Tag Archives: work

Church and Salvation: The Purpose of the Church

Today’s message summary of October 1, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Lord, help us to listen to the Spirit and enable us to do your work before the people.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

As a member of the church, you are part of the worldwide church, whose mission is to serve the Lord and proclaim the gospel.

The church consists of people who are “called out” for Jesus Christ.  What exactly are you called out to do.  It is not just to take part in the saving of souls.  After a soul gets saved, what happens next?

There is a responsibility in how one cares for a person after declaring Christ as Lord and Savior.  The church is more than just reaching people.  There is a care that must continue to take place for all of God’s people.

The work starts within the church to do good for the people of God, but it does not stop there.

Ephesians 5:32

This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.

The church is stated as a mystery in that it was not spoken of, in so many words, within the Old Testament.  Now the church is known, but even within it remains a mystery.  In the same way, within a believer, there is an unknown potential as to how God will develop a person into who He desires that person to be.  Every church is different, and every one of them is called to minister to its community where it is located.  God knows how He will accomplish this.  There is such a flexibility as the Holy Spirit renders how this is to take place.

The church exists to do the work of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The church functions as one body for this purpose.

Colossians 1:25-27

I have become its servant, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints. God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

As a member of the church, you are part of this royal priesthood to serve others.  He wants to use you to have an impact within the church into the community.  You are called out to be an ambassador, a saint and a witness before Jesus Christ.

The purpose of the church is to teach the people the knowledge of the Bible in order to carry out the work of Jesus.  It is to teach the people how to minister to others.  The focus remains on Jesus Christ, His life, and His ministry.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

The church comes alongside of its people and supports the member until he is able to move forward on his own.  Jesus promised that He would enable those who serve Him to do even greater things for His glory.

John 14:12-14

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. Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

The work of the church does not rest upon the members alone, but upon those who say, “yes, I will do the work,” or “no, I won’t do it.”

What are you asking for in faith?

There is no limit in what you can ask Him for.  (You can limit yourself, of course.)

Don’t just ask for those things that you can do yourself.  Why not ask Him for those things that are far beyond your reach?

Ask God to open doors, for wisdom and knowledge in order to have the capability to do matters according to His will and purpose in your life.  Ask in faith and trust in Him in faith.

As the church, we are to deal with societal and individual problems.  We understand that there is no problem too big to be solved.

Genesis 18:14

“Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”

Matthew 19:26

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Isaiah 43:13

“Also, from today on I am He alone, and none can deliver from My hand. I act, and who can reverse it?”

John 9:3-5

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him. We must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Philippians 4:13

I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Advertisements

Doing the Work of The Lord

Today’s message summary of June 4, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

If your focus is on the work of God, it will change you.  God should come first in your life.

If there is a lack of focus, there will be a hole in your life that cannot be filled by material things.

You can be confused over those things that you deem to be priorities.

Over time, God’s work can get lost within the course of life.  You can get so busy living and lose track of what is most important; yet, God has a plan for you each and every day.

The word of God is the most important part of your life.

Haggai 1:1-11

In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest: 

The Lord of Hosts says this: These people say: The time has not come for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.

The word of the Lord came through Haggai the prophet: Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, the Lord of Hosts says this: Think carefully about your ways:

You have planted much

but harvested little.

You eat

but never have enough to be satisfied.

You drink

but never have enough to become drunk.

You put on clothes

but never have enough to get warm.

The wage earner puts his wages

into a bag with a hole in it.

The Lord of Hosts says this: Think carefully about your ways. Go up into the hills, bring down lumber, and build the house. Then I will be pleased with it and be glorified, says the Lord. You expected much, but then it amounted to little. When you brought the harvest to your house, I ruined it. Why? This is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts. Because My house still lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house.

So on your account,

the skies have withheld the dew

and the land its crops.

I have summoned a drought

on the fields and the hills,

on the grain, new wine, olive oil,

and whatever the ground yields,

on man and beast,

and on all that your hands produce.

