In Revelation 2, Jesus tells the church at Ephesus to “Remember”, “Repent” and “Recover”, that is, “Do the works you did at first.” He exhorts the believers to remember, repent and recover because they had “left their first love” (vs. 2:5). Today we are going to deal with the first exhortation: “Remember”. We are going to connect with our past. Yes, we are going learn from our past…without living in the past.
In Revelation 5:11 it appears that 10 billion angels are worshipping the Lamb. Why? Because He is worthy! How do they know? They’ve watched His redemptive plan for humanity unfold from the beginning of time to that present hour in heaven!
God is the only one who can “righteously” brag on His accomplishments (Isaiah 44:6-8; 45:21; 46:9; Hosea 13:4) and in Ephesians chapter two He is doing just that. Anything that we accomplish we can only do it because of what has been given to us from God but from Genesis to Revelation we see that God accomplishes our redemption because of His power and His love and His grace and His mercy! It is all God!
During the earthly ministry of Jesus He says in Matthew 5:27-28, You have heard that it was said, 'Never commit adultery But I can guarantee that whoever looks with lust at a woman has already committed adultery in his heart. Pastor Chuck says, Most people that I've talked to and tried to counsel not to divorce, get divorced but not to save them from something, but to pave a path toward something else. Yes, people divorce because of pain and suffering but people also divorce because of their hopes for something better than what they currently have in a relationship. This is what Jesus was talking about in His teaching on divorce in Matthew 5. The Old Testament commandment was Do not commit adultery but Jesus goes beyond the command to expose the heart-attitude of lust which leads to adultery.
The Bible teaches that God has determined the exact times and places in history during which you would be born and live. This is saying that you were no accident...this is saying that you are here for a reason. Your parents or someone else may have told you that you were an accident but Gods Word says you are here for a reason.
You may have showed up in an orphan or on an adoption agency roll but this was no unexpected event to God. Gods Word says you are here for a reason
Your skin isnt the color it is because of genetics, nor did you end up in the part of the world you were born as a result of chance. Gods Word says you are here for a reason.
Historically and geographically, you are where you currently are because God appointed you to that place for a purpose. Those who have experienced the saving grace of God in Christ know that God brought them to that space and time where they cried out for mercy and called upon the Name of Jesus.
One scholar has called the Book of Zechariah the most messianic, the most truly apocalyptic and eschatological of all the writings of the Old Testament. This scholar is saying that there are more references in the book of Zechariah to the Messiah Jesus and Gods plan in the sending of His Son than all the other Old Testament writings.
Zechariah 9:9 says, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation. He is Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey."
This Old Testament prophecy is referring to the King Jesus peaceful entrance. He came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. This prophecy was fulfilled when He presented Himself to Israel in the Triumphal Entry written about in Matthew 21:1-11.
When in 1 Corinthians 15:58 Paul uses the phrase, “work of the Lord” he is speaking of the occupation that our Lord Jesus, who is Ruler, God the Son, the Creator, our Savior, has assigned to us. God is our Master who has purchased us from the slave market of sin and He owns us and has given us something to do. But He is also a benevolent, kind and loving Master. He doesn’t tell us to sweep the floor without giving us the best broom in the world. He sends us on a mission to reach the lost and has given us His Holy Spirit to indwell us, to empower us, to provide for us, to teach us, to lead and guide us and gift us with a myriad of spiritual gifts so that we can get the job done right. And, when the job is done right, He rewards us with an inheritance that is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us” (1 Peter 1:4).
Ephesians Series - Part IX - Paul's Prayer for Believers
8/14/2016Pastor Chuck Brooks Ephesians 1:15-23
Paul begins to thank God for the believers who would be reading this letter. Not only the Ephesians, but those residing in the churches the letter would be circulated to and to those of us 2000 years removed who would also be reading this epistle.
Paul heard of the “faith” of the Ephesians. He wasn’t referring to the faith that they had when they first believed; that would be great in and of itself but he heard of the faith that they were currently living out… the day by day faith they exercised in the Lord Jesus for daily living.
It’s not enough to say that you trusted in the Lord to save you. If that is true you ought to be trusting in the Lord day by day to keep you and to use you.
