Tag Archives: world

Be Filled (Part 4): A Spirit-Filled Family

Today’s message of July 24, 2016 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

What defines a family?  Is it merely love?  Or is it something greater than that?  Our definition of love should not come from television sitcoms or of something that is more about lust?  The world view is that “love wins,” but if this love is expressed outside of the word of God, then it is not what God would condone.

Love is not love according to how the world views love.

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
Nonetheless, if we adopt the world’s view of God, then it is outside of how the bible instructs.  The world view of love is not a reflection of Jesus Christ.

The world’s view of family is based upon a faulty love.

In Genesis 4, there is a brotherly love turned into jealousy…and murder.  This happened because of Cain’s evil tendencies in his heart that was against Abel’s acts of righteousness.

1 John 3:11-14

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another, unlike Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death.
If you ever thought that your own family was dysfunctional, it probably doesn’t compare to the family of David.  It was truly dysfunctional.  David’s failure to discipline his children created a great deal of pain and suffering, and he even lost one of his sons because of it.

Interestingly, many families today are just as bad if not worse today.

The world has no clue today what it means to be a family.  God defines what it is to have a spirit-filled family.

Love is involved within a spirit-filled family, but not just any love.  A spirit-filled family is characterized by submissive unconditional love.

Ephesians 5:15-33

Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit:

speaking to one another
in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,
singing and making music
from your heart to the Lord,
giving thanks always for everything
to God the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
submitting to one another
in the fear of Christ.

Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of His body.

For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.

This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.

Ephesians 6:1-4

Children, obey your parents as you would the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land. Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
These are the biblical examples of a spirit-filled family.

Notice that in Ephesians 5:18, he notes that we are to be spirit-filled.  This is imperative in order to be able to submit to and to be obedient to God’s Word.  Anything outside of this means that there is a desire to follow what the world teaches.

Be obedient to the Word and bring yourself under self-control.  Putting aside the deeds of the flesh is to surrender everything to God.  This includes everything.  This is spirit-filled living.

It takes more than love to have a spirit-filled family.  It cannot pay the bills.  It cannot cut the grass or wash the dishes. Loving someone means submitting yourself, in love, to someone else.

Our families should be branded by love in submission.  That is what a spirit-filled family is.

As far as the roles within a family, as noted by Paul (Ephesians 5:22-28), there is a structure that requires submissive love, and the structure is in place in order that God is glorified.  A submissive wife is the crowning jewel of her husband.  She is not submissive not just to please her husband, but to please the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:3

But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.
Godly submission is much more pleasing than physical attractiveness.

1 Peter 3:1-7

In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the Christian message, they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives.  Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. For in the past, the holy women who put their hope in God also beautified themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands, just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You have become her children when you do what is good and are not frightened by anything alarming.

Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with an understanding of their weaker nature[d] yet showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
God is using the church, the bride of Christ, to reach people with the good news.  The spirit-filled family is the essence of living before the world in a godly manner.

The husband, in Ephesians 5:25-33, also has to be submissive.  He has to love his wife unconditionally in submission.

This submission, even in a marriage where there is an unbeliever, can have a profound effect on the unbeliever.  You won’t know unless you stay with it.

1 Corinthians 7:14-16

For the unbelieving husband is set apart for God by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is set apart for God by the husband.  Otherwise your children would be corrupt, but now they are set apart for God. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you to live in peace.  For you, wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Or you, husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?

That is why Paul is telling husbands to love their wives.  The love is reflection of Jesus Christ, who saves.

Sanctification is a maturity process for both the wife and the husband in marriage and in faith (Ephesians 5:26-27).

This sanctification comes from the power of the Word of God.  The church is polluted and guilty under sin, but the Word has cleansing power.  A husband who is submissive to his wife is a Christlike example as to how to live for Jesus Christ.

Children are to live in obedience to the Lord (Ephesians 6:1-4).  The husband and wife, to the children, represent God’s authority.  Disobedience is a reflection of disobedience to God.  The Lord will bless those children who submit to their parents.

The husband and the wife are mindful to not abuse this authority and to make their children miserable.  God will judge all parents as to how their children were raised and disciplined.

Proverbs 4:10

Listen, my son. Accept my words,
and you will live many years.
Proverbs 23:13

Don’t withhold discipline from a youth;
if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
Families are hardly perfect.  There will be arguments and difficulties, but allow the love of Jesus Christ, in submission, to prevail.  This love is a love in humility and in submission to Jesus Christ.


