Tag Archives: name

The Church and its Priesthood (Part 6)

Today’s message summary of September 24, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

What is it to be a saint of God?  A saint is one who is consecrated to do the work of God.  It is to be an adopted son or daughter of God.  This, along with the title of being a priest of God, are all descriptive of people who are followers of Christ.  These are all names, but each one of them means something.  As a saint, you are to live in holiness.  As an ambassador, you are to proclaim Christ wherever you go.  You should know the reason and the purpose behind these names.  As a priest, you are a servant of God.  You are part of a royal priesthood before God in your service to Him.  With this representation comes responsibility.

You are someone that God chose to represent Him and to live for Him.  God is not here to serve us; instead, we are to serve Him.

The Levite, in service for God, had to make sacrifices in order to serve Him appropriately.  God has to be first in your life.  In order to be a priest, there cannot be anything that gets in the way of your dedicated service for Him.

In picking up where we left off before, we were discussing the importance of sound teaching.  Teachers are important.  We need to be mindful of the fact that Satan also teaches, as well.  He teaches others those things that are contrary to the ways of God.  He desires to get people off course in the service of God.  He will divide people and cause derision.

Exodus 17:7

He named the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites complained, and because they tested the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not?

Psalm 95:7b-9

Today, if you hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the wilderness where your fathers tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did.

The word of God is more important than any family relationship, and it may even divide family members.  When you want to draw near to Christ, someone may try to pull you away from Him.

The focus must be to remain of God, His covenant and to serve His people, just as the Levites were to do.

Deuteronomy 33:8-11

He said about Levi:

Your Thummim and Urim belong to your faithful one;

you tested him at Massah

and contended with him at the Waters of Meribah.

He said about his father and mother,

I do not regard them.

He disregarded his brothers

and didnt acknowledge his sons,

for they kept your word

and maintained your covenant.

They will teach your ordinances to Jacob

and your instruction to Israel;

they will set incense before you

and whole burnt offerings on your altar.

Lord, bless his possessions,

and accept the work of his hands.

Break the back of his adversaries and enemies,

so that they cannot rise again.

 

Hebrews 3:7-10a

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works for 40 years.

The character of a priest of God is something that requires time and building of one’s character.  Teachers must instill the principles to build the person up.  The teacher must take their role very seriously.  He is to teach God’s precepts and standards, and not his own way of thinking.

Romans 2:17-29

Now if you call yourself a Jew, and rely on the law, and boast in God, and know his will, and approve the things that are superior, being instructed from the law, and if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light to those in darkness, an instructor of the ignorant, a teacher of the immature, having the embodiment of knowledge and truth in the lawyou then, who teach another, dont you teach yourself? You who preach, You must not steal”—do you steal? You who say, You must not commit adultery”—do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob their temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?  For, as it is written: The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.

Circumcision benefits you if you observe the law, but if you are a lawbreaker, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.  So if an uncircumcised man keeps the laws requirements, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?  A man who is physically uncircumcised, but who keeps the law, will judge you who are a lawbreaker in spite of having the letter of the law and circumcision.  For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh.  On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heartby the Spirit, not the letter. That persons praise is not from people but from God.

In order to be an effective teacher, the student must have the desire to learn.

Additional characteristics of the character of a priest:

Ezra 7:5-28

Abishuas son, Phinehass son,

Eleazars son, the chief priest Aarons son

came up from Babylon. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he requested because the hand of the Lord his God was on him.  Some of the Israelites, priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants accompanied him to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes.

Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, during the seventh year of the king. He began the journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month and arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month since the gracious hand of his God was on him.  Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.

This is the text of the letter King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest and scribe, an expert in matters of the Lords commands and statutes for Israel:

Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, an expert in the law of the God of the heavens:

Greetings.

I issue a decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom, including their priests and Levites, who want to go to Jerusalem, may go with you.  You are sent by the king and his seven counselors to evaluate Judah and Jerusalem according to the law of your God, which is in your possession.  You are also to bring the silver and gold the king and his counselors have willingly given to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, and all the silver and gold you receive throughout the province of Babylon, together with the freewill offerings given by the people and the priests to the house of their God in Jerusalem.  Then you are to be diligent to buy with this money bulls, rams, and lambs, along with their grain and drink offerings, and offer them on the altar at the house of your God in Jerusalem.  You may do whatever seems best to you and your brothers with the rest of the silver and gold, according to the will of your God.  Deliver to the God of Jerusalem all the articles given to you for the service of the house of your God.  You may use the royal treasury[c] to pay for anything else needed for the house of your God.

