Tag Archives: testimony

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.

Advertisements

Understanding that Jesus is Coming

Today’s message summary of December 18, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Most of us conclude that Jesus’ coming is for salvation, but it is actually much more than that.  His coming does mean salvation for those who believe in Him, as He reconciles those who believe to the Father, but He came for a much deeper purpose.  Whether one responds to the gospel or not does not change who He is.

The general conception, which the Rabbis and Israel formed of the Messiah, is different from what was presented by Jesus Himself.

The purpose of Jesus’ coming was to have God speak to the people concerning His relationship with humanity.  He spoke about the desire that He had (and still has) to have a relationship with His people.  Bringing Christ forth was to show everyone who He really is.

Jesus, as God in the flesh, presented the fundamentals of the Christian life, and the final relationship in view of God towards humanity and humanity towards God.

It was a relationship of endearment expressed as follows:

  1. Expressed by the word Father (Matthew 6)
  2. Expressed by the word Servant (Philippians 2:6-7)

By His coming, He joins together the two ideals of the Son and the Servant.

Matthew 20:28

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His lifea ransom for many.

 

Matthew 4:10

Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”

 

Luke 1:73b-75

He has given us the privilege, since we have been rescued from our enemies’ clutches, to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness in His presence all our days.

 

As the servant of the living God, Jesus fulfills the threefold office of God.

Samuel fulfilled the offices of prophet, priest and judge.

Jesus fulfilled the office of Prophet (Hebrews 1:2).  He came to speak the words of His Father to us.  They were words of truth.

John 1:16-17

Indeed, we all have received grace after grace from His fullness, for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

 

When people do not receive the truth of God’s Word, they don’t know how to live a life pleasing to God.

Truth always gives the people light.

John 1:4, 9

Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.

The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

 

The light, at the time of Jesus’ coming, was not a true light.

Jesus as a Priest:  He became the Priest of all the people.  Israel was without a true priesthood…one that would serve God and the people.  The priesthood was the representation of an intercessor between God and man.  Jesus was the true high Priest.

Hebrews 4:10, 14-15

For the person who has entered His rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His.

 

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens–Jesus the Son of God–let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 5:9-10

After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him, and He was declared by God a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

 

Hebrews 7:23-26

Now many have become Levitical priest, since they are prevented by death from remaining in office. But because He remains forever, He holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them. For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

 

Hebrews 9:11

But the Messiah has appeared, high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation).

 

Hebrews 10:11-12

Every priest stands day after day ministering and offering the same sacrifices time after time, which can never take away sins. But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.

 

Without a godly priesthood—the true servants of God—the world and the people suffer.  The people were without God because the priesthood was without God. They were without God because of their willingness to forsake God; as a result, the world suffered because of its willingness to not obey God.

When there is no true priesthood, we lose teaching (of the law).  Without teaching, there is a lost relationship with God.  Without such a relationship, we lose His blessings and experience the suffering of humanity without the love and knowledge of God.  The teachings of man are inadequate.

Mark 7:6-7

He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.

 

Jesus came to be our King.  He was not just the King of the Jews, but the King of all.  King of all kings.

Matthew 2:2b

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

 

John 18:37

“You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”

 

Romans 14:11-12

For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God. So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

 

Revelation 17:14

These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.

 


What the Church Becomes

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

This final segment of the study of Revelation will look at the role of the church and what it will become.  There will be an end as to its role.  Over time, the church has changed, and we will look at the seven churches that Jesus Christ reveals to us.  He paints the picture as to what will take place, and what has taken place in the church over generations.

The church has changed over generations, and the Lord reminds us to look back at the older churches, and one can see how the word of God and His name seems to have diminished over time.

Apostasy (drifting or sliding away from the truth) within the church has been present from the very beginning of the church.

With apostasy, you can move away from truth, and yet still be religious.  You can be “religious” and still disobey God.

What we know from history is that many have professed Christianity without accepting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior.

If there is no growth in Christ or a hunger for His Word or desire to be a walking testimony for Christ, then it calls to question the commitment that one has for Jesus Christ.