 

Haggai’s words to the people of Judah was a revealing of their weakness toward the work of God.

  • Carelessness about the matters of God
  • Their sincerity concerning the things of God is small
  • Their leisure time was more important than God’s work
  • Their personal comfort was more important

Ezra 5:1-2

But when the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak began to rebuild God’s house in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were with them, helping them.

When you see and hear that God is at work, it places an expectation from Him upon your life.  As you remain obedient to Him, He will affirm your efforts and even provide the support that you need in service to Him.

Ezra 6:14

So the Jewish elders continued successfully with the building under the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia.

Ezra 7:5-6

Abishuas son, Phinehass son,

Eleazars son, Aaron the chief priests son

came up from Babylon. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which Yahweh, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he requested because the hand of Yahweh his God was on him.

 

The workforce was made up of everyone who had returned from exile.  Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they still rebuilt the altar at its original site (Ezra 3:3).

The people overcame their fear in order to obey God.

Haggai points out the weakness of God’s people and what causes them to be distracted.  What are the distractions in your life that prevent you from serving and honoring God?

Haggai 1:2

“The Lord of Hosts says this: These people say: The time has not come for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.”

  • You can see it, but you won’t do the work
  • You can hear about it, but will not do the work.
  • You can receive from God the ability to do what is needed, but still choose not to do it.

 

The conflict here is your comfort versus God’s comfort (Haggai 1:3).

When is the right time to do God’s will and be obedient to Him?  The right time is when you see it, hear about it, and have received from God the ability to do it.

Deuteronomy 6:10-12

When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give youa land with large and beautiful cities that you did not build, houses full of every good thing that you did not fill them with, wells dug that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves that you did not plantand when you eat and are satisfied, be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.

Haggai 1:5, 7

Now, the Lord of Hosts says this: “Think carefully about your ways.”

You need to give consideration as to your ways in life.  You need to go over how you make your decisions and reflect deeply upon how you are spending your time.  He wants you to be thoughtful as to your ways.

God challenges you with your way of thinking here.  Before God asks you to do something, you need to consider how you are going to respond to Him.  He may give you something that will pull you out of your comfort zone.

God will enable you to do many things in your life if you simply remain obedient to His will.  Take pleasure in it, you please Him and honor Him, and God will honor you.

Are you taking care of God’s business?  It remains as a priority in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ.

Haggai gave words of encouragement only after the people were willing to obey.

Haggai 1:12-14

Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and the entire remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. So the people feared the Lord.

Haggai, the Lords messenger, delivered the Lords message to the people, I am with you”—this is the Lords declaration.

The Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, the spirit of the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. They began work on the house of Yahweh of Hosts, their God.

Once the people began to fear the Lord, their own fear to proceed had subsided.  The people had to see God for themselves.

God’s message is “I am with you.”

Romans 8:31

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

Haggai 2:3

Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Doesn’t it seem like nothing to you? Even so, be strong, Zerubbabel–this is the Lord’s declaration. “Be strong, Joshua son of Jehozadak, high priest.  Be strong, all you people of the land”this is the Lord’s declaration. “Work! For I am with you”the declaration of the Lord of Hosts.

To build the temple was going to require strength. God’s encouragement was to say “be strong” three times.

When the Spirit of God is with you, there is no need for fear.  He will enable you to complete the task at hand.


Building the Family (Series Cont’d)

Today’s message summary of February 5, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

We’re moving back into the study of building the family.  God is the One who does the work in building and shaping the person, and this applies within the family, as well.

Every dream that you have requires sacrifice in order to bring it into existence, and it involves yielding to the Father according to His will.  Sacrifice is giving up something good to get something even better.

A person should always have the desire to do better.  As a child of God, that is what He desires for you.

