Tag Archives: spiritual

Church and Salvation and Church and the Saints

Today’s message summary of June 25, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

If you are in a church, you should be able to see if God is doing something.  Do you hear from Him?  Do you attend church with the desire to seek Him and understand Him?

You should be able to see God, hear Him, and receive from Him something of value.  When you leave church, you should feel fulfillment and blessings.

God has a plan for each one of us.  Your church experience should not be one where you are just moving along with others.

Church and salvation, and church and the saints.  They represent the same thing.  To be a saint in the church because you have been saved and redeemed by Jesus Christ.

Saints are called to serve in the body of Christ.  It’s more than just “walking with Jesus.”  Being called means that you have a purpose to do something in the body of Christ.  You are to be a participant in the body, and not just a spectator.

The church is the meeting place for those who desire to grow in relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is not just for those who are saved.  It is for those who are looking for Christ and who are willing to, eventually, make a decision to follow Him in a relationship with Christ.  It began with someone speaking to the person and sharing about Christ.

The church is a group of people who have been drawn together by God to do the will of Jesus on earth, the work of Jesus Christ on earth, and to be His witnesses on earth.

John 6:44-45

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets. And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me.

Your work will testify about the presence of Jesus Christ:

John 5:36

But I have a greater testimony than John’s because of the works that the Father has given Me to accomplish. These very works I am doing testify about Me that the Father has sent me.

You will do great things in Christ:

John 14:12

I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

You will be a witness for Jesus Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit:

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

You can be a witness for God in your flesh, and it can become a matter of pridefulness.  Your true witness for Him will be when the Spirit is in control.  If you are going to function well within the church and be a witness for Jesus Christ, you will need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Every approach within the church should be to constantly evaluate whether or not the endeavors of the church are glorifying Jesus Christ.

The greatest organization on earth is the Church.  A lot of people do not know this, because sometimes the church doesn’t get it right; however, it is the place where God takes the least of us, and raises them up to do great things in His name.

You may have heard these remarks:

“I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.”

“I don’t want to go to church.”

“The church isn’t doing anything for my spiritual life.”

The counter to these thoughts is that your Christian life is meant to provide works that are worth more than wood, hay or stubble.  To avoid church is to avoid functioning within the body of Christ. To not fellowship with other believers is more of a fleshly love than that of an agape love that Jesus desires for you to have.  Jesus wants you to have the heart of a servant and the desire to serve others, especially in this world where people feel that they are entitled to receive things.

When you come to church, everything won’t always be “nice.” Sometimes, you will need to be exposed to “iron sharpening iron.”  God’s Word is meant to convict and compel you to develop a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the United States Senate:

“In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centered on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And finally, it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.”

The church may indeed be a philosophy, an institution, a culture and an enterprise, but it does not mean that people see it as a place where they desire to seek and follow Jesus Christ.  That was what the original intent of the church, and that is what God desires for His people to see in today’s church.

A church has to function in today’s society in much the same way as a business.  The church is dealing with spiritual matters, but it also takes on a business venture, where its members are willing to undertake new and risky projects and have active participation in projects.

We are created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Ephesians 2:10).  The church in action is a church that does good works in His name.

You can be a witness of the many things that only God can do if you are a participant in the church.


Not Facing the Second Death (Revelation 20:6)

Today’s message summary of April 16, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

We see death everyday.  Death reigns in this world.  We see this because Adam sinned against God in disobedience, and as a result, all who have followed Adam would pay the penalty of sin, and that is to die.  We all will die eventually.  It is inescapable.

The other dilemma in this is not knowing when it will happen.  It happens to all regardless of wealth or race.  Death is the great equalizer.

