Tag Archives: witness

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.


Grace and Peace from a Triune God

Today’s message summary of September 27, 2015 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

Revelation 1:1-7

The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave Him to show His slaves what must quickly take place. He sent it and signified it through His angel to His slave John, who testified to God’s word and to the testimony about Jesus Christ, in all he saw. The one who reads this is blessed, and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it are blessed, because the time is near! John: To the seven churches in Asia. Grace and peace to you from the One who is, who was, and who is coming; from the seven spirits before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has set us free from our sins by His blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father–the glory and dominion are His forever and ever. Amen.

Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, including those who pierced Him, And all the families of the earth will mourn over Him. This is certain. Amen.

 

When it comes to greetings, such as those cards you purchase at the store, you will have funny greetings or serious ones. Greetings have a particular way of communicating one’s emotion.

Here is my greeting to you–it’s a happy Sunday morning greeting, which is the Lord’s greeting:

Within the text here, John is giving a greeting to the seven churches. This type of greeting to them was a means of comfort to the churches as they were facing a great deal of persecution. Of this group, Jewish Christians were not provided any protection under religious liberty.

Revelation 2:9

I know your affliction and poverty, yet you are rich. I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

 

Christians were being slaughtered at that time like animals. Under the Roman Empire, it is estimated that about 500,000 people were killed for their faith.

The persecution that those churches faces was wearisome, frightful and filled with despair. They needed to hear a message, through John’s greeting, from God Himself.

The persecution is being dictated by Satan himself as he is the ruler of this world. He is attacking today’s church in the same way that the attacks persisted on the seven churches.

As time progresses, Christians will see more persecution, and attacks will continue against the church. It will be a part of our culture today as “life in America,” as it was during the Roman Empire. Satan will continue to attack to cause a church to fall away and sin against God.

John’s greeting was a means of encouragement of God’s grace and peace. It is what sustains us as a church and as a means of overcoming persecution. He is writing the greeting to let them know that the sovereign God is working and that He will be glorified through the church. It was a way to counter the thought that God is nowhere to be found. John greets them with the message of grace, peace and comfort.

Look at the language that John uses in verse 4: John says, “from Him who is, who was, and who is coming…” He uses this language to remind us that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is working throughout the church. He is trying to comfort the church, who is always present and will remain present. God is sovereign, and by His providence He is working out all of the things we experience for our good and for His glory.

We can endure the difficult times when we face them because we trust in God’s grace and peace.

Find comfort knowing that God is sovereign in his control over all things.

Notice how he uses the number “7” in the text. Seven is the symbolic number for “completion.” In Revelation, the many uses of seven represent completion of something. The seven spirits who are before God’s throne represent God, the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 2:3

You also possess endurance and have tolerated many things because of My name and have not grown weary.

 

Revelation 2:7

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 God’s paradise.

 

Jesus said “let them hear” seven times. This means that what He states is assured and definitive.

Notice in verse 5 how Jesus is identified with three titles:

  1. The faithful witness
  2. Firstborn from the dead
  3. Ruler of the kings of the earth

The faithful witness reference is for those who were martyred for Jesus Christ.

In Revelation 11, the two witnesses before God were killed for their faith in Him.

Jesus is the faithful witness that did so during His life. He did so during His own life in which He stirred people up to the point that they wanted to seize Him, throw Him over a cliff, and He eventually died on the cross. He was a faithful witness in order that all would see and understand God the Father.

Jesus was the firstborn from the dead, and He was raised as the firstborn from the dead. He promises that those who believe in Him will overcome death.

2 Timothy 2:10

This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

 

Jesus Christ is the ruler of the kings of the earth.

John declared to the churches that there is Someone over the Emperor, who made the declaration to have all Christians eliminated.

Any illustration in history of dictatorships or any rulers still does not represent them being over and above the rule of Jesus Christ. It is important to remember that Christ is the One that allows any ruler to come to power. John is telling the churches here to look at the King of Kings and reminds them that Jesus is still on the throne.

Jesus’ atoning love is the anchor of the church (v. 6).

The church is to endure because of the presence of God’s love for the church and its people. We are to endure because He loves His church. Christ has made us His kingdom. We, today, as members of the body of Christ, are part of His kingdom.

John tells the churches that He is returning with the clouds (v. 7).

The clouds are a representation of God’s glory for everyone to see. When God comes back, the people of Babylon will cry out to the mountains to fall on them because they will see His glory at His return.

The Lord is coming. When He returns, He will pay every good or bad deed with its reward.