I, King Artaxerxes, issue a decree to all the treasurers in the region west of the Euphrates River:

Whatever Ezra the priest, an expert in the law of the God of the heavens, asks of you must be provided in full, 22 up to 7,500 pounds of silver, 500 bushels of wheat, 550 gallons of wine, 550 gallons of oil, and salt without limit. Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven must be done diligently for the house of the God of the heavens, so that wrath will not fall on the realm of the king and his sons.  Be advised that you do not have authority to impose tribute, duty, and land tax on any priests, Levites, singers, doorkeepers, temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.

And you, Ezra, according to Gods wisdom that you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to judge all the people in the region west of the Euphrates who know the laws of your God and to teach anyone who does not know them.  Anyone who does not keep the law of your God and the law of the king, let the appropriate judgment be executed against him, whether death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has put it into the kings mind to glorify the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, and who has shown favor to me before the king, his counselors, and all his powerful officers. So I took courage because I was strengthened by the hand of the Lord my God, and I gathered Israelite leaders to return with me.

When you are in the midst of doing God’s work, God will provide all that you have need of to accomplish what you need to do.

  1. Ezra was a teacher.
  2. Ezra devoted himself to study and observance.
  3. He devoted himself to teaching God’s decrees.

Note that he was doing all of this while he and his people were in captivity.  The king had granted everything that he had asked for.  He even saw that God’s hand was upon him.

A believer who is devoted to serving Christ will live it out before others.  A priest is driven and devoted to His Word and searches Him out in order to develop a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

With sound teaching, everything is put in its proper place as a priest who serves God and others.  You are always ready to do what God has called you to do.

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Truth and Justice Meet Sin (at the White Throne Judgment)

Today’s message of August 28, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

A person has to make a decision as to how one will live for Jesus Christ.  It should be the desire of a person to love and serve others the way that Christ loves each of us.

Truth and justice will meet sin at the Great White Throne Judgment.  At this place, this will be the place where unbelievers will face judgment.  There will be believers present there, but not for judgment.  The believers will be at the judgment seat of Christ.  While believers will have eternity in Jesus Christ, everyone will have to reckon with their sin in judgment.

Numbers 32:23

But if you don’t do this, you will certainly sin against the Lord; be sure your sin will catch up with you.

A person will not be able to pass blame to others for his own sin.

Deuteronomy 24:16

Fathers are not to be put to death for their children or children for their fathers; each person will be put to death for his own sin.

Everyone will also eventually recognize that Jesus Christ is Lord–even if it is not on this side.

Philippians 2:9-11

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Revelation 20:11-13

Then I saw a great white throne and One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books.  Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works.

Why is Jesus on the throne to judge?

John 5:22-23

The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all people will honor the Son, so that all people will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

God entrusted all judgment to His Son, Jesus Christ for the purpose of those to honor Jesus Christ.

In heaven, there is no division.  The angels know.  Division takes place on earth among people.

Jesus said, “I and the father are one” (John 10:30).

At the White Throne Judgment, truth is revealed, and Jesus is the subject of those who are being judged.

John 3:18

Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.

What do you trust upon that can assure you of eternal life in Jesus Christ?  His Word is clear about the fate of those that believe in Christ and for those who do not.

“Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them…” (Revelation 20:11).

Some have said that the judgment takes place somewhere in space!  There is no place for those facing judgment by Jesus to run and hide.  There is no escape from His judgment, and no place to hide from the judgment of sin.

Revelation 20:12…the dead great and small will be judged either at the judgment seat of Christ or the Great White Throne Judgment.  There is no favoritism in God.  He will always judge in righteousness, and not according to man’s rules or standards.

Acts 10:34-36

Then Peter began to speak: “Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him. He sent the message to the Israelites, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ–He is Lord of all.

Galatians 3:28-29

There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.

Romans 3:21-22

But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed–attested by the Law and the Prophets–that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction.

 

Luke 18:10-14

 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: God, I thank you that I am not like other peoplerobbers, evildoers, adulterersor even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

The books were (will be) opened.  Another book is opened–the book of life.

The moment of birth, your name is entered.

At the moment of accountability for Christ, your name is entered there.

At the moment of death, failure to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior removes you from the book of life.

Matthew 7:13-14

Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.

Write down your name as if it were to appear in the book of life:

The life of _________________

Does your life emulate that of the life of Jesus Christ?  Remember that you will be judged as to how you are living for Jesus.