With every predicament in life, God requires a new behavior to be developed within the life of the believer.  (New believers are not given more than what they can bear by God; however, there is an expectation of growth and progression for the believer.)

Each believer should experience…

  • A deeper love for God and for others
  • A greater wisdom and knowledge of Jesus Christ
  • More patience
  • A desire to seek more understanding of others
  • A deeper development in his personal life

When God allows you to go through a crisis or difficulty, it is not just about facing the crisis…it is more about Him dealing with you.

It is easy to run in the other direction or even quit when things get difficult, but God desires to personally develop you.

When you are really to allow God to work in your life, He will guide your steps.  He does not want to see you fail, and it is not His desire to set you up for failure.

Building your own self-worth within the family helps to build the self-worth of others within the family.  Everyone in the family contributes to the life of the family.  There is good, bad and sometimes ugly that makes up the family.

How does God accomplish all of this?

We build a healthy self-worth by seeing life through God’s eyes.  It is not about what you want.  It is about living according to His will.  Your self-worth comes from how God values you.

He sent His Son to die for you.  That is how much He values you.

Most of our lives are busy working at what we want our life to be.

Colossians 1:9-10

For this reason also, since the day we heard this (that you became a believer), we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.

 

You desire to do God’s will and not your own.

How does one build his self-worth? Focus on the will of God, and desire spiritual understanding of life.

Romans 12:2

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.

 

Psalm 84:11

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.

 

Proverbs 2:3-6

…furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

 

God’s knowledge and understanding is the beginning of growing a good self-worth within yourself.

Your self-image (your own concept of yourself–your identity, your abilities, your self-worth) is what you outwardly want people to see.

Worth:  value, merit, honor.  It is the value that God has placed upon you.

1 Peter 1:18-19

For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.


The “It” Factor

A message text for Sunday, July 31, 2016 from Melvin Gaines:

I have been actively involved in ministry now for over twenty-five years.  This is just a personal observation, but in that time, I have seen the actions and behaviors of many who profess to know Jesus Christ as personal Savior.  I witnessed people who serve with dedication and with the desire to truly see people come to Christ.

You have to get your hands a little dirty to see the first fruits of the power of the Holy Spirit working according to God’s will, which is for every person to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ:

1 Timothy 2:3-4 HCSB

This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

God desires for everyone He created to be saved.  Not everyone will experience His salvation, but that does not change His will.  You are to live an abundant life for Jesus Christ to help people see the love of Christ, and have the desire to recognize the need for salvation in Christ.

I’ve seen many hardworking people that have found a way to tap into their talents and skills to serve Jesus Christ.  They are on the front lines with their words and actions declaring the gospel message.  They are concerned about the people who do not know Jesus Christ.  They are making themselves available to seek the lost.

Yet, there are many, many more people that I have observed who profess belief in Jesus Christ but are absent from many church activities, such as neighborhood outreach, visitations, or even the customary church gatherings (except for those when free food is being served!).  They may have even seen those that are working in the trenches for Christ, but they are not compelled to get involved.  It has nothing to do with how busy a person’s life is, for even the busiest people still have the desire to jump in somewhere—wherever they are—and work for the Kingdom from time to time.

While it would be wrong to question the motivation of these people, or even give consideration to the authenticity of their faith, it is my conclusion that these people, who can readily watch others working for the gospel, just don’t get it.

They just don’t get it.  They just don’t get “It.”

What is the “It” that they don’t get?

For this discussion, “It” refers to a believer’s progression within their relationship with Jesus Christ—a progression where service is not seen as a duty or as an act of drudgery.  It is when a believer equates service with the love for other people as a reflection of Jesus Christ.  This progression is something that not every believer will attain, or even realize is possible.  It requires a devotion to Jesus Christ that must continue throughout the life of a believer.

