Tag Archives: promise

Why Was Jesus in Human Form? (Number 2 of a Series – The First and Second Adam)

Today’s message summary of December 10, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Jesus came into human form to fulfill the role of the Second Adam.  Both Jesus and Adam did not have earthly fathers.  Adam, in the same way, was created without sin.

God made the covenant with Himself through Abraham to multiply him throughout the earth.  God, through Jesus Christ, made the new covenant with His people to provide salvation.

Jesus came in human form to fulfill what God had declared and to be with His people.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.

Genesis 3:15

I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

Luke 1:30-33

Then the angel told her: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.

His name will be Jesus, the Son of the most High.  He will have the throne of David and reign over the house of Jacob (2 Samuel 7:16, 29).

Jesus was in Joseph’s family line (Luke 3:31; Matthew 1:1, 6; Acts 2:29-30, 13:22-23, 36-39)

Acts 2:29-32

“Brothers, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: He is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay. “God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this.”

Note that David, who was a king, was promised that someone would follow him who was always going to be on the throne.

Jesus is a real king.  He is King of kings.

1 Timothy 6:15-16

God will bring this about in His own time. He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, the only One who has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light; no one has seen or can see Him, to Him be honor and eternal might. Amen.

Acts 13:35-39

Therefore he also says in another passage, You will not let your Holy One see decay. For David, after serving Gods purpose in his own generation, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and decayed, but the one God raised up did not decay. Therefore, let it be known to you, brothers and sisters, that through this man forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you. Everyone who believes is justified through him from everything that you could not be justified from through the law of Moses.

Revelation 17:14

These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.

God will always honor His Word.

While many will wonder how God could allow Himself to become a human (in its flesh and frailty, with pain and suffering), we have His Word that explains it.  It is a fulfillment of His promise for us.

We will be able to identify Jesus with the marks on His glorified body.  He is a Spirit.  Why does He need a human body?

John 4:24

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

What is a spirit? We really can’t explain it. But this God, who is a spirit, chose to put on a fleshly body.  The fleshly body allows for us to see Him, His life, His works, and His accomplishments

1 John 1:1-3

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of lifethat life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to uswhat we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus became that which was something that was seen and that he existed.  He was seen as a person, and not as a myth.

How do you touch a spirit?  Can you touch it?

John 1:11-14

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Your new birth in Jesus Christ does not come from man.  The first birth was from humans, and the second birth comes from God.

The Word, Jesus Christ, took on flesh according to God’s will.

Spiritual life comes only from God; therefore, the life of Jesus could only come from God.

Luke 1:34-35

Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?” The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.”

As man was involved, there would be a sin nature because of Adam’s sin.  That is why all of man is now born in sin and with a sinful nature.

2 Corinthians 5:21

He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 Peter 2:21-23

For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth; when he was insulted, he did not insult in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.

1 John 3:5

You know that he was revealed so that he might take away sins, and there is no sin in him.

Hebrews 9:26

Otherwise, he would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Jesus was created in every way like a human being, except without sin.  It allowed for Him to be our High Priest who would represent all of us and to go before God without blemish to be our sacrifice.  Only in the flesh could Jesus suffer what Adam did.

He made His dwelling among us. He wanted to be seen by all of humanity in order that people would see how he lived (1 John 1:1).

Hebrews 2:18

For since he himself has suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.

Genesis 3:8-11, 23

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

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

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

 

So the Lord God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.

Both Adam and Jesus Christ had experience separation from God.  Adam experienced it in the Garden (and he was banished from the garden), and Jesus did so on the cross when He took on the sin of everyone.  There had to be even a sense of loss for both at that moment.

Matthew 27:45-46

From noon until three in the afternoon[a] darkness came over the whole land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni? that is, My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

After His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus restores all of mankind, and what Adam had lost because of sin.  You and I today, while we have broken fellowship with God, can experience a renewal of fellowship with Him because of forgiveness.  In His flesh, Jesus Christ restores us in order that we can have fellowship with God.  One day, we will see Him with our own eyes!

1 John 3:1-3

See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called Gods childrenand we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didnt know him. Dear friends, we are Gods children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure.

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The First and Second Adam (Part 1 of a Series)

Today’s message summary of December 3, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Why was Jesus sent to us in human form?  This is what we will ponder today.

God desired that the first Adam would be successful in his relationship with the Lord, but sin caused the fall of man.  It was God’s sending of the second Adam, in the form of Jesus Christ, that would claim the victory that the first Adam could not succeed in.

