Tag Archives: Messiah

Judas and His Heart

Today’s message summary of April 2, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

What was it that caused Judas to lose his heart for Jesus?

It is possible that Judas was originally drawn to Jesus because of his view of Him as the Jewish Messiah–believing in Him to be as such–and expecting Him to be successful as Judas would share in the victory of the Messiah?  In other words, he likely had the wrong view of Jesus.

John 6:15

Therefore, when Jesus knew that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.

This passage was disappointing to Judas because he was relying upon Jesus’ success in order for him to be able to realize his own ambition to be someone.

His second disappointment was when the Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus for a sign.  The sign would seal Jesus’ claim as the true Messiah.  When Jesus was challenged, He did nothing to substantiate His claim to be the Messiah.

Matthew 16:1-4

The Pharisees and Sadducees approached, and as a test, asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them: “When evening comes you say, ‘It will be good weather because the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘Today will be stormy because the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to read the appearance of the sky, but you can’t read the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then He left them and went away.

Luke 11:16

And others, as a test, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven.

Mark 8:11-12

The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, demanding of Him a sign from heaven to test Him. But sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation demand a sign? I assure you: No sign will be given to this generation!

Judas had struggles about who Jesus was throughout the period of ministry as he expected that Jesus would emerge as the Messiah, but it didn’t happen in the way that he expected that it would.  Jesus would not show a sign from Himself or from heaven.  Note that the Pharisees and Sadducees had already observed Jesus healing others, but that wasn’t sufficient for them.  They wanted to see a sign from heaven.

Are there any similarities in this view by Judas and how you may also have the same struggles with knowing Jesus?  It is not about merely knowing Jesus based upon what someone tells you, but rather that you get to know who Jesus is for yourself.  You have to develop a relationship with Him to get to know who he really is.

When Jesus backed away, Judas became more disenchanted with who Jesus was.

I also believe that today there are many people in Christian circles are also disenchanted with what they see today.

The challenge for everyone is to believe in Jesus Christ and be obedient to Him.  Judas lacked the ability to have faith and love in Jesus Christ.

How many of us are willing to dig deeply into His Word and to live in faith for Him in obedience.

Judas became more and more disenchanted in his heart.  His confidence in Jesus may have been adversely affected when John the Baptist was beheaded (Mark 6:24).  Jesus would not meet the public challenges of the Pharisees.

Two things that Jesus lacked:  faith and love.

He lacked the faith to believe what he had been taught and what he had already experienced with Jesus.

He lacked a love for the person of Jesus through the relationship that had been established for over two years.

At some point, Judas began to see Jesus differently than the other apostles saw Him.

1 John 2:19

They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us.

With this, Jesus could only watch and see what Judas would do.

Part of our struggle with Judas was that he was born to be the traitor that he was.  If that was the case, Judas had no choice to do what he did.

If Judas was chosen merely to be a traitor, this would make God responsible for the betrayal.  If God is responsible for the betrayal, then Judas’ act would exonerate him from all blame.

From God’s point of view:  Because He is God, He knows all things.  Even the heart of each person, and the very intent of the hearts of each one.

John 2:24-25

Jesus, however, would not entrust Himself to them, since He knew them all and because He did not need anyone to testify about man; for He knew Himself what was in man.

Judas was given every opportunity to be true to Jesus in the same way as the other apostles.  Was he not empowered, along with the other apostles, to teach, heal and cast out demons? (Mark 3:14-17, 19)

Judas was chosen to learn and act for Jesus, but he chose to act for himself—a different way of living:

  • A life of a thief (John 12:4-6).
  • A person who was going to gain for himself (Matthew 26:14-16). (Satan had not entered into Judas at this time.)
  • The love of money was real in Judas’ heart (1 Timothy 6:16).

Judas did not speak with the motivation of the perfume being sold to help the poor (John 12:4-6).  He spoke only in selfish terms here.  This was another indicator of a series of bad decisions that he made.

Satan entered into Judas at the Last Supper (John 13:27).

John 13:27

After Judas ate the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Therefore Jesus told him, “What you’re doing, do quickly.”

Betrayal can come in many different forms.

1 Timothy 6:9-10

But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

Judas reveals one can be knowledgeable of Jesus, associate with other believers, be in the church, and be in service for Jesus, but NOT have Jesus in their heart and Lord and Savior.