Theodore Epp, author of Christ Speaks to the Churches, wrote about the various churches referenced in Revelation:

Ephesus – the first century church (Love of Jesus)

Smyrna – Roman persecution of God’s people (falling away from the true love of Jesus)

Pergamos – church corruption and the uniting of church and state

Thyatira – the Dark Ages (6th-15th Century – era of knowledge; the Age of Enlightenment – teaching) – knowledge without Christ is useless; doctrine infused with man’s knowledge instead of godly wisdom

Sardis – The Reformation (church did not maintain spiritual strength) – what Martin Luther started in the Reformation is no longer what is practiced today.

Philadelphia and Laodicea – a picture of the church condition running side by side preceding the church rapture, where today we see the evangelical, fundamental church on one side running concurrent with the liberal church in this day.

All of the churches have had a degree of false teaching within them.  While the majority of the church may be on a solid rock, Satan will still find a way to infiltrate the body of believers.  Sometimes it may even affect the church leadership.  Here is where discernment comes into consideration.  The issue is how large the degree of false teaching takes place and what effect will it have on the church.  Can it be dealt with or will it take a permanent hold? (How many hypocritical people will the church allow through its doors? The church battles this matter all of the time because of financial considerations.)

Jesus says that He knows our deeds.  He addresses all seven churches:

Revelation 2:1-7

Write to the angel of the church in Ephesus:

 The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand and who walks among the seven gold lampstands says: I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. You also possess endurance and have tolerated many things because of My name and have not grown weary. But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its placeunless you repent. Yet you do have this: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 

Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in Gods paradise.

–The good and the wrong

  1. Ephesus: The neglect of Jesus leads to a loss of love for Jesus.

Matthew 23:23

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the lawjustice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others.

 

Psalm 119:9-16

How can a young man keep his way pure?

By keeping Your word.

I have sought You with all my heart;

dont let me wander from Your commands.

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.

With my lips I proclaim

all the judgments from Your mouth.

I rejoice in the way revealed by Your decrees

as much as in all riches.

I will meditate on Your precepts

and think about Your ways.

I will delight in Your statutes;

I will not forget Your word.

 

Hebrews 2:1-3

We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away. For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, 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.

 

The sin of neglect is the starting point of loss (faltering and weakening of the church and its people).  It is when love is lacking.  (Jesus refers to this within Rev. 2:4-3:20 – Ephesus through Laodicea).

 

  1. Smyrna. Jesus reminds them that they are rich even though they were afflicted and in poverty (Revelation 2:8-11).  They dealt with the pretenders in the church who represented “the synagogue of Satan” (v. 9).  They were told that they would suffer but to be encouraged and remain faithful (v. 10).

Matthew 10:28

Dont fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

 

2 Corinthians 8:9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.

 

  1. Pergamos. The center of idol worship – Satan’s seat. Some of the things worshiped include medicine, science and nature.  Satan worship began in Babylon under Nimrod.  All religious movements except Christianity have the infusion of some of Nimrod’s beliefs that began back in Babylon; for example, one of the main teachings in all other religions is that Jesus was created as a man (not a deity – John 1:1).

 

Revelation 2:13

I know where you livewhere Satans throne is! And you are holding on to My name and did not deny your faith in Me, even in the days of Antipas, My faithful witness who was killed among you, where Satan lives.

 

Remaining true to the name of Jesus…not denying faith in Jesus Christ.

 

  1. Thyatira. The Word was willingly set aside for a Jezebel, who called herself a prophetess.  The question is if these things really come to pass.  He tells that church that it is time to repent.

 

Revelation 2:20-22

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[a] and to eat meat sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality. Look! I will throw her into a sickbed and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her practices.

 

Good (v. 19).  Jesus noted that they were doing more good than they did at first (knowledge of Jesus Christ had improved over the years).

 

  1. Sardis. The sleeping church. It’s time to wake up!  The church was not alive but dead.

 

Revelation 3:1-6

Write to the angel of the church in Sardis:

The One who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says: I know your works; you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead. Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; keep it, and repent. But if you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you have no idea at what hour I will come against you. But you have a few people[e] in Sardis who have not defiled[f] their clothes, and they will walk with Me in white, because they are worthy. In the same way, the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels.

Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

 

The counsel of the Lord: be watchful and strong for what remains will soon perish.  What needed to be done was to remember what you have received in the Word, obey and repent.  Be awake and alert and meet your responsibilities.

