Tag Archives: teachable

The Church and Salvation:  Learning to Receive Criticism and Instruction

Today’s message summary of December 31, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

There are periods when Jesus spent time with his apostles to train them for what was to come after He turned over His ministry to them.

How much do you like criticism?  Many of us don’t, but there are times when criticism is necessary.  For those of us at the forefront of ministry, this criticism is indeed constructive and beneficial.  The apostles had to receive instruction in this way in order to make sure that (1) they were living in the right way, and (2) to demonstrate before others a life of service in Jesus Christ.

We are to respect those who criticize us, because they are ultimately watching us.  It is the act of analysis or of the qualities as an evaluation in comparison to others.  There may be a finding of fault or even disapproval of what is being done, but it is in the spirit of correction.  (We are often not as critical of ourselves as we should be.)

Being a Christian is not easy.  It starts with obedience to Him, and it involves a surrendering to the Holy Spirit, who is developing you into the person that will serve Jesus.  This is how you can experience success–in spite of the flesh.

If you were to pick twelve people to do a task, and only one of the twelve failed, how would you grade yourself?  This was the result of Jesus’ training of his apostles.

There is a historical contrast between Jesus, the Jewish leaders, and John the Baptist.

The Jewish teachers and John the Baptist didn’t choose their disciples.  Their disciples chose them.  Jesus, in contrast, hand picked each of His disciples in order that they would become His apostles.

They were not self-made.  They had to stay chose to Jesus in order to continue to develop, learn and grow.

John 15:16

You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.

Mark 3:13-15

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them out to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons.

This was a change from what was the religious norm of the time (instead of what happened with John and the Jewish leaders).  Jesus wanted the apostles and appointed them.  He wanted them to be with Him.  He would sent them out to preach, and gave them authority to drive out demons.

The real wonder of the apostles lies in the making and development of the men for their ministry.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!

The real wonder of a Christian is their growth and development.  Jesus wants to not just give salvation, but He wants to be with the believer to help him grow.  Where the old has left, the new has come.

The apostles reveal what is going to happen in the life of those who will accept Jesus as Savior.  The old has gone, and the new has come.

They had to learn to take criticism from other religious people.  There were many (Jews and Pharisees) who were watching them.

Mark 7:1-13

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him. They observed that some of his disciples were eating bread with uncleanthat is, unwashedhands. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, keeping the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and dining couches.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, Why dont your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ceremonially unclean hands?

He answered them, Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,

but their heart is far from me.

They worship me in vain,

teaching as doctrines human commands.

Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human tradition. He also said to them, You have a fine way of invalidating Gods command in order to set up your tradition!  For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother; and Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. But you say, If anyone tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is corban’” (that is, an offering devoted to God), you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.

 

“Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders?” (from Mark 7:5)

Jesus reminded the critics of the words of Scripture in defense of the disciples and noted that those who professed to follow the Lord had hearts that were not following Him.  He teaches the critics with the words of Isaiah.

Isaiah 29:13-19

The Lord said:

These people approach me with their speeches

to honor me with lip-service

yet their hearts are far from me,

and human rules direct their worship of me.

Therefore, I will again confound these people

with wonder after wonder.

The wisdom of their wise will vanish,

and the perception of their perceptive will be hidden.

 

Woe to those who go to great lengths

to hide their plans from the Lord.

They do their works in the dark,

and say, Who sees us? Who knows us?

You have turned things around,

as if the potter were the same as the clay.

How can what is made say about its maker,

He didnt make me?

How can what is formed

say about the one who formed it,

He doesnt understand what hes doing?

 

Isnt it true that in just a little while

Lebanon will become an orchard,

and the orchard will seem like a forest?

On that day the deaf will hear

the words of a document,

and out of a deep darkness

the eyes of the blind will see.

The humble will have joy

after joy in the Lord,

and the poor people will rejoice

in the Holy One of Israel.

 

The disciples were observant of the dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees, but they were observing and learning from the exchange.

They learned how to move from answering their question to stating a fact about the accusers (Mark 7:9-13).

Now Jesus takes the question from the Pharisees to the multitude of people and His disciples–a much larger group.  He turns the question into a teachable moment for all who are listening.

Mark 7:14-19

Summoning the crowd again, he told them, Listen to me, all of you, and understand: Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.