When you become a believer, it is done with the immediate acknowledgment of the need for Jesus Christ as a personal Lord and Savior.  It is done with humility, repentance and with the sincere desire for a new life trajectory.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Your new life in Christ now begins, and in the same way a child grows into adolescence, your relationship with Jesus Christ consists of a series of growth spurts.  It is now an ongoing training and life experience progression where you develop a heart of flesh—a sincere concern—for the fate of the lost.  Only Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, can orchestrate such a change.

Why do we need more believers who really “get it”?  It is because of the millions of people throughout the world that are lost.  There are many who are lost because they do not know Jesus Christ as Savior, and the tragedy of this is that many don’t even know that they are lost.  They are in spiritual darkness because of sinful behavior and willful disobedience.  Ravi Zacharias noted in his podcast, The Lostness of Men, “the worst effect of sin is the enslaved spirit” (Zacharias, 2008).  Sinful behavior gives the sinner the illusion that he is free to do whatever he pleases; in fact, he is merely a slave of sin.  When it comes to the heart of the unbeliever, it is a heart of stone that prefers conforming to the world instead of seeking Jesus Christ.  Because of this, Zacharias noted that “man is condemned eternally without Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10) as “sin is not just an act—it is an attitude” (Zacharias, 2008). The failure of the lost to acknowledge Christ as Savior results in dire consequences.  There is eternal condemnation and separation without Christ (Zacharias, 2008).

People who are lost need to see the love of Christ as often as possible.  More believers need to see the importance of this.  All of the world’s confusion and unrest today reflects the importance of believers possessing the “It” Factor as being more important than ever before.

The “It” Factor is what needs to be present in the life of a believer in order to effectively proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit is the One who enables this progression to participate in Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

A. B. Simpson refers to this progression as sanctification (Simpson, 1890). Sanctification is the growth of one’s relationship with Jesus Christ that promotes behavioral and relational change in the life of a believer. Jesus is the source of our sanctification (Simpson, 1890). It begins with the desire of a believer to separate from sin.  Simpson noted “the sanctified Christian is separated from sin, from an evil world, even from his own self, and from anything that would be a separating cause between him and Christ in the new life” (Simpson, p. 14, 1890).

Along with separation from sin, there must be a dedication to God and a conformity to the likeness and will of God (Simpson, 1890), which are the critical growth spurts that every believer is to experience as one yields to the Holy Spirit.  Simpson noted, “A sanctified Christian is submissive and obedient. He desires the Divine will above everything else in life as kinder and wiser for him than anything else can be. He is conscious that he misses something if he misses it. He knows it will promote his highest good far more than his own will, crying instinctively, ‘Thy will be done'” (Simpson, p. 14-15, 1890).

It is this progression within sanctification that reflects God’s love to everyone that the believer comes into contact with, especially those who are lost.  It is God’s love, and His desire to fellowship with believers, that turns hearts of stone into hearts of flesh—a greater propensity for humility and obedience in a consistent practice of godliness before others:

Ezekiel 36:25-28 HCSB

I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances.  Then you will live in the land that I gave your fathers; you will be My people, and I will be your God.

In order for people without Christ to be compelled to leave their lost state of being, they need to see the love of God as often as possible.  This is the “It” factor.

It is not a given that a believer grasps this sanctification—the “It” Factor.  Simpson noted, “Many people make a mistake about some of these steps. Some of them are clinging to a little of their old goodness and therefore meet with failures. Others stumble at the second step.  They do not see that Jesus is their complete Sanctifier.  And many cannot take the third step and make a complete surrender of everything to Him.  Multitudes fail even when they have taken these steps in not being able to believe that Jesus receives them” (Simpson, p. 17, 1890).  The flesh, reminders of the past life, or confusion from life’s distractions, can keep a person from making progress.  Satan and his followers desire to wreck the relationship of a believer in Jesus Christ, and only reliance upon God’s strength through the Holy Spirit can overcome them:

Ephesians 6:10-13 HCSB

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.  This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.