 

  1. Philadelphia. The true church (v. 8) …it has the key of David. They also had their pretenders, too (v. 9).

 

Revelation 3:7-13

Write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia:

The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens says: I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close. Take note! I will make those from the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lyingnote thisI will make them come and bow down at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come over the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown. The victor: I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My Godthe new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My Godand My new name.

Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

 

Isaiah 22:22-23

I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; what he opens, no one can close; what he closes, no one can open. I will drive him, like a peg, into a firm place. He will be a throne of honor for his fathers house.

 

  1. Laodicea. (It means the “voice of the people.”) They would rather hear the voice of man than the voice of God. There was a greater concern with man’s words than the Word of God. The church accepted formality over truth.  God’s Word was not a good fit for our present culture or social life.

 

Revelation 3:14-22

Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea:

The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of Gods creation says: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit[b] you out of My mouth. Because you say, Im rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing, and you dont know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed[c] and repent. Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne.

“Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.”

 

People of the church are neither cold or hot (v. 15).  They say they are rich (v. 17) and that they need nothing.

In all seven of these churches, there is a part of each one of us.  God selected these seven churches to give us a picture of what we need to do to improve our relationship with Jesus Christ.  We need to answer questions raised from these passages because we are the church.  God wants to use His church for greatness and for His glory.


Anticipate Fruit as you Witness for the Lord (Missionary Conference 2015)

Today’s message summary of November 22, 2015 from Jose Chinchilla, International Worker serving in Berlin, Germany:

I am thankful to be here this morning with you. I am also especially thankful for your contributions to the Great Commission Fund, which allows me and other international workers to serve everywhere that we are called to go.

“Anticipate fruit as you witness for the Lord.”

Four years ago, my wife and I responded to the call to go to Berlin, Germany. I responded to His call, and He kept asking if I was ready. I told him, “yes, I got it.”

He set me up.

While we are a Christian nation here, the way that we speak to people in another country, let alone another continent, will not work the same way. I learned that the hard way. I was discouraged and I want to go back to the United States. My wife told me to get it together and stay with it.

I had to learn a lesson in my growth as a believer and as a missionary.

I had to continue to develop myself as a godly leader, live in a missional way and live with desperate dependence upon Jesus Christ.

God started to teach me how to minister to people in Germany.

First theological truth:

The Holy Spirit is at work in the world.

John 16:8-11

When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

 

Romans 10:13-15

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!

 

As partners with the Holy Spirit, we should anticipate fruit as we minister in the world.

Sharing is not the easiest thing to do, but it does not have to be overly complicated for us. The Holy Spirit is doing the heavy work. He is already preparing the hearts of those who need to hear the gospel.

My desire is to share with people in Germany the gospel, and sometimes people will refuse to hear it because of their personal pluralistic beliefs. I am asking you to pray for me in that sometimes it is tough to face those rejections, but I am reminded that they are not rejecting me personally, but that they are rejecting Christ. I also pray that you are inspired, encouraged and motivated to allow God to change yourself in how you are ministering before Him and in sharing the Good News.

The second theological truth:

The harvest is plentiful.

Luke 10:2

He told them: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.

 

There are very few people who are running to hear the Good News about Jesus Christ; in fact, many are running away from it. In spite of this, if you believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed at work in the world, then He assures us that the harvest is plentiful. It’s important to ready to share your faith, because more people sharing are needed to meet this need.

How are we to encourage others (or even be encouraged) to share faith?

Guilting people into doing it will not work; however, if we have experienced joy from the salvation that Christ has given us, we will have compassion on others to help them to hear the gospel message. The Holy Spirit will show up right then and there to meet that person where he or she is.

If we want to see people share their faith, then we need to pray about it. We need to find creative ways to evangelize, and to pray about the harvest. Here is something that I do to remind myself about this: I set an alarm on my cell phone at 10:02 every day, to remind me of Luke 10:2, and pray for more workers to be made available for the harvest.

With the realization that there is so much before us with this harvest, it can be overwhelming. Here is a reminder that the Spirit is a big help within this process:

A third theological truth:

The Holy Spirit empowers us for effective witnessing.

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.