John 6:39-40

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Fathers will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

Galatians 2:19-20

For through the law I have died to the law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

John 6:42

They said, Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, I came down from heaven?

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

Matthew 16:24-25

Then Jesus said to his disciples, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 2:13

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

Philippians 3:7-10

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christthe righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christyes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.

John 6:28-29, 40

“What can we do to perform the works of God?” they asked. Jesus replied, “This is the work of God–that you believe in the One He has sent.”

“For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

You have to decide how to live.  There are two books.  Your life determines where your name will be written.

The books record all of our deeds–both good and bad.  Every word, thought and action is noted.

Stewardship is recorded:

  1. The money given to God–or not given
  2. The time given to God–or not given
  3. The effort in building or destroying His kingdom
  4. The lustful desires
  5. Hatred and unwillingness to forgive others

It is a judgment that is not of human standards (Acts 17:31).

People choose to go to hell by not believing there is a hell.

People can tell themselves that they do not need a Savior (Jesus Christ), and that they are as good or as righteous as He is.

People say, “I’ll take my chances,” and “let God judge my works.”

The righteous will be at the Great White Throne judgment as final witnesses and testimony for the great things that God has done in their lives.

Psalm 69:27-28

Add guilt to their guilt; do not let them share in Your righteousness. Let them be erased from the book of life and not be recorded with the righteous.

Have you accepted Jesus Christ, and died to self to live for Him, or are you in denial and continue to reject Him?

You must make the choice.


A Sovereign God Knows the Heart

Today’s message summary of December 20, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Today, I want you to see how God was working in the lives of people who were near Jesus Christ when He lived on earth. We will see how the sovereign God was at work. The Lord looks at the heart of the people as being most important.

1 Samuel 16:7-10

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

Jesse called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. The Lord hasnt chosen this one either, Samuel said. Then Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, The Lord hasnt chosen this one either. After Jesse presented seven of his sons to him, Samuel told Jesse, The Lord hasnt chosen any of these.

 

God is the one who chooses. Why is he doing so? It is because He knows the heart of the servant that He is choosing.

Jeremiah 17:9-10

The heart is more deceitful than anything else,

and incurablewho can understand it?

I, Yahweh, examine the mind,

I test the heart

to give to each according to his way,

according to what his actions deserve.

 

God rewards the person based upon his conduct.

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 Himself knew what was in man.

 

John 15:16

You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.

 

These verses set the stage to look at the life of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus Christ.

Joseph is very special in the life of Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-23

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. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. 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. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 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.” When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus.

 

God knew every thought that Joseph had about what was going on, but God recognized Joseph’s faithfulness, and confirmed this by affirming his desire to love and care for Mary, and also care for a son that was not his own.

God knew the heart and conduct of Joseph as a father and as a husband. Joseph stepped out and obeyed God, and his actions were pleasing to God.

Remember that the angel had spoken to Joseph about the reason that Mary was pregnant. Joseph respected Mary and remained obedient to the Lord as he never consummated the marriage until after Jesus was born.

God is dealing with many people around the world about the proclamation of Jesus Christ as Savior during this season, but it is only God who can provide the knowledge that people can accept Him for who He is.

Luke 2:4-7

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for he to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough–because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

 

Joseph was trusting the Lord that He would do what He had said, and was willing to walk with God even though he did not completely understand. God, however, provided wisdom and confidence along the way.

Matthew 2:13-15

After they were gone, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Get up! Take the child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy Him. So he got up, took the child and His mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt. He stayed there until Herods death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called My Son.

 

God asked Joseph to take his wife and child to Egypt. He remains obedient and faithful to God by doing what he was asked to do.

Matthew 2:19-23

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Get up! Take the child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, because those who sought the childs life are dead. So he got up, took the child and His mother, and entered the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned in a dream, he withdrew to the region of Galilee. Then he went and settled in a town called Nazareth to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that He will be called a Nazarene.

 

If God entrusted you with something, how would you be able to respond?

God does not always appear at times that are convenient to you.

I want you to catch the level of character that was demonstrated by Joseph in his faithfulness and obedience to Jesus Christ.

When you live for the Lord and serve Him, life is not all that simple. You will be challenged with your level of obedience. He will show you your own heart for Him.


It’s Already Fixed

Today’s message summary of December 6, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

In the wake of the headline of a recent shooting incident, the newspaper headline stated “God Can’t Fix This.” The reality is that God has already fixed it. It’s already fixed.