Paul not only thanked the Lord for the “daily faith” of the Ephesian church, he was grateful to God for their “love toward all the saints”. Love here at the end of verse 15 is the word agape. It is the love Romans 5:5 tells us that is poured out in the hearts of believers by the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is the love that Galatians 5:23 tells us is the fruit produced in the believer who is filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians Series - Part IV - To the Praise of His Glory!
7/10/2016Pastor Chuck Brooks 1 Peter 1:3-5
Grace is God's Riches At Christ's Expense. Grace rules out all human merit (Romans 11:6). We do not deserve it; we cannot earn it; we cannot buy or purchase it. Grace is that which is given by God because of who He is and not because of who we are. According to Ephesians 1:6, glory is an attribute (or characteristic) of grace, perhaps like tone is an characteristic of one's voice. To stretch this illustration further: Applause is the way a group of people would respond to a pleasing tone of the voice of a singer; Praise is the way a Christian responds to the glory of the grace of God in redemption. To the believer, true glory is found only in the splendor of God. It is recognized as His character, is displayed by His actions (or in our context, His grace), and is reflected back to Him as praise.
God gave us different types of prayer. Each type of prayer has a very unique role in developing and maintaining your walk with Christ. If you are weak and inconsistent in any one of the basic prayer types, you are going to be weak in how you relate to God. It is kind of like eating. Nutritionists say “If you fail to eat a balanced diet, you will be physically weak.” If you fail to have a balanced prayer life, you will be spiritually weak. If we eat from only one or two food groups, we become physically sick. This same principle applies for a balanced prayer life.
If we are going to abide in Christ and allow Him to live His life through us; if we are to overcome temptations and weaknesses; if we are to resist Satan and wage effective spiritual warfare; if we are to have short accounts of sin against God; if we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit; if we are to obtain wisdom and guidance from God and have the power to serve God effectively, we must be Christians who live in prayerful dependence.
David had a strong confidence in the Lord because of God’s track record of deliverance.He knew what the Lord could do. He had the record of Scripture that testified of God’s ability to confound his enemies and cause them to stammer, stutter and stumble! Commenting on Psalm 27:2 Spurgeon says, “God’s breath blew them off their legs!”
As with David, God can cause your enemies to stumble and to fall. He can bring confusion into your enemy’s camp…you and I can be confident in that!
Mother's Day 2016 - The Distinctives of Motherhood
5/8/2016Pastor Chuck Brooks 2 Timothy 1:1-5
The Bible not only trumpets motherly virtues; it esteems motherhood as honorable. The fact that God would use a human mother to bring His Son into the world has bestowed upon motherhood its greatest honor. Jesus set an example for all to follow by the provision He made for His mother (John 19:25-27). Jesus spoke of His compassion for Jerusalem as being like that of a mother hen for her chicks (Matt. 23:37). Paul compared his ministry to a mother in labor (Gal. 4:19) and a nursing mother (1 Thess. 2:7). So we see from Scripture that motherhood is an honorable calling. So we find ourselves in a quandary today. Motherhood has become so much different then what God designed and the foundation that He had laid. So how do we get back to God's design?
God's Purposes for the Church - Evangelism (God's Love for Sinners)
3/6/2016Pastor Chuck Brooks Luke 15:1-10
God loves sinners. This is what we will be talking about today. God loves sinners.
The Bible says, God demonstrated His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God didnt wait for us to get better before He committed His Son Jesus to die on the cross to pay for our sins. He sent His only Son while we were still sinners.
The passage in the Bible we will be looking at graphically illustrates this truth. God not only loves sinners; He pursues the sinner. Even one lost soul has immeasurable value to God.
Last time we were exhorted to remember our past; we briefly connected with our past looked at five characteristics of our church in her early days. In Revelation 2:5 Jesus tells the church at Ephesus to “Remember therefore from where you have fallen.” As we looked to our past we may have discovered some things in our past that we would have rather left forgotten because what was unearthed were things that were done wrong and people that we have offended, which means that our church is in need of repentance. When a church is willing to repent of past sins, it presents an opportunity for God to do something new and exciting in the church. When a church recognizes that they have sinned against God and others and then go through the process of repentance and humbling themselves and prayer, then the blessings God may have been withholding will be released; the windows of heaven that were once shut will be opened and God’s grace will be poured out in an extraordinary measure.