The first Adam was indeed without sin (before the fall).  He was pure, holy and righteous.  Jesus Christ is the One who would present Himself to the church to be pure and holy.

Ephesians 5:27

He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.

One day, the scars and blemishes that are present on your body today will be removed in our new bodies.

Note that Adam had direct access to God.  We, also, will have the same thing when we are with Him in heaven because there will be no sin present.

Romans 5:12-14

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.  In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to a person’s account when there is no law.  Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam’s transgression. He is a prototype of the Coming One. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift overflowed to the many by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ. And the gift is not like the one man’s sin, because from one sin came the judgment, resulting in condemnation, but from many trespasses came the gift, resulting in justification.

The second Adam became the gift that would justify and remove all of the sin that came from the first Adam, a human being in the flesh.  The second Adam, a life-giving Spirit, repaired the breach in the relationship between God and man that came from the fall from the first Adam.

We bear the likeness of both Adams.  The first Adam came from the dust.  The second Adam came from heaven.  It is important to note that the first Adam did not start as a child, but started as an adult, grew older, and died.  Jesus Christ started his earthly life as a child and grew into adulthood.  Both did not have earthly fathers, and both had direct fellowship with God.  Both began without sin, but only Jesus remained without sin.

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man.  For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at his coming, those who belong to Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:45-49

So it is written, The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. Like the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; like the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Therefore, we see where the statement “being born again” comes from.  Two births–one natural, and one that is spiritual.  Jesus Christ is the one who allows for man to fellowship within the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 15:50

Brothers, I tell you this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and corruption cannot inherit corruption.

Now, what about the different bodies?

1 Corinthians 15:51-54

Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality. When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place:  Death has been swallowed up in victory.

When Jesus was born, many thought that he was the earthly son of Joseph.  Look at the genealogy of Jesus Christ:

Luke 3:23-38

As he began his ministry, Jesus was about thirty years old and was thought to be the son of Joseph, son of Heli, son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Melchi, son of Jannai, son of Joseph, son of Mattathias, son of Amos, son of Nahum, son of Esli, son of Naggai, son of Maath, son of Mattathias, son of Semein, son of Josech, son of Joda, son of Joanan, son of Rhesa, son of Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, son of Neri, son of Melchi, son of Addi, son of Cosam, son of Elmadam, son of Er, son of Joshua, son of Eliezer, son of Jorim, son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Simeon, son of Judah, son of Joseph, son of Jonam, son of Eliakim, son of Melea, son of Menna, son of Mattatha, son of Nathan, son of David, son of Jesse, son of Obed, son of Boaz, son of Salmon, son of Nahshon, son of Amminadab, son of Ram, son of Hezron, son of Perez, son of Judah, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, son of Terah, son of Nahor, son of Serug, son of Reu, son of Peleg, son of Eber, son of Shelah, son of Cainan, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah, son of Lamech, son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalalel, son of Cainan, son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.

The first Adam had no earthly father.  He, too, was a son of God.

The second Adam is also noted here:

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son[b] from the Father, full of grace and truth.

God does this in His own special way, when he acknowledges that they both come from God.

God seals His covenant with man in His own blood, which is significant.  What God does in His covenant is very much a covenant with Himself (man has nothing to do with it), and yet God is the One who provides salvation for mankind.  All that is required of man is to believe in Jesus Christ.

Genesis 15:12-21

As the sun was setting, a deep sleep came over Abram, and suddenly great terror and darkness descended on him. Then the Lord said to Abram, Know this for certain: Your offspring will be resident aliens for four hundred years in a land that does not belong to them and will be enslaved and oppressed. However, I will judge the nation they serve, and afterward they will go out with many possessions. But you will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure. When the sun had set and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch appeared and passed between the divided animals. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, I give this land to your offspring, from the brook of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River: the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hethites, Perizzites, Rephaim, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.

Abram (Abraham) was unable to make a covenant with God.  It was beyond his ability to do it.  Only God could make such a covenant—and a commitment—to fulfill His promise to Abraham as the father of many nations.  It was a promise that revealed God’s ongoing presence and ability to keep His promises.

Hebrews 6:13-14

For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater to swear by, He swore by Himself: I will indeed bless you, and I will greatly multiply you.

God is the One who made the promise to work within us and give us salvation.  God upholds His Word and keeps it.  He will fulfill it and do it.  If you are born again in Jesus Christ, it is because God provides the ability for you to fellowship with Him.

