Pastor's Pen
An Attitude of Gratitude
We are commanded by God to give thanks.  Psalm 50:14: “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High.”
We are told in the Bible that giving thanks is a good thing.  Psalm 92:1: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High.”
We are directed to give thanks in every situation.  1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
We are instructed to pray with an attitude of thanksgiving.  Philippians 4:6: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
We are compelled to do all things with an attitude of gratitude. Colossians 3:17: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
 
How can we maintain an attitude of gratitude in our day?  (2 Corinthians 4:6-18)
—By focusing on God instead of self (verse 6).  John the Baptist focused on Christ rather than himself (John 1:27).  In John 3:30 he said: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  Are we focused on God or ourselves?
—By thanking God for what we have (verse 7).  We have a treasure in the Word of God.  What better treasure could we have?
—By learning how to forgive (verses 8-12).  The Apostle Paul was threatened with the loss of his life. He faced many trials, yet he never gave up. He chose not to become bitter.  Beware of bitterness in your heart.  Ephesians 4:31-32 tells us to put away bitterness, wrath, and anger and to forgive one another.  Let’s keep our focus on God.
—By ministering to those less fortunate (verse 13).  Paul tells believers that they are to follow his example.  People need to hear the gospel of salvation, and believers need to be encouraged in the Lord.
—By maintaining a proper Christian worldview (verses 14-16).  These verses tell us that our life on earth is only temporary, but heaven is eternal.  1 John 2:15-17 exhorts us not to love the world or the things that are in the world.  They will pass away, but God abides forever.
—By knowing Who holds the future (verses 17-18).  Whatever we go through here on earth is a light affliction in light of eternity.  Paul said this even with all the difficulties he endured for the gospel’s sake.
 
Apart from God, an attitude of gratitude is impossible to maintain.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.11/20/2020 1:41:01 PM

Thankful for God
I am thankful for God, because He is there.
Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”  
John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Psalm 90:2: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
 
I am thankful for God, because He cares.
Romans 8:26-39: Even in the vastness of the universe and with multitudes of people, God cares about each individual. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and created to give Him glory. What’s more: nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39). He cared so much, that He sent His Son to die for us and to intercede on our behalf.
Mark 4:35-41: The disciples were with Jesus in a boat. While Jesus slept, a great storm came causing the disciples great fear. They cried out to Jesus. He calmed the storm and took them safely to the other side. Remember Jesus is in the boat with us. Colossians 1:27: ”Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
 
I am thankful for God, because He can make a difference.
Romans 11:33-36: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Verse 33)
John 14:15-27: God has given us the Comforter, and He promises to be with us, love us, and give us peace.
 
I am thankful for God, because He has my future in His hand.
Romans 8:18: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
John 14:1-4: Jesus is preparing a place for us. I Peter 1:4: “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: Dead or alive, we are assured that God will take us home to be with Him.
 
The great heroes of the faith went through many dark times. What set them apart was their relationship with God and their willingness to follow Him no matter how dark the valley. The arm of flesh and political alliances may fail, but God never fails. Whatever the difficulties we face, He is there, He cares, He makes a difference, and best of all He promises a bright future for those who are in Christ.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.11/6/2020 2:26:30 PM

The Baptism of Jesus - Matthew 3:13-17
 1.  The Baptism of the Son. (Matthew 3:13-15)
In AD 29, John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, was preaching the message of repentance in the wilderness of Judea. Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. John knew the identity of Jesus (John 1:29). He knew that Jesus was without sin or guile and that He was God and Savior. John felt unworthy to baptize Him. Matthew 3:14: “But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” Jesus answered John in verse 15: “Suffer (allow, permit) it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” John consented to baptize Him.  
 
The Purpose of Christ’s Baptism:  a) To confess sin on behalf of the nation, as Isaiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, etc., had done, b) To accomplish God’s mission and advance God’s work in the world, c) To inaugurate His public ministry to bring the message of salvation to all people, d) To show support for John’s ministry, e) To give us an example of humility to follow, f) To identify with the penitent people of God, thus with their humanness and sin.
 