God is already involved. The solution is already there. It is in Jesus Christ. It is our choice to follow through with what God has already ordained.

God wants you to understand that it is already fixed. He wants you to walk in His ways. You will recognize it is fixed when you acknowledge the presence of Jesus Christ.

This is not the first time that God has been mentioned in the headline of a newspaper. It has been done over and over, and it has occurred throughout history thousands of years ago.

God has given His answer to man’s problems in two names: Jesus and Immanuel.

There is meaning in the names.

  • The name Jesus

Jesus is the Greek form of the name Joshua. It means Yahweh or Jehovah, which is “salvation.”

Jesus saves.

Jesus delivers.

Jesus rescues.

Matthew 1:21

She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.

Jesus had a divine purpose…a heavenly purpose. It was to save His people.

What was He saving the people from? Their sins.

Does this apply to you? Do you see yourself as righteous in your own eyes?

We need to believe this about ourselves…we are sinful people, and we need a Savior.

Jesus is the clearest view that we will ever have of God on this side of heaven.

John 14:8-11

“Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.

John 5:39

You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me.

God wants to fulfill His will through us. He is working in our lives to do just that–to be like Christ.

Acts 4:12

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.

People are free to choose. You are not free not to choose. You are not free to choose the consequences after your choices. Your choices will ultimate choose for you.

You are free to push Jesus out of life, but you will need to bear the consequences from such a choice.

Salvation is not just getting people into heaven–it’s God desiring to be in the lives of people. He wants to be in a personal relationship with you.

It’s your choice to live for Christ.

Psalm 31:14-15

But I trust in You, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” The course of my life is in Your power; deliver me from the power of my enemies and from my persecutors.

A man or woman will go to hell unsaved, but not unloved by God. It’s your choice to receive God’s love (John 3:16-17).

1 John 4:19

We love because He first loved us.

We cannot change the lives of other people. God has to do that Himself. We can live for Christ before others and love them as Christ loves them.

Without a relationship, there is no way to work out of your problems. Jesus Christ’s purpose was to deal with your sins–that is a relationship that He wants to have with you (Matthew 1:21).

Jesus has come to give us knowledge and understanding through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus fulfills His Name. Jehovah is salvation.

Salvation is a benefit for man, not God. All that takes place is for you–for us. God is the only One who can accomplish all of this.

What are the sins?

  1. The sin of unbelief
  2. The sin of worry
  3. The sin of debt (material things)
  4. The sin of anger (unable to forgive another person)
  5. Freedom from our past
  6. Deliverance from bad habits.
  7. Dealing with self

People will not acknowledge their personal issue with sin because they see themselves as righteous.

Proverbs 14:12

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

  • Immanuel – God with us.

Isaiah 7-8 – Assyrian army would flood the land with trouble until they cried out “O Immanuel!”

Hebrews 13:5-6

Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Philippians 1:6

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 1:4

He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves.


God Provides and Empowers His Witnesses

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

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

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

Revelation 11:1-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 4:23

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

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

Hebrews 9:14

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

Psalm 51:2

Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.

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

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

Titus 3:5

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

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

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

Matthew 17:3-4

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

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

Malachi 4:4

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

Exodus 7:20

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

1 Kings 17:1

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

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

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

You will finish on time.

Psalm 39:4

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

It is OK to stand alone.

2 Timothy 4:17

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

God is with you.

Romans 8:31

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

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

There is an appointed time.

Job 14:5-6

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

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

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

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

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

Egypt – idols; captivity of God’s people

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

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

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

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

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


Standing Up for Jesus

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Today we will look at Joseph of Arimathea (in the New Testament) about his faith and the steps that he took. We need to be reminded that Scripture reveals to us real people with real problems. No matter what occurs in life, we learn that all things bring us back to what it means to have God in your life.

There needs to be time a place where you will conclude “Jesus is all that really matters.” Will you stand up for Him? There needs to be a willingness to surrender your life to Him. It will not be about who you will keep or lose as friends. Your choice to follow Jesus will sometimes break up your family, too. In the end, Jesus is all that matters, even through the hardship and difficulty.

At some point you will have to stand up for Jesus and not be fearful or ashamed of Him, or ashamed of yourself for believing in Him.

One of things that we find out about Joseph of Arimathea is that he was wealthy. See if the following verses give a picture of Joseph’s life.

Proverbs 30:8-9

8 Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me.