Ecclesiastes 9:1-6

Indeed, I took all this to heart and explained it all: the righteous, the wise, and their works are in Gods hands. People dont know whether to expect love or hate. Everything lies ahead of them. Everything is the same for everyone: there is one fate for the righteous and the wicked, for the good and the bad, for the clean and the unclean, for the one who sacrifices and the one who does not sacrifice. As it is for the good, so it is for the sinner; as for the one who takes an oath, so for the one who fears an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: there is one fate for everyone. In addition, the hearts of people are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they liveafter that they go to the dead. But there is hope for whoever is joined with all the living, since a live dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead dont know anything. There is no longer a reward for them because the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate, and their envy have already disappeared, and there is no longer a portion for them in all that is done under the sun.

All other religions try to address the problem that death presents.

The question to pose here:  Will we rise again?

The believer who is in Christ will not escape the first death but will escape the second one.

Please make a note of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It was unique in that he was the only one who did not die a second time.  All of the others, according to Scripture, who were raised up also died once again.

Revelation 20:6

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of the Messiah, and they will reign with Him for 1,000 years.

For those who were raised in the first resurrection, they were blessed.  There were many blessings of happiness as noted in the beatitudes:

Matthew 5:1-11

When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. Then He began to teach them, saying:

The poor in spirit are blessed,

for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Those who mourn are blessed,

for they will be comforted.

The gentle are blessed,

for they will inherit the earth.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed,

for they will be filled.

The merciful are blessed,

for they will be shown mercy.

The pure in heart are blessed,

for they will see God.

The peacemakers are blessed,

for they will be called sons of God.

Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed,

for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me.

I believe that John, in the Revelation text, is conveying that there will be great happiness and joy with the first resurrection.

Revelation 14:13

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: The dead who die in the Lord from now on are blessed.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “let them rest from their labors, for their works follow them!”

We will be raised with a sanctified, holy body, and in that resurrection we will be made perfect with a body that will never deteriorate.  Nothing unclean will ever enter the kingdom of God.  The first resurrection is for God’s people.  The second death has no power or effect over them.

What is the second death?  It is an eternal death.  If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, you will receive a body that will be suitable for eternal damnation.

Revelation 20:13-15

Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

This means there are some here today that will die and also “die again.”

Revelation 21:8

But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liarstheir share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

The two deaths differ.  The first is physical, and the second is spiritual.  It is eternal and filled with torment.

Revelation 20:10

The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

The Lord gives a warning to the church about all of this:

Revelation 2:11

Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor will never be harmed by the second death.

In Revelation 20:6, the passage notes that all who follow Jesus Christ are referred to as priests.  Priests, in the Old Testament, were the ones appointed to speaking and carrying out the duties and responsibilities to the people.  We are all called priests, which was a high calling, as we are saints of God who believe.

It is true that we will be raised again after death, but the question is where will we find ourselves.  Those who believe in Jesus Christ will escape the second death, and will fellowship with Jesus Christ for all eternity.


A Successful Family Life

Today’s message summary of December 4, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

A successful family is something that needs to be worked on.  It can be difficult at times, and there is no manual that is offered that gives clues how to do it.

Every person within the family has a divine purpose, and it is up to the family members to help sharpen each other.

It is better, by far, to grow healthy children into healthy adults than it is to repair old men and women.  The child raised in the Lord has a good opportunity to come up and succeed.

Dreams require sacrifice if they are going to become a reality.  Children are to be taught how to make sacrifices.  They need to be instructed how to give to others instead of just receive things.

Without sacrifice and dedication, a child will ultimately not go anywhere.  Making sacrifices are a requirement for those who desire a good education.

There is a threefold development that has to be taught within a family that are critical to successful living:

  1. Mind development (intellect, psychology)
  2. Body development (physical appearance)
  3. Reproductive drive (sexual desire)

This needs to be instructed within the family as there will be a number of voices from the outside that will try to shape or influence how a person views these issues.

The most important part of this that is developed last (that should be developed first) is the spiritual development of the child and the family.

Psalm 119:99

I have more insight than all my teachers because Your decrees are my meditation.

 

Psalm 119:59

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

 

Psalm 119:11-12

I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. Lord, may You be praised; teach me Your statutes.