2. The Anointing of the Spirit. (Matthew 3:16)
The Spirit was given to empower Jesus in His humanity.  He descended upon Jesus and anointed Him. Jesus in His humanity had a human nature but without sin. He experienced many of the physical needs we have such as hunger, thirst, and fatigue. Christians today look to the Spirit for strength to carry out God’s purpose in their lives and to glorify Him. The Spirit, like a dove, was a visible, confirming sign to John the Baptist and everyone watching.
 
3. The Confirmation of the Father. (Matthew 3:17: “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”)  Jesus is who He says He is. The Father spoke at Jesus’ baptism and at the Mount of Transfiguration. It is clear that Jesus is His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. This being so, God instructed us to hear Him (Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35). The Father is satisfied with His Son and what He came to accomplish on the cross. His sacrifice placates the wrath of God. Jesus is God Incarnate. See Hebrews 1:1-8.
 
Jesus claimed to be God. He was either a liar or a lunatic, or He was telling the truth. Our eternal future depends on Jesus being who He said He was.

Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.10/23/2020 11:07:40 AM

Where Is Your Hope? - Matthew 3:1-12
We all make decisions and choices. How do we know if we made the right one? The most important choice of all is choosing the right religion, since this involves eternal consequences. As a Christian, we understand it is not a religion but a relationship with Jesus Christ that is needed. Today a minefield of religious confusion abounds. This was also true in the days of Jesus.
 
John the Baptist is called the forerunner or herald of Jesus. Matthew 3:3: “For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Isaiah 40:3). The job of a forerunner was to proclaim and prepare for who was to follow. John was faithful in doing this for Jesus. Matthew 3:10: “For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
 
The message of John the Baptist is found in Matthew 3:2a, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repent means more than regret or sorrow. It means to turn around, to change direction, to change the mind and will. It does not denote just any change, but always a change from the wrong to the right or a change from sin to righteousness. John was preaching to the Jews. Many were religious, but not righteous. They saw no need to repent. People from all around the region went to hear John preach this message of repentance. Those who believed his message were baptized in the Jordan River indicating their heart was right with God.
 
The mandate of John the Baptist is in Matthew 3:7-12. Verse 8: “Bring forth therefore fruits meet (proof) for repentance.” The Pharisees and Sadducees were trusting in and promoting false hope through their religious practices and their heritage. John called them a generation of vipers (verse 7). They were not to think that just because they were of Abraham they were qualified for God’s kingdom. They needed to repent of their sins.  A person who is right with God will produce fruit, which indicates he has repented of his sins.
 
John the Baptist spoke of Jesus, the Messiah, in Matthew 3:11: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” The Holy Ghost is given to believers at the moment of their salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13).
 
An unquenchable fire (hell) is prepared for those who refuse to repent of their sins and come to Christ (Matthew 3:12). Where is your hope? Are you religious or righteous? You can know that you have eternal life if you trust in Christ as your Savior from sin. 1 John 5:12: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.10/9/2020 12:53:32 PM

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?
When we experience everything from the minor irritations to the major happenings of life, we may be tempted to think that God does not care. We may even accuse Him of not being powerful enough to help us. Consider these three truths:
 
God loves us.
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Romans 5:8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Take time to meditate upon this Scripture. If you have accepted Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection for your justification, you know God loves you and with Him you can face any trials you may have.
 
God knows all things, including our needs. We may be tempted to think God does not understand, but He does.
Psalm 139:1-2: “O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.”
Psalm 103:13-14: “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear (reverence) him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” The Lord loves us and knows our every need.
 
God is all powerful. We may agree that God loves us and knows our needs, but we may think He is not powerful enough to help us.
Study the book of Job. Job had a massive fortune and a wonderful family, and everything seemed just perfect. Satan was allowed to go before God, and he was given permission to take away all Job had except for his life. When Job refused to curse God, Satan was allowed to touch Job's body but not take his life. As things got worse for Job, even his three friends accused him of sin and being punished by God. As Job struggled with these events, he hears from God in Job 38 through 42. Job's reaction in Job 42:2, 5, 6: “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” God honored Job and restored all he had lost.
 