Judgment does not come from Satan–it comes from the Lord. Since it comes from the Lord, all non-believers in Him will face judgment and torment. If you don’t obey the gospel and believe in the Son, you will go to hell.

What is being said you may deem irrelevant and that it does not apply to you, and that you don’t care about those who are being persecuted. It doesn’t matter. Everyone is still called to stand on the grace and peace of God.


Just Do It!

Message transcript of September 6, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

The mission of Nike, Inc., a renowned international athletic shoe and apparel company, is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world,” and they quickly add, “if you have a body, you are an athlete.”

Nike started from humble beginnings where employees were selling shoes out of their cars to become the world’s leader with global revenues of over $27 billion dollars.

The name “Nike,” originating from the Greek goddess of the same name standing for “victory,” has been around for over forty years, and over that time it has defined and redefined the sports fitness industry, but not without its own missteps. The company misjudged the popularity of the aerobics and fitness movement in the mid 1980s and veered off into the casual shoe market. Its growth also outpaced its management and effective decision-making, and it had slipped from its position as the top-selling shoe.

To reverse this trend, Nike hired Weiden+Kennedy, a well-known advertising agency, and they came up with the one of the top slogans of the 20th Century, “Just Do It,” which made its debut for the company in 1988. The words “just do it” propelled Nike’s popularity to its top position in the industry. Three years after the debut of “Just Do It,” the company had tripled its revenue to over $3 billion dollars, and has not looked back since.

“Just do it” may be a catchy slogan with staying power, but it is readily acknowledged as the language of today’s lifestyle that inspires people to get up and move. It is associated with good health, getting and staying in shape, and remaining active in all parts of life. This also has application within our faith.

Consider that the words “just do it” for Jesus Christ reflect a healthy relationship in service for Him. James expresses this very clearly as he addressed believers in Christ with the importance of a working faith:

James 2:14-17 ESV

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

A servant of Jesus Christ absolutely needs to live under the premise of “just do it” in order to live as Christ provided His life as an example for us. We are to live as servants of Christ in a world where servanthood is more of the exception than the rule. Chuck Swindoll notes, “we live in a world where many have adopted “an independent, self-sufficient, survival-of-the-fittest mentality.” God has called us to be distinct in a positive way in the world, and to make a difference. The difference is living the “just do it” way as Jesus did:

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life-—a ransom for many.

Jesus provided a demonstration of what it is to be a servant by washing the feet of the apostles. He provided an explanation for them when He was finished:

John 13:12-17

When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

Jesus showed them the power of servanthood, which is the essence of living a Christlike existence. To be in service for Christ is to live for Christ. He assures those who are living for Him that He will always be present in whatever is being done in His name:

John 12:26 ESV

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

You can see how “just do it” can be a launching point for a person who is eager to serve Jesus Christ. Being a servant requires a willingness to do it and it takes practice to begin to master it. But what if you don’t know where to begin this process? In this instance, the best place to begin is the beginning.

  1. Just do it (now)!

Being a servant begins with a willingness to do something that will bring a positive change in someone’s life. It does not necessarily require that you need to use any special talent or ability. It may be moving furniture to reorganize a room or to help someone move from an apartment to a new home. It may be standing at the church doorway and greeting people while handing out the week’s church bulletin. Sometimes, it means buying a meal or even some groceries for a family who is in need. In a world where people are more often self-focused then not, the ability to step out and simply do something for someone is refreshingly distinctive. It’s the beginning step in a life of servanthood.

  1. Just do it without expecting anything in return

There is a way to treat people, and being a servant is no exception to this. A servant in Christ is to live in such a way that it is natural to do the right thing for someone, and to not expect anything in return or create a burden of obligation for the other person.

First, the essence of “doing what is right” is the foundation of what Jesus Christ represents:

Matthew 7:12 HCSB

Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them—-this is the Law and the Prophets.

The ways of the world normally see acts of compassion with suspicion. For some people, it is difficult to accept a person’s help because it is a societal norm that the help is to be reciprocated. As a servant of Jesus Christ, your acts of service are performed with a heart for Jesus and without any need or expectation for the person to do anything in return. The moment that the burden of returning the favor is left in place, that is when Christ’s presence is less visible, and when He is less likely to be glorified as you serve. We serve Christ freely and without any burden for ourselves and for others. People need to see the light and airy love of Christ in everything that you do in service for Him:

Matthew 11:28-30 HCSB

“Come to Me (Jesus), all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Our service for Christ, as we develop our heart for service, should also be an expression of what it is to live a life of freedom for Him (John 8:36).

