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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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Remembering What Christ Did For Us

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

As we are approaching the Christmas season, the presence of Christ Himself is less and less apparent. It’s no longer about “Merry Christmas” but more about “Happy Holidays.” This is, in fact, the very time that we should be paying attention to who He is. We (believers) are the people that need to say the words “Merry Christmas” to others rather than risk offending someone for stating the name of Christ.

Christmas is the time to reflect what God did for us. It’s a time to seek God’s Word and see what it says.

We often question the evidence of God’s presence in the world, but we are reminded that God is doing His work in our lives not according to our time, but according to His time. We need to wait upon The Lord and be patient and courageous. His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8).

2 Peter 3:8-9
8 Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 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.

It takes God’s own time to grow and mature us. He is a patient and loving God because He cares about each and every one of us. Time is not an issue with God. He provides guidance for us that He is going to act at the appropriate time. Note this in Galatians 4:4:

Galatians 4:4
When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

God acted in the fullness of time (according to His schedule), He sent His Son. The same thing will take place in future…Jesus will return in the fullness of time. When a fair trial has been given to all other schemes of salvation by mankind, God would send forth His Son.

The promise of Jesus’ first coming was noted in Genesis 3:15:

Genesis 3:15
I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.

Then God provides a little more information about this seed…

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.

After the great flood, man came up with their own ways to get to heaven.

Genesis 31:19
19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household idols.

Many historians point to this time period as the origin of Hinduism…the emergence of many different Gods. It’s origin goes back 4,000 years.

During the time of Daniel, Buddhism is growing through two branches:

Hinayana – Teaching primarily rationality
Mahayana – Exalts the individual’s salvation by faith and good works.

Through these periods in history, man gained knowledge and was developing civilizations. This additional knowledge also led people to seek their own ways rather than seek God;
1300 BC – Pharoahs
1195 BC – Saul becomes king
1155 BC – David becomes king
1115 BC – Solomon becomes king

At about the time of Solomon, China and Buddhism begins to emerge. All of these things and even more over time were taking place in history, but Jesus was not presented yet. It was only on the appointed time that God had chosen for Jesus’ emergence.

Galatians 4:1-2
1 Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 2 Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father.

Basic principles of the world were taught to the people such as reading, writing, and many inventions were taking place. At the same time, all of the different religions and philosophies (or ways to focus away from God) were also taking place (and they continue to exist today):

Galatians 4:3
In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world.

God sent His Son. He is coming from another place…not only to save us, but to teach us with knowledge AND truth.

John 1:17
…for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

1. God wants to bless us and provides grace (because He favors us)
2. He wants to deliver us from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13-17)
3. He is revealing the living God to us…God’s manifestation in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16)
4. He would be our faithful High Priest (Hebrews 7:25)
5. He came to destroy the work of the Devil (1 John 3:8)

Galatians 4:4-7
4 When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”

Hebrews 2:14-18
14 Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the Devil— 15 and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that He does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring. 17 Therefore, He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.

God promised to bring forth Jesus from a woman. A woman is the medium for how all of us were presented in birth. He became like us, born of a woman, to bring us to Himself. He relates to us in every way of the flesh yet He was without sin. He took on the role of a High Priest and gave of Himself as the sacrifice by shedding His blood for us.

Galatians 3:13-17
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed. 14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.

15 Brothers, I’m using a human illustration. No one sets aside or makes additions to even a human covenant that has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Christ. 17 And I say this: The law, which came 430 years later, does not revoke a covenant that was previously ratified by God and cancel the promise.

The law constantly revealed to us as a people our sinfulness (as we are reminded each day). Christ sacrificed Himself for our sake to become the law because of his righteousness over the flesh. Without Him, we could never be righteous under the law.

Romans 8:3-11
3 What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live[d] according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.