Our relationship with God makes all the difference when we face problems. Remember He loves you, He know all things, and He is all powerful.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.9/25/2020 1:48:28 PM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 14)
A mighty church is blessed of God.  Acts 2:47: “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Our church IS blessed of God. He is the one who draws and works in the hearts of people. We are to be faithful in proclaiming God’s Word, and not become discouraged over the size of the church. Remember that financial prosperity or numbers are not a sign of godliness or being blessed by God. Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” God is the source of our blessings. We ARE blessed in spite of whatever trials we face. Hebrews 13:5: “For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Our God blesses us!
 
How do we know we are blessed? (Ephesians 1:1-14)
 
Ephesians 1:4:  “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” Think about it! We are chosen. Before the foundation of the world, God was thinking of us. We are chosen to be holy and without blame. Holy means that we are to be separated unto God for His purposes. We belong to God. He never forgets us, and we are not to forget Him.
 
Ephesians 1:5: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself.” We have been adopted. We are His children. This gives us the privilege of going to Him with any request or need that occurs. 1 Peter 2:9 reminds us that we are not only chosen, but called, “that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” As His children, we have obtained the mercy of God.
 
Ephesians 1:6: “He hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
 
Ephesians 1:7: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” We have our sins forgiven.
 
Take time to read Ephesians 1:1-14, and you will be blessed with all that God has provided. Trials hurt, but God promises, “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (I John 4:4).” As a church, and as individuals, we are blessed!
 
A mighty church is in love with God, is a trophy of His grace, and has people who love Him and desire to serve Him. May each of us be a living testimony of God’s grace, that we should be to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:12).
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.9/11/2020 1:29:24 PM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 13)
A mighty church praises and glorifies God (Acts 2:40-47).  To glorify God means to esteem, to give glory, to honor, to magnify, and to reflect.  
 
Old Testament saints who purposed to glorify God:
1.  Job glorified God when all was lost. God gave Satan permission to take all that Job had, but he was restricted from hurting Job. In one day, Job’s children, animals, and many servants were killed. Job continued to worship God (Job 1:20-22). Satan was then permitted to afflict Job with painful boils that were so bad even his wife believed he should curse God (Job 2:9-10). Jobs response was to still glorify God. Job’s three friends tried to say he must have sinned, because bad things do not happen to good people. This is not true. We must remember that it is in times of suffering real Christianity is evident.
2.  Daniel determined to do right no matter what. When he was about 17 years of age, he was taken captive to Babylon. His family and his religious culture was taken from him, yet he determined to not defile himself (Daniel 1:8).
3.  Daniel’s three friends determined to obey God even if it meant death. Nebuchadnezzar threatened to throw them in a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to the golden image (Daniel 3:17-18). God delivered them.
4.  Ruth determined to follow God even when others discouraged her. Her husband and father-in-law had died, but she determined to stay with Naomi (Ruth 1:16). She faithfully worked and provided for Naomi. God led her to Boaz’s fields.  Boaz was a kinsmen redeemer. He married her, and she is in the Messiah’s line (Ruth 4:17).
 
New Testament saints who purposed to glorify God:
1.  Paul and Silas, while imprisoned at Philippi, suffered bleak circumstances, yet they prayed and sang songs (Acts 16:19-25). Their faithfulness resulted in the salvation of the Philippian jailer and his family (Acts 16:30-31).
2.  Tabitha was faithful in caring for and making garments for others (Acts 9:36-43).
 
We are to reflect God’s glory by telling others who He is. We should determine to declare His name and glorify and praise Him. Psalm 22:23: “Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.” The purpose of this church and each individual is to glorify God.  Philippians 1:20: “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.” Christ is to be magnified in our bodies.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.8/28/2020 2:00:39 PM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 12)
A mighty church willingly makes necessary changes. Acts 2:46: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.”
 