When Paul writes about his appointment as a preacher, apostle and teacher in 2 Timothy 1:11 he mentions his suffering in verse 12. We get a picture of this suffering in 2 Corinthians 11 as Paul writes about his imprisonments and beatings and lashings and stoning and shipwrecks. Some of us may think Paul willingly suffered because of his love for the church and the ministry. As we read further in 2 Timothy 1:12 we get the real reason behind Paul’s willingness to suffer in the ministry. He writes, “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what I have entrusted to Him”. Paul uses the word “I” six times in verse 12. Why? Because His endurance in the ministry…his willingness to suffer for the Gospel, was based on His salvation and his salvation was based on knowledge, conviction and trust in Christ alone. Paul says in verse 12, “I know, I’m convinced, and I have entrusted myself to Him.”
Many churches that think they’re friendly because they greet guests at church with a smile and a handshake, but the Scriptures teach us that rather than having programs to be nice or to invite people to church we should be taking the love of Christ to hundreds throughout our community and being involved in the ministry of turning the world upside down one relationship at a time.
The church needs to know that people aren’t just looking for a “friendly church,” they’re hungry for friends.
Today we are going to look at the topic of Relational Intentionality. Throughout the Bible we find this being taught, commanded and encouraged.
In Psalm 116, the psalmist recalls upon a period of time in his life where he was under much duress. While reminiscing on what has transpired in his life up to that time, he notices the times in his life where the Lord intervened and where the Lord delivered him.
The Bible says in Psalm 138:6, “Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar.” While we don’t have the ability to exalt ourselves high enough to see our lives from God’s viewpoint, we can press the “rewind buttons” of our lives and remember much of the good and the bad that we’ve experienced. Oftentimes we don’t have an inkling of what the Lord does and is doing behind the scenes, until we press the “rewind button” of our life and look back.
The Christian’s salvation, expressed in election, predestination and adoption, is the result of the sovereign, unmerited grace of God and not due to anything in us or anything outside God Himself. It flows from God’s own pure goodness, and originates in the freedom of His own thoughts and the loving counsel of the Trinity.
As the Apostle Paul meditated in Ephesians chapter one on how God chose or elected sinful men, women, boys and girls before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless. As Paul pondered how “in love” God determined beforehand to adopt them as His own children with the view of bestowing on them all the rights and privileges of a full-fledged son, he declared that these blessings were "to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved".
Ephesians Series - Part V - We Have Redemption Through His Blood!
7/17/2016Pastor Chuck Brooks Isaiah 53:3-7; 1 John 1:29
How does God show His love and concern for the sinner as well as satisfy His righteous requirement for justice on sin? The answer is in our text in Ephesians 1:7: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” God showed His love and concern for sinners by giving His only Son to die on the cross for our sins. True “forgiveness of sins” is found only in the blood of Jesus. God satisfied His righteous requirement for judgement on sin through Jesus’ voluntary paying the penalty of sin and serving the sentence of death.
5 Life Changing Reasons why to Become a Generous Christian
4/10/2016Pastor Chuck Brooks 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
It is plain from a reading of the Bible that God doesnt want everybody rich. We hear preachers telling their followers this but when the dust has settled, the only ones that are getting rich are the preachers. There are Christians living all over the world...some are living in poverty and some may be wealthy. The call is not for Christians to become rich but for followers of Jesus to be faithful in whatever amount that we have.
God wants us to learn to become generous...not a taker but a giver. Giving to God should become the highest priority in our lives. We should be able to answer the question, Why does God want giving to Him to become the greatest priority in my life? If we cant answer that question we will never become a generous giver. But today we will learn five life-changing reasons to become a generous Christian.
Not By Might, Nor by Power but by My Spirit says the LORD!
4/17/2016Pastor Chuck Brooks Zechariah 4:1-9
In the Old Testament book of Zechariah, God speaks through His prophet to His people letting them know that the accomplishing of His plans and purposes will not be due to a bunch of strong men working together, nor will it be due to the efforts of one great and strong man…it will only be due to the effort of the Holy Spirit.
There's no human agency at all…no human strength or human power of every description…physical, mental, moral…combined or individual…will never bring about the salvation of the nation Israel, nor will it bring about the salvation of the nations. When it's done, no one will be able to take the credit for it; for this was the work of God.
This is how God wants to use the Christian. It’s not our brains; it’s not our brawn; it’s not our bankroll; it’s not even our behavior, it’s by His Spirit. This is how God wants to use the church as a light to their community and beyond. This is why it says in Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord.”