Give me neither poverty nor wealth;

feed me with the food I need.

9 Otherwise, I might have too much

and deny You, saying, “Who is the Lord?”

or I might have nothing and steal,

profaning the name of my God.

 

Matthew 10:32-33

32 “Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.

 

Matthew 12:30

Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters.

 

Titus 1:15-16

15 To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.

 

As you read God’s Word, your mind is being transformed into a person with pure thought and discernment. A person who truly seeks God is transformed into a person who resembles Christ–a light in the world. Our actions define who we are before others.

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.

 

A lot of young people have to get to the point where they are not ashamed of who Christ is in the effort to preserve friendships and relationships.

Joseph of Arimathea is written about in all four gospels. Each one has a little something different to express, but all of them are key points.

John 19:38

Luke 23:50

Mark 15:42

Matthew 27:57

He was a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one (John 19:38).

A secret life is one of fearfulness. He was in fear of the Jews. You should not live in such a way where you are concerned about what someone may find out about you. Living a secret life for Joseph of Arimathea was out of a fear of getting caught and the truth being known. When you protect the things in your life and keep them hidden, your friends and family can’t know who you are. You are pretending to live in such a way when you’re not really doing it.

Fear, to be fair, is a very real experience for many.

John 20:19

In the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because of their fear of the Jews. Then Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”

 

Who did Joseph fear?

Luke 22:1-2

1 The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called Passover, was drawing near. 2 The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Him to death, because they were afraid of the people.

 

He was a member of the Council. He was against their decision. Note that these people were friends and coworkers, and some had the ability to hurt him in different ways:

  • His good name (Mark 15:43)
  • Physically (Matthew 10:28)
  • Financially (Matthew 27:57)

Mark 15:43

Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who was himself looking forward to the kingdom of God, came and boldly went in to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.

 

Matthew 10:28

Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

 

Matthew 27:57

When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph came, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.

 

Luke 23:50-51

50 There was a good and righteous man named Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, 51 who had not agreed with their plan and action. He was from Arimathea, a Judean town, and was looking forward to the kingdom of God.

 

Joseph came to a point in life when it didn’t matter what people thought of him, or what they would do to him. He couldn’t go in to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body without others finding out about it.

Joseph made a decision not on what he would lose or keep, or what people thought of him, but on what he believed about Jesus Christ.

Sometimes it takes a first step in living for Jesus, and the second and third steps become much easier.

 

Joseph went boldly (took courage) in taking a stand for Jesus Christ (Matthew 15:43). He took Jesus’ body down during the day (openly and in plain sight of others) (Luke 23:53). Note that he also only asked for the body of Jesus. If he wanted to keep it a secret he would ask for all three bodies. His focus was on Jesus.

 

Now, the secret was out. Everybody knew he was a follower of Jesus. Joseph was not concerned about what others thought of him.

 

Joseph took the body and prepared it for burial on Preparation Day. The Sabbath was about to begin (Luke 23:54).

  • He took the body down
  • He took it to his home
  • He had to wash the body
  • He had to anoint the body
  • He had to wrap the body
  • He took the body to the tomb that he had bought for himself
  • He had to go back home and purify himself before the Sabbath

 

Joseph’s action encouraged another person who came to Jesus by night…Nicodemus.

John 19:39-40

39 Nicodemus (who had previously come to Him at night) also came, bringing a mixture of about 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes. 40 Then they took Jesus’ body and wrapped it in linen cloths with the aromatic spices, according to the burial custom of the Jews.

 

When you stand up for Christ, others will see your efforts and take a stand for Christ, as well. When you live as a Christian should live, others will be encouraged in your faith and boldness.

Make up your mind to live for Jesus Christ every day. When you do, you will be an encouragement to others.


The Importance of Your Name

Message summary for sermon of June 15, 2014 from Pastor Gus Brown:

How do you value your name?  What’s in your name?  What is its history?  Does it mean more to you or to anyone else than just a signature on a check?

In today’s world, men will form their manhood or fatherhood according to how society has formed it, or you will view it from a biblical perspective, and you can be assured that your children will recognize it.  What legacy will you leave with your children?

Your name should be considered valuable and something that can be passed on to your children.  Does the honor of your name proclaim who you are in Jesus Christ?  Is it valuable to the persons you are giving it to?  Can they see the value?

In America, there is such a strong push for individuality and there is less of a respect for those that came before us.