Just as the church in the book of Acts, Robertsville Bible Church has purposed (singleness of heart) to have the Bible as its founding and central principle for its beliefs and practices. The world around us, without God’s Word, changes its moral ethics. Abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, social engineering, and situation ethics abound without the absolute authority of God’s Word for a moral compass. People may consider themselves free to make their own choices, but only by having faith in God can we have true freedom. Having faith in God, frees us from the enslavement of sin (Romans 6). Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
 
Christians living in this unstable world must remain focused upon God. Psalm 61:1-2: “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 62:5, 8: “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.“ Psalm 63:1-3: “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”
 
Two key areas of change needed to get right with God are doctrines and practice. Doctrines are the teachings of the Bible - “the Bible says…” Practice is the application of what the Bible says through the everyday actions and responses of our lives.
 
We can not change convictions that are based upon God’s Word. Preferences may vary among believers. (For example: whether one wears a tie, suit, or hat to church.) Personal change is ongoing and necessary as we walk in obedience to God’s Word.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.8/18/2020 9:45:38 PM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 11)
A mighty church is unified. Acts 2:44: “And all that believed were together, and had all things common.” Synergism is the cooperative effort of a smaller action working together with another, and by working together, it increases the total effect. This is the same desired result of a church to be united in common convictions and mindset.
 
Common Convictions - Philippians 2:1-2: ”If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” In churches this is seen in its doctrinal statements, music preferences, preaching, and order of worship.
 
Common Mindset - Philippians 2:3-4: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness (humility) of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Humility is needed to work together in unity as a team. Not working together can be likened to trying to walk with a thorn in your shoe. It is impossible to get anywhere because of the thorn.
 
Philippians 2:5 exhorts us: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:6-8 explains that Jesus, being God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Yet as God incarnate He willingly made Himself of no reputation, took on the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man. Humbling Himself, He obediently went to the cross to die for our sin. God would be just in condemning all of us to hell. Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
 
Philippians 4:1-6 illustrates the opposite of humility. Euodias and Syntyche had worked with Paul and others in the ministry. He beseeched them to be of one mind in the Lord, because ministry suffers when people refuse to work together. Paul exhorted other believers to help these women to work out their differences.
 
We must look to Christ for an example of humility. Examine yourself and look for signs that show a lack of humility. James 4:1: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” Humility in believers is necessary for a church to grow. We are to bear one another’s burdens. A unified church glorifies God by working together.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.8/7/2020 1:04:44 PM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 10)
A mighty church still believes God is active in the lives of men. Acts 2:43: “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.” God knows about each of us. He knows our pain and struggles, even when we often doubt His love for us. Scripture reminds us of His faithfulness and work in our lives. Hebrews 4:15-16: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
 
This was true also in Acts. Acts 2:43: “And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs (miracles) were done by the apostles.” Miracles are divine acts of God, whereby He suspends the laws of nature He has set up. He can change these laws for His purposes. The purpose of a miracle was to authenticate the message, the messenger, or present a spiritual truth. Some examples follow:
 
During the time of Moses, God performed many miracles. Moses was called by God to deliver Israel, from the bondage of Egypt. God used ten miraculous plagues against Egyptian deities to prove that He was the true God. God provided the pillar of fire by night and the protective cloud by day for the children of Israel. God parted the Red Sea allowing for the safe passage of His people and the destruction of their enemies? Daniel and his three friends, during their trials in Babylon give us many examples of miracles. In the New Testament, we have the miracles of Jesus Christ authenticating His word and showing that He is God.
 
By the end of the Apostolic Age, Paul was unable to heal people. The completion of the Canon of Scripture made miracles unnecessary. We are to heed the sure Word of God. Hebrews 2:1-4 and 1 John 1 assure us that we can trust what we now have as the Word of God.
 
God is still active, and through His providence, moves in the events of people to accomplish His will. Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God is also sovereign. Many events that take place are not miraculous, but providential. God uses people and places to accomplish His will. Think about how God used events in the lives of Jonah, Esther, and John the Baptist. God wants to use our lives, in whatever situation we are in. He is still active and working in the lives of men and women today.
 