Note that God’s promise to Abraham is an important part of the timeline of God’s covenant with his people.  Abraham is referenced within the genealogy in Matthew.  This was when God’s work to fulfill the covenant through Jesus Christ was noted.

Matthew 1:1-2

The historical record of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:  Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob.

Note that blood was shed in that covenant with Abraham through the animals that were sacrificed.  Why is this relevant?  What did Jesus Christ declare about His sacrifice?  (Note that, like the covenant with Abraham, man does not initiate it.  It is a covenant that God makes with Himself for His people.)

Matthew 26:26-29

As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, Take and eat it; this is my body. Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  But I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Fathers kingdom.

Man is not involved with the covenant because of man’s fall.  The covenant is a work of God.

God declared that the work was finished.

Genesis 2:2

By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.

John 19:28-30

After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now finished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he said, Im thirsty. A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth.  When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, It is finished. Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.

What was finished? The work of salvation for all of mankind was now completed.  The sacrifice had been given, and God had accepted it.  The blood had been shed, for there was no remission of sin without bloodshed.  What man cannot do for himself, God does it.  What man cannot complete in his own life, God does it for us.  Until a man gives over his life to Jesus Christ, there won’t be any progress or completion.

The work of salvation is a finished work.  Once one declares Christ as Lord and Savior of our life, He covers sin for all eternity.  It is a finished work.

Hebrews 10:12-18

But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. He is now waiting until his enemies are made his footstool.  For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. For after he says:  This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, the Lord says, I will put my laws on their hearts

and write them on their minds, and I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts. Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

You are worth much more than what you think.  Note that you were bought with a price.

You are very special in that you are the work of God’s hands, and God gave His only begotten Son for the purpose of giving you the desire to be like Him and to live for Him.


American Idols

Message transcript of September 13, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

On the hit television show, American Idol, people audition from all over the United States to earn the opportunity to face-off in a singing competition for the chance to win it all and be referred to as The American Idol.

The American Idol is more than just a television singing competition. It can also refer to an ongoing competition that you are involved in more often than you realize. You are not competing against another hopeful for a prize, but you are involved in a competition where the stakes are much higher. Your competition involves what you hold as important versus your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Who will win the competition? If you are honest with yourself, you will see that it is hardly a slam dunk that your relationship with Jesus Christ will come away as the winner. There are many obstacles that will hamper your efforts to remain in fellowship with Him, and that is because you also hold someone or something as one or more of your American Idols.

What is an idol? An idol, by definition, is a cultural icon, specifically a popular person, or it is an image or representation of anything that is revered and perhaps even regarded as having some sort of spiritual power. As you can see, an idol can be a person, a thing or even a god for some. In the King James Version of the bible, the term used is “graven image,” which is something that is engraved and revered in a form of worship. The Hebrew word for graven image is means literally “idol.”

In the event that anyone believes that an idol has some sort of spiritual influence, God has a very clear command about worshiping such images:

Exodus 20:4-6 ESV

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

 

Deuteronomy 5:9a ESV

You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.

 

Isaiah 42:8 HCSB

I am Yahweh, that is My name;

I will not give My glory to another

or My praise to idols.

As God clearly declares that He will not give honor or praise to idols, then neither should we.

Worshiping idols is known as idolatry, which is worship and excessive devotion to a person or thing that effectively replaces God.

So, what’s the problem here? You may be saying to yourself right now “this idolatry thing does not describe me. I don’t have any carved images or statues in my house, and I don’t get into all of that silly stuff.”

Really? Let’s consider that there are many things that are going on in your life right now that not only replace God as being first in your life, but they also minimize Him in the same way that you can minimize a window on your computer and you would not even see Him, and maybe even forget that He was there. If this were a competition, you would have voted, even already written God off.

In the book Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller presents three different things that are idols that we can put before God: love, money and power. There are many more than these three, of course, because, by definition, an idol is ANYTHING that a person views as important and replaces the role of God in one’s life. These three, however, are significant in that they not only are substitutes for Him, but they can also cause serious damage to the people you know if they are unchecked and out of control. Keller notes, “An idolatrous attachment can lead you to break any promise, rationalize any indiscretion, or betray any other allegiance, in order to hold onto it. It may drive you to violate all good and proper boundaries.”