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Revelation: The Fifth Trumpet

A message summary from February 21, 2016 by Pastor Gus Brown:

As we start into Revelation Chapter 9, we will be looking closely at what occurs with the sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets.  In the midst of all of this, God is in control.

In these trumpets, we will see man at his worst in his stubbornness–they will resist submitting to God.

Free will is what was given to each of us to consciously make a choice as to how far we will go in serving the Lord.

Revelation 9:1

The fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to earth.  The key to the shaft of the abyss was given to him.

John witnessed this.  The star is different from the one who sounded the trumpet.

Satan will afflict man because God allows it, but he allows it with limits.  Satan and God do not share an equal amount of power.  God is more powerful than Satan.  Our power is derived from the power of God to defeat Satan with the living Word.

The star that fell from heaven was given the key to the abyss.  Stars also refer to false gods (Acts 7:43; Amos 5:26; Jeremiah 19:13).

Luke 10:18

He (Jesus) said to them, I watched Satan fall from heaven like a lightning flash.

Isaiah 14:12

Shining morning star, how you have fallen from the heavens! You destroyer of nations, you have been cut down to the ground.

Satan has the key to the abyss just for the moment.  Just because he has the key, it does not mean that he has control of it.

Revelation 1:17-18

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look–I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Revelation 20:1-3

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the abyss and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for 1,000 years. He threw him into the abyss, closed it, and put a seal on it so that he would no longer deceive the nations until the 1,000 years were completed. After that, he must be released for a short time.

Satan is not going to bound himself–Jesus is in control.  Whoever has the key is still under the control of Jesus.

What comes out of the abyss and what instructions are given to them?

Revelation 9:3-11

Then locusts came out of the smoke on to the earth, and power was given to them like the power that scorpions have on the earth.

They were told not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green plant, or any tree, but only people who do not have God’s seal on their foreheads.

They were not permitted to kill them but were to torment them for five months; their torment is like the torment caused by a scorpion when it strikes a man.

In those days people will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, but death will flee from them.

The appearance of the locusts was like horses equipped for battle. Something like gold crowns was on their heads; their faces were like men’s faces; they had hair like women’s hair; their teeth were like lions’ teeth; they had chests like iron breastplates; the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses rushing into battle; and they had tails with stingers like scorpions, so that with their tails they had the power to harm people for five months.

They had as their king the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he has the name Apollyon.

Demons can disguise themselves to look different.  The locusts that emerge from the abyss are demons with the power of scorpions to inflict pain.  John described the demons to the best of his ability.

God did not allow them to have the power to kill people, but they could cause pain and torture for a period of five months (Revelation 9:5).  They were instructed not to harm the grass, trees or people who had God’s seal on their foreheads (v. 4).

In the same way, God has allowed a person to experience pain and suffering, but for the purpose of the individual, or even those around the person, to see the power of God’s deliverance through healing and comfort.  When you begin to rely upon God and obey Him, He can change your life for the better.

God’s seal may or may not be visible, but the Lord will know who these people are and the angels know who they are.  Angels can see things that we cannot see.

2 Timothy 2:19

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, having this inscription: The Lord knows those who are His, and Everyone who names the name of the Lord must turn away from unrighteousness.

Titus 1:1

Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to build up the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.

Matthew 24:22

Unless those days were limited, no one would survive. But those days will be limited because of the elect.

Mark 13:22-23

For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and well perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the elect. And you must watch! I have told you everything in advance.

Ephesians 1:13-14

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession to the praise of His glory.

Ezekiel 9:3-7

Then the glory of the God of Israel rose from above the cherub where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. He called to the man clothed in linen with the writing equipment at his side.

“Pass throughout the city of Jerusalem,” the LORD said to him, “and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the detestable practices committed in it.”

He spoke as I listened to the others, “Pass through the city after him and start killing; do not show pity or spare them! Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, as well as the older women and little children, but do not come near anyone who has the mark. Now begin at My sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were in front of the temple. Then He said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go!” So they went out killing people in the city.

The elect of God are those that have accepted Christ as Savior.

The point here is that the locusts cannot hurt God’s people; yet, the ungodly are tortured for five months (Revelation 9:5, 10).  It reveals that God preserves His own and limits the others.