Do not get caught up in chasing miracles, but follow after God and His Word. Miracles are rare acts of God in defiance of the laws of nature. The providential acts of God are common acts in agreement with the laws of nature. Both reveal the character and power of God.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.7/24/2020 9:49:57 AM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 9)
A mighty church reverences God.  Acts 2:43: “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.” There are several words for fear in the New Testament. Here the thought is to have fear or reverence for God. This reverence leads to respect for God’s authority and who He is. We are awed by Him and apprehensive to disrespect or disappoint Him. We see that the New Testament believers glimpsed the character of God by the signs and wonders He accomplished through the apostles.
 
Why should we fear and reverence God? Psalm 139:1-8. There is no place that we can go that God is not there. He is everywhere present.
1.  He knows what we are doing, and He knows our thoughts. Psalm 139:1-4; Proverbs 21:1-5.
2.  He despises sin. Proverbs 8:13. Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven abominations God hates: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
3.  Sin places us at odds with God. It is enmity against God. Romans 8:7.
4.  God has a final judgment for all mankind. Believers will stand before God at the Bema Seat (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). Unbelievers will stand before God at the Great White Throne (Revelations 20:11-15).
 
Here is Solomon’s conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” God grieved over Israel’s sin (Hosea 6:4-11), and He grieves over our sin, too. Ephesians 4:30: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
 
In Acts 2:42, we see the New Testament believers in prayer, and verse 43 says there was fear or reverence among them. They saw God at work and were awestruck. Do we have a holy reverence for the things of God? Do we pray and see God work? Jonathan Edwards, the famous preacher said, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.” We need to keep our focus on God. The person who starts his day with God accomplishes much.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.7/9/2020 8:19:42 AM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 8)
A mighty church collectively calls upon God in prayer.  Acts 2:42: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
 
Why should we pray? It is a privilege we have because of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, which gives us access to the throne of grace. We can talk to God at anytime. Hebrews 4:16: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need.” The early church was known as a praying church (Acts 1:14, 4:31, 6:4). It is important when the church meets together to invest time praying for others.
What could the problem be when we feel our prayers are not answered?
 
1.  Failure to ask in Jesus’ name. This means praying in agreement with God’s will.  In John 14:13-14, Jesus said: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that my Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”                                          
2.  Failure to ask for a specific request. We need to look at our motivation and our present needs, and we need to beware of a desire to fulfill our lusts. James 4:3: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
3.  Failure to abide in Christ. John 15:7: “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”  We fail to give Him control over our lives.
4.  Failure to believe God will answer. Jesus said we are to have faith in God and believe that He hears and will answer (Mark 11:22-24).
5.  Failure to ask persistently. See the parable of Jesus in Luke 11:5-10. Here we find an example of persistent prayer.  Jesus said: “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Verses 9-10)
 
It is not our posture in prayer or the time of day that we pray but the attitude of our heart. A reminder from Psalm 66:18: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
 
We have a God who cares about us. He died for us, was buried, and resurrected from the dead for our justification. He wants us to call upon Him and talk to Him communicating the details of our lives and asking for guidance at any time. We are invited to come boldly!
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.6/26/2020 10:05:02 AM

Marks of a Mighty Church (Part 7)
A mighty church remembers the sacrifice of Christ.  Acts 2:42: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”  The breaking of bread referred to the importance of celebrating the memorial (communion) of Christ’s death.  Christ instituted this with His disciples at the last Passover (Matthew 26:26).  1 Corinthians 11:26: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.”
 
Why did Jesus have to come in the flesh to die for us?  All have sinned (Romans 3:23).  Jesus Christ went to the cross and willingly died for our sins.  He was buried and rose again, so we may have eternal life.  
 
There are six reasons to keep our eyes on the cross of Christ.  
1.  It is our salvation.  Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
 
2.  It is our access to God.  Romans 5:1-2: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  Justified means we have been declared righteous in the sight of God.  This means we can go to the God of the universe at anytime.
 
3.  It gives us peace.  Colossians 1:20: “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”  There are many things people do to try to gain peace.  Our peace is in Christ.  There is no peace without the cross.
 
4.  It keeps us pure.  Knowing all that Christ has done for us, we do not want to disappoint Him by continuing in sin.  1 Corinthians 10:23-31 concludes that we are to do all for the glory of God.
 