I. Love and Sex

There is certainly a difference between love and sex, but as we have often seen within our present culture, the two often go hand in hand, especially when it comes to how a person views love in his or her own way. The worldly view of love is not even close to the agape love that is the essence of God’s character (1 John 4:8). The worldly view of love values the relationship with a person over and above a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ—so much so that a person’s values and ethics are often compromised for the sake of preserving the relationship. For a believer in Jesus Christ, this should be especially troubling. Keller notes that “Making an idol out of love may mean allowing the lover to exploit and abuse you, or it may cause terrible blindness to the pathologies in the relationship.”

A single woman named Clarice has attended a church for several years where the biblical values of dating, relationships and abstaining from sex before marriage have been presented. Clarice, however, felt as though her biological clock was ticking, and decided to visit nightclubs or other social events in order to find a “good Christian man” that had values similar to her own—namely, settling down and getting married. Upon finding a potential suitor, even upon declaring him as a boyfriend, she began sizing him up to check all of the boxes in her mind. Is he employed with a future career potential? Is he able to provide for me? Is he sexually compatible? Note that none of these questions are crosschecked with what she was taught within the church. Of course, after reviewing these and other questions, Clarice decides that her present boyfriend won’t be a suitable mate; therefore, she breaks up with him and moves on to search for another that will check all of her boxes. This pursuit often leads to emptiness and dissatisfaction, and it is a disappointment to God when the efforts of finding security in a person give way to obedience, trust and reliance upon God’s method of provision. God is left well into the background. Her pursuit of love was her American idol.

Jonathan was always searching for the “girl of his dreams.” The problem was that each prospective woman would never meet his expectations. He also could not maintain a long-term romance because he lacked confidence in himself and did not trust that the women he tried to date would continue to find him appealing. In between these relationships, he would visit strip clubs or watch pornography. Jonathan never married. All of his relationships turned out to be empty and unsatisfying, but his expectation that something better was out there kept his focus away from relying upon God to be his ultimate matchmaker. His desire for romance above everything else was his American idol.

The pursuit of love and sex is idolatry. It is more than just minimizing God—it is a separation from God. This can also lead to unwanted pregnancies and the undermining of a person’s family or career pursuits. In extreme cases, an emptiness, or false intimacy, can lead to sexual addiction, which according to Harry Schaumburg, is “the self-centered demand to be loved and accepted regardless of the consequences, and a loss of vital relationship with God” and it “is a complex result of sin and human behavior.” The idolatry of love and sex is sinful and destructive for every relationship surrounding the perpetrator.

II. Money

One of the most misquoted passages of Scripture involves money. Money on its own is not a bad thing; yet, the love of it has caused many to stumble under greed, and it is idolatry.

1 Timothy 6:10 HCSB

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

Anthony liked having money in his pockets. He wasn’t particularly wealthy, either, and he didn’t handle money very well. He desired to earn more money and become whatever it means to be independently wealthy, but his pursuit came through working three jobs and playing the lottery every day–sometimes twice a day and also buying dozens of scratch-off tickets. When it came to paying the bills at home, his wife had to bear the brunt of the mortgage and the utilities, because Anthony never had enough money to help out with the bills at home. He was driven through the enticement of a “get rich quick” mentality. Even when he hit the lottery for $10,000.00, he bought a new car for himself and never bothered to share his winnings with his wife. Anthony was controlled by greed over money, and it would never be satisfied, especially since God was not in his plan of obtaining wealth. His love of money was his American idol.

In Counterfeit Gods, Keller writes that greed over money “uses powerful sociological and psychological dynamics,” and that “Greed hides itself from the victim. The money god’s modus operandi includes blindness to your own heart” (Keller, 2009). He also relates that greed over money will create jealousy and envy over what other people have, which creates an even greater divide in a person’s relationship with Jesus Christ. It is one of the more deceptive means of idolatry, and it affects people who have little or a lot of it. God reminds us, as believers, that we can’t have Him in a relationship and hold a desire for money to the same standard:

Luke 16:13 ESV

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

 

III. Power

In America, our culture elevates politicians, professional athletes, Hollywood performers and music pop stars as having the ultimate wealth, status and power. They are deemed by the vast majority of people to have success beyond measure. With such success comes a measure of power. If it is used in the right way, the evidence comes out of a person with a humble approach to life and the desire to serve and glorify God. If, however, a person uses power to his or her own advantage, it creates an environment where power usage can be abusive…and sinful.

Even the noblest efforts that are presented in the spirit of doing what is good can still be twisted into idolatry. Keller notes, “When love of one’s people becomes an absolute, it turns into racism. When love of equality turns into a supreme thing, it can result in hatred and violence toward anyone who has led a privileged life. We can look at our political leaders as ‘messiahs,’ our political leaders as saving doctrine, and turn our political activities into a kind of religion.”