The leader of the locusts is described as a king (Revelation 9:11).  The angel’s name over the abyss was named Abaddon (Hebrew), or Apollyon (Greek).  Apollo was a Greek god and was also a demon.  Each of these names mean “destruction.”  Satan is his leader, and Satan’s mission is to kill and destroy (John 10:10).

Revelation 9:12

The first woe has passed. There are still two more woes to come after this.


What John Sees in Heaven (Revelation Chapter 12) – Part 1

Today’s message summary of July 12, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Last week, we spent time in Revelation Chapter 11, where we looked at the two witnesses of God and how God’s Word tormented the people present who were in the temple worshiping the Antichrist, and the people, when the two witnesses were killed, celebrated over their death. We need to see clearly the character of the people who will be living at that time, and that there was not even the decency to remove the witnesses’ bodies from the streets.  When the witnesses came back to life after 3 1/2 days, we see not long after this in Revelation 11:19:

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.

We will now look at Chapter 12 where John will describe what he sees in heaven. Revelation Chapter 12 is called by some as the key to understanding this book and all of the entire Bible.  Why? Because it reveals the conflict of the ages between Israel, Jesus Christ and Satan.  This chapter tells us of the conflct of the past and the conflict of the future.  Note that a lot of this conflict is taking place right now, but it is intensifying and it will continue to intensify.  Satan knows that his time is short.

The story has its main characters: Israel, Jesus, Satan, and we often that this is only about Israel. Please note the word, “nations.” Nations will include all other groups outside of Israel.

Matthew 24:7, 14

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

All nations will be involved in the presentation of the gospel, and then the end will come.

Revelation 18:3
For all nations have drunk
    the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
    and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.

Revelation 20:7-8

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.
Israel is used as a witness to every nation.

Revelation 11:9-10

For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.

All eyes, from every nation, are drawn to Jerusalem and the two witnesses.

In Revelation Chapter 12, a wondrous sign is seen in heaven:

Revelation 12:1-2
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in labor and agony as she was about to give birth.

That woman giving birth is Israel, the nation. She is in the process of giving birth to the Messiah.  This and the following passages will account for the past, present and the future.

Romans 9:4-5
They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Israel has been looking for the birth of the Messiah for some time.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us).

The promise of the Messiah was given in Genesis 3:15:

Genesis 3:15

“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

Hebrews 7:14-16
Now it is evident that our Lord came from Judah and Moses said nothing about that tribe concerning priests. And this becomes clearer if another priest like Melchizedek appears, who did not become a priest based on a legal command concerning physical descent but based on the power of an indestructible life.

Note the prophecy of the sun and the moon with Joseph:

Genesis 37:9-11

Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

This is what is revealed in Revelation 12:1.

The woman cries out in pain.

Matthew 2:16-18

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Another sign is revealed in verses 3 and 4 of Chapter 12:

The red dragon is a portrayal of Satan.  The color red is the color of blood, representing all of the bloodshed that he has caused.  Satan came to kill.

John 10:10a
A thief comes only to steal and to kill and destroy.

Satan is out to steal your spiritual wealth.

John 8:44
You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

Revelation 17:6
Then I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the saints and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.

Revelation 7:9, 14
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.

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.

We, as a society, have been slowly, but surely, desensitized over time about murder. The people are hearing more and more about it and are less and less likely to be outraged over it.

To not respond to situations when we know sin is being committed is, in itself, sinful. We are to live as a community and be responsive, but Satan continues to push us back out of the picture.  As “the light of the world,” there comes a point where we, as the body of Christ, must engage with members of society and be the light that opposes darkness.  As long as God gives us breath, we are called to be the peacemakers.


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 Involvement with His Creation

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Last week, we spoke about God’s plan for His creation and His involvement.  We discussed that His creation was for each of us.  He is the One who performs miracles for His people.

God makes Himself evident to His people through his miracles.  God comes to us, and He always has historically come to His people.  We are unable to go to him in our state of sin.  He must provide the path of fellowship for us, including a desire to seek Him.  Because He loved us, He wants us to have the desire to love Him.

God was involved with His people from the very beginning–at the time of creation.  His desire was to reveal Himself through Jesus Christ.

John 14:7

Jesus Reveals the Father

“If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”

The word “magnify” is to reveal oneself in a very practical way.  God has indeed revealed Himself and magnified Himself.  It is God’s desire to be involved with us–do we have the desire to be involved with Him?