The believer who is still trying to “get it” must see the urgency and importance in the progressive development in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  In order to develop that heart of flesh, he must be willing to—and strive to—learn more about Jesus Christ.  He must do the following:

  1. Investigate the Bible. Read the bible daily, and not just read it, but dig deeply into its meaning.    Knowing Jesus means knowing His Word as much as possible.  A believer should not only make a plan to read, but also use study references and commentaries to provoke and compel thought to create a greater understanding of who Jesus Christ is.  A habit of daily Scripture reading is a process of growing to appreciate God’s way of communicating, instructing and teaching a believer.
  1. Meditate on His Word. For a fruitful relationship with Jesus Christ, a believer must communicate with God through active prayer and meditation (Psalm 1:1-3).  The practice of meditation is a way to close any gaps of communication between the Holy Spirit and the believer, and to promote greater instruction and knowledge of the character of Christ.
  1. Act on His Word through obedience. The Spirit compels the person who is faithful to Jesus Christ to go and reflect the love of Christ to everyone the person interacts with each and every day.  A believer who is closely following Jesus Christ impacts the world around him with the presence of Christ in everyday life!
  1. Grow each day in sanctification. The Holy Spirit enables the believer with the capability to progress over time to learn more about Jesus and resist those things that can hamper his relationship with Him (2 Peter 3:18).
  1. Endure each day through any hardship or difficulty as you glorify God. It is through endurance that one develops the character of Christ (Romans 5:3-5).

James 1:2-4 HCSB

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

Perhaps you picked up on the fact that the five points of progression and development in your relationship with Jesus Christ make up the acronym IMAGE.  It is fitting that you live out this IMAGE in Christ, for it is His desire for you, as His creation in His image (Genesis 1:26-27):

  • To live a life for Him that becomes more fulfilling and fruitful as you are sanctified in His presence.
  • He desires for you to experience the fulfillment of the love of Christ and share it with others through your powerful words and your actions!
  • This results in a mutual effort, with you and the power of the Holy Spirit, to show the love of Christ to anyone and everyone that you come into contact with!
  • It is the culmination of your obedience to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

The strong believer in Jesus Christ truly gets “It.” He is willing to live openly for Jesus Christ and is compelled to reach the lost because Jesus wants the very same thing—to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  A believer who is still learning about what it means to live a life of totality for Jesus Christ will soon get “It” as long as he seeks the Lord Jesus Christ with all of his heart.

There is a great need for people to join Christ in the Great Commission to seek and reach the lost.  There is a lot at stake, and it is for all eternity:

Matthew 9:35-38 HCSB

Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness.  When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.  Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.

If you don’t get it, and you don’t get “It,” I pray that you do, and that you do it very soon.  The body of Christ needs your help to reach the lost.

 

References

Holman Christian Standard Bible (2009). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

Zacharias, R. (2008, June 22). The Lostness of Man [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/let-my-people-think/listen/

Simpson, A. (1890). The Fourfold Gospel. Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications.

 

Developing your IMAGE:

 

Investigate God’s Word

Meditate on His Word

Act and apply His Word

Grow in Jesus Christ

Endure the hardships that will certainly come

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


Two Foundations

A message summary of January 10, 2016 from Columbus Morgan:

One thing that Jesus brings attention to in Luke Chapter 6 is His foundation.  It is very important to understand.

In my past, I have worked in the restaurant business for much of my life, and I understand the importance of service.  This message is not about working in a restaurant, but it is about service, and it will be about discipleship.

In Luke Chapter 6, Jesus’ popularity is soaring.  There were many crowds that formed around them, and Jesus was providing instruction to his disciples:

Luke 6:40

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

There is no way to follow Jesus unless you enter into a Trainer-trainee relationship.

When a person is asked about what it means to be a Christian, you will likely receive many different answers.  There are many who call themselves Christian but there is no interest in entering into a Trainer-trainee relationship.  In order to be a true follower of Christ, Jesus must train you.