 

There will be the need for instruction to address the different levels of growth in the family.

Each person in the family has to still make his or her own commitment to Jesus Christ.

John 6:63

The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

 

John 1:12

But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name.

 

1 John 5:4-5, 13

…because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

 

Success comes from direct obedience to the Holy Spirit.

In the family, there can be these scenarios:

  1. One person saved and one not saved (1 Corinthians 7:13).
  2. Both husband and wife are saved.
  3. One following Scripture while the other does not.
  4. Both parents saved living out the Scripture, while a child may live for the Lord and another may not.
  5. The complete family is saved and is following the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is the teacher in the family (John 14:25-26).

We in the family are the students (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13).

The Bible is the textbook (2 Timothy 3:16).

The family is to help one another to grow:

  1. Intellectually. We communicate our knowledge to one another. We listen to each other.
  1. Emotionally. We cry, hurt, laugh and have fun together.
  1. Physically. Hugging, touches, kisses, wrestling.
  1. Spiritually. We all help guide, but only the Holy Spirit can do the real teaching (John 14:25).

Understanding a person is to know when the Holy Spirit is the only one to meet the need at this particular time in life.

Philippians 4:19

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.


Why the Millennium? (Part 1)

Today’s message of August 7, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Have you ever considered the Millennium?  Why will the Lord Jesus Christ rule over the earth for 1,000 years?  Why would He spend that time with humanity?

If we give thought to this, we should ask the question about the purpose of the thousand-year reign of Christ.

Some people won’t really care, especially if Jesus Christ is not at the forefront of their thinking.  God calls us to seek Him, and it is best to do so through His Word.

The Bible and God’s Word continues to reveal itself to those who sincerely seek Him.

Jesus ruling for a thousand years follows what is written in Revelation 19:

Revelation 19:11-12

Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on His head. He had a name written that no one knows except Himself.

Jesus Christ is faithful and true.  He is faithful to the truth.  He is true to His Word.  He will fulfill everything that He proclaims.

He will go to war in this truth and rightly judge others.  All of His actions are in righteousness.  He goes to war against those who are rebellious in order to proclaim His righteousness.

Revelation 19:13

He wore a robe stained with blood, and His name is the Word of God.

During the Millennium, Jesus will be the teacher for His very name is the Word of God (Revelation 19:13; John 1:1).

Revelation 19:14-16

The armies that were in heaven followed Him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. A sharp sword came from His mouth, so that He might strike the nations with it. He will shepherd them with an iron scepter. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. And He has a name written on His robe and on His thigh: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.

Revelation 19:17-21

Then I saw an angel standing on[a] the sun, and he cried out in a loud voice, saying to all the birds flying high overhead, Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of commanders, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of their riders, and the flesh of everyone, both free and slave, small and great.

Then I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and against His army. But the beast was taken prisoner, and along with him the false prophet, who had performed the signs in his presence. He deceived those who accepted the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image with these signs. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword that came from the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

The beast and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire (v. 20).

So is there anything that God needs to prove at this point?

What happens to the children of these fathers that were slain?  There are a lot of commentaries that conclude that the people who enter the Millennium are believers, but we need to consider that those who remain may not have public idols, but there still may be idol worship in the hearts of some people.  Anything that is more important than Jesus Christ is just an idol.

It is the choice of a person as to whether or not they are going to follow Jesus.

Satan is dealt with between the war of Armageddon and the millennium. Satan is restrained and bound (Revelation 20:1-3). God gave the authority for an angel to bind Satan for 1,000 years.

When God speaks, His Word is the final word.

Even with all of this, man has this thing called blame.  If we are late for work, it will sometimes come with an excuse.  “I got distracted. I lost track of time.”  In the millennium, there will be no “blame game.”