Ready, Willing and Able

Today’s message summary of January 24, 2016 from Melvin Gaines:

There was a time in the past when someone, perhaps an adult, asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up. When I was asked this question as an early teenager, I used to answer that I wanted to be an architect or an engineer. I came to that conclusion because I loved watching television in the 70s. Among my favorite shows were The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Rhoda, Phyllis, The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch, where Mike Brady, the dad and husband of the bunch, was an architect. Beyond that, I didn’t have any idea what it would take to be an architect or what it meant to be an engineer. I was rather impressionable at that time in my life, and it just seemed to be the cool thing to do.

I went go through the effort of buying a drafting board, a T-square, pencils and rulers to pursue drafting, but I wound up getting more involved in freehand drawing and lettering. From there, I moved to graphics and later changed to drawing, but I ultimately did not pursue a career in art. In fact, I had considered becoming a lawyer until one of my professors in college, who taught Political Science, made a comment that lawyers will be marching single file over a cliff because there will be too many of them to effectively make a living. Talk about a downer!

You can see how random my career path turned out to be; in fact, I stumbled into the collection business because I transitioned out of retail and sales. I’ve been involved in collections, customer service and supervision now for over thirty years, and it was far from my original choice of a career path.

Perhaps, unlike me, you were able to pursue your most desired career path. Many of us derive our self-worth with what we do for a living. Some of us are still trying to get to that dream job or reach the pinnacle of a career path towards success. Even if you are still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, there is something very, very important that you can do, no matter what your career is. The most important thing that you can do is to serve Jesus Christ right where you are.

When you are serving Christ, your career job or your career path becomes less important, and your relationship with Christ becomes more important, because you trust that He has you where you need to be at that very moment.

Now, let’s take this a step further. Assuming that you are serving Christ, and living as He would have you to live, are you ready, willing and able to think about moving outside of the box? Are you sensitive to God’s call to reach others for the gospel outside of your workplace? Are you open to God’s call to go further than you ever thought you could go?

Please consider the following call that God gives to every believer in Jesus Christ, whether you have a career or not:

Matthew 28:18-20 ESV

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The authority that Jesus received from His father gave Him the right to tell His followers to go out and reach others with the good news of Christ. He wants them to tell all about what we know of Him and His Word in order that those who hear the message could also tell others about Christ. In order to do this, His followers would have to leave their homes and even their immediate surroundings to carry out this command:

Acts 1:8 ESV

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Jesus was not limiting His call to your street or your neighborhood, your office or your company, or even within the state or country. He literally meant “the end of the earth,” which is “all nations.” For believers, this should not be considered as “out of the box” thinking. It is what He expects of His followers.

So, what now? Jesus is calling for His followers to go to other nations. The gospel is to be proclaimed wherever there are people all over the world. It must be proclaimed because there are millions of people in our generation who were just like you at one time in your life…unsaved and lost. There are millions everywhere who are “lost in a system of religion that binds people into submission; lost in the discord of deities and idols; lost in a belief that we are alone in this world, that human enlightenment is the path to truth, and that our own works will determine whether we get to go to heaven or not” (cmalliance.org).

There are many who are without hope, just as you were at one time. There are many who have not realized God’s eternal grace. In order to have empathy for the lost, you should quietly reflect upon where you once were without Christ, and where you are now with Him. Jesus Christ desires for all to come to a saving knowledge of Him (1 Timothy 2:3-4), but if you don’t share this desire, then you are not ready to go anywhere. You have more to learn about Jesus, and you have more to learn about yourself.

Jesus calls His people into ministry and to “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). In order to fulfill this task, Jesus wants us to be ready, willing and able. He gives us the Holy Spirit to provide us with power and energy, but we still need to do our part.

I.  Get ready. To be ready means to get ready. This readiness is all about personal development in Christ. A healthy relationship with Jesus Christ can only be developed and improved with the discipline of preparation, the desire to be obedient and the implementation of His character each day.

The discipline of preparation is reading and studying the Bible on a daily basis. As the Word means more and more to you each day, you find yourself desiring to please God more and more by following His teaching, and by living under His instruction as you pray for knowledge and meditate on His wisdom:

Psalm 1:1-2 ESV

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night .

