Tag Archives: self

Change Comes from Acknowledging Truth

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Are you ultimately in control of change in your life? The answer is no. It is not in your control at all. You will find that change happens whether you are ready for it or not.

You will not experience change by laws or by observing rules. Change comes about only by truth. The issue is whether or not one will accept truth. If you are not changing, who is keeping you from it? Are you improving? Are you better off? This is where truth comes in. Truth can bring about real change.

Why do people change? Change is undertaken when one wants to adapt to something different.

Why don’t people change? They do not see a need to do so. The conflict here is to recognize where change is needed.

What does it take to change? It requires looking at truth and the facts about your life.

When God claims “all have sinned,” it requires a person to either agree with the statement or just deny them. This requires being truthful to self.

Did you know that 80% of all fitness equipment is sold between December 15th and January 1st? Someone decided that he would make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight and get fit; however, the equipment may wind up sitting idle after March of the next year.

There are 10 million procedures of cosmetic surgery each year.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to change.

Change is a lot of hard work. We need help from others. We must have the help and power of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Since you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, what has changed most in your life? What has not changed in your life that should have changed? What is keeping you from changing more in your life? Are you ready for change?

Are you willing to accept the changes that God wants to make in your life?

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

 

Isaiah 45:9

“Woe to the one who argues with his Maker—

one clay pot among many.

Does clay say to the one forming it,

‘What are you making?’

Or does your work say,

‘He has no hands’?

 

God will speak to each one of us about what needs to change. Obedience to God and His Word is the key to effective change.

Isaiah 64:8

Yet Lord, You are our Father;

we are the clay, and You are our potter;

we all are the work of Your hands.

 

God is our Heavenly Father. We are the true works of His hands by His grace.

Philippians 1:6

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

 

Psalm 119:99

I have more insight than all my teachers

because Your decrees are my meditation.

 

What is insight? It is the ability to see and understand clearly the inner nature of things. God will give you clear insight if you remain obedient to Him and stay in His Word.

What are decrees? They are statutes; a testimony that establishes a fact, affirmation or declaration. Decrees are unmovable. It establishes God’s testimony, and it will not change for you or for me.

John 8:32

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

If you acknowledge truth, it will bring you out of difficult situations and circumstances. Failure to acknowledge truth will keep you where you are, and often that’s not a great place. Satan will keep a person in their sin to a point where he is “just trying to survive.” God wants you to do more than just survive. He wants you to exchange lies for the truth and be set free under His Word. When the truth is before you, which way will you choose to go?

Romans 1:25

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.

 

2 Thessalonians 2:10-11

10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false.

 

A believer must choose to emulate Jesus Christ or to allow the flesh to prevail. Satan will attempt to deceive a person to cause you to deny God and the truth. If Satan is allowed to prevail, it will separate a person from a healthy relationship with God. The unbeliever who refuses to acknowledge God’s truth will eventually be given over to one’s own desires, for God will never tolerate sin.

John 8:44

You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

 

Satan knew what truth was, but refused to acknowledge it. Change is all about accepting the truth.

Don’t make any excuses about not being able to change. If God reveals it you can do something about it. God is more than able and gracious. You need to believe it and hold onto it.

God must establish the change in one’s life. Knowing truth brings about this change. Truth is a reality that should no longer be denied or worked around. Running away from truth doesn’t change what it represents. Recognition of the need for change begins with being honest to yourself about needing it. God will graciously help you when you are ready to accept it and begin to follow His direction.

Ephesians 6:14

Stand, therefore,

with truth like a belt around your waist,

righteousness like armor on your chest.

 

Romans 3:4

Absolutely not! God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written:

That You may be justified in Your words

and triumph when You judge.

 

Paul had to be changed from being a self-righteous Pharisee to be conformed to a person who would serve Christ in a mighty way:

Romans 7:18, 24

18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it.

 

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body?

 

Paul would never had said these words as a Pharisee unless God was dealing with Him personally. He had to humble himself and allow for God to work in his life. He knew the truth about himself and knew that he needed to change.

Change has to be substance–it has to be real, and you need to have the ability to endure it. Satan will challenge every change you want to make in your life.

John 10:10

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

 

Ephesians 1:3, 14

3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.

 

14 He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.

 

Ephesians 5:6-10

6 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. 7 Therefore, do not become their partners. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— 9 for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.