The millennium will:

  1. Change the spiritual atmosphere.
  2. Perfect a spiritual and moral environment (spiritual leadership)
  3. Deal with evil behavior rapidly (no rebellion)
  4. See Jesus reign (it will be His time of influence)

God will not allow any influence of evil or sin during that time, and it will be to remove the blame that people may have against God (“You allowed us to be deceived.”)

Romans 7:11-12

For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a complete and pure devotion to Christ.

1 Timothy 2:14

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.

1 Corinthians 15:22, 45-49

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

So it is written: The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual.

The first man was from the earth

and made of dust;

the second man is from heaven.

Like the man made of dust,

so are those who are made of dust;

like the heavenly man,

so are those who are heavenly.

And just as we have borne

the image of the man made of dust,

we will also bear

the image of the heavenly man.

Genesis 3:12-13

Then the man replied, The woman You gave to be with meshe gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.

So the Lord God asked the woman, What is this you have done?

And the woman said, It was the serpent. He deceived me, and I ate.

The difference between the Millennium and the Garden of Eden will be the presence of Jesus Christ and the absence of reasons to blame.

1 Peter 5:8

Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.

You can’t rightfully blame God for what happens to you if you choose not to trust in Him and follow Him.


Be Filled (Part 3): A Spirit-Filled Mind

A message summary of June 26, 2016 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

1 Corinthians 2:10-16

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

 who has known the Lords mind,

that he may instruct Him?

But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:17

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to evangelizenot with clever words, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5

My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a powerful demonstration by the Spirit, so that your faith not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.

The Corinthian church depended upon their own knowledge and wisdom to answer life’s questions, but it turned out to be knowledge that only puffed them up, and it had nothing to do with Christ, the gospel or the church. Paul argued against this worldly wisdom, and it is hoped that you will have a greater understanding of life that is fueled by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and that you would be Spirit-filled.

1 Corinthians 2:10

Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

The truth of the gospel is significant in that it is only by Jesus Christ that we are justified by faith, and made righteous and sanctified in Jesus Christ.

These are the things that are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. To the world, the gospel is counted as foolishness.

It is only foolish for those who have not had the truth of the gospel revealed to them.

Anyone who reads the Bible reads the very words of God. He is the one who saves through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has the exact attributes of God, the Father and God, the Son.

God knows all about us. In turn, the Holy Spirit knows everything about us. He is omniscient (all-knowing).

Psalm 69:5

God, You know my foolishness,

and my guilty acts are not hidden from You.

Psalm 90:8

You have set our unjust ways before You,

our secret sins in the light of Your presence.

“Now who can have such a thorough knowledge of God but God?”

–Matthew Henry

I urge you to not reject the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your life. The Spirit knows all about you, but the most important thing that He desires to have a relationship with you.

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

The only person who can reveal the thoughts of God is the Spirit of God.

Ephesians 2:1-2

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient.

When one compares the natural man with the spiritual man, there are two different natures. It does not mean that the natural man is not smart, but it does mean, according to Paul, that the natural man has no inclination of who God is, while the spiritual man does know and lives his life accordingly.

Paul is trying to encourage the Corinthian church to have like-mindedness with God. They were to turn from human wisdom and draw upon godly wisdom.

Paul used the word “wisdom” several times within the text. The word “wisdom” is translated as sophia. The Greek word means knowledge, and it is a form of the word sophistication.

The Corinthian church was trying to continue in human wisdom–its own philosophy.

Jeremiah 8:9

The wise men will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and snared. They have rejected the word of the Lord, so what wisdom do they really have?

Romans 8:5

For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit.

Are you allowing yourself to be filled by social media or the media or commercialism, or are you being filled by the Spirit?

The Spirit must prevail in your life if you are to have true fellowship with God in Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16

For who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Is your mind filled with different philosophies that instruct you, or is the Spirit prevailing in your heart and mind?

Read God’s Word each day and meditate upon it. Whatever you put into your mind, that is what will come out of you.

The mind of Christ stands in sharp contrast from the wisdom of man. It cannot be understood without the input of the Holy Spirit.

