Tag Archives: perish

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

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

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

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

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

Hosea 4:6 KJV

My people perish from a lack of knowledge.

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

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

Acts 17:11

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

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

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

Acts 20:27

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 23:8

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

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

Matthew 15:7-9

Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said: These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.

Luke 11:42

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

Luke 11:52

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

God desires for sincere worship and praise before Him.

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

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

Luke 2:46

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

Matthew 4:17

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

Luke 4:14-15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 3:16-17

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

John 4:34

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

John 5:19-20

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

2 John 1:9

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

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

Deuteronomy 4:12-14

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

Isaiah 48:17

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

Jeremiah 32:33

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

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

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

John 7:46

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

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The Seven Bowls

A message summary from April 24, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Revelation 16:1-2

Then I heard a loud voice from the sanctuary saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” The first went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and severely painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.

Even in the midst of God’s judgment and wrath, He still does want people to repent from their sin and turn to Him.

Jesus is giving direction through the last of the seven bowls.

A loud voice was coming from the temple.  It belonged to Jesus.

Revelation 15:5-8

After this I looked, and the heavenly sanctuary—the tabernacle of testimony—was opened. Out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, dressed in clean, bright linen, with gold sashes wrapped around their chests. One of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven gold bowls filled with the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. Then the sanctuary was filled with smoke from God’s glory and from His power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

There was such glory and power that was present where no one could enter.  The great voice that comes out in Rev. 16:1 is that of Jesus Christ.  There is no great joy in what He is taking place, because we must remember that even though He is just and right, He still desired for all to be saved.

Isaiah 66:6

A sound of uproar from the city! A voice from the temple–the voice of the Lord, paying back His enemies what they deserve!

Revelation 11:15

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!”

Revelation 14:8-10a

A second angel followed, saying: “It has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, who made all the nations drink the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath.” And a third angel followed them and spoke with a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is mixed full strength in the cup of His anger.

While there are woes on earth, there is an excitement in heaven.  The excitement is the kingdoms of the earth are becoming part of the kingdom of heaven. God is not joyful in all of what will take place, because He loves even the worst of those who are sinners.

The pouring of the bowls will be a time a great distress.

Matthew 24:21

For at that time there will be great tribulation, the kind that hasn’t taken place from the beginning of the world until now and never will again!

Bowl: a vial with a wide mouth.  A bowl has a wide opening at its top.  A bowl pours out its contents all at one time.  This implies that His wrath will happen very quickly.  I think that the reason God does this is because He knows that this will be so terrible that it is to be done as quickly as possible.

The judgment of sin will move and end quickly. God will take swift action, which also still will reflect His grace and mercy.

God does indeed love everyone He has created.  There is not a person who God hates.

The judgment will be over quickly because:

Jeremiah 6:10

Who can I speak to and give such a warning that they will listen? Look, their ear is uncircumcised, so they cannot pay attention. See, the word of the Lord has become contemptible to them–they find no pleasure in it.

There comes a time when talking is over.

Ezekiel 18:23, 32

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “Instead, don’t I take pleasure when he turns from his ways and lives?

For I take no pleasure in anyone’s death.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “So repent and live!”

Understand that the heart of God will not take pleasure in punishing His children.  Remember that He witnessed His Son dying on the cross for all of mankind.

Ezekiel 33:11

Tell them: As I live” — the declaration of the Lord God — “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live. Repent, repent of your evil ways! Why will you die, house of Israel?

Ephesians 1:5

He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will.

Even God Himself does not get what He desires.  Some will perish even though He does not want that to happen.

We can’t picture God wrestling over this issue, but you can understand it better if you can see that God does not want any to perish, and that His love for us is measured in how Jesus Christ died for us.

The person born again in Jesus Christ is a completely different individual.  That is His pleasure…to see people get saved, and not be condemned.

He won’t make you do something that you don’t want to do.  His pleasure is to see His children get saved and not to suffer under His condemnation, for He will still act in righteousness. He is true to Himself.

 

 

 


The Sixth Seal: God’s Witness of Himself

Today’s message summary of November 8, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

When we looked at the fifth seal last week, we saw the people under the altar who had died for Jesus Christ, and that they were prepared to do so. People were persecuted and gave their lives. Those people asked how much longer would it be before God would “judge and avenge our blood from those who live on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10b)

When the sixth seal was opened, God will show Himself.

The sixth seal takes John from what he sees in heaven back to the physical world.

Revelation 6:12-16

Then I saw Him open the sixth seal. A violent earthquake occurred; the sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair; the entire moon became like blood; the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fid tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a high wind; the sky separated like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”

 

When God reveals Himself to some of us, we don’t see His majesty or His glory. There will come a time when they will acknowledge it.