  1. Just do it…and put some heart into it!

A servant for Christ not only demonstrates the example of Christlike behavior to others, but also learns the perspective of servanthood with the heart and mind of Jesus. As you learn more about Jesus through His Word and live in obedience to Him, He will most certainly transform you as you live as His example before others. Being refreshingly distinctive from the world means being set apart in a positive way. People will see your heart for Christ in what you do. To be set apart involves changing from your old self to not only become a new creature, but a creature that becomes more and more Christ-like every day.”

Romans 12:1-2 HCSB

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Chuck Swindoll notes that a servant for Christ must change to avoid the world’s reasoning and conform to the thoughts of Jesus:

“How? By a radical transformation within. By a renewed thought pattern that demonstrates authentic godlikeness. Living differently begins with thinking differently.”

Living for Christ in this renewed mind will allow you to see the compassion of Christ in everything that you do for others.

Your servanthood with a heart for Jesus will be seen by people who don’t know Him personally as a wonderful introduction (and perhaps an invitation) to who He is. A servant for Christ truly is a light in a very dark world:

Matthew 5:14-16 HCSB

“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Chuck Swindoll noted that the opportunities to reach the lost, through servanthood, are limitless, and in your service, you personally receive joy in your accomplishments through your fellowship with Jesus Christ:

“In every town, every neighborhood, and on every block there are lonely and sometimes unlovely men and women who need to experience the love of Jesus. In every city there are children who have never known a gentle touch or a loving smile.” “There are acts of love and mercy that God has already prepared for you, so that you might share in His joy–so that you might grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

A life of servanthood for Jesus Christ is a life that embodies ministry in fulfillment of His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Your obedience and faithfulness to Him will be a witness for Him in everything that you do. Now, all that you need to do is “just do it.”

 

For references, refer to Just Do It! research paper here.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


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.


What John Sees in Heaven (Revelation Chapter 12) – Part 1

Today’s message summary of July 12, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Last week, we spent time in Revelation Chapter 11, where we looked at the two witnesses of God and how God’s Word tormented the people present who were in the temple worshiping the Antichrist, and the people, when the two witnesses were killed, celebrated over their death. We need to see clearly the character of the people who will be living at that time, and that there was not even the decency to remove the witnesses’ bodies from the streets.  When the witnesses came back to life after 3 1/2 days, we see not long after this in Revelation 11:19:

God’s sanctuary in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant appeared in His sanctuary. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings of thunder, an earthquake, and severe hail.

We will now look at Chapter 12 where John will describe what he sees in heaven. Revelation Chapter 12 is called by some as the key to understanding this book and all of the entire Bible.  Why? Because it reveals the conflict of the ages between Israel, Jesus Christ and Satan.  This chapter tells us of the conflct of the past and the conflict of the future.  Note that a lot of this conflict is taking place right now, but it is intensifying and it will continue to intensify.  Satan knows that his time is short.

The story has its main characters: Israel, Jesus, Satan, and we often that this is only about Israel. Please note the word, “nations.” Nations will include all other groups outside of Israel.

Matthew 24:7, 14

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

All nations will be involved in the presentation of the gospel, and then the end will come.

Revelation 18:3
For all nations have drunk
    the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
    and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.

Revelation 20:7-8

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.
Israel is used as a witness to every nation.

Revelation 11:9-10

For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.

All eyes, from every nation, are drawn to Jerusalem and the two witnesses.

In Revelation Chapter 12, a wondrous sign is seen in heaven:

Revelation 12:1-2
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in labor and agony as she was about to give birth.

That woman giving birth is Israel, the nation. She is in the process of giving birth to the Messiah.  This and the following passages will account for the past, present and the future.

Romans 9:4-5
They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Israel has been looking for the birth of the Messiah for some time.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us).

The promise of the Messiah was given in Genesis 3:15:

Genesis 3:15

“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

Hebrews 7:14-16
Now it is evident that our Lord came from Judah and Moses said nothing about that tribe concerning priests. And this becomes clearer if another priest like Melchizedek appears, who did not become a priest based on a legal command concerning physical descent but based on the power of an indestructible life.

Note the prophecy of the sun and the moon with Joseph:

Genesis 37:9-11

Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

This is what is revealed in Revelation 12:1.

The woman cries out in pain.

Matthew 2:16-18

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Another sign is revealed in verses 3 and 4 of Chapter 12:

The red dragon is a portrayal of Satan.  The color red is the color of blood, representing all of the bloodshed that he has caused.  Satan came to kill.