Are you being filled? Is Jesus Christ sanctifying you?

A Spirit-filled mind has an eternal focus on Jesus Christ and living for Him. He is waiting for you to make that commitment of obedience and proclaim the good news to others.


Be Filled (Part 2: Sanctification)

Today’s message summary of May 29, 2016 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

The day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-12) is a day that should be celebrated! It was the day that the Holy Spirit poured out over all of the people and made His presence known. Not long afterward, Peter came forth and proclaimed that this was to happen, and that it was time for people to acknowledge the presence of the Lord and that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21).

What does it mean to be filled by the Holy Spirit, and what is it to be sanctified by the Spirit?

We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work that it is begun in regeneration and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

                                                                                                                         –New Hampshire Baptist Convention

Sanctification is a progressive difficulty of holiness, it is a difficulty that requires submission to the Holy Spirit, so that he can purge the sin out of our lives by which he shall conform us into the image of Jesus Christ.

                                                                                                                         –Travis C. Jackson

If the Spirit is not sanctifying you, then something else is.

The human nature is sinful. All of us are encapsulated by our physical form–our bodies. Sin is the result of our bodies dictating how we live. It leads to death.

Romans 8:13 ESV

For if you live according to the flesh you will die.

For those who are not in the body of Christ, the death is not just physical, but also spiritual. Living in the flesh leads to this spiritual death outside of Christ. The flesh desires to live in sin–with our eyes, with the tongue, and in boasting of worldliness.

James 1:14-15

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

The more that you allow sin in your lives, the more that it will but dents in your souls. Sin is nothing to play around with.

Solomon, one of the greatest and wisest of all time, was still a fool. Don’t take this the wrong way, but in a lot of ways we are a lot like Judas because of our sin and fleshly behavior.

You must acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior in order to avoid this spiritual death. You must be born again.

The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh.

If there is an ongoing internal struggle between the Spirit and the flesh, then it requires a call for the presence of the Spirit to help you grow in sanctification.

We always value, in the flesh, what we feel is more important than God.

Romans 7:17-20

So now it is not longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

This message is about sanctification. We are reliant upon the Holy Spirit to grow in Christ. We are unable to do anything according to our own power and strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.

No one can ever boast of defeating sin on his own accord.

John 6:63

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

The Spirit must be at the forefront of your thought life and process of thinking.

Romans 8:13

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

You have to judge for yourselves by which accord you are living.

Are you living for the flesh, or for the Spirit?

Ephesians 6:17-18a

…and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

The Spirit must lead in every waking moment of your life. It will allow for your ongoing sanctification in Jesus Christ with his constant presence.

The Spirit desires for each of us to be sanctified by the Word of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

When you think of holiness, think of God’s perfect attributes. Since He commands us to “be holy,” our response is to behave in such a way where our actions are indeed matching His character. If you desire to be Spirit-led, then be holy.

Greek words: “Filled”

Pimplemi

to fill

example, if an individual is drunk with wine the consumption of the wine controls the person’s emotion (Ephesians 5:18)

Empi(m)plemi

to take one’s fill of, glut one’s desire for, satisfy, satiate (John 6:13)

Pleroo

to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full with emotion

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

To be filled with the Spirit requires your living and broadcasting these attributes. These are God’s own attributes.

Be sanctified in the Holy Spirit.

Be prayerful to do these things and defeat the flesh. Seek the things of the Spirit with His godly attributes and live for Jesus Christ.

Be filled.


Your Spiritual Journey

Today’s message summary of December 13, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

In recent months, I have come up with a phrase to describe my life today: “Every day is an adventure.”

Every day has its challenges. Some of them are expected, while some are new and require flexibility. If you had plans that day, they can and will change at a moment’s notice.  There’s no reason to get ahead of yourself beyond those moments, because each one requires your full attention.