The first five seals were directed toward specific areas. The sixth seal was a universal revelation. All people will be affected. Everyone will fear it. It will touch every life, regardless of stature or wealth.

  • There will be a great earthquake (there is no mention of death–previous seals do mention death).
  • The sun will turn black (when the sun does not shine, it will be very cold).
  • The moon will turn blood red.
  • The stars will fall to the earth (stars dying out like shooting stars).
  • The sky will recede (separate) like a scroll (Acts 7:55-56).
  • Every mountain and island will be removed.

These things take place not by the power of man; instead, they take place in order that everyone can see and be affected by them. It is to cause man to think and to choose.

Colossians 1:16-17

For everything was created by Him,

in heaven and on earth,

the visible and the invisible,

whether thrones or dominions

or rulers or authorities

all things have been created through Him and for Him.

He is before all things,

and by Him all things hold together.

 

Joel 2:10-11, 30-32

The earth quakes before them; the sky shakes. The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars cease their shining. The Lord raises His voice in the presence of His army. His camp is very large; Those who carry out His command are powerful. Indeed, the Day of the Lord is terrible and dreadful–who can endure it?

 

I will display wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and awe-inspiring Day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved, for there will be an escape for those on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as the Lord promised, among the survivors the Lord calls.

It is God’s desire that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9); therefore, He continues to reveal Himself today.

He will certainly do this on the day of wrath, but even then, while he carries out his wrath, His mercy will still be present, for people who acknowledge He is Lord even at that moment will be saved (2 Peter 3:9).

Jeremiah 4:23

I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty. I looked to the heavens, and their light was gone.

 

Matthew 24:29-30

Immediately after the tribulation of those days: The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the celestial powers will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the peoples of the earth will mourn; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

 

Even though God desires everyone to come to Christ, some will simply refuse.

Romans 1:18-20

For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.

 

Every person has to make that decision: “Is He God?”

Whenever death is at the door, God’s grace and forgiveness is also there. A person only has to chose to repent and believe.

During the revealing of the sixth seal, man’s free will to choose is still present (Revelation 6:15-17). Look at the hearts of the kings, nobles, military commanders, the rich, powerful and everyone else. All of humanity is included. God revealed Himself, and they surely had seen Him. They didn’t understand, though, that they could not hide from God in their rejection of Him. Death for them was not the end at all–it was merely the beginning.

Luke 23:28-30

But turning to them, Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and your children. Look, the days are coming when they will say, ‘The women without children, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed, are fortunate!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’

 

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 body and soul in hell.

 

Isaiah 2:8-12, 19-21

Their land is full of idols;

they bow down to the work of their hands,

to what their fingers have made.

So humanity is brought low,

and man is humbled.

Do not forgive them!

Go into the rocks

and hide in the dust

from the terror of the Lord

and from His majestic splendor.

Human pride will be humbled,

and the loftiness of men will be brought low;

the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.

For a day belonging to the Lord of Hosts is coming

against all that is proud and lofty,

against all that is lifted upit will be humbled

 

People will go into caves in the rocks

and holes in the ground,

away from the terror of the Lord

and from His majestic splendor,

when He rises to terrify the earth.

On that day people will throw

their silver and gold idols,

which they made to worship,

to the moles and the bats.

They will go into the caves of the rocks

and the crevices in the cliffs,

away from the terror of the Lord

and from His majestic splendor,

when He rises to terrify the earth.

 

You may escape God’s judgment for a moment, but it will catch up to you. God may give you a head start, but you will not outrun Him!

Unbelief is among all people. The gospel, however, speaks to all people. No one dies without God, in some way or some form, manifesting Himself before him.

There is one thing that man cannot stop, and that is the will and work of God. His truth will prevail, for in Jesus Christ, there is already victory.

May we be such a people that is caught up in His glory and His presence in order to live as a testimony of Jesus Christ.


Isaac and Ishmael: Where the Conflict Began

Today’s message summary of January 25, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

As we continue this study on the End Times, we need to be able to see that God is exactly who He says He is…the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 22:13).

God has a plan, for sure, but note that Satan is allowed to act within God’s plan. He is more of a reactionary, and it is his desire to wreck God’s plan for your life. He cannot thwart God’s plan or avert it. God will accomplish what He says He will do.

In the End Times, the Word reveals that all nations will be against Israel.

Note that Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. It really began to take off after September 11, 2001. Have you ever considered that, at some time, Islam may be such a prominent teaching in America; yet look and see at the number of different teachings that we have here today. Even for those who call themselves Christians, there are those where the evidence of their Christianity cannot be seen in how they live their lives. Those that are saved are truly His, and God has affirmed that there will always be a remnant of His people.