Luke 1:26-38

26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her: 

Do not be afraid, Mary,

for you have found favor with God.

31 Now listen:

You will conceive and give birth to a son,

and you will call His name Jesus.

32 He will be great

and will be called the Son of the Most High,

and the Lord God will give Him

the throne of His father David.

33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,

and His kingdom will have no end.

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.”

 

38 “I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.

Shekinah glory – this is a word that was brought into the Hebrew language and developed over time.  It speaks of the manifestation of God’s glory.

God walked in the garden with Adam.  He made Himself evident to Adam, and note that Jesus did the same thing when He came to minister to His people and declare that He was the Messiah.

God will never leave us nor forsake us, but He must deal with our sin each day.  Sin causes a broken fellowship with Him.  He will not magnify Himself with us in the midst of a broken relationship.

Exodus 40:34-38

The Lord’s Glory

34 The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses was unable to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud rested on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

36 The Israelites set out whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle throughout all the stages of their journey. 37 If the cloud was not taken up, they did not set out until the day it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and there was a fire inside the cloud by night, visible to the entire house of Israel throughout all the stages of their journey.

The glory of The Lord filled the tabernacle.  The cloud represents God’s glory.

God spoke to Moses from the tabernacle and speaks with Moses and the people.

Solomon, many years later, built the temple that replaced the tabernacle.  God would speak to His people from there, where the Ark of the Covenant was located.

2 Chronicles 5:13-14

13 The trumpeters and singers joined together to praise and thank the Lord with one voice. They raised their voices, accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and musical instruments, in praise to the Lord:

For He is good;

His faithful love endures forever.

The temple, the Lord’s temple, was filled with a cloud. 14 And because of the cloud, the priests were not able to continue ministering, for the glory of the Lord filled God’s temple.

The cloud is God’s shekinah glory.

God with Adam

God with the tabernacle

God with the temple

God is demonstrating that He wanted to have a relationship with His people.

After the temple was destroyed, it was rebuilt around 515 B.C.  The glory of God returned to the temple even greater than in the past, and note that Jesus spoke to the people from that very temple.  God sent His son to be involved in our lives.  God’s glory and presence is there.  The shekinah glory is the very presence of the living God.

Shekinah is a resting place in God’s presence.

Titus 2:11

For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people.

1 Timothy 3:16

And most certainly, the mystery of godliness is great:

He was manifested in the flesh,

vindicated in the Spirit,

seen by angels,

preached among the nations,

believed on in the world,

taken up in glory.

He was manifested in the flesh–he appeared in the flesh.  This is a form of God’s shekinah glory.

In Luke 1:31, note the declaration of Jesus’ name represents Jehovah saves–He delivers–He saves us from our sins.  God is involved in our lives through His Son, Jesus.  It is a great and glorious name.  All throughout the world, the name of Jesus is known.  The name is from the Greek word Yeshua , which means that He will save His people from their sin.

Matthew 1:18-23

The Nativity of the Messiah

18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 See, the virgin will become pregnant

and give birth to a son,

and they will name Him Immanuel,

which is translated “God is with us.”

In Luke 1:33, it is noted that Jesus will rule over the house of Jacob…why?  The meaning of Israel means “to contend with” or “to wrestle with.”  If you look at Israel, they were often fighting with enemies, and often they were at odds with God.  God was trying to communicate that there was no more wrestling or fighting with Jacob.  In the same way, Jesus Christ was declaring that He was no longer wrestling with His people.  God has a standard that His people have continually struggled with.

Genesis 32:24-34

Jacob Wrestles with God

24 Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that He could not defeat him, He struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip. 26 Then He said to Jacob, “Let Me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me.”

27 “What is your name?” the man asked.

“Jacob,” he replied.

28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” He said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”

29 Then Jacob asked Him, “Please tell me Your name.”

But He answered, “Why do you ask My name?” And He blessed him there.

30 Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For I have seen God face to face,” he said, “and I have been delivered.” 31 The sun shone on him as he passed by Penuel—limping because of his hip. 32 That is why, to this day, the Israelites don’t eat the thigh muscle that is at the hip socket: because He struck Jacob’s hip socket at the thigh muscle.