Christianity without discipleship, is lethal.

Jesus told His disciples that if they follow His teaching, then they will follow Him.

In order to be taught by Jesus, there must be a desire to be changed.

Luke 6:47-48

I will show you what someone is like who comes to Me, hears My words, and acts on them: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.

That firm foundation is a solid rock of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:11

For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ.

It will be a well-built house that resides in Christ.  Building on the bedrock of Christ will be solid, and the training that a person experiences will rely upon the foundation of Christ in order to grow and develop in the training.  Anything less than a firm foundation, including choosing not to take instruction, will not allow for the proper growth or development.

Luke 6:49

But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The river crashed against it, and immediately it collapsed. And the destruction of that house was great!

When Jesus was speaking to the disciples, He was speaking to the Twelve, and He also spoke to the seventy others who were disciples.  Two groups heard His words and listened.  One group chose to follow Him, while the other separated from Jesus.

James 1:22

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Developing a heart for God means making the declaration that you will follow the Lord (and even repeating these words as often as necessary to yourself to remind yourself of the determination needed to stay with it).

Why do we not do what God says?

“I don’t like being told what to do.  I like doing things my way.”

“I’m happy to do things my way and I don’t need to change anything.”

“I don’t want to trust You and Your Word, Lord.”

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.

Jesus gives us some things that He wants us to work with that are tough to do (but they can still be done):

Love your enemies; specifically, those who even persecute you.

God will work on your heart in developing you to be able to do this.  This is a trust issue about Christ and what He means to you.  It is a very deep-seated issue for many.  This is a very important aspect of discipleship and the Trainer-trainee relationship.

Jeremiah 33:1-3

While he was still confined in the guard’s courtyard, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time: “The Lord who made the earth, the Lord who forms it to establish it, Yahweh is His name, says this: Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know.

Psalm 91:15

When he calls out to Me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble.
I will rescue him and give him honor.

God wants those who are following Him to call on Him, and He promises that He will answer.

What God is asking for us to do is to let go of the things that we hold dear and give our lives to Him.

You will have completed your training when we become like Him; therefore, you are still in training right now.

The training that you will receive from God will change your life and change your family because you choose to submit to Him and listen to His Word.

Consider the Lord’s Prayer as a way of life and putting it into practice.

Matthew 6:9-13

 “Therefore, you should pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
[For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen.]

I want that to be my prayer.  I want it to be the prayer of the church.  I want that to be everyone’s prayer.

There is a work that is waiting to be done in your life.

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.

As you become trained, Jesus Christ wants to develop you to be a trainer yourself.  There is a Great Commission that is waiting to be carried out.

Matthew 28:19-20

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

By making disciples, we are coaching and encouraging others to have the desire to seek God in everything.

God will create opportunities for you to share Christ as you commit to following Jesus.  He can make you a person of grace before others who may not deserve grace.  He can make you as a person who is merciful to those who do not deserve mercy.  He can make you to be a messenger for Christ.

Take the time to get quiet with the Lord and examine where you are in Jesus Christ.  God will show you, and then you can take it from there.


The Sixth Seal: God’s Witness of Himself

Today’s message summary of November 8, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

When we looked at the fifth seal last week, we saw the people under the altar who had died for Jesus Christ, and that they were prepared to do so. People were persecuted and gave their lives. Those people asked how much longer would it be before God would “judge and avenge our blood from those who live on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10b)

When the sixth seal was opened, God will show Himself.

The sixth seal takes John from what he sees in heaven back to the physical world.

Revelation 6:12-16

Then I saw Him open the sixth seal. A violent earthquake occurred; the sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair; the entire moon became like blood; the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fid tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a high wind; the sky separated like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”

 

When God reveals Himself to some of us, we don’t see His majesty or His glory. There will come a time when they will acknowledge it.

The first five seals were directed toward specific areas. The sixth seal was a universal revelation. All people will be affected. Everyone will fear it. It will touch every life, regardless of stature or wealth.