 

Germany is regarded is a very difficult place to reach people for the gospel. I had to pray to God and asked for the right skills to reach them. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to do things that, on the surface, we cannot see as possible to accomplish. You have to give up your own ways of thinking and doing things in order to see Him work. In our own strength, it is not possible, but the Holy Spirit empowers us with confidence and effectiveness in this ministry. We can bear fruit if we remain connected to Him.


Satan’s Anger Revealed (Satan’s Downfall, Part 2)

 

Today’s message of August 9, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Satan hates you so much.  He throws stumbling blocks at you.  He wants to knock you out.

Satan wants to hinder your Christian walk and your faith. Why does he go to all of this trouble? You get all of his attention and you haven’t done anything. He does it because he knows he can’t defeat God, but he certainly can defeat you.

He fights with us on the decision that we make to trust Jesus Christ. If we obey Jesus, he persistently picks on us. Satan’s anger intensifies because he knows he is defeated in the end; however, he continues to attack the body of Christ and those who are God’s chosen people.

Satan’s defeat experiences come from God’s intervention:

  1. Satan’s first defeat–thrown out of heaven (Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:9)
  1. The fall of man (Genesis 3)
  1. Abraham and Sarah (Isaac) (Genesis 17:19)
  1. Israel’s destruction (Jeremiah 4:22; Jeremiah 25:8-11) – a period of 70 years
  1. Birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:13) – Escape to Egypt
  1. Jesus’ mission (Matthew 4:10) – “Get away from Me, Satan, for it is written…”
  1. Jesus’ death and resurrection (Romans 1:4)
  1. Satan cannot rule over the saints (Revelation 12:11)
  1. Satan’s beast and false prophet defeated (Revelation 19:20)
  1. Satan is defeated after being set free after being detained for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:10) – this time forever and ever.

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.

 

Satan knows his end, and that is why he is angry. He will continue to wreak havoc on people and the church–those who follow Christ. Yet, God allows all of this to happen.

He wants you to believe that he does not exist. He wants you to believe that he cannot cause chaos in your life and family. He does indeed exist. Any belief that he is not around is contrary to Scripture.

Satan will deceive you to believe that all of your problems are the result of your trusting in God. Sin is powerful and it breaks up relationships.

Revelation 12:13-17

When the dragon saw that he had been thrown to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. The woman was given two wings of a giant eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent’s presence to her place in the wilderness, where she was fed for a time, times, and half a time. From his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river flowing after the woman, to sweep her away in a torrent. But the earth helped the woman. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon had spewed from his mouth. So the dragon was furious with the woman and left to wage war against the rest of her offspring–those who keep God’s commands and have the testimony about Jesus.

 

Satan is out to persistently hurt those who desire to follow Jesus Christ. He is out to hurt you because you chose to be on “the other team.”

His goal is to break you down to the point where you lose your love (block your view) of Jesus Christ.

Even when there are days where you cannot see Jesus, keep looking for Him and trusting Him (Matthew 7:7).

God indeed provides protection for Israel.

Psalm 115:12

The Lord remembers us and will bless us. He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron.

 

Exodus 19:4

You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me.

 

2 Timothy 4:18

The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safety into His heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.

 

Satan is powerful, but God is more powerful. God is always present to preserve and protect his people.  Rome had threatened to destroy Christianity, but God enabled the people to help prevent this.

Matthew 16:18

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.

Ephesians 5:23

…for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body.

 

Colossians 1:18

He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything.

Satan is attacking the offspring (Revelation 12:17).

 

Galatians 3:29

And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.

Satan attacks those who obey God’s commandments (John 14:21). He opposes those

who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Those who provide evidence of salvation have a testimony that proclaims Jesus.

When you desire to keep Jesus’ commandments, evil will be there in your midst.

Turning your life over to Jesus gives you the ultimate victory. That is something to praise Him about!

Satan’s desire is to remove the evidence of salvation in the life of the believer–silence the believer in such a way that there is no visible evidence of Christianity.

Romans 10:13-17

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things! But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

 

Isaiah 45:22

Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.

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.”

 

The good news is that God’s power remains evident in the life of a believer who trusts in Him. Satan will attack and try to cause difficulty, but you can be a powerful testimony for Christ to others…a witness for Christ.


