Tag Archives: righteousness

Learning to Be Successful

A message of November 13, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Learning to be successful within a family unit is not something that automatically takes place or happens.  You have to plan on it and work at it.  It is more than just living for survival.  You need to have the determination to get back up when you fall down, and to continue to work at it.  Success in this area takes work.

Being successful requires two elements:  Obedience and Doing

Many of us know what to do when it comes to what is right; however, to choose to do the wrong thing is sin.

James 4:17

So it is a sin for the person who knows to do what is good and doesn’t do it.

 

James 2:22-23

You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected. So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.

 

James 4:4

Adulteresses! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy.

 

Isaiah 28:10-13

For he says: “Law after law, law after law, line after line, line after line, a little here, a little there.” So He will speak to this people with stammering speech and in a foreign language. He had said to them: “This is the place of rest, let the weary rest; this is the place of repose.” But they would not listen. Then the word of the Lord came to them: “Law after law, law after law, line after line, a little here, a little there,” so they go stumbling backward, to be broken, trapped, and captured.

 

God’s Word is to have you grow and make progress, and if you choose not to, you are subject to falling backwards or being stuck.

Winning (success) does not come easy.  That’s why the Lord talks about endurance.  You need to endure hardships in order to experience victory.

God is looking more at your being (a follower of Christ, being in Christ) than your doing.

You can do things without being in Christ, but your being in Christ causes you to do things that matter for Christ.

John 15:1-5

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.

 

No one can bear fruits (of the Spirit) without Jesus Christ (Galatians 5:22-23).

There are three areas that need to be done to help build up a family:

  • Teach children to strive for knowledge.
  • Help the children understand their physical makeup (for the sake of awareness…”you are unique, and God made you the person that He wants you to me”). Out of this comes a high self-esteem.
  • Re-productivity of the child (sexuality)–when is it appropriate and how it is to be controlled.

It is better to grow healthy children into healthy adults than it is to repair adult men and women later in life.

The purpose is to build a family that will go through life undefeated.  Life is a boxing match, and you’re going to get knocked down.  It is all about getting back up.

When you get back up, it is important to get back into life with a purpose. If you lose your purpose, you lose your drive and momentum.

You have to care enough about yourself that you are the gatekeeper of your life.

Acts 4:13

When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.

 

The foundation for a successful family is one who looks at life from God’s point of view…not by one’s emotions or feelings.  Keeping your eyes on Jesus…

Hebrews 12:2

…keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

 

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

 

A man, in his own ways, sees himself as right, but a wise person will evaluate how he sees himself with God’s Word, and the one following Christ will make the appropriate adjustments or corrections.

Psalm 119:59

I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to Your decrees.


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

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

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

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

Numbers 32:23

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

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

Deuteronomy 24:16

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

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

Philippians 2:9-11

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

Revelation 20:11-13

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

Why is Jesus on the throne to judge?

John 5:22-23

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

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

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

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

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

John 3:18

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 10:34-36

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

Galatians 3:28-29

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

Romans 3:21-22

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

 

Luke 18:10-14

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

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

The moment of birth, your name is entered.

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

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

Matthew 7:13-14

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

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

The life of _________________

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

John 6:39-40

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

Galatians 2:19-20

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

John 6:42

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

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

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

Matthew 16:24-25

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

Philippians 1:21

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

Philippians 2:13

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

Philippians 3:7-10

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

John 6:28-29, 40

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

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

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

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

Stewardship is recorded:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 69:27-28

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

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

You must make the choice.


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.

 

 

 


Just Do It!

Message transcript of September 6, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

The mission of Nike, Inc., a renowned international athletic shoe and apparel company, is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world,” and they quickly add, “if you have a body, you are an athlete.”

Nike started from humble beginnings where employees were selling shoes out of their cars to become the world’s leader with global revenues of over $27 billion dollars.

The name “Nike,” originating from the Greek goddess of the same name standing for “victory,” has been around for over forty years, and over that time it has defined and redefined the sports fitness industry, but not without its own missteps. The company misjudged the popularity of the aerobics and fitness movement in the mid 1980s and veered off into the casual shoe market. Its growth also outpaced its management and effective decision-making, and it had slipped from its position as the top-selling shoe.