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Identity: Your Choice–Flesh or Spirit?

Today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:

A person can say, “Lord, I love you,” yet the heart may be far from Him. We have the choice to walk with Him in the Spirit or walk in the flesh. The unbeliever can only walk in the flesh. Only the Christian can choose to live by the Spirit in obedience of God or in the flesh in disobedience. The war is always ongoing between the flesh and the Spirit. As you live more and more in the Spirit, you will have the power and ability to suppress and overcome the flesh.

Which one will you choose?

Galatians 5:19-21
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The list that mirrors the life of people of the world who do not have Jesus falls within four groups:
1.) Sexual sin
2.) False worship (idolatry); drug abuse
3.) Factions; in-house fighting
4.) Appetites–drunkenness; orgies

The acts of the sinful nature are seen by everyone (Galatians 5:19).

Sin changes our character to the degree that it can change how people perceive you. Your behavior will raise red flags before others around you. It is obvious when you are not walking in obedience to The Lord.

Scripture says to flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18).

How does one hurt himself? It can be psychological and also physical (there are many diseases that can occur via sexual intercourse that are incurable). These sins can hinder one’s thinking and has a negative effect all relationships unless God does a work in this area.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that there are 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases every year. Of those, half are among people between the ages of 15-24.

Ephesians 4:19
They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.

Adultery and fornication: one or both adults are married. Marriage is a contract, and it means to be legally bound to the vows taken between a man and a woman; for example, two single people cannot commit adultery.

Mark 10:7-8
7 For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother
[and be joined to his wife],
8 and the two will become one flesh.
So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Adultery not only hurts one self, but countless others who are aware of the marriage relationship (relatives, friends, etc.)

Fornication: At least one participant is not under the marriage vow contract, or neither person is married. If a relationship of this type ends, there is damage because there was never a true commitment and the emotional side is exposed.

Prostitution is also fornication. A brothel is a place where prostitution takes place. The word ‘brothel’ means ‘wretched person,’ to waste away, go to ruin.

Fornication is always about self-pleasure. It brings about broken relationships and harms the parents’ trust. This is why the unmarried people are to abstain from sex and not participate until after marriage. The relationship between the man and the woman can be irreparably harmed, as well. A woman can experience anger from the deceit that she was used in the relationship. A pregnancy that develops from the relationship also damages the child because he or she was not wanted in the first place. There are psychological consequences because the child does not see himself as wanted or needed within the relationship.

Impurity, uncleanness: dirt, dirty, soiled; ceremonially, spiritually unclean.

Romans 6:19
I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification.

Ephesians 5:3
But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints.

1 Thessalonians 4:7
For God has not called us to impurity but to sanctification.

Romans 1:24
Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves.

Ephesians 4:19
They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.

Colossians 3:5
Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.

Those who participate in sexual immorality are not usable by God.


Don’t Neglect Your Salvation

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Lord, I want to be a vessel You work through. That statement should be the prayer of every believer. This is a call for obedience to everyone who desires salvation. While salvation is granted by God’s grace, the believer who is saved now must go beyond stating that he or she wants to be used by God. Now it comes down to action…doing the things that God would have us to do. God chose you to use you. He chose you to sing His praise and worship Him. He chose you to read and study His Word to impart it to others.

In Hebrew, the word “neglect” is to depart from or drift away from something. When you drift away from something and pursue your own dreams outside of God, you will find yourself not supporting the things of God. You will be caught up in your own efforts, which leads to sin, and a further departure from where God would have you grow in your faith.

It is easier to drift than to struggle, fight or stand against the one who wants to keep your from growing in faith, keep you from growing in faith, keep you from progressing in life, keep you from becoming more than you could ever believe what you can be.

God is all for your growth and development, and giving you the life that you could never dream of.

Isaiah 61:10-11
I greatly rejoice in the Lord,
I exult in my God;
for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation
and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness,
as a groom wears a turban
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth produces its growth,
and as a garden enables what is sown to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.

The garments of salvation are God’s covering from a number of things that we encounter in this world that kept us in worldly behaviors. All of these issues are resolved through the covering of the blood of Jesus Christ in His righteousness. From there, your salvation will grow in your efforts to serve Him. There is a desire to share God’s blessing to you with others.

Philippians 1:27
Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel.