II.  Be willing. Willingness is a component of obedience to Jesus and His call for you. If He is calling you to go forth, you must be willing to listen and embrace what He wants you to do, reminding you that He is asking you to do it in the power of the Holy Spirit, for remember that He tells you that He will be with you no matter where you are (Matthew 28:20):

Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

To be willing is to be flexible. It means that following Jesus is more important than creature comforts or familiar settings. It means living a life of personal sacrifice, and it requires a humble heart in order for you to carry out the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) before others. It means being a friend to others. It means loving other people—even those who are much different than you—where you will reflect the love of Christ:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Your desire to serve Jesus Christ in love will produce much fruit:

  • Jesus wants you to be willing to obey Him in all things (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3).
  • Jesus wants you to be willing to show yourself to others as a sincere human being who follows Him (Colossians 3:22; Titus 2:7).
  • He wants you to be willing to live and act in such a way that people can see His love, grace and mercy (1 John 4:7-8; Romans 6:14; Luke 6:36).

Of all of these things, Jesus desires for you to be willing to forgive others, even those who persecute you:

Colossians 3:12-13 ESV

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

A willingness to obey Jesus propels the faithful believer into a life of service that is open to the work of the Holy Spirit in everything that is done.

III. Be able. In order to serve Christ wherever He sends you, it is very important to be able to rely upon the Holy Spirit to provide wisdom and guidance throughout any and all circumstances. The Spirit enables you to live in a Christlike manner before others:

Isaiah 11:2 ESV

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

John 14:15-17 ESV

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

You are able as the Spirit enables you to do these things. His purpose is to glorify God, which is what people are to conclude as they see the presence of Christ in everything that you do. You are able to show others God’s love, grace and mercy, in order that they can, perhaps for the first time in their lives, experience God’s love, grace and mercy.

The Great Commission of Jesus Christ is a powerful message for the believer. It compels you to think long and hard about more than just a job, or even a career. It compels you to think about how you can serve Him. The burden of serving others will make you pray fervently—get down on your knees—and open yourself up to how He can use you. You will see the need for a harvest in the same way that Jesus does (Luke 10:2; 2 Peter 3:9). A. B. Simpson noted that people are to be prayerful for qualified, well-trained workers who desire to follow God’s call to missions, and also prayerful for sufficiency in financial support.

There is a lot at stake as there is an end to when the gospel will be proclaimed—Christ’s return is imminent:

Matthew 24:14 ESV

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.

When He returns, Jesus Christ will claim His people and judge those whom He does not have a personal relationship. The signs of His coming are ever-present and should not be ignored:

A. B. Simpson noted: “The religious signs are growing more vivid. Lukewarmness and worldliness in the Church, intense longings after holiness on the part of the few, and a mighty missionary movement are the features of the age, and the signs of prophecy, that point to the day of the Son of Man.”

A. B. Simpson stated that the gospel message is reflected in “the greatest text in the Bible,” and that it is a missionary message summed up in three thoughts:

  1. “This is the God the world needs to know.
  2. This is the Gospel the world needs to hear.
  3. This is the Love the world needs to see.”

The lost of the world need to see the true God of the universe reflected in your Christlike behavior.

The lost need to hear God’s words of encouragement through His promise of salvation.

The lost need to see your love and sincerity through friendship in order to share these very important truths.

The Bible says in Romans chapter 10, “how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it?” (cmalliance.org)

Now is the time to be ready, willing and able to speak freely about the One who saved you for all eternity.

Are you ready, willing and able to trust in Jesus Christ in this way?

In the same way Jesus proclaimed you righteous and saved you with His grace, now’s the time for you to share His love for you with others.

2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT

“For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.”

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


Have You Found Eternal Rest in Jesus Christ?

Today’s message summary of November 15, 2015 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

There are many ways to present the gospel. You can befriend someone, speak to people, or even be a street preacher. It can take place in many ways. You can even rap in presenting it.

In Revelation 14:6-13, there are three angels.

  1. Revelation 14:6-7 — The first angel proclaims the eternal gospel all over the earth to call people to repentance in faith of the God of heaven and earth:

Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, having the eternal gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth–to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He spoke with a loud voice: “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Worship the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”

God is proclaiming a warning to the people. The messenger is like a street preacher, who is proclaiming to all within the sound of his voice to repent.

The gospel is being proclaimed in the same way it was done in Acts 2 during the Pentecost. This proclamation is the second Pentecost. It is a global evangelism.

