom: Today’s Church

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
God intends for the Kingdom of God to be present through all believers. Each day there is a demonstration of how man, in failure to submit to authority, will destroy himself. Man has always rebelled against God. God gave man free will to do this. We can choose to be saved and love God or choose not to follow Him. When man fails to recognize His Kingdom, it does not change or have an effect on it. God has already numbered our days, and His Kingdom is still at work today. He rules over all that has happened on earth.

From the fall of man through the time when Jesus Christ rules on earth, God’s Kingdom has been present.

1 Corinthians 15:24-25
24 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet.

What is the relationship between the church and the kingdom? There is a distinction:

kingdom — Greek word Basileia
church — Greek word Ekklesia

The word ‘kingdom’ is used many times in the gospel while ‘church’ is only used three times. There is a change that takes place in the book of Acts where the church becomes the primary focus. The kingdom is secondary until the book of Revelation, where the kingdom becomes primary once more. Most New Testament letters are addressed to the churches–not the kingdom.

The kingdom of God in Scripture is the all embracing program of God’s divine salvation in history. All ages, people, the saving activities are related to the program of the kingdom.

Matthew 6:9-10
9 “Therefore, you should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Your name be honored as holy.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

The Christians carry out the will of God in the midst of Satan’s domain. God’s kingdom will come to earth and will be headed by Jesus Christ.

A kingdom is defined as the sovereign reign over a territory where a king exercises his rule.

Hebrews 1:2
…by His Son. God has appointed Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him.

There is, ultimately, one kingdom it signifies God’s universal eternal rule over all creation.

Psalm 103:19
The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
and His kingdom rules over all.

Psalm 24:1
The earth and everything in it,
the world and its inhabitants,
belong to the LORD.

God is in control over Satan. No one places limits on God. He places the limits…he rules.

Job 1:10-12
10 Haven’t You placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out Your hand and strike everything he owns, and he will surely curse You to Your face.”
12 “Very well,” the LORD told Satan, “everything he owns is in your power. However, you must not lay a hand on Job himself.” So Satan left the LORD’s presence.

Satan has hindered us from carrying out what God would have us to do for Him.

1 Thessalonians 2:18
So we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.

God will accomplish His will in His appointed time. Since God is reigning, believers can appeal to God to restrain Satan in order to serve God for His kingdom. The Holy Spirit’s presence is what convicts the hearts and minds of men and women. Believers are not of this world…we are of His Kingdom.

1 Thessalonians 3:11
Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you.

2 Thessalonians 2:5-8
5 Don’t you remember that when I was still with you I told you about this? 6 And you know what currently restrains him, so that he will be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, 8 and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the brightness of His coming.

The kingdom of God is advancing.

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.

The gospel of the kingdom is being carried out by the church. The church is the vehicle that carries out the message of the kingdom.

Luke 16:16
“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is strongly urged to enter it.

Stages of the kingdom:
1. God’s covenant promises with Abraham
2. God’s rule over Israel (Exodus 40:33-34)
3. The appearance of Jesus

  • The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21).
  • The kingdom of God has come to you (Luke 11:20).
  • Jesus is seen as the glory of God (John 1:14; Luke 9:29-32).

The church is not the kingdom, yet it carries out the work of the kingdom. The kingdom is presently working through the church to equip and educate for the purposes of advancing the gospel of the kingdom throughout the world according to the mysteries described by Jesus in His teaching.

Matthew 13:11
He answered them, “Because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them.

Matthew 20:1
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.”

Matthew 22:2
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son.”

The message of the church is the message of the kingdom.

Acts 8:12
But when they believed Philip, as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

Acts 28:31
…proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance.

Matthew 24:14
This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world[a] as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.

The relationship of the church and kingdom:

Philippians 3:20
…but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:13
He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.

2 Corinthians 5:20
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”

Matthew 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”