Look at the signs of the times today, for they are very serious.

Mohammed, around 622, declared that the Jews were the enemies of Allah, when he had demanded that the temples were to be closed to worship Allah. Today, we see how the Jews and Islam are enemies today. There is either a submission to the Lord, or to Allah. As Christians, we submit to Jesus Christ.

Luke 18:8

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

 

Romans 10:17

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

 

Everywhere you look today, the name of Jesus Christ is trying to stifle the name of Jesus and His message. If you remove the name of Jesus, what happens to faith?

If you are really seeking God, He will reveal Himself.

Hosea 4:6

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from serving as My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your sons.

 

2 Corinthians 2:11

I have done this so that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his schemes.

 

Matthew 16:3

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.

 

Sometimes we get so busy living that we miss what is taking place around us, and Satan is very subtle.

Has anyone seen the significance of Russia’s recently signed pact with Iran? Do you see the significance of this alliance in preparation for the number of nations who are aligning against Israel? Refer to Ezekiel 38 to see this prophesy.

The son of Hagar and the son of Sarah are the two covenants that God is using to set the stage for the final resolution of the struggles between the children of Ishmael and Isaac.

We need to remember, however, that Isaac is the recipient of God’s promise through Abraham, while Ishmael was in the flesh; yet God promised that he would have numerous descendants.

Both Jews and Arabs are descendants of Abraham. God noted in Genesis that Ishmael and Isaac and their descendants would live in conflict.

There are many people all over the world, including those who are followers within Islam, but we need to remember that just being good is not enough to have fellowship with God. This applies to people who profess to be Christians, as well.

The name Ishmael means “God hears.”

Genesis 21:17

God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard the voice of the boy from the place where he is.

 

The lesson in Genesis 21 about God’s love for Abraham and His respect for Abraham’s love for Isaac and Ishmael is the same as how God loves each and every one of us; yet, there is a difference–a distinction–between those people that He loves who have His promise and those who are in the flesh.

The name Isaac means “laughter.”

Genesis 17:17

Abraham fell facedown. Then he laughed and said to himself, “Can a child be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, give birth?

 

Genesis 18:12

So she laughed to herself: “After I have become shriveled up and my lord is old, will I have delight?”

 

When God promises something, is it too hard for God to accomplish it? God can, and will, provide.

Note that Abraham and Sarah, in their own plan to have a child, did not originally believe God’s promise and contrived their own plan to have a child through Hagar, Sarah’s slave. Their plan was not of the Spirit–in was in the flesh. God allowed it to happen, and because Abraham was deemed righteous before God, He responded to Abraham’s love for Ishmael and noted that he would have many descendants.

Genesis 16:9-12

Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “You must go back to your mistress and submit to her mistreatment.” The Angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will greatly multiply your offspring, and they will be too many to count.”

 

Then the Angel of the Lord said to her: You have conceived and will have a son. You will name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your cry of affliction. This man will be like a wild donkey. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; he will live at odds with all his brothers.

2 Peter 2:5

…and if He didn’t spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when He brought a flood on the world of the ungodly.

 

2 Peter 3:3-4

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

 

Matthew 24:38-39

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

 

Genesis 18:14

Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”

 

God is the Orchestrator of the End Times. It is the work of God that we are spiritual beings–born again. It is through a belief in Jesus Christ that this work is being accomplished.

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.

 

Romans 9:7-8

Neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants. On the contrary, your offspring will be traced through Isaac. That is, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but the children of the promise are considered to be the offspring.

 

Galatians 4:22-30

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and the other by a free woman. But the one by the slave was born according to the impulse of the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things are illustrations, for the women represent the two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery–this is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written: Rejoice, childless woman, who does not give birth. Burst into song and shout, you who are not in labor, for the children of the desolate are many, more numerous times than those of the woman who has a husband. Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as then the child born according to the flesh persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so also now. But what does the Scripture say? Drive out the slave and her son, for the son of the slave will never be a coheir with the son of the free woman.

 

Note the descendants of Ishmael:

Genesis 25:17-18

This is the length of Ishmael’s life: 137 years. He took his last breath and died, and was gathered to his people. And they settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt as you go toward Asshur. He lived in opposition to all his brothers.

 

What are the times showing us today? Are we aware of the signs and what is happening?

There are two covenants in place with Isaac and Ishmael. God, in His sovereignty, promises to His people that they are truly saved and are not appointed to wrath.