God does not lie about His promises, but He has to prepare us to be ready to receive the promises that He has given. If you are not prepared in life for His promises, you can’t be honored by God. No matter what is happening in your life, you still need to stand in the faith. Only then can you realize His victory.

Matthew 7:21
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Philippians 3:18-19
18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things.

The keys to these verses are being obedient to God’s will or being obedient to those matters of the world. If you are obedient and desire to please God, He will desire to please you and bless your obedience to Him.

Scripture reveals that we can neglect salvation because of a refusal to believe God. When you have chosen not to believe God, you have chosen to be an unbeliever.

A person who is saved has a genuine struggle between the desires of the flesh and the Holy Spirit that dwells within. A believer seeks God and has the desire to be faithful and obedient to Him. One who refuses to come to Jesus does not believe in Him, and will have to struggle through life the best way he or she can. We can become our own experts in living our life, only to mess it up.

John 5:39-40
39 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. 40 And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.

Pay attention to what you have been taught and put it into practice. God’s Word is for our protection and for our benefit. He does not want us to slip away or drift away from Him.

Hebrews 2:1
We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.

God will always love you, but He will not conform to how you choose to live your life.

Hebrews 2:2
For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment.

If the angels declared this message themselves, how much more important is this statement when delivered by Jesus?

Hebrews 2:3
…how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.

Acts 28:27
For the hearts of these people
have grown callous,
their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
otherwise they might see with their eyes
and hear with their ears,
understand with their heart,
and be converted,
and I would heal them.

Psalm 101:4-5
4 A devious heart will be far from me;
I will not be involved with evil.
5 I will destroy anyone
who secretly slanders his neighbor;
I cannot tolerate anyone
with haughty eyes or an arrogant heart.

A believer needs to guard his heart in order to not become insensitive to the things of God.

There’s no sin that is too great that God cannot cover through His grace. The choice for the person involved is to acknowledge the need for God’s forgiveness and accept His grace.

Salvation comes from The Lord. It has value and should be readily acknowledged.

Hebrews 2:3-4
3 how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. 4 At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions of gifts from the Holy Spirit according to His will.

Salvation is God’s work in you. To admit that you are saved but fail to administer the fruits of salvation is to deny or neglect His great salvation. The testimony of your life will show that you are living in a righteous manner.

This truth is confirmed to us by those who heard Him. God also testified to this truth through His signs and wonders. The signs were not to prove truth. They were confirmation of God’s divine presence, and they were given to show God at work to the person who witnessed it.

Don’t neglect the works of God and the power of His salvation in your life. He is worthy of your attention to His work in your life. Thank Him for keeping you away from destruction and for bringing you unto Himself.


Blessed Is the Peacemaker

To have peace is have something that must be sought after. It must be a desire and it requires effort to achieve it. To be a peacemaker can mean enduring a great deal of criticism. It is not always the goal of every person to seek peace or a peaceful resolution–after all, there are peacemakers and there are troublemakers. Being a peacemaker requires drawing upon God to be able to endure and overcome even our own struggles from within.
Psalm 13:1-6
Lord, how long will You continually forget me? How long will You hide your face from me? How long will I store up anxious concerns within me, agony in my mind every day? How long will my enemy dominate me? Consider me and answer, Lord, my God. Restore brightness to my eyes; otherwise, I will sleep in death, my enemy will say, “I have triumphed over him,” and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in Your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in Your deliverance. I will sing to the Lord because He has treated me generously.

When you are troubled and are disturbed with opposition, it can be a difficult existence if not downright depressing. It requires calling on God for comfort and being resilient in Him. It requires trusting in Him, regardless of what you see before you. God has brought us along to where we are, and you can never be a peacemaker as long as you are fearful and troubled. Rejoice in who you are in Jesus Christ. You can’t be a peacemaker unless you are at peace with God and within yourself.

Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:33
The God of peace be with all of you. Amen.

Ephesians 2:14
For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility.

Peace is a “relationship” word…you can be at peace with others and within yourself.

Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God.

All of the fears that we may have are put aside because you find comfort in who you are in the Lord.

Philippians 4:6-7
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Peace comes from spending time with Jesus. Distractions can divert you away from Jesus, which also will likely take you away from peace.

Luke 10:38-42
While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”

A peacemaker acts as God would have them to act. As He is willing to listen to us in our prayers and forgive our own sins, we are to listen to others and not hold grudges.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.