When he went into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, Are you also as lacking in understanding? Dont you realize that nothing going into a person from the outside can defile him? For it doesnt go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated (thus he declared all foods clean).

Remember that his disciples–soon to be apostles–were raised in Jewish tradition.  They had to see how these traditions were not nearly as important as the heart of the person.  The heart is to lead all of the actions for the glory of God.  Are things being done out of tradition, or are they being done out of a love and obedience for God?

Mark 7:20-23

And he said, What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of peoples hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, self-indulgence, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person.

Jesus brings all of the observers into the discussion and shares this important truth.

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ should always be mindful of where their hearts are and remain obedient to the Lord–and not grieve the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Change: It Takes Work

A message summary of November 16, 2014 from Pastor Gus Brown:

It takes work to modify your lifestyle. Are you willing to work in order to make your life different from where it is?

Ephesians 2:10

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

His creation – poiema (Greek) – a product; something that is made…to be used of God the Creator.

God is reworking 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.

 

Titus 2:3-5

3 In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered.

 

You have to set the example and be willing to teach, and not allow people to get in the way of the teaching process. Avoid bad influences and teach against them.

Revelation 2:20

But I have this against you: You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and deceives My slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols.

 

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.

 

God has applied Himself to work in your life. You will not be able to accomplish anything without Him. He works, molds and shapes us. It is God’s business to correct your business.

 

God works with you, but He wants you to work with Him–He will guide you in your efforts.

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.

 

Your work will earn your changes that you set out to accomplish. The end result is God being glorified.

If you don’t want to change, you won’t do it. You won’t grow because you don’t want to work.

Change will occur when you believe it is possible.

People will choose to blame their struggles and problems for the reasons they do not perform. In reality, your problems and struggles are opportunities to adjust your life–to rework your life.

For every problem, God has a solution. For every struggle, God has an end, and you will see His purpose in it.

Romans 12:11

Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.

 

Proverbs 18:9

The one who is truly lazy in his work

is brother to a vandal.

 

Proverbs 24:30-34

30 I went by the field of a slacker

and by the vineyard of a man lacking sense.

31 Thistles had come up everywhere,

weeds covered the ground,

and the stone wall was ruined.

32 I saw, and took it to heart;

I looked, and received instruction:

33 a little sleep, a little slumber,

a little folding of the arms to rest,

34 and your poverty will come like a robber,

your need, like a bandit.

 

Ecclesiastes 10:18

Because of laziness the roof caves in,

and because of negligent hands the house leaks.

 

To modify your life, where do you begin?

  1. Repent – ask God for a spirit to accept correction.
  2. Believe that God wants to add to your life.
  3. It’s about starting from the beginning–not about stopping what you were doing.
  4. Start loving yourself with a godly love. Let God love you.
  5. Start talking with God throughout the day.
  6. Start wanting to please God over yourself and others.
  7. Start asking God for knowledge, wisdom and understanding.

 

James 1:2

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials.

 

Principle: God will give you much more than what you believe He is taking from you. Let go of the bad and start by doing what is good, and you will find out for yourself.

Look at Caleb–

Joshua 14:7-11

7 I was 40 years old when Moses the Lord’s servant sent me from Kadesh-barnea to scout the land, and I brought back an honest report. 8 My brothers who went with me caused the people’s hearts to melt with fear, but I remained loyal to the Lord my God. 9 On that day Moses promised me: ‘The land where you have set foot will be an inheritance for you and your descendants forever, because you have remained loyal to the Lord my God.’

10 “As you see, the Lord has kept me alive these 45 years as He promised, since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel was journeying in the wilderness. Here I am today, 85 years old. 11 I am still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out. My strength for battle and for daily tasks is now as it was then.

 

See it, say it and go after it. This is all about having a conviction to take action according to God’s purpose. God will be the help that you need to accomplish it, and you will achieve it.

Look at Abram–

Genesis 13:14-15

14 After Lot had separated from him, the Lord said to Abram, “Look from the place where you are. Look north and south, east and west, 15 for I will give you and your offspring forever all the land that you see.

 

God wants you to see where you are in the present and trust in Him for what He can give to you. Wait on the Lord, and you will see what He will do. It begins with your willingness to change as you seek Him.