Israel is comprised of approximately 8,000 square miles and has a population of about 6 million people. The nations that make up Islam make up approximately 8.8 million square miles with a population of 804,500,000 people. Can you see how God will need to intervene? Perhaps that is why the Scripture notes that God would have to intervene to prevent all from perishing.

Psalm 83:3-8

They devise clever schemes against Your people; they conspire against Your treasured ones. They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation so that Israel’s name will no longer be remembered.” For they have conspired with one mind; they form an alliance against You–the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them; they lend support to the sons of Lot.

 

As we step into this further, should we not conclude that Satan is gathering people together to fight against Christ and those who will ultimately stand for Christ?


God Works in Patience and Order

A summary of Pastor Gus Brown’s message of December 7, 2014:

God’s work is performed with patience and order.

1 Corinthians 14:33a

since God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

 

God is never in a hurry. He has all the time in the world. We need to understand this about our God.

God appointed the day in which His son would come the first time. While we do not know the day when He will return, God’s promise is that He will return some day. He keeps His word.

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

 

God is at work with every person alive today. He is working to have people come to the realization that there is a need for Jesus Christ. Even more personally, He is doing a work in you to bring you to a close relationship with Him, and He is patient in doing so.

Hebrews 1:2

In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son. God has appointed Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him.

 

Jesus is in center stage because God has brought him forth as the One who is spoken about by many people and nations.

  1. The time had fully come.

Galatians 4:4

When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.

 

The time before Jesus had to occur before Jesus’ presence. Many people lived according to where they were accustomed to–according to their own desires. Many had to realize that they could not live complete lives without God, and that they certainly could not save themselves. This is the area in Scripture covered from Genesis 3:15 to Matthew 2:11.

Mark 1:15

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!”

 

Ephesians 1:7-10

7 We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him 10 for the administration of the days of fulfillment—to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him.

 

Is God doing something in your life? God will reveal things to you in order for you to see how He has a time and a place for you to serve Him (see how God did this to Moses in Acts 7:25 and 7:30).

  1. God sent His Son
    • God states His pre-existence as well as His divine nature.
    • He states His plan of incarnation as God in the flesh (Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 2:14).
    • He reveals His willingness to participate with us (Genesis 3:8).
    • He sent His Son to show His love for us (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).
    • He sent His Son to redeem us from our sin (Matthew 20:28; Romans 8:3; Acts 12:11; Acts 6:23).
  1. Jesus was born of a woman (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:34).
    • God works within the Law that He ordained for mankind.
    • His life would come through a woman. Jesus was not created in the same way that Adam was.
    • He was born under the general laws of man and the Law of God, which covered both Jews and Gentiles (Romans 2:13, 3:9). Jesus was placed under the authority of both the general law and the Mosaic Law and grew up under both of them (Luke 2:21; Leviticus 12:3; Genesis 17:12; Luke 2:52).

God has backed up everything that He says, and He will continue to do so. It is all in His character to do so:

Numbers 23:19

God is not a man who lies,

or a son of man who changes His mind.

Does He speak and not act,

or promise and not fulfill?

 

Rely upon God’s Word. As a God of patience and order, He follows His Word. He wants us to do the same because it is good for us. His Word is good for you. He is always working and will send you what you need when you trust in Him.


Discernment is a Godly Attribute

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

In an election year, there are dozens of radio ads and television commercials that air to provide information for the voting public.  The commercials are a blend of opposing views that run early and often on a daily basis up until Election Day.  The intent of these advertisements is to do one thing and one thing only…to persuade the listener or viewer to choose the side representing their position.  These ads are never vague or unclear as to what side is represented because the information tips the scales in the favor of the group who is sponsoring the commercial.

In the midst of these commercials are elements of truth and areas where the truth is stretched in varying degrees.  Remember, the sponsor of the commercial is trying to get your vote or even affirm your vote for their side, and there is often a creative license that is taken in order to make their position more appealing or to convince you to despise the opposing view, which inevitably brings you back to their view.

What the advertisers count on with these ads is that the casual observer will not go through the trouble or the burden to educate oneself and do research to see if the information has merit.  They know very well that their ads are effective in their impact with the public because many people will either rely upon the information as being true or a close match with their ideology, and that many will not go through the fact-checking process.  The civic-minded voter, however, readily assumes the responsibility to take the time to review any available information about the candidates and issues at hand.  He or she desires information and education as to what is at stake in the election.  After all of the information is gathered and disseminated, exercising discernment that leads to the final decision in the voting booth.  Discernment is the key word…it is the ability to judge well.