To reverse this trend, Nike hired Weiden+Kennedy, a well-known advertising agency, and they came up with the one of the top slogans of the 20th Century, “Just Do It,” which made its debut for the company in 1988. The words “just do it” propelled Nike’s popularity to its top position in the industry. Three years after the debut of “Just Do It,” the company had tripled its revenue to over $3 billion dollars, and has not looked back since.

“Just do it” may be a catchy slogan with staying power, but it is readily acknowledged as the language of today’s lifestyle that inspires people to get up and move. It is associated with good health, getting and staying in shape, and remaining active in all parts of life. This also has application within our faith.

Consider that the words “just do it” for Jesus Christ reflect a healthy relationship in service for Him. James expresses this very clearly as he addressed believers in Christ with the importance of a working faith:

James 2:14-17 ESV

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

A servant of Jesus Christ absolutely needs to live under the premise of “just do it” in order to live as Christ provided His life as an example for us. We are to live as servants of Christ in a world where servanthood is more of the exception than the rule. Chuck Swindoll notes, “we live in a world where many have adopted “an independent, self-sufficient, survival-of-the-fittest mentality.” God has called us to be distinct in a positive way in the world, and to make a difference. The difference is living the “just do it” way as Jesus did:

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life-—a ransom for many.

Jesus provided a demonstration of what it is to be a servant by washing the feet of the apostles. He provided an explanation for them when He was finished:

John 13:12-17

When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

Jesus showed them the power of servanthood, which is the essence of living a Christlike existence. To be in service for Christ is to live for Christ. He assures those who are living for Him that He will always be present in whatever is being done in His name:

John 12:26 ESV

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

You can see how “just do it” can be a launching point for a person who is eager to serve Jesus Christ. Being a servant requires a willingness to do it and it takes practice to begin to master it. But what if you don’t know where to begin this process? In this instance, the best place to begin is the beginning.

  1. Just do it (now)!

Being a servant begins with a willingness to do something that will bring a positive change in someone’s life. It does not necessarily require that you need to use any special talent or ability. It may be moving furniture to reorganize a room or to help someone move from an apartment to a new home. It may be standing at the church doorway and greeting people while handing out the week’s church bulletin. Sometimes, it means buying a meal or even some groceries for a family who is in need. In a world where people are more often self-focused then not, the ability to step out and simply do something for someone is refreshingly distinctive. It’s the beginning step in a life of servanthood.

  1. Just do it without expecting anything in return

There is a way to treat people, and being a servant is no exception to this. A servant in Christ is to live in such a way that it is natural to do the right thing for someone, and to not expect anything in return or create a burden of obligation for the other person.

First, the essence of “doing what is right” is the foundation of what Jesus Christ represents:

Matthew 7:12 HCSB

Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them—-this is the Law and the Prophets.

The ways of the world normally see acts of compassion with suspicion. For some people, it is difficult to accept a person’s help because it is a societal norm that the help is to be reciprocated. As a servant of Jesus Christ, your acts of service are performed with a heart for Jesus and without any need or expectation for the person to do anything in return. The moment that the burden of returning the favor is left in place, that is when Christ’s presence is less visible, and when He is less likely to be glorified as you serve. We serve Christ freely and without any burden for ourselves and for others. People need to see the light and airy love of Christ in everything that you do in service for Him:

Matthew 11:28-30 HCSB

“Come to Me (Jesus), all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Our service for Christ, as we develop our heart for service, should also be an expression of what it is to live a life of freedom for Him (John 8:36).

  1. Just do it…and put some heart into it!

A servant for Christ not only demonstrates the example of Christlike behavior to others, but also learns the perspective of servanthood with the heart and mind of Jesus. As you learn more about Jesus through His Word and live in obedience to Him, He will most certainly transform you as you live as His example before others. Being refreshingly distinctive from the world means being set apart in a positive way. People will see your heart for Christ in what you do. To be set apart involves changing from your old self to not only become a new creature, but a creature that becomes more and more Christ-like every day.”