The word “Jacob” means “to take by the heel” (Genesis 25:26).  The word means to supplant, or take the place of something.  Lord, are you saying that Jesus will take the place of the God of this world?  Are you saying that Jesus is the God we are to follow after instead of the God of this world?  Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophesy stated in Genesis 3:15:

Genesis 3:15

I will put hostility between you and the woman,

and between your seed and her seed.

He will strike your head,

and you will strike his heel.

The story of Christmas being shared is much deeper than what we know about each year.  The story is really the fulfillment of God’s promise that He will always be with us.  The story is the understanding of the depth of meaning with God’s presence–everyday in our lives.  He came to us while we were yet sinners to draw us near to Himself.


The Prince of Peace

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

In order to win friends and influence people, you need to be friendly, courteous, and good-natured.  It is much more difficult to convey friendliness when you are mean-spirited.  Your messages to others are best received when there is an underlying calm instead of those delivered with nervousness and tension.  It’s true that words used that are normally perceived as being courteous can have their meaning changed if they are spoken with forcefulness and with a negative intensity.  In order to have a positive influence on others, you need to show yourself as peaceful and approachable.  True, effective leadership rules with love and not with tyranny.

Jesus came to earth because He loved His greatest creation—mankind.  He wanted to reach them and culminate His plan of salvation and create the opportunity for everyone to have fellowship with Him for all eternity.  He would do so with His message of love and peace.

Luke 2:10-14

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.12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

14 Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favors!

His plan was to bring peace to those persons that recognized Him as Lord and Savior.  This is exactly what the gospel message is all about.

Fast forward to just a week before Jesus rose from the dead after His crucifixion, He was traveling with His disciples to Jerusalem at the culmination of His ministry on earth.  One of His comments as He approached Jerusalem, the main city of the Israelites, reflected His love for the Jewish people, the chosen nation, and at the same time His frustration with the people because of their inability to recognize who He was to them—their Savior of peace.

Luke 19:41-42

41 As He approached and saw the city, He wept over it, 42 saying, “If you knew this day what would bring peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.

His entry into Jerusalem in what we recognize today as the celebration of Palm Sunday.  It was a day of great celebration for the people who acknowledged Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah—the Savior of their people; yet, Jesus lamented that those who saw Him yet chose to ignore Him as the Messiah were already suffering from spiritual blindness.

Isaiah had already made the same declaration about Israel in the midst of His prophecy of Jesus’ coming.

Isaiah 42:18-22

18 “Listen, you deaf!
Look, you blind, so that you may see.
19 Who is blind but My servant,
or deaf like My messenger I am sending?
Who is blind like My dedicated one,
or blind like the servant of the Lord?
20 Though seeing many things, you do not obey.
Though his ears are open, he does not listen.”

21 The Lord was pleased, because of His righteousness,
to magnify His instruction and make it glorious.
22 But this is a people plundered and looted,
all of them trapped in holes
or imprisoned in dungeons.
They have become plunder
with no one to rescue them
and loot, with no one saying, “Give it back!”

Note Jesus’ words to the physically blind man who had previously spoken to the Pharisees about Jesus’ healing power, and the response of the Pharisees:

John 9:35-41

35 When Jesus heard that they had thrown the man out, He found him and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 “Who is He, Sir, that I may believe in Him?” he asked.

37 Jesus answered, “You have seen Him; in fact, He is the One speaking with you.”

38 “I believe, Lord!” he said, and he worshiped Him.

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.”

40 Some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and asked Him, “We aren’t blind too, are we?”

41 “If you were blind,” Jesus told them, “you wouldn’t have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see’—your sin remains.

In spite of Israel’s continual inability to maintain a relationship with God all throughout their history and even see the true Messiah with their very eyes, Jesus still declared His love for His people.  He came to them in peace because He knew that those who would follow Him would do so with His message of peace.  He also knew that those who would not accept Him would cause division.

Luke 12:49-54

49 “I came to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already set ablaze! 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how it consumes Me until it is finished! 51 Do you think that I came here to give peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52 From now on, five in one household will be divided: three against two, and two against three.

53 They will be divided, father against son,
son against father,
mother against daughter,
daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law,
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Jesus came to us in peace, but the results of His ministry were anything but peaceful.  He reached many people with His message of peace beyond human understanding, and he also brought change that stirred the people towards a true worship and fellowship with God—much to the consternation of the Jewish religious leadership.

Matthew 21:1-11

1 When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, you should say that the Lord needs them, and immediately he will send them.”