John 10:10a
A thief comes only to steal and to kill and destroy.

Satan is out to steal your spiritual wealth.

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.

Revelation 17:6
Then I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the saints and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.

Revelation 7:9, 14
After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands.

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, as a society, have been slowly, but surely, desensitized over time about murder. The people are hearing more and more about it and are less and less likely to be outraged over it.

To not respond to situations when we know sin is being committed is, in itself, sinful. We are to live as a community and be responsive, but Satan continues to push us back out of the picture.  As “the light of the world,” there comes a point where we, as the body of Christ, must engage with members of society and be the light that opposes darkness.  As long as God gives us breath, we are called to be the peacemakers.


God Provides and Empowers His Witnesses

Today’s message summary of July 5, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

There will still be some sort of religious ceremony or presentation within Revelation Chapter 11. We will still see that Jerusalem is the center of all activity, just as it is today.

God will provide witnesses for Him and His Name. He will empower them and enable them to glorify His name.

Revelation 11:1-19

Then I was given a measuring reed like a rod, with these words: “Go and measure God’s sanctuary and the altar, and count those who worship there. But exclude the courtyard outside the sanctuary. Don’t measure it, because it is given to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for 42 months. I will empower my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and consumes their enemies; if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These men have the power to close up the sky so that it does not rain during the days of their prophecy. They also have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every plague whenever they want.

When they finish their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, conquer them, and kill them. Their dead bodies will lie in the public square of the great city, which prophetically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. And representatives from the peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will view their bodies for three and a half days and not permit their bodies to be put into a tomb. 10 Those who live on the earth will gloat over them and celebrate and send gifts to one another because these two prophets brought judgment to those who live on the earth.

11 But after 3½ days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet. So great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” They went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies watched them. 13 At that moment a violent earthquake took place, a tenth of the city fell, and 7,000 people were killed in the earthquake. The survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe has passed. Take note: The third woe is coming quickly!

15 The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying:

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom
of our Lord and of His Messiah,
and He will reign forever and ever!

16 The 24 elders, who were seated before God on their thrones, fell facedown and worshiped God, 17 saying:

We thank You, Lord God, the Almighty,
who is and who was,
because You have taken Your great power
and have begun to reign.
18 The nations were angry,
but Your wrath has come.
The time has come
for the dead to be judged
and to give the reward
to Your servants the prophets,
to the saints, and to those who fear Your name,
both small and great,
and the time has come to destroy
those who destroy the earth.

19 God’s sanctuary in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant appeared in His sanctuary. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings of thunder, an earthquake, and severe hail.

In Revelation 11:1, God is not directing John to measure like a ruler, but to determine the quality, or the standard of what is being presented in the sanctuary. Measure the value of worship. Does it meets God standard? Does it qualify? The worship in the temple in Revelation will be for the Antichrist.

I. God has a standard. You have to be willing to make the sacrifices to be different from the world and be holy. The standard has been lowered so much in this day and time that everyone is made to be comfortable in the church. Well, everyone is welcome to the church, but everyone should not feel comfortable in their sin.

In Revelation 11:2-6, God brings the two witnesses to stand against the Antichrist.

We are challenged to worship the One, true God, and to grow in our relationship with Him.

John 4:23

But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.

Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. Instead of lowering our standards of worship, we need to keep them as high as possible. The world has lowered its standard of worship, but we are challenged to worship Him as He cleanses us and equips us to minister to others.

Hebrews 9:14

…how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God?

Psalm 51:2

Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.

II. Christ is the center of our worship–in Revelation 11, that will not be the case.

The gospel message is to be delivered. The gospel message will not be delivered in the temple; furthermore, the wrong style of worship will take place in the temple in Revelation 11.

Titus 3:5

He saved us–not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

God gives the authority and power to the two witnesses (Rev. 11:4-5). He gives them the power to perform their ministry and for their protection. God knew that they would face opposition. He gave them fire to proceed out of their mouths, to hold back the rain and turn water into blood.

Scripture does not reveal who the two men are, but some believe that they are Elijah and Moses. Elijah and Moses performed signs that duplicate what these men will do, and they both appeared with Jesus during the Transfiguration.

Matthew 17:3-4

Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good for us to be here! If You want, I will make three tabernacles here: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

Malachi 4:4

“Remember the instruction of Moses My servant, the statutes and ordinances I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

Exodus 7:20

Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded; in the sight of Pharaoh and his officials, he raised the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile was turned to blood.