Romans 12:1-2 HCSB

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Chuck Swindoll notes that a servant for Christ must change to avoid the world’s reasoning and conform to the thoughts of Jesus:

“How? By a radical transformation within. By a renewed thought pattern that demonstrates authentic godlikeness. Living differently begins with thinking differently.”

Living for Christ in this renewed mind will allow you to see the compassion of Christ in everything that you do for others.

Your servanthood with a heart for Jesus will be seen by people who don’t know Him personally as a wonderful introduction (and perhaps an invitation) to who He is. A servant for Christ truly is a light in a very dark world:

Matthew 5:14-16 HCSB

“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Chuck Swindoll noted that the opportunities to reach the lost, through servanthood, are limitless, and in your service, you personally receive joy in your accomplishments through your fellowship with Jesus Christ:

“In every town, every neighborhood, and on every block there are lonely and sometimes unlovely men and women who need to experience the love of Jesus. In every city there are children who have never known a gentle touch or a loving smile.” “There are acts of love and mercy that God has already prepared for you, so that you might share in His joy–so that you might grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

A life of servanthood for Jesus Christ is a life that embodies ministry in fulfillment of His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Your obedience and faithfulness to Him will be a witness for Him in everything that you do. Now, all that you need to do is “just do it.”

 

For references, refer to Just Do It! research paper here.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


What is the Gospel?

Today’s message summary of August 16, 2015 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

What is the true message of the gospel? What is the gospel?

It is the message that Paul gave to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

 

The Corinthians were practicing immorality, and Paul had to remind them of what the true gospel was in order to refute other messages or beliefs that were prevalent in the day. There were differing opinions on the resurrection of the dead, and in what to believe. The Sadducees did not believe there was a resurrection. In fact, many believed that there was spiritual truth in opening other doors and seeking one’s own way. Gnosticism is a result of this way of thinking.

Our church needs reminders of the foundational gospel of Jesus Christ. Do you remember this gospel when you are cursed at or mistreated by someone? Remember that Christ died for you and was treated much worse than you can ever imagine.

What the gospel is not…

  • It is not about good deeds (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10)
  • It is not about self help.

There is nothing in Scripture that says that self-help is in righteousness. There is nothing that one can do to save himself…it is only in righteousness from God.

  • It is not about listening to gospel music.

You do not become more holy when you sing louder. It is only the sound preaching and teaching of the gospel.

  • It is not about the preacher.

A pastor is not to be the primary focus of hearing him speak. It is about coming to church to praise the Lord and hear His Word.

This popularity contest was what drove the Corinthians to elevate the apostles and people of the church to a higher status.

1 Corinthians 1:11-13

My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?

 

What are the implications of the gospel?

  1. Preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:14)
  1. Salvation of sinners (1 Corinthians 15:2; 1 Peter 2:24)
  1. Priority of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1)

The gospel must become the first of all things taught within the church before anything else is taught.

So, what is the gospel?  (How this question is addressed will determine your eternal state before God.)

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

He was with God in the beginning.

All things were created through Him,

and apart from Him not one thing was created

that has been created.

Life was in Him,

and that life was the light of men.

That light shines in the darkness,

yet the darkness did not overcome it.

  1. The gospel is about the birth of Jesus.
  1. The gospel is about the life of Jesus.
  1. The gospel is about the death of Jesus.

1 Peter 1:18-19

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

  1. The gospel is about the resurrection of Jesus.

 

1 Corinthians 15:13-17

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-22

But Christ has indeed 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 comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.


Is the Bible the True Word of God?

Original post May 31, 2009; Edited for re-post January 19, 2015

When one uses the phrase “God’s Word” or “The Word of God,” what is the meaning behind it? Man uses words to communicate with the idea of conveying a thought or a purpose. He can do it with sincerity, but at times it is done for our own selfish purposes or reasoning. God’s Word, on the other hand, is the revealing of God’s will for all people. He provides His Word for a purpose and it has the ability to “speak to us” and reach us in ways that normal communication cannot emulate. We have received His Word because it is inspired by God.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Scripture was given to us because it has a benefit for us, provided that we receive and respond to its teaching. While man’s words do not by themselves have power and authority, God’s Word ALWAYS operates in divine power (1 Thessalonians 1:5) and with divine authority (Luke 4:32, 36).