This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:

Tell Daughter Zion,
“Look, your King is coming to you,
gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
even on a colt,
the foal of a beast of burden.”
(Isaiah 62:11; Zechariah 9:9)

The disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt; then they laid their robes on them, and He sat on them. A very large crowd spread their robes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. Then the crowds who went ahead of Him and those who followed kept shouting:

Hosanna to the Son of David!
He who comes in the name
of the Lord is the blessed One!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!
(Psalm 118:25-26)

10 When He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds kept saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee!”

There are several items of note to consider with Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem.

1.  The donkey

Jesus chose the donkey because it was a humble way to enter the city.  It was an Eastern tradition that the donkey was an animal of peace.  Most kings or noblemen used horses in the day, which symbolically represented a declaration or presence of war.  The donkey was more of a communication that Jesus came in peace with a message of peace.  He came as the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on His shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor,
 Mighty God,
Eternal Father,
 Prince of Peace.

2.  The clothing and the palm branches

In many lands in the ancient Eastern region, it was customary to cover the path of someone who was worthy of honor.  This honor was bestowed upon Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, in 2 Kings 9:13.  In Jesus’ case, there were people putting their clothing on the ground along with cut palm branches (from the Greek word phoinix).  There was an existing Jewish tradition—the Feast of Tabernacles—that involved the use of palm branches as part of the celebration (Leviticus 23:40).

In Greco-Roman culture of the Roman Empire, the palm branch was also viewed as a symbol of victory and triumph.  In ancient Egyptian religion, the palm was carried in funeral processions as a representation of eternal life.  It later became a symbol of Christian martyrdom as a symbol of spiritual victory over death.  Take a look at Revelation 7:9 for another significant use of palm branches:

Revelation 7:9

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.

Jesus entered the city with humility and the people responded to Him as royalty.  Imagine His presence with the showering of clothing and palms with the joyous shouts of the people.  What a glorious moment it must have been for the people!  It was a celebration, and He was the reason for the celebration.

3.  The use of the word “Hosanna”

Hosanna comes from the use of similar words in both Greek and Hebrew to mean “save” or “rescue” (possibly “Savior”).

Psalm 118:25

Lord, save us!
Lord, please grant us success!

Mark 11:8-10

Many people spread their robes on the road, and others spread leafy branches cut from the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed kept shouting:

Hosanna!
He who comes in the name
of the Lord is the blessed One!
10 The coming kingdom
of our father David
 is blessed!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!

The people who saw Jesus were making a public declaration—with a loud shout—that He was the Messiah that brought salvation to their people.  He was the provision, and it would be less than a week from that time when Jesus was the One who would sacrifice Himself for their sin in order to them to receive eternal life.  He was the Lamb without blemish who was slain for all of us.

John 3:16-17

16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

When we look at Palm Sunday, the traditional beginning of Holy Week, let us remember the symbolic significance of the events of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem—the very nature of who Jesus is to each of us and how much He gave to us:

  • The One who loves His people unconditionally
  • His example of humility
  • His deity as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (clothing dropped before Him)
  • The representation of eternal life (the palm branches)
  • His presence of peace that surpasses all understanding

John 14:27

27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.

In a few short days, the joyful celebration experienced that day would be a distant memory because of the shocking development when Jesus went to the cross.  No one, at that time, would understand why it happened or that it even had to happen the way it did, but we all know today that it had to happen in order for Him to provide salvation from our sins.  His holiness, through the sacrificial blood of Christ, covers our sins.  He saves His people.  It all started with how Jesus loved us, and He still loves us—each and every one of us.  It is a reason to celebrate Jesus Christ for everything He has done for us.  Hosanna in the highest!

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.


Audio – The Lord’s Table: The Body and The Blood

Today’s message on the significance of the Lord’s Table from Melvin Gaines (Body) and Pastor Gus Brown (Blood) in downloadable audio format.  You will need QuickTime or an MP3 player on your computer or music player to listen.

01_The_Lord_s_Table__The_Body_and_The_Blood_-_Part_1.mp3

02_The_Lord_s_Table__The_Body_and_The_Blood_-_Part_2.mp3

03_The_Lord_s_Table__The_Body_and_The_Blood_-_Part_3.mp3

04_The_Lord_s_Table__The_Body_and_The_Blood_-_Part_4_and_Conclusion.mp3