There was a need for a gospel from the very beginning:

Genesis 3:14-15

Then the Lord God said to the serpent:

Because you have done this,

you are cursed more than any livestock

and more than any wild animal.

You will move on your belly

and eat dust all the days of your life.

I will put hostility between you and the woman,

and between your seed and her seed.

He will strike your head,

and you will strike his heel.

 

The angel in Revelation is bring this message when the world is at the brink of judgment. Take this advice…do not wait until the end of your life to heed to the words of the gospel. Don’t take the chance thinking that you have many years to live before making a decision for Christ. Your actions, in disobedience to Christ, could be costly.

If the gospel were presented in the same way as a “How To” video, it would be as simple as following the instructions from the angel:

  1. Fear God.
  2. Give Him glory
  3. Worship Him throughout your life.

There is no need to be fearful of Satan. In the last days, he will present himself as powerful, but God is much more powerful than him. Satan will be defeated.

Revelation 14:8 – The second angel proclaims judgment upon Babylon (the system of the world):

A second angel followed, saying: “It has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, who made all nations drink the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath.”

 

Isaiah 13:9

Look, the day of the Lord is coming–cruel, with rage and burning anger–to make the earth a desolation and to destroy the sinners on it.

 

Isaiah 13:11

I will bring disaster on the world, and their own iniquity, on the wicked. I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant and humiliate the insolence of tyrants.

 

Have you ever had moments of weariness over the sinfulness of the world? Do you long for the perfection of being with the Lord when you depart from here?

2 Peter 3:10

But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed.

 

Revelation 14:9-11 – The third angel pronounces the eternal judgment upon all who worships the beast and receive the mark of the beast:

 

And a third angel followed them and spoke with a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is mixed full strength in the cup of His anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or anyone who receives the mark of his name.

Matthew 13:41-42

The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness. They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

For those who worship the beast with the image of the beast on their foreheads are able to buy and sell. For those who do not have the mark, they will not be able to. The rulers of the world will be able to identify who can and who cannot. When that time comes, people will have to make a choice who they will follow. Even today, people have already made such a choice.

Who are you going to serve?

The third angel is proclaiming judgment. The last warning will be declared at that time.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

It is a clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering, since it is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels, taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord’s presence and from His glorious strength in that day when He comes to be glorified by His saints and to be admired by all those who have believed, because our testimony among you was believed.

 

Hebrews 10:31

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

 

Revelation 14:12-13 – A call for those who heeded to the warnings of God’s judgment and obeyed the eternal message of the gospel because they will find eternal rest in Jesus Christ:

This demands the perseverance of the saints, who keep God’s commands and their faith in Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: The dead who die in the Lord from now on are blessed.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “let them rest from their labors, for their works follow them!”

 

When God pours out His wrath, even at that very moment, He still will desire for those who do not acknowledge Him to be saved.

  • The gospel is eternal.
  • God’s judgment is eternal.
  • Rest in Jesus Christ is eternal.

Isaiah 25:8

He will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face and remove His people’s disgrace from the whole earth, for the Lord has spoken.

 

Revelation 7:17

For the Lamb who is at the center of the throne will shepherd them; He will guide them to springs of living waters, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

 

Revelation 21:4

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.

 

Application:

  1. Have you heeded to the eternal gospel that will save you from God’s eternal judgment?
  1. Scripture says, “Do not love this world or the things that is in the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Do you love this world and what this world is offering? Or, is your love for the Father who is in heaven?
  1. Who do you pledge allegiance to? Is your allegiance to the Lord or to someone else?
  1. Jesus said, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Have you found eternal rest in the Lord?

God Calls His People Out of Babylon

Today’s message summary of June 7, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

God reveals through his Scripture that He has His people through every dispensation. God has always maintained a remnant.

What is striking about this is that He is calling His people out from bad company. He is calling His people away from those who are not praying to Him or edifying Him.

God will be calling His people away from Babylon:

Revelation 18:3-4

For all the nations have drunk the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath. The kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy from her excessive luxury. Then I heard another voice from heaven: Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins or receive any of her plagues.

 

God’s people are meant to be the influence over the world and not the other way around; however, there are situations where His people need to remove themselves from being weakened or influenced by the pleasures and luxuries of the world.