God Will Make Himself Known

Today’s message summary of March 1, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

There a famine in the land.  People who claim that they are Christians have essentially put the bible down. Some Christians read the bible on an average of two times a week and maybe read it for 3 to 5 minutes at a time.

We have been conditioned to accept what society is saying is correct according to morals and what is right as opposed to what God’s Word states.

Young people today are struggling to figure out what is right or what is appropriate. If they choose to not accept the truth, there is a good chance that they will believe lies. Some have already chosen to reject Jesus Christ, but they have already been conditioned to reject Him.

God will not make you love Him–even if He is standing right before you. He will make Himself known, at some point in time, because there will be a point where man will no longer be a testimony for Him.

We can see how the bible is no longer looked upon as God’s Word of authority. According to today’s societal standard, it is not relevant to today. In spite of its true authority and its power, it is largely ignored.

Philippians 3:16-20

In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained. Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

A lot of people may say, “I don’t hate God,” yet, they really don’t love Him either. They may say they believe in Him, but it will seldom me seen by their actions. He wants those who profess Him to be zealous for Him.

Parents, help your children to see the goodness of God within your teaching them about God’s Word.

1 Thessalonians 2:5-6

For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives–God is our witness–and we didn’t seek glory from people, either from you or from others.

 

When proclaiming God’s truth, it is to be done with the mindfulness of Jesus Christ, and not for the purpose of “tickling someone’s ears.”

2 Thessalonians 2:3

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.

 

Rebellion implies that there is a departure from what is deemed to be a standard. In this case, rebellion is against the standards and principles of God and His Word. Many will deny Him and turn away from Him. We are seeing how society is already being conditioned for this.

Amos 8:11

Hear this! The days are coming–this is the declaration of the Lord God–when I will send a famine through the land: not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.

 

Romans 10:17

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

If you don’t have the Word of God, you will also have a lack of faith. God’s Word is what builds one up to be able to stand in faith. Satan is removing the Word from society bit by bit over time.

 

Luke 18:8

I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?

 

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

…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. For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, so that all will be condemned–those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

 

The lies are coming from Satan, today’s society and culture. Those lies are rooted in unrighteousness and are contrary to God’s Word.

Revelation 14:6

Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, having the eternal gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth–to every nation, tribe, language, and people.

 

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.”

 

In Ezekiel 39, God is going to communicate things more than once to its readers–take note of it.

Ezekiel 39:6

“I will send fire against Magog and those who live securely on the coasts and islands. Then they will know that I am Yahweh.”

 

Many people don’t want to know the Lord. If you do want to know Him, He will never hide Himself from you. He wants to guide you and embrace you, and you would know it within His presence. If you don’t want His presence in your life, it can be summed up that you do not desire to change how you live your life.

 

Ezekiel 39:21-22

“I will display My glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the judgment I have executed and the hand I have laid on them. From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am Yahweh their God.

 

God is going to show Himself holy amongst many nations (Ezekiel 39:26).

Ezekiel 39:29

“I will no longer hide My face from them, for I will pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.

 

Revelation 7:1-4

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, restraining the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.  Then I saw another angel, who had the seal of the living God rise up from the east. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were empowered[a] to harm the earth and the sea:  “Don’t harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we seal the slaves of our God on their foreheads.”  And I heard the number of those who were sealed:

144,000 sealed from every tribe of the Israelites.

 

Revelation 14:3

They sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elder, but no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

 

How is this going to happen?

  1. Gog (Russia) will fail (Ezekiel 39:3-6)
  2. For seven years they will use the weapons for fuel (Ezekiel 39:7-9)
  3. It will take seven months to bury the bodies (Ezekiel 39:12).
  4. Israel’s people will be brought back to its land (Ezekiel 39:25).
  5. The Spirit will be poured out onto the house of Israel (Revelation 7).

People will have to ask themselves if man is accomplishing all of these things, or is it God who is doing it?

We’re living in days that are frightening. Listen to the young people and what they value or hold as important. God is far from their hearts and minds. Take a good look at our churches. They are losing a cultural battle. The church message, nevertheless, must go forth and be delivered to the people. It will bring people the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. People will both hear it and acknowledge it, or it will be denied or disregarded as insignificant. Pray for your loved ones who don’t know Jesus Christ that the Spirit will give them that truth.


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.