  • There will be a great earthquake (there is no mention of death–previous seals do mention death).
  • The sun will turn black (when the sun does not shine, it will be very cold).
  • The moon will turn blood red.
  • The stars will fall to the earth (stars dying out like shooting stars).
  • The sky will recede (separate) like a scroll (Acts 7:55-56).
  • Every mountain and island will be removed.

These things take place not by the power of man; instead, they take place in order that everyone can see and be affected by them. It is to cause man to think and to choose.

Colossians 1:16-17

For everything was created by Him,

in heaven and on earth,

the visible and the invisible,

whether thrones or dominions

or rulers or authorities

all things have been created through Him and for Him.

He is before all things,

and by Him all things hold together.

 

Joel 2:10-11, 30-32

The earth quakes before them; the sky shakes. The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars cease their shining. The Lord raises His voice in the presence of His army. His camp is very large; Those who carry out His command are powerful. Indeed, the Day of the Lord is terrible and dreadful–who can endure it?

 

I will display wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and awe-inspiring Day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved, for there will be an escape for those on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as the Lord promised, among the survivors the Lord calls.

It is God’s desire that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9); therefore, He continues to reveal Himself today.

He will certainly do this on the day of wrath, but even then, while he carries out his wrath, His mercy will still be present, for people who acknowledge He is Lord even at that moment will be saved (2 Peter 3:9).

Jeremiah 4:23

I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty. I looked to the heavens, and their light was gone.

 

Matthew 24:29-30

Immediately after the tribulation of those days: The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the celestial powers will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the peoples of the earth will mourn; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

 

Even though God desires everyone to come to Christ, some will simply refuse.

Romans 1:18-20

For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.

 

Every person has to make that decision: “Is He God?”

Whenever death is at the door, God’s grace and forgiveness is also there. A person only has to chose to repent and believe.

During the revealing of the sixth seal, man’s free will to choose is still present (Revelation 6:15-17). Look at the hearts of the kings, nobles, military commanders, the rich, powerful and everyone else. All of humanity is included. God revealed Himself, and they surely had seen Him. They didn’t understand, though, that they could not hide from God in their rejection of Him. Death for them was not the end at all–it was merely the beginning.

Luke 23:28-30

But turning to them, Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and your children. Look, the days are coming when they will say, ‘The women without children, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed, are fortunate!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’

 

Matthew 10:28

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

 

Isaiah 2:8-12, 19-21

Their land is full of idols;

they bow down to the work of their hands,

to what their fingers have made.

So humanity is brought low,

and man is humbled.

Do not forgive them!

Go into the rocks

and hide in the dust

from the terror of the Lord

and from His majestic splendor.

Human pride will be humbled,

and the loftiness of men will be brought low;

the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.

For a day belonging to the Lord of Hosts is coming

against all that is proud and lofty,

against all that is lifted upit will be humbled

 

People will go into caves in the rocks

and holes in the ground,

away from the terror of the Lord

and from His majestic splendor,

when He rises to terrify the earth.

On that day people will throw

their silver and gold idols,

which they made to worship,

to the moles and the bats.

They will go into the caves of the rocks

and the crevices in the cliffs,

away from the terror of the Lord

and from His majestic splendor,

when He rises to terrify the earth.

 

You may escape God’s judgment for a moment, but it will catch up to you. God may give you a head start, but you will not outrun Him!

Unbelief is among all people. The gospel, however, speaks to all people. No one dies without God, in some way or some form, manifesting Himself before him.

There is one thing that man cannot stop, and that is the will and work of God. His truth will prevail, for in Jesus Christ, there is already victory.

May we be such a people that is caught up in His glory and His presence in order to live as a testimony of Jesus Christ.