Look at the church today…are we involved with the sins of the world? Before you answer, remember that God knows your heart.

God wants you to avoid those who are choosing not to do what is right.

Revelation 18:5

For her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.

 

God wants His people to be removed before His judgment comes.

Even when there are churches that are not very good overall, God may have a remnant of people within the church to make a testimony for Him.

Consider that Lot was called out from Sodom and Gomorrah. God sent two angels in to bring him out because there was a pending destruction.

Genesis 19:15-16

At daybreak the angels urged Lot on: “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he hesitated. Because of the Lord’s compassion for him, the men grabbed his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters. Then they brought him out and left him outside the city.

 

The Lord declares that some will not acknowledge Him or accept Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. Some people will continue to live the way that they choose, and they will face destruction.

If you have God warning you to get away from a situation, what would cause you to hesitate? Is it based upon worldly pleasures?

In Babylon, the people are worshiping anything but God. Even if the people of God were to speak up and say “that’s wrong,” it would put that person in peril. To take a stand for God’s standards and principles is to take sides.

Our church should not be in the entertainment business–it is to be in the teaching business. Believers are always present to shine the light of Christ.

Proverbs 24:1-2

Don’t envy evil men or desire to be with them, for their hearts plan violence, and their words stir up trouble.

 

2 Thessalonians 3:6-8

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother who walks irresponsibly and not according to the tradition received from us. For you yourselves know how you must imitate us: We were not irresponsible among you; we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and struggled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you.

 

In Babylon, there will many who say they know God or proclaim that they are righteous and have all sorts of religious artifacts. Their actions will show otherwise. How would you know if someone is really saved or not? You would have to observe how a person lives over time to see if it matches up with his words.

Christians are to expose those things that are unrighteous, heretic or unclean–those things that are not of God.

Ephesians 5:11-14

Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore, it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.

 

There is a way to share with those who are living in sin, and all of it involves prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit.

Romans 16:17-18

Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause dissensions and obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Avoid them, for such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.

 

1 Corinthians 5:9-11

I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person.

 

Don’t associate with those who are living in opposition with God. While we are ministering to the world and are not of the world, we need to come to a place where we heed the warning that God gives to His people.

God called Abram (Abraham) to another land. (Genesis 12:1-4)

God called His people, Israel, out from Egypt. (Exodus 3:7-21)

God wants you to look forward to where He wants you to go and to not look back.

 


The Antichrist and the Two Beasts

Today’s message summary of April 19, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The Antichrist is more than just a person–it is a spirit. That spirit is anywhere that you find those that are against Jesus Christ. It permeates throughout society. It is present in its opposition of the proclamation of Christ’s name, and it works through the power of deception.

The key to its presence is the pressure placed on our value system and everything that we stand for. Eventually, just as a heated pot of water eventually boils, all of this will boil over.

The Antichrist is essentially Satan operating in the world. He can appear as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:14

And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

 

Satan can only possess a body–he cannot create a body. He has to find a willing participant who desires to serve him. Demons function in this manner, as well.

Matthew 8:28-32

When He had come to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met Him as they came out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, “What do You have to do with us, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Now a long way off from them, a large herd of pigs was feeding. “If You drive us out,” the demons begged Him, “send us into the herd of pigs.” “Go!” He told them. So when they had come out, they entered the pigs. And suddenly the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water.

 

1 John 2:18

Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard, “Antichrist is coming,” even now many antichrists have come. We know from this that it is the last hour.

 

In contrast to the Antichrist (Satan), Christ did not always have a body. He was created by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin.

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Hebrews 10:5

Therefore, as He was coming into the world, He said: You did not want sacrifice and offering, but You prepared a body for Me.

 

Acts 2:31

Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay.

 

God the Father is not in a body.

John 4:24

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

 

In Revelation 13, the first and second beasts are false prophets. Satan mirrors the Holy Trinity with what we can see is the unholy trinity:

  1. Satan: Antichrist (not seen–see 1 John 2:18)

1 Timothy 4:1

Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons.

  1. The first beast: given authority. He received what appeared to be a fatal wound to the head, but he survived. The whole world will follow him–who is like the beast (the head of the world). This is Satan’s effort to duplicate Christ’s resurrection, but even it is rooted in deception.
  1. The second beast: lamb (gentle); dragon (forceful) causes all to worship the beast. He will be allowed to exercise all authority on behalf of the first beast and be able to make political and military actions to bring about compliance.