We are to follow that which promotes and allows for peace.

Romans 14:19
So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.

Proverbs 12:20
Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.

The peacemaker has victory because of being at peace with himself, with a willingness to learn more and to move forward.

Philippians 4:11-13
I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content–whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

The peacemaker acts in confidence because he acts with the confidence of God in everything he does.

Proverbs 3:25-26
Don’t fear sudden danger or the ruin of the wicked when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare.

Psalm 119:143
Trouble and distress have overtaken me, but Your commands are my delight.


Easter and Knowing Truth

Easter is a time of reflection that is not just about Jesus Christ and His resurrection–it is also about who we are…and not only about who we are, but who we are in Christ and the truths that come with this knowledge and understanding. Knowing that Christ died and was resurrected is the foundation of all truth that is relevant to our salvation, and it also represents the necessity for us to put off our old self and emerge into a new life… a life where we are living for Jesus.
Let’s look at a person who was an important part of Christ’s crucifixion. Caiaphas, the high priest, was approached to address the false charges brought against Him.

Matthew 26:57-64

 57 Those who had arrested Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had convened. 58Meanwhile, Peter was following Him at a distance right to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and was sitting with the temple police to see the outcome.

    59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false testimony against Jesus so they could put Him to death. 60 But they could not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. Finally, two who came forward 61 stated, “This man said, ‘I can demolish God’s sanctuary and rebuild it in three days.’ “

    62 The high priest then stood up and said to Him, “Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. Then the high priest said to Him, “By the living God I place You under oath: tell us if You are the Messiah, the Son of God!”

    64 “You have said it,” Jesus told him. “But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Jesus answered truthfully; yet Caiaphas could not handle the truth that Jesus is the Messiah.

Acts 4:6-12

6 with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander, and all the members of the high-priestly family. 7After they had Peter and John stand before them, they asked the question: “By what power or in what name have you done this?”

    8 Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man—by what means he was healed— 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing here before you healthy. 11 This [Jesus] is

    The stone despised by you builders,

    who has become the cornerstone.

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

Caiaphas had to still deal with the truth that Jesus was still present even though He was crucified. In the same way, people today want to deny that Jesus is a living God and that He is present. The truth about Christ is that He is always present and desires to have a relationship with everyone. It is up to the person to accept this truth and acknowledge Christ’s death on the cross for their sins and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Acts 5:17-24

17 Then the high priest took action. He and all his colleagues, those who belonged to the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 So they arrested the apostles and put them in the city jail. 19 But an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail during the night, brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple complex, and tell the people all about this life.” 21In obedience to this, they entered the temple complex at daybreak and began to teach.  When the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they convened the Sanhedrin—the full Senate of the sons of Israel—and sent [orders] to the jail to have them brought. 22 But when the temple police got there, they did not find them in the jail, so they returned and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing in front of the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 As the captain of the temple police and the chief priests heard these things, they were baffled about them, as to what could come of this.

In the process of denying the ministry of God and those who profess belief in Jesus Christ, do you find ways to suppress the gospel? While there has been success by many in the efforts to remove Him from schools and from society, He is still present and is working through those persons dedicated to proclaiming the gospel. Having the knowledge of truth and surrendering oneself to biblical truth are two different things. If your heart is not in living for Christ, you are far from Him, and your life will be evident of this. Peter also had the truth but needed to surrender to it.

Matthew 26:31-35

31Then Jesus said to them, “Tonight all of you will run away because of Me, for it is written:

    I will strike the shepherd,

    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.

    32 But after I have been resurrected, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”

    33 Peter told Him, “Even if everyone runs away because of You, I will never run away!”

    34 ” I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight—before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!”

    35 “Even if I have to die with You,” Peter told Him, “I will never deny You!” And all the disciples said the same thing.

John 13:37-38

37 “Lord,” Peter asked, “why can’t I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You!”

    38 Jesus replied, “Will you lay down your life for Me? I assure you: A rooster will not crow until you have denied Me three times.

God knows the heart of every man (1 Samuel 16:7; Matthew 6:21).

Peter now will face the real truth in his failure.

Matthew 26:69-75

 69Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant approached him and she said, “You were with Jesus the Galilean too.”