Your name speaks of who you are.  A name should mean more to you than just earning a paycheck.  It has a value to it that begins with giving recognition to God’s name for what it is.  He is the one to be honored.  While you may not think much of your own name, God’s name is indeed special and He is to be glorified.

Ezekiel 36:22-23

22 “Therefore, say to the house of Israel: This is what the Lord God says: It is not for your sake that I will act, house of Israel, but for My holy name, which you profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will honor the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations—the name you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am Yahweh”—the declaration of the Lord God—“when I demonstrate My holiness through you in their sight.

 

In the same way that God is our glory in that He created us, the fathers today are the children’s glory.  The child honors the father because of how proud he or she is of him for his example.

God will (and has) shown Himself as all-powerful for His own namesake.

Psalm 138:2

I will bow down toward Your holy temple

and give thanks to Your name

for Your constant love and truth.

You have exalted Your name

and Your promise above everything else.

 

God’s Word is as good as His Name.  His Name is as good as His Word.

Your word is as valuable as your name.  Your word is no good if your name is no good before others.

God reflects his value of upholding the name of a man.

Numbers 27:1-7

1 The daughters of Zelophehad approached; Zelophehad was the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh from the clans of Manasseh, the son of Joseph. These were the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 2 They stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, and the entire community at the entrance to the tent of meeting and said, 3 “Our father died in the wilderness, but he was not among Korah’s followers, who gathered together against the Lord. Instead, he died because of his own sin, and he had no sons. 4 Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan? Since he had no son, give us property among our father’s brothers.”

5 Moses brought their case before the Lord, 6 and the Lord answered him, 7 “What Zelophehad’s daughters say is correct. You are to give them hereditary property among their father’s brothers and transfer their father’s inheritance to them.

 

Are you willing to stand up for your father’s name to honor Him?

Proverbs 3:1-4

1 My son, don’t forget my teaching,

but let your heart keep my commands;

2 for they will bring you

many days, a full life, and well-being.

3 Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you.

Tie them around your neck;

write them on the tablet of your heart.

4 Then you will find favor and high regard

in the sight of God and man.

 

Proverbs 22:1

A good name is to be chosen over great wealth;

favor is better than silver and gold.

 

Ecclesiastes 7:1

A good name is better than fine perfume,

and the day of one’s death than the day of one’s birth.

 

Your name, as a righteous name, permeates the air when it is proclaimed.  It is a welcome sound like a welcome scent in the air.

Fathers need to be the example that their children will see in how one brings honor to your name.

Deuteronomy 22:13-21

13 “If a man marries a woman, has sexual relations with her, and comes to hate her, 14 and accuses her of shameful conduct, and gives her a bad name, saying, ‘I married this woman and was intimate with her, but I didn’t find any evidence of her virginity,’ 15 the young woman’s father and mother will take the evidence of her virginity and bring it to the city elders at the gate. 16 The young woman’s father will say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man as a wife, but he hates her. 17 He has accused her of shameful conduct, saying: “I didn’t find any evidence of your daughter’s virginity,” but here is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ They will spread out the cloth before the city elders. 18 Then the elders of that city will take the man and punish him. 19 They will also fine him 100 silver shekels and give them to the young woman’s father, because that man gave an Israelite virgin a bad name. She will remain his wife; he cannot divorce her as long as he lives. 20 But if this accusation is true and no evidence of the young woman’s virginity is found, 21 they will bring the woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city will stone her to death. For she has committed an outrage in Israel by being promiscuous in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from you.

 

In this passage, the father’s name is being discredited.  There is a value of a person’s name within Scripture when you look at the principles of life as presented.  Here, it was the father’s responsibility to take care of the daughter, but his values are being attacked here.  Today, the values of whether a woman is a virgin don’t mean as much, but it is relevant to see the level of importance in honor of proving that the standards were upheld, and it was all about the honor of his name.

1 Timothy 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his own, that is his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

 

When you live in such a way where your children are ashamed of you, it will only cause a myriad of problems for them.

A lot of self-esteem problems have been based upon their name and where it comes from (the father).  The name must have an example where we are worthy of respect.  When we call ourselves “Christian” there should be a respect and honor of Jesus that comes with it.

The name of the family must be treasured, and fathers have the opportunity to honor their name by standing and living in integrity.

Proverbs 17:6

Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly,

and the pride of sons is their fathers.

 

Fathers, remember the importance of how you raide your children and set the example that your children can emulate in their own walk of fauth in Jesus Christ.  They will honor you when they remain consistent in Christ as they bring ongoing honor to your name in how they live.