The Holy Trinity:

  1. God the Father (Spirit–not seen).

John 6:38

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

  1. Son–Jesus Christ; resurrection–the head of all

Matthew 28:18

Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

1 Corinthians 15:4-6

…that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep.

 

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.

  1. The Holy Spirit

John 16:8

When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.

 

John 16:14

He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you.

 

Romans 1:3-4

…concerning His son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh and who has been declared to be th epowerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead according to the Spirit of holiness.

 

The Antichrist and his followers are intent to slander and demean God’s name. Churches are losing interest amongst the people. Many stay away from this fellowship believing that “I can have church all by myself.” The problem with this (and Satan knows it) is that it is not what God intended for people to support each other in fellowship, which has a must greater impact on society in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Satan, in order to capture followers, attempts to follow the same plan as God in order to bring, and even force, people to comply with him through this unholy trinity.

Revelation 13:12-18

He (the second beast) exercises all the authority of the first beast on his behalf and compels the earth and those who live on it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He also performs great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in front of people. He deceives those who live on the earth because of the signs that he is permitted to perform on behalf of the beast, telling those who live on the earth to make an image of the beast who had the sword wound yet lived. He was permitted to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he requires everyone–small and great, rich and poor, free and slave–to be given a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of his name. Here is wisdom: The one who has understanding must calculate the number of the beast, because it is the number of a man. His number is 666.


Christ’s Return: Something to Dread or to Rejoice?

Today’s message summary of January 18, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

We all have a responsibility to study Scripture to be able to learn, grow and try to understand God’s message for us. This is especially true when we examine the end times. This requires a lot of study, for sure, and it is not to be avoided.

People will declare, for example, that Christ is coming soon. While He hasn’t returned yet, He assures us that He is coming. God’s Word is true. The purpose of this study is to affirm God’s truth.

Two phrases that really stick out in Scripture: “Be watchful” and “be ready.” The things that He claims will take place will occur, but it’s not up to us to get caught up in dates.

Theories over Christ’s return:

Amillennialism

There will be no physical millennium. The millennium is the present, spiritual reign of Jesus Christ with His people. Jesus may return at any time. The tribulation occurs wherever Christians are persecuted or wars and disasters happen.

Postmillennialism

The belief that Christ returns after a period of time, but not necessarily a literal 1000 years. Those who hold this view do not interpret unfulfilled prophecy using a normal, literal method. They believe that Revelation 20:4-6 should not be taken literally.

Premillennialism

Premillennialism holds that Christ’s Second Coming precedes His establishment of a glorious kingdom of peace and righteousness over earth. He shall personally reign from Jerusalem with His saints for a thousand years (the Millennium).

God will rapture Christians from the earth before (or midway) into the seven year Great Tribulation. Jesus will return to earth. After the great tribulation, but before the thousand years.

Rapture theories:

Pre-rapture – before the tribulation

Mid-rapture – the middle of the tribulation

Post rapture – after the tribulation

1 Corinthians 13:12

For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.

 

Matthew 16:1-4

The Pharisees and Sadducees approached, and as a test, asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them: “When evening comes you say, ‘It will be good weather because the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘Today will be stormy because the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to read the appearance of the sky, but you can’t read the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” The He left them and went away.

 

The One who lives is true: The Lord Jesus Christ.

Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses, at one time predicted that the Lord would return on a certain date. He was ultimately wrong about the date, but he still commanded people to be vigilant and read the Scriptures. Even those persons who were in charge of these religions took into account the need to be vigilant. Our challenge is to seek the truth and to not be fearful of what is to come.

Many refer to the end times as Doomsday. William Miller was the forerunner for the Seventh-Day Adventist movement. He had calculated that the world would end around 1843. He later came back and thought he miscalculated it, but the people who followed him concluded that these things were occurring not on earth but in heaven.

These things have continued over time and will continue to be present, but all of these are merely theories. Please note, however, that in spite of all of these theories, Jesus Christ is for real. While one has every right to belief what he or she chooses to do, God will still ultimately judge based upon that view; after all, He already has the victory.

View 1:

Jesus of the bible, along with his petty god, is a tyrant. A loving being would not care how or who you worship and would offer the same reward regardless of belief. A truly and just being would judge me based upon my actions and deeds, by merit of my character, and not on whether I believed or not. (No name provided)

A belief has to be based upon something of evidence or value, and not just on what a person thinks.