    70 But he denied it in front of everyone: “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

    71 When he had gone out to the gateway, another woman saw him and told those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene!”

    72 And again he denied it with an oath, “I don’t know the man!”

    73 After a little while those standing there approached and said to Peter, “You certainly are one of them, since even your accent gives you away.”

    74 Then he started to curse and to swear with an oath, “I do not know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed, 75 and Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

In this failure, Peter now learns a lesson about the real truth, which he not truly acknowledged until that moment. When you deny God through a lack of obedience to Him and to His Word, it will ultimately condemn you. Peter’s failure in this situation would lead to his actually recognizing and receiving the truth about Jesus Christ. A transformation in Peter’s life had taken place.

Acts 4:1-12

1 Now as they were speaking to the people, the priests, the commander of the temple guard, and the Sadducees confronted them, 2 because they were provoked that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in the person of Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 So they seized them and put them in custody until the next day, since it was already evening. 4But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000.

5 The next day, their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem 6 with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander, and all the members of the high-priestly family. 7After they had Peter and John stand before them, they asked the question: “By what power or in what name have you done this?”

    8 Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man—by what means he was healed— 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing here before you healthy. 11 This [Jesus] is

    The stone despised by you builders,

    who has become the cornerstone.

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

Notice that Peter is no longer fearful of facing others through his adversity and willingly testifies about Jesus Christ. He even faced jail time over the proclamation of the gospel, and it did not matter to him at all. He accepted the truth about Christ, who He is, and what He means to us.

The two thieves were also a contrast in their understanding about truth.

Luke 23:39-43

39 Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!”

    40 But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? 41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”

    43 And He said to him, ” I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”

The problem with the first man is that he wants to be saved from the consequences of his sin, but he does not want to live for Christ. The other criminal, however, understood the truth and acknowledged the truth. He declared that they (the criminals) were deserving of punishment, but knew that Jesus had done nothing wrong. Jesus knew the hearts of both men, and saw that the one criminal was repentant over his actions. He saw the importance of wanting to be with Jesus and the kingdom of God, and asked Christ to remember him. He acknowledged and understood the truth about Jesus Christ.

It is all about living for His Word…it feeds us, keeps us and protects us. To understand his Word is one thing, but to live in it is another. We are to live out the Word in our understanding of it. Because of the resurrection of Christ, you have eternal life, and you live in this hope through His Word of truth.

Please remember the importance of the resurrection of Christ as we celebrate not just Jesus, but our lives in Christ for what He has done for us.


1 John 2: Understanding the Christian Way of Life

We can say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that there is too much sin prevalent within the church. Unfortunately, many people who openly declare a knowledge of and a relationship with Jesus Christ are living in ways contrary to what it truly means to be a Christian. Man needs to do a better job of overcoming and mastering the flesh, for few have lived up to the commandments found in Matthew 22:37-40: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.‘” While we often fall short of this standard, God is merciful and, as believers in Jesus Christ, dwells inside of us to help us carry out God’s will for our lives.

Here are some Christian principles to be mindful of with support from the verses that follow. They deal with fundamental truths about God and the law, and rules of conduct. He knows and sees everything that you do, and there are consequences:
For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
“‘There is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered, nothing hidden that won’t be uncovered, nothing hidden that won’t be made known‘” (Luke 12:2).
…and faithful love belongs to You, Lord. For You repay each according to his works” (Psalm 62:12).
If you say, ‘But we didn’t know about this,’ won’t He who weighs hearts consider it? Won’t He who protects your life know? Won’t He repay a person according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:12)
He will repay each one according to his works” (Romans 2:6)
“‘Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done‘” (Revelation 22:12).

Remember that nothing is hidden from God. He is aware of everything that we do, and we have the ability to confess our sin and repent from it. In 1 John, chapter 1, John notes that we have the privilege of confessing our sins because of God’s grace. In chapter 2, he addresses the two principles concerning sin.
1. We must not sin and we are not to plan to sin (Hebrews 10:17).
2. Sin is not fatal because it can be corrected, for there is a remedy for it–the blood of Jesus Christ–when we confess our sin. “But if we talk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

John tells us not to sin (1 John 2:1).
1. Just because confession can be used in asking for forgiveness, one should not abuse it.
2. The forgiveness by the blood of Jesus Christ is not a license to sin (Ephesians 5:8-10; 1 Peter 2:16; Galatians 5:13). Do not use God’s grace to continually act in unrighteous behavior.
3. The purpose of the gospel, the knowledge of truth, is that you will not sin. Understanding God’s Word should keep you from sinning and give you the desire to please God. “I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).
4. Living out God’s Word helps to break the habit of sin (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). The renewing of your mind should be changing your old habits, which were a detriment to you, to those that are better for you and in living for Christ.
5. Having the knowledge of God’s Word removes the desire to sin (James 4:7, 17). The Holy Spirit is the One who directs us and teaches us to live correctly and to make the right choices. Submitting to God will demonstrate His loving care for us through His protection.