5.  It gives us hope.  This hope is in Christ which makes it a sure thing.  Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us to keep looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  
 
6.  It prompts us to tell others about Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:19-20: “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.”  He has given us the ministry of reconciliation and appointed us to be ambassadors for Christ.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.6/13/2020 3:49:11 PM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 6)
A mighty church loves to fellowship together.  Acts 2:42: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”  Acts 2:41 points out that they gladly received the Word and were baptized.  Biblical fellowship begins with salvation, then continues with learning God’s Word and growing in Christ.  Our fellowship centers on Christ and His Word, and it draws believers together.  
 
Fellowship with God.
We must have a right relationship with God.  Jesus Christ went to the cross and willingly died for our sins.  He was buried and rose again, so we may have eternal life.  1 Corinthians 1:9: “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Ephesians 3:9-13 points out that from the beginning of the world, God desired our fellowship, and we have access to Him because of our faith in Christ.  Being a Christian does not mean that our lives are free from trials and tribulations, but we walk with God through the good and bad times.  Philippians 3:10: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
 
Fellowship with others.
In 1 John 1:1-4, the Apostle John gave testimony of having seen and touched the Lord, and he was compelled to share the news of having fellowship with Him and with other believers.  This fellowship is to be joyous.  1 John 1:4: “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”  In  Corinthians 1:3-4, our fellowship is to bring comfort to those who our hurting.  We need each other.  We are also to be an encouragement to others.
 
Fellowship with the world.
Once we become a Christian, our fellowship with the world will be changed and in many cases discontinued.  2 Corinthians 6:14: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbeliever.”  Yoked is a reference to fellowship. This verse is not just referring to marriage but to any arrangement with unbelievers that would draw us away from God’s will.  James 4:4 points out that friendship with the world is enmity with God.  It will hurt our fellowship with God.  1 John 2:15: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”  To maintain a proper relationship with God, we must stay in God’s Word and apply it diligently to our lives that we may grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr. 5/30/2020 10:42:19 AM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 5)
A mighty church remains faithful to the Word of God.  Acts 2:42: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Doctrine is the teachings and instructions given by the apostles.  We are blessed to have the same Word of God today.  In spite of persecution, Christians through the ages have remained faithful to God’s Word.
 
What does the Bible say about itself?
Psalm 119:89: “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”
Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Jeremiah 15:16: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.”  Jeremiah said God’s Word was the joy and rejoicing of his heart.  
Matthew 24:35: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
 
God’s Word changes lives
2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
 
In 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul charges Timothy to preach the word.  Timothy (and all who preach the Word of God) will one day be judged.  Therefore, he must be faithful.  He is to preach (herald forth) the word, be instant (ready) in season, out of season; reprove (admonish, convince, convict, chasten, confront with conviction), rebuke, exhort (invoke, beseech, come along side).  This is to be done with long suffering and by teaching doctrine, knowing a time will come when many will turn away from the truth.  We see evidence today of those who will not endure sound doctrine and do not care about the truth.  It is important to remain faithful.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.5/17/2020 8:07:52 PM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 4)
Acts 2:41: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”  A mighty church dramatically affects others and reaches out to a lost and dying world.  It exhibits an evangelistic heart by faithfully preaching, professing, and practicing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A servant’s attitude is also evident in a mighty church.
 
Matthew 5:13-16 tells us to be salt and light in the world.  “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
 
We are encouraged to minister to and serve others in Mark 10:42-45: “But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
 
In Galatians 5:13-16, we are reminded to serve others and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
 
What affect does your life have on others?
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.5/2/2020 9:19:13 AM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 3)
A mighty church commits to doing the will of God.  The Christians in the early church believed in Christ and were baptized as a testimony of their salvation.  Acts 2:41: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”  There are three different methods of baptism practiced today: sprinkling, pouring, and immersion.  Baptism comes from the Greek word “baptizo” which means “I immerse”, such as in dyeing fabric.  The early church in Acts 2 obeyed God.  Coming from a Jewish society, this often meant being disowned and shunned and the loss of one’s inheritance.
 