Many people will not read the Bible because the Word has the ability to convict those who read it of their sinful nature. It is the power and authority of God’s Word that challenge one’s mind and consciousness and that brings change in our lives. It will either bring one to Jesus Christ or it will condemn one to eternal separation. This is all in the choice that we make. God wants us to preach the Word and speak to others (2 Timothy 4:2). It is to be presented with encouragement and yet do so with the authority to correct those who are in sin with patience (2 Timothy 4:3).

It takes God’s time (and not our timing) for God’s Word to work in the lives of others. You need to allow God to work in His sovereignty and according to His purpose. Our call, as believers in Jesus Christ, is to be ready to share with others about our lives (1 Peter 3:15-16) and how God has changed us for the better.

It is God’s desire to impart His wisdom and knowledge to those interested in heeding His Word and to become more mature in their way of thinking about Christ (Colossians 1:28). The presence of the Holy Spirit is to guide men to God’s desires for our lives (Psalm 37:4; 2 Peter 1:21). The Spirit gives us the ability to understand God’s power and authority in His Word (Titus 3:5; Nahum 1:3; Philippians 2:13; Proverbs 21:1-3).

We should always be mindful that we derive our righteousness not in our own actions, but in His righteousness because of Jesus Christ making the eternal sacrifice for us all. The choice for us is to receive His Word in its entirety or reject it altogether. After all is said and done, God’s Word is the inspired authority and it operates with power and truth (2 Peter 1:21; Jeremiah 30:2). God is always in control…God’s Word is true…God’s will be done.


Jesus is God’s Gift to Us

Today’s message summary of December 14, 2014 from Pastor Gus Brown:

It’s not too much longer from right now before we will be opening presents from under the tree.

Have you considered what happens when someone presents to you a gift? The gift is an expression of a person who is communicating to you something of value. Opening the gift is the completion of this expression of thanks or gratitude.

There is something to be said about unwrapping a present to see what you are receiving. When it comes to Jesus Christ, who is our ultimate gift from God to each of us, have you accepted the gift appropriately?

Do you understand His gift? Do you understand its richness and its magnitude?

He is an indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15). He can only use the words we know and understand to begin to describe Him.

Isaiah 9:6

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

 

God, in various ways, has repeatedly revealed His love for us.

We still do not comprehend His love for us, nor can we understand all that Jesus is to us, or all that He will be for us in the future.

In Isaiah 9:6, it’s important to see that the child is not born for Himself. He is born for you and me. The child is born in place of you and me because of our sin. His Son was sent for you and me in order for us to see how we are supposed to live before God.

Romans 8:32-33

He did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?

  1. As a child doing the will of His Father (John 6:38)
  1. He wanted to please the Father (John 8:29)
  1. This child set the example for me (Romans 8:29)

 

John 6:38

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

 

Jesus, God’s Son, was given to us with a purpose (John 3:16). The purpose was that people might believe in Him and that those people would have eternal life.

He gave His Son in order to show His love for us (Romans 5:8).

Romans 5:8

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

 

He gave that we might be reconciled to Himself (Romans 5:18).

Romans 5:18

So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone.

 

Jesus was born and given to us to govern over the people of God. The purpose of a government is to exercise authority over a group. It is a system of rule, in this case, to control the affairs of God’s kingdom (Ephesians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Colossians 2:10).

Ephesians 1:22-23

And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.

 

Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor (Psalm 73:24).

Psalm 73:24

You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me up in glory.

 

Jesus is the Mighty God (Matthew 19:26; Luke 1:37; Psalm 24:8, 93:1-5).

Matthew 19:26

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

Jesus is the Everlasting Father (Psalm 68:5). He is our Provider (Matthew 6:9).

Jesus is the Prince of Peace (John 14:27, 16:33; Isaiah 26:3).

John 14:27

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

 

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.

 

His government is growing and will continue to grow.

He will sit on the throne of David and will rule with justice and righteousness.

Psalm 89:14

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; faithful love and truth go before You.