The desire for power is the culmination of a thought process that is independent of God’s involvement.

The people who audition for American Idol have one goal in mind, and that is to be seen as the best of the best singers in a popularity contest before millions of people. It begins with the desire to get a big break, but for all but one person, the contest ends without realizing the dream. Some contestants on the show honestly believe that they can be famous–even if they cannot sing very well. Contestants have been known to quit their jobs and leave their families in order to seek fame and fortune. It is more than just trying to win a recording contract—it is a quest for fame and influence. The desire for such power is idolatry.

Fame, however, is fleeting, especially when compared with the presence of God in our lives.

 

Isaiah 40:6-8 HCSB

A voice was saying, “Cry out!”

Another said, “What should I cry out?”

“All humanity is grass,

and all its goodness is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flowers fade

when the breath of the Lord blows on them;

indeed, the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flowers fade,

but the word of our God remains forever.”

It is our nature to want to accomplish something or achieve something on our own, when we, as believers in Jesus Christ, should be fully aware that we cannot accomplish anything without His input (His movement or His allowance of it).

 

Luke 18:27 HCSB

He (Jesus) replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

So who, or what, is your American idol? Are you following a person instead of seeking Jesus? Are you searching for something in your life that is unfulfilling and empty? Are you putting Christ aside in order to fulfill your own desires? What idols are you holding on to?

Perhaps it is time for you to do some real soul searching and make sure that you are not in a competition against God because of holding on to idols. It is a competition that you will ultimately lose, because idolatry is sin…plain and simple. The only way to renounce these idols is to humble yourself and turn from your sin directly to Jesus Christ, and recognize that God is the One who delivers us from our sins. He became sin for us with His death on the cross in order to become righteous before Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Philippians 4:13 NKJV

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


Mothering Through the Storms of Life

Today’s message summary of May 10, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

What is a mother to do when the dinner is burned, the children are fighting, and the fathers are sitting and watching television?

Mothers have a huge responsibility. Their duties are numerous, and it is work.

For some reason, some of us may think that once mothers get older, the job is done. Hardly. To be a mother is to be a nurturer all throughout life. A mother pours her life out to others for their benefit. Mothers are outstanding. A mother leads and cultivates young lives. Mothers teach. Mothers listen.  Mothers are sensitive to the cries of their children and are attentive to them.

Mothers and grandmothers weather the storms of life. It requires being at the top of your game. There will be occasions where a mother can be overwhelmed. We all need help. While mothers are capable of raising children, there will be times when they need help.

Exodus 2:7-10

Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a woman from the Hebrews to nurse the boy for you?” “Go,” Pharaoh’s daughter told her. So the girl went and called the boy’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the woman took the boy and nursed him. When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoah’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

 

Imagine the emotions that are taking place here. The natural mother of Moses nurses and nurtures him only to one day release him in order for him to survive. She held her son knowing that she could not be the mother that she wanted to be. While she could not keep him, she did the right thing in order for him to live.

Mothers, this can be a struggle at times–doing the right thing for your child order that he or she can live.

Hannah worshiped the Lord with her husband, Elkanah. They were prayerful to God for a child, for she was barren, and God remembered their prayer:

1 Samuel 1:20

After some time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, because she said, “I requested him from the Lord.”

 

She kept her promise once she had her son. She dedicated him to the Lord.

1 Samuel 1:27

I (Hannah) prayed for this boy, and since the Lord gave me what I asked Him for, I now give the boy to the Lord. For as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” Then he (Eli) bowed in worship to the Lord there.

 

She gave her son to the Lord in order for him to come under His care.

How many of you have submitted your child under God’s control–under His will, his pleasures? Mothers, you have to pray a child all the way through to the point where he comes under God’s care.

Mothers, remember to fight for your son’s rights.

Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, intervened to speak with David about his vow to make Solomon the king:

1 Kings 1:17

She (Bathsheba) replied, “My lord, you swore to your servant by the Lord your God, ‘Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne.’

 

1 Kings 1:24

“My lord the king,” Nathan said, “did you say, ‘Adonijah is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne’?

 

1 Kings 1:28-30

King David responded by saying, “Call in Bathsheba for me.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before him. The king swore an oath and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every difficulty, just as I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel: Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne in my place, that is exactly what I will do this very day.”

 

Mothers, learn to accept help from godly people in raising your child.

Acts 16:1-3

Then he (Paul) went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him. Paul wanted Timothy to go with him, so he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek.