Ephesians Series- Part VIII - Summing Up All Things in Christ!
8/7/2016Pastor Chuck Brooks Ephesians 1:7-12
When Paul writes Ephesians, he does not hand his reader a magnifying glass or a microscope in order for them to inspect each and every doctrine that concerns the church.
As Paul pens the truths in Ephesians he places his readers on a mountain as it were, and encourages them to view from its precipice, a panoramic view of God who bestows glorious spiritual riches to those who are in Christ.
Ephesians 1:4 says, “Just as He chose us in Him” This is telling us that those who would be elected for salvation before the foundation of the world were elected or selected “in Him” i.e., in Christ. The Greek helps us to understand what is going on in this verse.The Greek grammatical classification is locative of sphere, which means, “chosen out in the realm of Christ”.This means that each person selected by God for salvation was included in the realm of the saving work of the Lord Jesus. As a bird is in the realm of the air, a fish in the realm of the water, the roots of a tree in the realm of the soil, the believer is selected in the realm of Christ… “in Him”.
“In Him” is referring to the sphere of Christ’s saving work. It’s as if God draws a circle, one that encompasses the redemptive work of Christ. It is out of this realm that believers are chosen. This is why it is impossible for anyone to be saved by works—salvation is of the Lord! (Jonah 2:9) It is His work; we are chosen in Him.
If we were to sum up the Christian father’s responsibility to his children, the Christian father should be there for his children. He is to provide for his
child’s spiritual, emotional and physical needs. It should come as no surprise to us that this is one characteristic of God that He has promised to be for
His children. In Ezekiel chapter 48, at the end of a lengthy description of the land promised to Israel, God says, “and the name of the city from that day
shall be, 'The LORD is there.’” Here God is “Jehovah Shammah”, meaning, “The Lord is there.”
Years after Jesus went back to the Father, the aged John would recount those glory days when Jesus walked the earth in the presence of His disciples. Here
is what John wrote about those days:
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of
Life--and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested
(1 John 1:1-2) Our Heavenly Father is “the Lord who is there” and so should be the Christian father for his children.
At GraceWay Church, we are seeking to reach our community with the Gospel of transformation in Jesus Christ! We want our community to know and identify us as people who follow Jesus and live for Him.
In John 13 with His hour nearing and His betrayal in motion, Jesus is down to a few precious moments to share His heart with His disciples, before facing the cross of suffering. His first order of business with the loyal eleven? To issue a command to love one another as He had loved them. The result of this, is that all will know that [they] are [His] disciples.
To love as Jesus loved, is a daunting task, but a COMMAND none the less. In this message, we seek to highlight a few vital concepts that will allow us to approach love for each other and the dying world, as Jesus did.
Did you know that in the entire human race there are two types of people in the world and two of paths of life? There's the redeemed who's path leads to glorification and to be in the presents of The Lord Jesus and then there's the sinners who There are two types of kingdoms; Gods kingdom and Satan’s kingdom, there are two types of mind sets in the world; the mind set on the spirit and a mind set on the flesh. There are two types of wisdom; earthly and heavenly, there are two types of children; the children of God and children of the Satan.
We can’t serve two masters and every day we are in engaged in the battle of good vs. evil, light vs. darkness. Christian, what side are you on? Today, we are going to continue study in the book of Ephesians, understanding our position in Christ by remembering our pass to give us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
Ephesians Series - Part VI - The Abundant Flow of God's Grace in Christ Jesus
7/24/2016Deacon Jon Paul Dennis Ephesians 1:7-10
According to Webster’s dictionary 1828 the definition of Purpose is “that which a person sets before himself as an object to be reached or accomplished; the end or aim to which the view is directed in any plan, measure or exertion”. Daniel Webster goes on to say: “We believe the Supreme Being created intelligent beings for some benevolent and glorious purpose, and if so, how glorious and benevolent must be his purpose in the plan of redemption! The ambition of men is generally directed to one of two purposes, or to both; the acquisition of wealth or of power. We build houses for the purpose of shelter; we labor for the purpose of subsistence.” (Webster, 1828) Last time Pastor Chuck explored the question for Ephesians Chapter 1:7 how does God Show His Love and Concern for the sinner as well as satisfy His righteous requirement for Justice on sin? Today we will explore the abundant flow of God’s Grace through the purpose and results of redemption.