Matthew 6:34 HCSB

Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Every day may indeed be an adventure, but each day, one after another, week after week, month after month and year after year—is a journey.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, your relationship with Jesus Christ makes your journey a spiritual journey.

I would like to provide you with an overview of my own spiritual journey with the hope that it will help you to look at where you are in your life journey with Jesus Christ. What I desire for you to see is how this journey, over time, is not so much better because life gets easier—it won’t get easier—but it will get better because your life in Christ will get richer with your personal growth in wisdom and knowledge because of the Spirit’s involvement in everything you do.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The more that you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future.”

In examination of my spiritual journey, Roosevelt was absolutely on-target. I had to learn more about who I was as a person in order to come to the realization that I needed to choose Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. From there, I recognized the necessity to make a series of progressions over time to bring me to this point of my journey.

My past as a non-believer was not filled with church experiences; in fact, I seldom went to church. I was only exposed to church on random Easter Sundays, and ironically, those visits involved hearing my grandfather, Rev. Ernest W. Stevens, Sr., preach as a guest speaker at Lee Road Baptist Church or some other church on the east side of Cleveland. I was never involved with church at Christmas time. My parents, at that time, were not believers in Jesus Christ, and there was one King James Version bible in the house that collected dust on a side table.

When I graduated from high school, my first job was work at my uncles’ florist shop in East Cleveland. Of the two uncles, Tyrone was a believer who spoke about the need to accept Christ, and Larry talked about the Lord but was not really following Him. Over the summer, I worked at the shop seven days a week, and I was exposed to a new, entirely different lifestyle. I delivered floral arrangements and took orders over the phone and in-person. A significant experience was dealing with families who had just lost a loved one and orders for bereavement flowers. I also became introspective about the delivery of flowers to funeral homes, where I had to place the flowers on and around the casket of the person. These events are fresh in my mind. In witnessing the aftermath of the death of others, including those of infants who had died prematurely, it made me think more about life and what I had to look forward to.

I listened to the testimonies of my saved uncle and a fellow employee, a young woman named Renee. She mentioned to me that her life was different at that time because of her relationship with the Lord. She used to listen to gospel music and would even sing a few lyrics out loud. She was, and is today, an amazing singer. She also witnessed to my uncle Larry about the Lord. I knew deep down that he liked Renee for her appearance, but she was always a true professional. I respected her approach to life very much, and was a little envious of her contentment. I was anything but content. I was still living at home and I had already bombed out of college. My parents were fighting on a regular basis and were headed for a divorce. Work at the flower shop did not pay a lot, and I had to learn more about money management because I had purchased a new car that I could barely afford.

My past was telling me that my life, at that time, was on the road to nowhere, and it was fast approaching.

I had taken other jobs in order to try to determine what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and I circled back to working at the flower shop. In 1986, as the flower shop days were ending, I was invited to a church on the west side of Cleveland—Second Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Roland H. Crowder was the pastor that delivered about two or three Sunday messages where I had decided that enough was enough. I knew that I didn’t have any solutions on my own for where my life was going, but I knew that I needed Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. That June, I went forward and I got baptized two weeks later before some of my friends that I had invited to church. I was 26 years old, and I was baptized with a group of 8 and 9 year olds. Imagine the sight of that!

With a new beginning in Jesus Christ comes a new template of how to live. I knew that Christ was present, but I was still learning about the presence of the Holy Spirit and what all of it really meant to me. I knew where I was, but I could now see that there was more to life than my own personal experiences. God had to teach me that life is more about serving Him than my own needs or desires.

A. B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, writes about his own moral dilemma in his book, My Own Story, where at age 14, he willfully disobeyed his parents in spite of his own desire to pursue ministry for the sake of fulfilling his own desires. Simpson does not go into detail about what those things were except that they were things that people who aspire for ministry should not do. When his parents found out about it, his mother went off on him!