 

Paul was entrusted by Timothy’s mother to travel with him. It was important in Timothy’s effort to learn and grow in the ministry. Paul had taken part in helping to raise Timothy. He was taught in the faith with the Jewish Scriptures, but it was important for him to be circumcised in order to be accepted in the faith by the Jews.

Sometimes you will need to do what seems to be unnecessary in order to do what is necessary. It is about looking at the bigger picture. Mothers, remember to teach your child those things that will be a real help as he or she gets older.

Mothers, you have an awesome task in teaching your child how to walk with God, but note that you cannot teach what you do not know.


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?


Jesus was Sent to Us at a Specific Time

Today’s message summary of December 21, 2014 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Why was Jesus sent to us when He was? What was the purpose for the specific place and time for His appearance.

Genesis 3:15 is the promise of Jesus’ coming–thousands of years before He was born. Why so long?

Genesis 3:15

I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

  1. Why not have Him sent a few years after Adam and Eve were put out of the garden?
  2. Why not have Him come after Noah’s survival of the flood?
  3. Why not right after the deliverance of the Israelites’ delivery from Egypt?
  4. Why not after God had provided the law and shared it with the people?

Matthew 1:20-21

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.”

God is saving us from what?

Luke 2:8-11

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.

Why at this time?

Between the last book of the Old Testament (Malachi) and the New Testament book (Matthew), there are 400 years of silence from God. Why?

Many things take place during that time:

  1. Alexander the Great
  2. His five generals fought until there were only three (over a thirty-year period).
  3. Last empire from Alexander was Seleucid, which was founded by the last general, Seleucus. His dynasty lasted from 312 to 64 B.C. The Roman general named Pompey defeated him.
  4. The Greek culture that took root beyond Greece is called Hellenism (Greek civilization). From this formed the Roman army, the Egyptian army and Mark Antony. Israel was fighting with the Roman army to defeat Egypt. From here emerged Antipates and Herod the Great. Herod built temples to worship Augustus as a god. Daniel’s Abomination of Desolation was when the god of Zeus was set up in the temple (168 B.C.). Mattathias, a priest, and his five sons started the war of the Maccabees.

In Acts 6:1, we see the results of all of these changes in the Grecian Jews (Hellenists). During this time Herod through Roma appointed the high priest. Some of these appointees were not Jewish but they were most likely in positions of wealth.

God sent His Son because of the culture of this time. Why did God go silent for 400 years? What actions were taking place. These matters were being revealed in Malachi:

  1. There was a failure to truly worship God (Malachi 1:4-8). This matter of worship was regarded as a burden (v. 12).
  1. The heart of man was set on not honoring God (Malachi 2:2).

Malachi 2:1-2

“Therefore, this decree is for you priests: If you don’t listen, and if you don’t take it to heart to honor My name,” says Yahweh of Hosts, “I will send a curse among you, and I will curse your blessings. In fact, I have already begun to curse them because you are not taking it to heart.”

  1. The people turned away from Him, and the priests were not following Him (Malachi 2:7-9).

Malachi 2:7-9

For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and the people should seek instruction from his mouth, because he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts. “You, on the other hand, have turned from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have violated the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of Hosts. “So I in turn have made you despised and humiliated before all the people because you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in your instruction.”

  1. Those who were doing evil were regarded as good (Malachi 2:17).

Malachi 2:17

You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you ask, “How have we wearied Him?” When you say, “Everyone who does what is evil is good in the Lord’s sight, and He is pleased with them,” or “Where is the God of justice?”

  1. Those who are doing what is wrong have no fear of Him (Malachi 3:5).
  1. God is not worthy of our giving (Malachi 3:7-9).
  1. It is futile to serve God (Malachi 3:14-15, 18).
  1. Every evildoer will be nothing more than stubble (Malachi 4:1).

Can you see these matters today in America? Can you see how this applies to the lost generations of people who live according to what they deem is right?

2 Timothy 1:15-17

This you know: All those in Asia have turned away from me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he diligently searched for me and found me.

John 14:8-9

“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.

Hebrews 2:14

Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through death He might destroy the one holding the power of death–that is, the Devil.

The people who believe in God and His Word will be blessed. God held this as a promise to the people referred to in the book of Malachi and it also applies to those who have faith and trust in Him today.

Malachi 3:16-17

At that time those who feared the Lord spoke to one another. The Lord took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared Yahweh and had high regard for His name. “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of Hosts, “a special possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”


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.