Walking in the light means that you have the desire to forsake all sin. Unbelievers do not have the choice of living in the light or in darkness. They are always living in darkness. Living in the light gives the believer the ability to live a life that is pleasing to God. There is no sin present when one lives in the light.

Why are we, as Christians, subject to sin?
1. We sin because of the deceptive nature of Satan. He lays traps for us. (Acts 15:37-39; Galatians 2:14)
2. When you chose to walk out of the light (and the knowledge of God’s Word) and act against what you know to be true–knowing your behavior is wrong–you have left your fellowship with God.

Truths about Christianity:
Sin is not part of the Christian life (Christianity is to be a life without sin), yet the Christian is never totally free from sin because of his fleshly nature and the world in which he lives (Galatians 5:13-17; John 17:15-19). What should be taking place is life as a process of living the Christian life without sin. It is an ongoing process of dying to self and living for the Spirit and for Jesus Christ (Romans 6:6-10; Philippians 1:21). If we do sin, John says we have one who speaks to the Father on our behalf (1 John 2:1b). He is the Counselor and Comforter (John 14:25). The Advocate, Jesus Christ, was presented by God as our atonement (Romans 5:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19). He is available for all who accept Him as Savior (John 1:12).

As we know more about Jesus Christ, we understand and are more compelled to be obedient to His Word. There is evidence of our salvation in our actions (1 John 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 7:21-25; Galatians 5:13-17). In addition, we have a desire for spiritual knowledge (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18). To know Jesus is to love Him, obey Him, and imitate Him as you serve Him (Romans 8:29). Being obedient to God and His Word brings about God’s complete love in you (1 John 2:5-6; John 3:16; Matthew 20:28).


1 Timothy

Paul, in the book of 1 Timothy, is directing and encouraging Timothy to stay in Ephesus to combat the presence of false teaching. In many instances false teaching does not occur outside the church but from within the church. Even Satan will use these ongoing discrepancies to divide people who are followers of Christ. Even those who teach falsely believe that their position is correct from a biblical perspective. The church of Ephesus may have been plagued by heretical issues, geneology and personal interests. The false teaching was merely an exercise in speculation, and it was distracting and a hindrance to those who were seeking the truth. Paul’s encouragement of Timothy comes from the very authority of God, who was speaking through Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 1:1), to do the good work of combating this false teaching (1 Timothy 1:3-7). If you are a child of God, your greatest weapon is when you are on your knees before God and allowing Him to direct you in every way as you are intracting with others, no matter what anyone else has to say or how they feel about you (2 Corinthians 10:10-11; 13:3-4). Paul introduces himself to the church at Ephesus for the purpose of extending Timothy’s stay there. He brings his position as an apostle of Jesus Christ as a support to Tinothy and with God’s authority. Paul had the position of apostle, teacher and leader (Galatians 1:11-12; Acts 13:2-3; 26:16). In this same way, we should absolutely know where God would have us to serve Him and what we are to do in His service. Paul calls Timothy his son (1 Timothy 1:2), but not as his biological son, but as his mentor with a close relationship with his faith, teaching and instruction. Timothy is Paul’s spiritual son. Timothy is the second generation Christian who Paul trusts to carry on the work of the gospel (2 Timothy 2:2). The challenge that we have today is the role of the next generation that will follow the present generation in leading the church and spreading the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). The book of Philemon is an example of how we are to treat those who are outside of our family relationships with love and respect while putting aside anger and bitterness (Philemon 10-16). God’s power has and will overcome all of our heartaches, fears and issues and helps us to see everything through His perspective (1 Corinthians 4:4-7). You will develop and maintain compassion and a deeper understanding of others who go through difficult circumstances.