“It was the day of judgment for me…my mother wringing her hands and pouring out the vials of her wrath while I sat confounded and crushed. …That tragedy settled the question of the ministry. Soon after I…decided to give up these side issues and prepare myself…to be a minister of the Gospel.”

Everyone has a history to reckon with. At the moment that a person comes to Jesus Christ, that history is part of who the person is, but those periods of history become a part of one’s learning experience. A. B. Simpson learned about what it means to be fully devoted to a life with Jesus Christ. Thankfully, from the moment of our conversion to Jesus Christ, the transformation of our hearts and minds begins:

Romans 12:1-2 ESV

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I made a lot of mistakes, and I still do. My history before I became a believer in Christ consisted of looking to the world for answers to questions and problems. Following the world meant living a sinful lifestyle. After all is said and done, I took very bad advice. I am grateful that God has been merciful to me and has allowed me to learn from my mistakes with minimal consequences.

Lamentations 3:22-23 HCSB

Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish,

for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!

Even though sin is part of our fleshly nature, we learn over time that our Holy Spirit gives us the ability to resist the temptations that lead to sinful behavior. We have power in the Spirit to live a life that honors Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Early in my new life as a believer, God was gradually revealing to me what my talents and gifts were to use in my new faith. I liked art and English as a youth, and while I wasn’t a big reader, I did like to write. I also grew in my verbal communication skills with my career in Collections and as a supervisor. At my first church, I was a greeter, and then soon after that I was selected to teach Sunday school to the teens. My first class subject was the books of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus. God knew that the best way to study His Word was to make me a teacher! It was humbling and yet it launched me to where I am today as an adult Sunday school teacher. I would not be able to do any of these things without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 HCSB

Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person.

My growth as a believer continued as I developed my communication skills. I was able to finish my undergraduate degree in Business and Organizational Communication at the University of Akron (Go Zips!) in 2002, and it was not long after that when Pastor Gus gave me opportunities to speak from the pulpit. The first couple of times out were a little rough, but I managed to make progress and learn about the preparation and delivery process over time. I learned that while speaking from the pulpit is quite an honor, I was reminded that it is a privilege and that my approach should always be one with prayerful humility.

James 4:6 HCSB

But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says:

God resists the proud,

but gives grace to the humble.

A. B. Simpson was humble in his service. He was willing to sacrifice his time, and even his own personal stature for the sake of reaching people for Christ. His missionaries, educators and staff were all committed to their areas of service because he set the tone for the ministry. He prayed fervently and provided vision, determination and commitment to everything that he was involved in. His example is what I strive to demonstrate to those that I serve in my church and in my workplace. The desire is to honor Jesus Christ, and not myself.

Colossians 3:16-17 HCSB

Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

In the midst of all of this, my flesh provides constant reminders of my history before Christ. I know that God’s power through the Holy Spirit is ever-present, but the allure of the things that support the flesh make things like “giving up” or “taking a break from Jesus” more appealing. This is where history can no longer determine the appropriate steps for me. I need to treat history for what it is, and remember that as I repent from my sinful past, God no longer remembers those sins. I am also thankful that Jesus took care of all of my sins once and for all.

Hebrews 10:16-18 HCSB

This is the covenant I will make with them

after those days, says the Lord:

I will put My laws on their hearts

and write them on their minds,

He adds:

I will never again remember

their sins and their lawless acts.

Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

It’s been just under thirty years for me as a believer in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I have grown in my faith and my ability to serve, but it was not until recently where I was very confident that I was in the place that God would have me to be. My next steps involve looking into serving as a chaplain or pursuing ordination with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. I’m sincerely open to what God has in store for me, and I readily acknowledge that, even after I obtain my Master’s degree, I still have a lot to learn as I exercise my faith.

Philippians 2:12-13 HCSB

So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.

As a Sunday school teacher, it is prudent for me to continue to practice what I teach—ongoing reading and meditation of the Scriptures and living a life of fullness in Christ wherever I may be.

Your spiritual journey in Jesus Christ, from today forward, continues.

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines