Tag Archives: welcome

Salvation and the Church: Sent Out to Learn

Today’s message summary of November 26, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

We’re continuing with the topic of salvation and the church.  Life in the church is much more than just declaring Jesus as your personal Savior.  It is more than just sitting in church and taking things in.  It is about worshiping and serving the Lord day after day and growing more and more in your faith.  Salvation is the area where God grooms you and prepares you while giving you tests that involve experiences with places and relationships.

Remember what it is like to send your children off to school for the first time.  It is a similar experience in your faith.  There will be new and different experiences for you to see and learn from.  We are sent out to learn.

In Jesus’s time, the twelve disciples were sent out in Luke 9 and the seventy-two others are sent out in Chapter 10 of Luke.

  • The twelve are the Apostles
  • The seventy-two (some bibles refer to seventy) are disciples.
  • Both groups are sent out at different times–not together.
  • Both are given the same authority.
  • Both groups were given instructions by Jesus.
  • Both of these groups were sent out about nine months apart.

When you are being sent out to do ministry—discipling and shepherding different people—you are essentially leading and pastoring others.  You don’t need a degree to do it.  You just need a love of Jesus and the desire to share on His behalf—represent Him and act like Him.  He has given you authority to do this.  It is ultimately the responsibility of every person who declares the name of Jesus Christ.

In some ministries we share the same authority in order to achieve what God has assigned to us.  We are not to be caught up in titles.  It is all about your heart and your obedience to Jesus Christ.

For the groups’ instructions:

  • They were not to go to the Gentiles or Samaritans
  • They were given a message to give to the people of Israel
  • They were commissioned to drive out demons

The message was for the people that they were familiar with.  It was a message that was the gospel—the good news about the kingdom of heaven.

Whenever you enter into ministry with Jesus Christ, you are entering a battle with the enemy.  It can be personal, or even attack your family or close friends that can attempt to draw you away from what God has called you to do.

Mark 6:12-13

So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they were driving out many demons, anointing many sick people with olive oil, and healing them.

Matthew 10:7-8

“As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge.”

To the seventy-two:

Luke 10:8

“When you enter any town, and they welcome you, eat the things set before you. Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near you.’

They had to learn that a worker is worthy of His keep.

Philippians 4:19

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

God takes care of His people.

Matthew 10:11-13

When you enter any town or village, find out who is worthy, and stay there until you leave.  Greet a household when you enter it, and if the household is worthy, let your peace be on it; but if it is unworthy, let your peace return to you.

Luke 9:4

Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.

Luke 10:5-6

Whatever house you enter, first say, Peace to this household. If a person of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.

They were sent out to learn that everything will not go their way, and that some people will not like them, even though they were sent among people who were similar to them.

Matthew 10:16

“Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.”

They were learning how to do ministry without His presence.  Jesus was their leader and they had followed Him, but now they were to go out on their own.

Jesus was there but not seen.  They learned His spiritual presence in the power of His name.

Luke 10:17

The Seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.”

They were learning to walk by faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

They were learning how to represent Jesus, and not themselves.

2 Corinthians 5:20

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us.  We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”

Since Jesus was not with them, they had to learn to trust in more than themselves.  Two by two.  Trusting in one another.

When you trust another person, you are learning from that person as you build your relationship.  There is a development that must take place over a period of time.

Coming together into a group is only the beginning.

Staying together is a sign of progress.

Working together is success.

They had to learn that coming together was learning to work together to accomplish God’s will.

Four important lessons learned by being sent out:

  1. Jesus had to be brought into their lives and their way of thinking.

Psalm 26:2

Test me, Lord, and try me; examine my heart and mind.

Lamentations 3:40

Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord.

2 Corinthians 13:5

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith.  Examine yourselves.  Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?unless you fail the test.

  1. Learn to submit to the will of Jesus. By going out and doing it. We are not just going in His will, but learn how to function within it.

Acts 17:28

For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

  1. Commit your ways to Jesus.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

  1. Learn to transmit knowledge to others.

Acts 20:27

…for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God.

The twelve and the seventy-two had to deal with these four different areas of submission to Jesus Christ.  In the same manner, we have to learn how to speak to many different groups of people–different cultures and the like–in order to best communicate the gospel.  We are to submit to Jesus and do so in love in order that others can see Him in our efforts.

What we all learn from this:  Life itself will give the final examination on what you believe.

 

 

 

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Ushers: Ordained by God for Service

There are many roles of service for persons within the body of Christ. Today, we are focusing on our ushers. Ushers play an important role in our church. As we take the time to thank the Lord for their service, it is our desire that you will see that their work is truly for the Lord, Jesus Christ and His church. As the recipients of the service provided by ushers, we will explore what they do for us and see the value of their service from a biblical perspective.

  • 1 Corinthians 3:11-14, 9:25 – They do it for crowns that will last forever. The Lord will give them their reward.
  • Hebrews 10:23-24 – Our role is to encourage them to continue on with their work.
  • So the Lord repaid me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight” (Psalm 18:24). God rewards us for our service when we live faithfully in our service for Him.

The word usher is referred to in the Bible as a gatekeeper, doorkeeper or simply a keeper. The word is derived from ush, meaning “to enter into.”

The usher had many duties:
1. Keeper of the city gates
2. Announcer of dignitaries
3. They went before high-ranking people to clear their way
4. They directed individuals to their proper place
5. They were in charge of who to admit or permit into the building
6. They were the ones who made it possible for the speaker to be heard (not allowing disruptions in the room)

Ushers originated from the Levites (2 Chronicles 8:14, 23:18-19). They were the overseers that David had assigned for service at the gates in the Lord’s temple. They made sure that the proper reverence was used in worship of the Lord when entering the temple. There should be, for us, a value when we approach the Lord. When we grow in our relationship to the Lord, we also should have some reverence to our view of God and in our worship of Him. They also assisted the priests in the temple and they also were overseers of the collection of the funds (2 Kings 12:9, 23:4; 2 Chronicles 34:9). The Levites were already highly regarded as priests in their own right. They were entrusted to supervise the work on behalf of the Lord and in His temple. They were operating as overseers and gatekeepers operating within the body in their service (Nehemiah 7:1, 3, 45; 1 Chronicles 23:3-5). David and Nehemiah relied on the Levites as gatekeepers to serve the Lord in their various capacities, but even with all of this, “everything must be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).

Dwight L. Moody presented the importance of ushers during the revival period (Third Great Awakening, mid to late 1800s) of the church. He personally interviewed and selected 500 ushers to handle and direct the large crowds. He did it for two reasons: to show that we, who serve for the Lord and the church, are ambassadors for Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) and that they have a quality about them that showed them as welcoming and hospitable (Romans 12:13).

In the embodiment of ushering, the usher has to reflect the gifts of the Spirit in his or her demeanor and actions. The joy of the Lord must be present, and there needs to be a love and reassurance that comes forth in sincerity and care. The usher must also use the proper discernment and wisdom to keep the peace and have the proper response to know what to do in emergency situations. Ushers need to be sensitive to the needs of the people and dedicated to the tasks at hand with a positive attitude and to be a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Better a day in Your courts than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather be at the door of the house of my God than to live in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity” (Psalm 84:10-11). The joy of being at the gate as a gatekeeper has more value in God’s sight than to be out of fellowship with Him. An usher is not “just an usher” in his or her service for the Lord. It is a position ordained by God and it is a role of importance in our church that deserves our thanks and appreciation for their service.


2010: The Work of Akron Alliance Fellowship

As this is a new year for all of us in service for the Lord, we should make a responsible, ongoing assessment as to who we are and what we are as a church. Our aim is to always seek the will of God and to reach out to those who visit our church. In our effort to make visitors welcome with our greetings and our hospitality, we must consciously make sure that they are all treated equally, without regard to their stature or circumstances, just as Christ did the same for those He encountered. Keeping in mind that we need to make those persons who visit our church as welcome and as comfortable as possible, we are to love those who would be deemed unlovable by the world’s standards. To love someone has a cost. You invariably have to give up something in order to love someone. It is hardly a sacrifice to love someone who already loves you. “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:43-48).”

To love someone (with an agape love) is to do so with the understanding that Jesus Christ wants that individual to know the Lord as his or her Savior. While the recipient of the overtures of a church, a pastor and its members may make one wary or suspicious of such treatment, our hearts are to express love not for the unbeliever, but love and concern for the unbeliever’s soul. After all, it is the person’s eternity that is at stake. “Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength, since love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).” We are not to be concerned with a worldly response where the person you are trying to love uses you or even tries to take advantage of you, for God will certainly replenish what you have as you trust in Him and continue to operate in His will. Think of how Jesus Christ loves us unconditionally, and has met us time and again where we were…in our sin, our our own failures and in our moments of despair. We are to remember how to love others in the same way that Jesus Christ loves us (John 5:12, 15:9-14). True agape love means setting aside our own judgments and moving in the Spirit as Christ would have us to do.

In doing this, we, as a church, should have a desire for the Lord that continually challenges us to grow in our understanding of Him. “As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1-2)” There needs to be a strong desire for God and His wisdom in our lives. When you have a passion for God, He will have a passion for you. God wants us, in our trust of Him and in our obedience, to see the fruits of our desire for Him. A fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ is the result of your dedication to Him. He will gladly meet all of our needs according to His riches (Ephesians 2:7). God also wants us to grow in Him and live for Him. This occurs when we allow His Word to teach us and provide instruction and direction. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)” God wants to shower you with His favor, His wisdom, and His knowledge. We will always continue to learn more about God in our lifetime and throughout eternity. Our prayer is that you will use this new year as an opportunity to grow in Christ. “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8).” The more knowledge of God that you acquire, the more that God can use you in service for Him. You become more valuable to God as you learn more about Him. In order to do this, we need to move away from those things that can distract us from maintaining a close relationship with God (1 Corinthians 13:11).

Our ultimate goal, as a church, is to give Christ the priority in our lives. “He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. 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 (Colossians 1:17-18).” (See also Revelation 22:13; John 3:31; Job 42:1-5.) This means that, in trusting God in everything, it means turning over everything to Him, including our finances. If Jesus is first in our lives, He is more than able to provide for us. He wants us to place our service to Him and for Him as a priority. The more we, as individuals and as a church, learn about the Lord through our Savior, Jesus Christ, the more we can flourish in our service for Him because we know that He has a plan for us in His will and in His purpose. Take the time to listen to Him through His Word, and allow Him to speak to you. You will see the hand of God moving in your life.