Walking By Faith (The Lord is Not Finished Yet)

Today’s message summary of December 28, 2014 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Walking by faith is not something that is done out of one’s own ability. It is to be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. In order to walk by faith, the Spirit leads, but we are to trust in Him.

We are not to believe that God brought us through all of the troubles of this world to say that we are finished. Lord, You’re not finished with us yet. Lord, you still have a work for this church to perform. You have a vital work that will have eternal value in the lives of people. It is Your work. It is Your church. The church was started by men who were being obedient to You, and Lord, You have sustained us and kept us. You have brought us a mighty long way, and we thank You. Amen.

God has not done what He has done in your life and said that it’s done. He is just beginning to work.

Satan wants to make things appear to be worse than they really are. Just believe in God and trust Him, He will show you some great and mighty things. The Lord asks if He will find any who are faithful when He comes. I pray that those that He finds here remain faithful to Him.

Satan wants to rob us of hope and keep you from looking forward. God, in contrast, wants you to dare to dream. He still wants to speak to you and dare people to dream beyond your present circumstances.

If this church will have it in its mind to pray and storm the doors of heaven, God will respond. He has not finished His work.

We may not have a lot, but we are rich in Jesus Christ, and we have each other. God is the One who started this church, and He is the One who has given the provision to pay the bills and sustain this church.

As long as we honor God, God will honor you, and He will bless you and keep you.

Genesis 15:1

After these events, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield; your reward will be very great.

 

God wants us to remain faithful and not fearful of what is to come. Don’t be afraid! We are to trust that God is the One who achieves great things–mighty things in spite of the number of people involved. Remain faithful to Him and to the task that God assigns to you.

Acts 10:19-20

While Peter was thinking about the vision, the Spirit told him, “Three men are here looking for you. Get up, go downstairs, and accompany them with no doubts at all, because I have sent them.”

 

If you spend too much time reflecting on God’s vision, you will wind up not acting upon it. God will give the direction and you need to take it and follow it towards the accomplishment of your goal. His will is in the midst of all of His promises. When you believe what is being accomplished is of God, don’t hesitate. Be ready to step out and move forward.

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.

 

Proverbs 29:18

Without revelation people run wild, but one who listens to instruction will be happy.

 

Of course, we need to remember hope:

Proverbs 23:17-18

Don’t let your heart envy sinners; instead, always fear the Lord. For then you will have a future, and your hope will never fade.

 

We are to be co-laborers with God. He wants you to be involved in the midst of your hope that God remains firmly in control. He is a sovereign God, and yet He will work His will through you, as you remain willing.

Believe, as a church, that God has a future for you. Your hope will not be cut off.

This church has always been about teaching and providing instruction. The most important thing of the church today is that we are to be teachers of the Word of God. When the psalmist declares that He will hide the Word in his heart that he may not sin, it is a constant reminder of obedience to God and to be pleasing to Him. The only way to really hide the word in your heart is to be a teacher and to allow yourself to be taught. The learning comes in being challenged by God’s Word and allowing it to build within you. There are things that God has planned for your life that have not yet been revealed to you, and yet God, through the Holy Spirit, wants to show these things to you. All that we need to do is seek Him, ask Him and be willing to hear Him speak.

This church is holy only because of the presence of God in our midst. Be mindful of this as you act in obedience to Him and live in such a way that you are striving for holiness.

It is important to separate what is man’s vision and what is God’s vision. (Don’t assume that they are the same.) In that vision, we want to show people who look upon the church as a people who are different.

Psalm 71:18

Even when I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me. Then I will proclaim Your power to another generation, Your strength to all who are to come.

 

Even when you get older, you are still called to teach the younger people coming along in order that they can grow in Jesus Christ. Have a heart to always be ready to teach the next generation. In order to do this, you need to be teachable. Keep learning. It is not about being in agreement with everything, but it does mean that you can be challenged to learn and grow in Christ.

I pray that you will always be ready to let people know the truth of what God has done for you. Whatever we have received from Him is a gift.