Tag Archives: watch

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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Prayer: What Difference Does It Make? (Fourth of a Series)

Today’s message summary of January 15, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

Last Sunday, we discussed the relationship of fasting and prayer, and the sin of gluttony.  We will continue this week with discussion of:

  1. Intercessory Prayer
  2. Prayer of Suffering
  3. Prayer of Healing

There have been many recent news events that have occurred where we, as believers, should respond with intercessory prayer.  It is one way for us to take action on behalf of others as we are interceding and petitioning God for a response.

Intercessory prayer is a priestly ministry.

1 Peter 2:5, 9

you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,

a holy nation, a people for His possession,

so that you may proclaim the praises

of the One who called you out of darkness

into His marvelous light.

 

Intercessory prayer is a prayer of mediation on behalf of others.  This principle is a way of “standing in the gap” for others who are hurting or in need of relief.

Ezekiel 22:30-31

I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found no one. So I have poured out My indignation on them and consumed them with the fire of My fury. I have brought their actions down on their own heads. This is the declaration of the Lord God.

 

God calls for His people to stand in the gap in the hope of averting any disaster upon those who need prayer.  In the event of a calamity, intercessory prayer also has an impact upon those who remain after a tragedy.

Exodus 17:8-13

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, When Pharaoh tells you, Perform a miracle, tell Aaron, Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh. It will become a serpent.’” So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord had commanded. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent. But then Pharaoh called the wise men and sorcerersthe magicians of Egypt, and they also did the same thing by their occult practices. Each one threw down his staff, and it became a serpent. But Aarons staff swallowed their staffs. However, Pharaohs heart hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

 

1 Timothy 2:8 (ESV)

I desire then that in every place the men should pray lifting up holy hands.

 

In this effort, even though it is tiring, we are not to stop praying.

Romans 8:26-27, 34

In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And he who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.

 

Hebrews 8:4-6

Now if He were on earth, He wouldnt be a priest, since there are those offering the gifts prescribed by the law. These serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was warned when he was about to complete the tabernacle. For God said, Be careful that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain. But Jesus has now obtained a superior ministry, and to that degree He is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been legally enacted on better promises.

 

Intercessory prayer is something that we should be doing.

The Prayer of Suffering

The prayer of suffering is a prayer of relief, in the midst of a trial, for relief within the trial.

In your suffering, would you stop praying if you thought it wasn’t working, or would you continue in the hope that God would provide relief?  The challenge of this prayer within these circumstances is that while you are unaware of the timing, you are aware that God does hear your prayer.  God provides the perfect example of Jesus Christ as to how to respond within this prayer.

1 Peter 3:13-16

And who will harm you if you are deeply committed to what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame.

 

Hebrews 5:7

During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.

 

If you are praying in the midst of your suffering, God will answer you.

Each of these postures of prayer lead to:

The Gift of Healing

Isaiah 53:4-5

Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses,

and He carried our pains;

but we in turn regarded Him stricken,

struck down by God, and afflicted.

But He was pierced because of our transgressions,

crushed because of our iniquities;

punishment for our peace was on Him,

and we are healed by His wounds.

 

Are you praying for someone’s healing?  Are you standing by watching others in need?

James 5:13-16

Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord.  The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.


Jesus is Coming

A message summary of June 5, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Everything is about preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is coming, and Christians are going to be with Him!

I.  He is coming unexpectedly!

Revelation 16:15

Look, I am coming like a thief. The one who is alert and remains clothed so that he may not go around naked and people see his shame is blessed.

Jesus is indeed coming, but He is not giving advance notice. Why?

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord. We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

About the times and the seasons: Brothers, you do not need anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. When they say, “Peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains come on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

1 Thessalonians 5:9

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The believer has been warned! He is calling for people to live in righteousness going forward. The past is the past. How will you live today and in the future?

2 Peter 3:9-10

The Lord does not delay His promise, and some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief, on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed.

His delay is actually patience. He is certainty coming back soon, but He wants to see as many people as possible come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He does not want to see anyone perish.

Matthew 24:42

Therefore be alert, since you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.

Keep watch! Are you looking for His return? You need to have a sober mind.

Mark 13:32-37

Now concerning that day or hour no one knows–neither the angels in heaven nor the Son–except the Father. Watch! Be alert! For you don’t know when the time is coming. It is like a man on a journey, who left his house, gave authority to his slaves, gave each one his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to be alert. Therefore be alert, since you don’t know when the master of the house is coming–whether in the evening or at midnight or at the crowing of the rooster or early in the morning. Otherwise, he might come suddenly and find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to everyone: Be alert!

Be on guard! Be alert!

Luke 12:35-40

Be ready for service and have your lamps lit. You must be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet so that when he comes and knocks, they can open the door for him at once. Those slaves the master will find alert when he comes will be blessed. I assure you: He will get ready, have them recline at the table, then come and serve them. If he comes in the middle of the night, or even near dawn, and finds them alert, those slaves are blessed. But know this: If the homeowner had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.

Be dressed (your loins will be girded about).

Satan wants you to be undressed and unprepared.

v. 37 – it will be good (you will be blessed)

v. 38 – it is good to be ready

 

II.  During this time it is important to stay awake. Be aware! Be alert!

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.

1 Peter 4:7-10

Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer. Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.

Proverbs 4:23

Guard your heart above all else,

for it is the source of life.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong. Your every action must be done with love.

1 Timothy 6:20-21

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding irreverent, empty speech and contradictions from the “knowledge” that falsely bears that name. By professing it, some people have deviated from the faith. Grace be with all of you.

Stay awake: to give strict attention to, to be cautious, to take heed lest through remission (laxity) and indolence (slothful, not diligent, restlessness); some destructive calamity can suddenly overtake you if you are unprepared.

Ephesians 4:27

…and don’t give the Devil and opportunity.

 

III. There is proper clothing for each occasion. A welder needs to wear the appropriate clothing. Using chemicals requires the proper clothing.

Matthew 22:11-14

But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. So he said to him, Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes? The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

For many are invited, but few are chosen.

Proper clothing is…

Isaiah 61:10-11

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

2 Corinthians 5:3

…since, when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.

Revelation 19:8

She was given fine linen to wear, bright and pure.

For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints.

Revelation 7:14

I said to him, “Sir, you know.” Then he told me: These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

We are not to be naked (unaware) and, as a result, shamed as we live our lives. Satan desires to keep us in a place where we are not ready for Christ’s return–through sin and self-righteous behavior.

We are to be ready.