Discernment is more than simply possessing good judgment or referring to your conscience.  It, for our purposes today, also means to have the ability to review something and determine its truthfulness or its viability.  It is something that each of us should possess within our evaluation process, but you may know someone who has the uncanny ability to “see through” and make conclusions about situations with what seems to be the least amount of information.  It is not something that should be seen as “mystical” or as being something that someone would have in a special sense when it comes to ability.  All of us can discern and make judgments.  Let’s instead focus on the importance of discernment when it comes to recognizing truth and error in the presentation of God’s Word.  Are you able to discern what is being presented?  In the same way that political ads work well, especially with their repetitive nature, many people are ill-prepared to deal with false doctrine or false presentations of the gospel because they don’t take the time to review the information properly.  It’s like taking a test in school without studying for it…it often doesn’t go well in the end results.

If you lack the appropriate information, you are unlikely to be able to make the appropriate conclusions in your discernment efforts.  This leaves one wide open to deception and someone telling you anything that can lead you astray, which is very, very dangerous.

Hosea 4:6

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. 

Colossians 2:8

Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.

Proverbs 15:14

A discerning mind seeks knowledge, 
but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.

Acts 17:11

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

OK…so discernment is important and some of us seem to have a better time of it than others.  These are the people that can readily provide us with godly advice when it seems to matter most.  You may be asking yourself…”What if I am lacking in my ability to discern?  What can I do about it?”  The answers lie in understanding some truths about discernment.  Discernment is a godly attribute, and it requires God’s participation within the process.

  • Discernment requires godly knowledge…knowing the Bible.

Philippians 1:9-10

And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment10 so that you can approve the things that are superior and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.

  • Discernment requires prayer and actively seeking God

The more that you are seeking God and being prayerful for wisdom and insight, the more that God will make plain to you those things that seemed to be elusive to you in the past.  You can develop your ability to discern, but it requires completeness in your trust that God is giving you exactly what you need when you need it.

Some have made the argument that discernment is a spiritual gift, and by reviewing Scripture, we can make a case that it is not a “special” gift in itself, and we also can find in Scripture that some persons have a special ability to discern, or judge, about certain spirits:

First, the example that people who possess the Holy Spirit already have discernment capabilities:

1 Corinthians 2:10-16

10 Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.14 But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. 15 The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. 16 For

who has known the Lord’s mind,
that he may instruct Him?

But we have the mind of Christ.

Second, here is a passage that shows how God can enable some of His saints to possess a gift of discernment:

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person. A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:

to one is given a message of wisdom 
through the Spirit,
to another, a message of knowledge
by the same Spirit,
to another, faith by the same Spirit,
to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
10 to another, the performing of miracles,
to another, prophecy,
to another, distinguishing between spirits,
to another, different kinds of languages,
to another, interpretation of languages.

11 But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.

To have discernment of distinguish about spirits is necessary in the growth and maturity of a believer in Jesus Christ.  Here is a how-to guide as to what all of us should be able to do if we are paying attention to the Holy Spirit that speaks from within:

1 John 4:1-6

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. But every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist; you have heard that he is coming, and he is already in the world now.

You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world. Therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Anyone who knows God listens to us; anyone who is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.

We are counseled throughout Scripture, in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, to test the spirits (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).  We need to test them because they certainly test every believer.  They come in all forms from the opposition, and it is nothing to joke around with or play with.

Ephesians 6:11-13

11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.

Therefore, we are to be smart about our encounters with the opposition—not in a way that diminishes your testimony for Christ; instead, using the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work while you speak.

Matthew 10:16

 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Final point—

  • Discernment also comes from the counsel of others when seeking advice.

Proverbs 19:20-21

20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction
so that you may be wise later in life.

21 Many plans are in a man’s heart,
but the 
Lord’s decree will prevail.

It’s wise and just plain smart to get advice from people who are knowledgeable, especially in subjects where you don’t have it.  The Spirit even guides you in this area.  It’s also wise to seek the counsel and take the other person’s sound advice.  It’s silly to ask opinions over and over again and never take the advice.  As you obtain knowledge, you should be able to come to a satisfactory conclusion as you discern what the appropriate outcome or ending should be.  When God provides you with wise counsel, take it.

Discernment is the essence of wisdom and understanding in Jesus Christ.  Here are some important takeaways:

  1. It is provided through the power of the Holy Spirit for every believer
  2. It requires a healthy understanding of the Bible
  3. It requires prayerful consideration and appeals to godly wisdom in the process
  4. It relies upon the testimony of wise counsel

All of this leads back to a proverb that is well-known and recognized…the Spirit provides the guidance that all of us need, and we choose to follow His leading rather than let our way of thinking keep us from using the proper discernment.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.