Mighty churches obey God because they love Him.  Jesus said in John 14:15: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  His love should constrain us and compel us to do His will even if it leads to persecution and martyrdom.  We can read the testimony of the apostles’ imprisonment in Acts 5:17-32.  They were beaten and warned not to preach (verse 28); however the angel of the Lord miraculously brought them out of prison.  When the guards went to bring them to the high priest, they were not there.  They were found teaching in the temple and brought back before the council.  Peter’s brave response is found in Acts 5:29-32: “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”
 
Daniel was forced to choose between being faithful to God in prayer or being thrown into the loin’s den in Daniel 6.  He refused to bow down and pray to the image of King Darius.  Without hesitation, Daniel “went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Daniel 6:10).  He was caught and thrown to the lions, but God’s angel protected him.  King Darius gave recognition to Daniel’s God and promoted Daniel.  He willingly faced the lions rather than stop praying.  What would you have done?  
 
Early church history is filled with the persecution and martyrdom of faithful Christians.  Only those who love God and are committed to doing His will are willing to suffer for Him.  Matthew 10:39: “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”  Are you willing to live your life for God and do His will?
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.4/12/2020 1:10:04 AM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 2)
A mighty church is not found in numbers or dollars, but is a place where God is glorified and men are edified.  A mighty church will gladly receive the Word of God (Acts 2:41).  The church grows as its members grow spiritually.  Growth is centered upon the constancy of God’s Word.  It never changes.  Hebrews 10:25: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
 
Christ established the office of pastor to build up and equip the saints (Ephesians 4:11-12).  Well-equipped believers (set apart, fully prepared) are unified by a proper understanding of doctrine (teachings from God’s Word).  There are four basic tools for equipping the saints.  The first is God’s Word.  The pastor is called to faithfully teach the Bible.  2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto good works.”
 
Prayer is the second tool.  A pastor’s responsibility is outlined in Acts 6:4 : “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”  He sets the example for others to follow.  All believers are to pray.  1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.”  We have the example of Epaphras who was one that was “always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” (Colossians 4:12)
 
The third tool is testing.  God uses testing, a purging or cleansing experience, to perfect us.  James 1:2-4: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  When you consider a tea bag, it is only when hot water is added that the flavor in enhanced.  God’s testing or “hot water” is used in our lives to build Christian character.  
 
Suffering is the fourth tool that God often uses to spiritually strengthen us.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.3/13/2020 4:40:16 PM

Marks of a Mighty Church - Acts 2:41-47 (Part 1)
Acts 2:41-47 indicates that God has called believers to build a mighty church; a place where God is glorified and people are edified. Acts 2 tells us of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the birth of the church. The one hundred and twenty people who had gathered in the Upper Room were suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit, which gave them the ability to speak clearly in languages of all the people who had gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2:4-12). Amazement, astonishment, and mocking caused many to question what was happening.
 
Peter rose to tell the people about Jesus. His sermon in Acts 2:14-39 was given at the birth of the church and was given mostly to the Jews who were there to celebrate the Passover. Acts 2:41 says: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” The foundation of the church, then as now, is Jesus Christ. It is He who establishes and builds the church.
 
One mark of a mighty church is godly leadership. Leadership for the church is pastor, deacons, and lay leaders. The Bible gives specific guidelines regarding the character of a pastor (bishop). Read 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and study carefully through the list of admonitions and requirements. The first important requisite that stands out is that it is to be a man (not a woman), and he is to be the faithful husband of one wife. The church is not built around a man, but a pastor gives direction to the church and answers to God on behalf of the church. 1 Timothy 3:8-13 lists the qualifications for a deacon. Lay leaders are those in the church who have no official office but serve in areas of ministry because of their love for Christ and the church.
 
Leadership affects the entire church. We are all to be an example to others, and the qualifications given for leadership is expected to be the standard for all who serve Christ. Failure to accept God’s standard in leadership is sin. A mighty church must have godly leadership for God to be glorified and for believers to be edified.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.2/28/2020 6:18:34 PM