1 Kings 17:1

Now Elijah the Tishbite, from the Gilead settlers, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, I stand before Him, and there will be no dew or rain during these years except by my command!”

They could strike the earth with a plague whenever they desired (Revelation 11:6).

III. When their ministry is complete, Satan has the power to kill them. (Revelation 11:7-10)

You will finish on time.

Psalm 39:4

“Lord, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days. Let me know how short-lived I am.”

It is OK to stand alone.

2 Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the proclamation might be fully made through me and all the Gentiles might hear. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.

God is with you.

Romans 8:31

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

There will be times in ministry where one needs to stand alone for Him.

There is an appointed time.

Job 14:5-6

Since man’s days are determined and the number of his months depends on You, and since You have set limits he cannot pass, look away from him and let him rest so that he can enjoy his day like a hired hand.

The two witnesses were empowered by God to perform as His witness. In the same way, recognize the power that God gives to you to be His witness for Him while you are able.

The fact that the beast can kill them reveals that they are physical beings. They are killed by the beast, who is also a person.

The two witnesses were killed in Jerusalem. The place is referred to Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified (Revelation 11:8).

Sodom – no morals; rebellion against God (Ezekiel 16:40)

Egypt – idols; captivity of God’s people

IV. God breaks up the party (v. 9-10)

All will see the bodies laying in the streets. Imagine all of the pictures uploaded on the internet and having them broadcast on YouTube!

The witnesses were proclaiming God’s Word, but when they were killed and the word of God was removed from the people, the people were celebrating their demise.

Imagine the terror of the people when they came back to life 3 1/2 days later! (v. 11)

For the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no reason to be ashamed of the gospel. It will require personal sacrifice, but it will be worth it for the testimony that is made before others.


The Fruits of The Spirit – Self-Control

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

Self-control is the measure of keeping one to remain focused on following Jesus Christ. It is an area that is controlled by the Holy Spirit. A lack of self control comes from being controlled by the flesh. Fleshly control is an opening to demonic influence. The Holy Spirit is present to allow for self control but a person must yield to the Spirit in order to maintain self control.

In Galatians 5, it is noted that the law is present because of sin, but it is the fruits of The Spirit that are beyond the law because you are acting in self control under God’s presence.

Self-control helps to capture all of our emotions. It is the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites.

Paul witnesses to Felix:

Acts 24:24-25

24 After some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus. 25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I find time I’ll call for you.”

 

Felix is being addressed because he is in desperate need of exhibiting self-control. He has been through three marriages. He needed to hear from Paul about:

1. Faith in Christ

2. Righteousness

3. Self-control

4. Judgment to come

 

Paul is in control.

Matthew 10:19-20

19 But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, 20 because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.

 

You may feel you have a right to take action against a person for their mistreatment of you.

1 Samuel 24:4-6

4 so they said to him, “Look, this is the day the Lord told you about: ‘I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire.’” Then David got up and secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.

5 Afterward, David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “I swear before the Lord: I would never do such a thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed. I will never lift my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.”

 

1 Samuel 26:7-10

7 That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!” 

9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless?” 10 David added, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.

 

Self-control is a quality for anyone in leadership.

Titus 1:8

…but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled.

 

Titus 2:2

Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.

 

1 Timothy 3:2

An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher.

 

1 Corinthians 9:25

Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.

 

Having knowledge of God’s Word helps to build us up in self-control. Training under God’s Word requires it, and it will teach you how to rely more and more on the presence of God in your life to rely upon Him in maintaining self-control.

The value of self-control is perseverance (patience).

 

2 Peter 1:6

…knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness.

 

Self-control can bring you respect (honor). It teaches how to avoid strife.

Proverbs 20:3

It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute,

but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.

 

Self-control (calmness) brings rest. It provides the ability to work things out.

Ecclesiastes 10:4

If the ruler’s anger rises against you, don’t leave your place,

for calmness puts great offenses to rest.

 

Without self-control, you can only display the flesh at its worst and all of its foolishness.

Proverbs 14:29

A patient person shows great understanding,

but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.

 

2 Timothy 3:3

…unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good.

 

You are being evaluated by others in your words, actions and behaviors to see if you really are who you claim to be–a Christian. The Christian is expected to have self-control. Living a life of carnality will show only a lack of control.

God wants you to be able to have the joy of the presence of the Holy Spirit by operating in self-control. When the characteristics of the fruits of The Spirit are manifested before others, the very presence of God and His power can be experienced by others as you remain faithful to Him.