View 2:

Christ’s return? He has been returning now for 2,000 years, and still a no show. He is not coming back–today, tomorrow or in the future. My knees will not bend, and I will not need ice water in hell as you say. You are babbling incoherent nonsense without one iota of proof to back up your statements. (Charles Ingrao)

God has made Himself present all throughout the events of history. A person merely needs to review the same and see His presence.

2 Peter 2:3-4

They will exploit you in their greed with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep. For if God didn’t spare the angels but threw them down into Tartarus and delivered them to be kept in chains of darkness until judgment.

 

Matthew 24:4

Then Jesus replied to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you.”

 

Matthew 24:44

This is why you also must be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

 

Luke 21:28

“But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near!”

 

2 Peter 2:5-9

…and if He didn’t spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when He brought a flood on the world of the ungodly; and if He rescued righteous Lot, distressed by the unrestrained behavior of the immoral (for as he lived among them, that righteous man tormented himself day by day with the lawless deeds he saw and heard)–then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.

 

2 Peter 3:13-16

But based on His promise, we wait for the new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell. Therefore, dear friends, while you wait for these things, make every effort to be found at peace with Him without spot or blemish. Also, regard the patience of our Lord as an opportunity for salvation, just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these things in all his letters in which there are some matters that are hard to understand. The untaught and unstable twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.

 

Revelation 22:12

“Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done.”

 

The word “soon” in this passage refers to:

  1. soon after the present time
  2. quickly, whenever it occurs

The point of the words, “I am coming soon” was not to point to a particular time when Jesus would return, but to make readers aware that the return of Jesus will occur so quickly that there will be no time to prepare once it happens; therefore, always be ready!


God Works in Patience and Order

A summary of Pastor Gus Brown’s message of December 7, 2014:

God’s work is performed with patience and order.

1 Corinthians 14:33a

since God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

 

God is never in a hurry. He has all the time in the world. We need to understand this about our God.

God appointed the day in which His son would come the first time. While we do not know the day when He will return, God’s promise is that He will return some day. He keeps His word.

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 is at work with every person alive today. He is working to have people come to the realization that there is a need for Jesus Christ. Even more personally, He is doing a work in you to bring you to a close relationship with Him, and He is patient in doing so.

Hebrews 1:2

In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son. God has appointed Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him.

 

Jesus is in center stage because God has brought him forth as the One who is spoken about by many people and nations.

  1. The time had fully come.

Galatians 4:4

When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.

 

The time before Jesus had to occur before Jesus’ presence. Many people lived according to where they were accustomed to–according to their own desires. Many had to realize that they could not live complete lives without God, and that they certainly could not save themselves. This is the area in Scripture covered from Genesis 3:15 to Matthew 2:11.

Mark 1:15

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!”

 

Ephesians 1:7-10

7 We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him 10 for the administration of the days of fulfillment—to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him.

 

Is God doing something in your life? God will reveal things to you in order for you to see how He has a time and a place for you to serve Him (see how God did this to Moses in Acts 7:25 and 7:30).

  1. God sent His Son
    • God states His pre-existence as well as His divine nature.
    • He states His plan of incarnation as God in the flesh (Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 2:14).
    • He reveals His willingness to participate with us (Genesis 3:8).
    • He sent His Son to show His love for us (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).
    • He sent His Son to redeem us from our sin (Matthew 20:28; Romans 8:3; Acts 12:11; Acts 6:23).
  1. Jesus was born of a woman (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:34).
    • God works within the Law that He ordained for mankind.
    • His life would come through a woman. Jesus was not created in the same way that Adam was.
    • He was born under the general laws of man and the Law of God, which covered both Jews and Gentiles (Romans 2:13, 3:9). Jesus was placed under the authority of both the general law and the Mosaic Law and grew up under both of them (Luke 2:21; Leviticus 12:3; Genesis 17:12; Luke 2:52).

God has backed up everything that He says, and He will continue to do so. It is all in His character to do so:

Numbers 23:19

God is not a man who lies,

or a son of man who changes His mind.

Does He speak and not act,

or promise and not fulfill?

 

Rely upon God’s Word. As a God of patience and order, He follows His Word. He wants us to do the same because it is good for us. His Word is good for you. He is always working and will send you what you need when you trust in Him.