Pastor's Pen
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 you focused on God or yourself?
—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 and he faced many trials, yet he never gave up and 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. Keep your 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 encouragement 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.11/15/2019 2:31:21 PM

Christ’s Righteousness vs. The Law
While Christ was living here on earth, people were trying to evaluate His ministry. Was He the Messiah, a troublemaker, or one who had come to set them free from the rule of Rome. Was He a law-breaker or a law-keeper. The Pharisees and Sadducees were especially concerned with issues pertaining to the Law. Jesus shocked them when He dealt with them over this key issue.

Three Categories Relating to the Law:
1. The Ceremonial Law was for the nation of Israel. It gave specific instruction relating to their worship of God.

2. The Judicial Law was given to Israel detailing how they were to deal with criminals. For example: anyone caught stealing an ox had to pay five times more its value.

3. The Moral Law was for both Israel and all mankind. This is based on the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17). This is God’s standard.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Honour thy father and thy mother.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Thou shalt not covet.

Jesus Completely Fulfilled the Law.
Matthew 5:17: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Jesus met all the criteria of the law. The ceremonial law ultimately pointed to Christ. He was the standard for the moral law, and thus automatically, fulfilled the requirements of the judicial law.
Matthew 5:18: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Think about it. We are to live by the examples and standards of the law. This includes the attitudes of our hearts. We can be guilty of sins of commission, as well as sins of omission. James 4:17: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Matthew 5:19: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Christ taught His followers they were to follow and teach His commandments. As believers, we are to live by the Word of God.
The Scribes and Pharisees obeyed the law externally but not internally (Matthew 5:20). God wants us to put Him first in our lives. Jesus came to redeem us and change our lives. Romans 8:1-4: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Believers in Christ are called to live righteous lives. We are called to do this because of our salvation and not to obtain our salvation.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.11/1/2019 2:48:54 PM

Light of the World - Matthew 5:14-16
Matthew 5:14-16: “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.” Light illuminates the darkness, and God wants us to shine for Him in how we live and in what we say and do. He uses His people to illuminate the darkness and to shine for His good pleasure.

God is the source of light and provides us with the power needed to shine for Him. You are either plugged into this source of power or you are not. 1 John 1:5-7: “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Christians are to influence the world with the light. We can influence the unsaved by what we are as we walk in the light, not by what we have materially. As we grow in the Lord, we are told in 2 Peter 1:8 that we “shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The more satisfied we are with Christ, the more influence our light will have as we seek to influence others for Christ.

Christians are to influence the world by interacting with it as salt and light. Just as salt is derived from the earth, so every believer is to remember that he is earthly (2 Corinthians 5:1). However, in Christ we can be “free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). Likewise, Christians are light because Christ is the “light of the world” (John 8:12). We can only reflect Christ’s light. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Christians are to influence the world by remaining pure. We cannot influence the world for God when we are worldly ourselves. The question is sometimes asked, can a Christian always walk in the light? The answer Jesus gave is clear “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness” (John 8:12). We cannot be an influence for purity in the world, if we have compromised our own purity. The purpose of letting our light shine is not to bring attention or praise to ourselves but to God.

As Christians, why would we try to hide our light? Many do that by being quiet when they should speak, going along with the crowd, denying the truth, letting sin dim their witness for Christ, not explaining the truth to others, and ignoring the needs of others. Be a beacon of truth. Don’t shut off your light from the rest of the world.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.10/19/2019 6:15:21 PM

Salt of the Earth - Matthew 5:13
Matthew 5:13: “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.”

Believers influence the world by interacting with it as salt. “Ye are the salt of the earth.” Salt is used for flavoring and as a preservative. As salt brings out the best flavor of food, so believers should affect others in a positive way. If a seasoning has no flavor (has lost its taste), it has no value. Jesus clearly told His disciples that if they wanted to make a difference in the world, they would have to be different from the world. God would hold them accountable to maintain their “saltiness” (their usefulness). If we are too much like the world, we are useless as Christians.

What does salt do? It adds flavor (Job 6:6). As Christians, we have opportunities to add “flavor” to the world. Salt creates thirst. We should create a thirst in others for God. They are spiritually dehydrated and dying without Christ. Salt preserves. We are to be faithful in presenting the truth. Salt also purifies and kills bacteria. Christians need to live their lives in a godly way that the world is uncomfortable when given the gospel. The church is frequently so concerned with trying to please, attract, and excuse others that its witness against sin is obscured and lost. We may be so concerned with not offending others that we fail to confront them with their need to be saved from sin. A gospel that does not confront sin is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What happens when salt loses its savor? Salt becomes tasteless, insipid, and characterless. Jesus said that it was “good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” The church is not to be self-centered, immoral, or worldly. We are called to minister to the world while being separated from its standards and ways.

Jesus is not saying that Christians can lose their salvation (John 10:27-29), just as salt cannot lose its inherent saltiness. Christians can lose their value and effectiveness when sin and worldliness contaminate their lives, just as salt can become tasteless when contaminated by other minerals. We cannot be an influence for purity in the world, if we have compromised our own purity. To lose our saltiness is not to lose our salvation, but it is to lose our effectiveness and become disqualified for service (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.10/5/2019 9:55:40 PM

Two Judgments
Two key judgments will take place in the future.

The first one takes place following the rapture of the church and is explained in 1 and 2 Corinthians. The Apostle Paul declares that all that does not meet God's standard will be burned up. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15: "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

2 Corinthians 5:10-11: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences."  The Bema Seat Judgment is basically a reward ceremony. It is not a time where we will see videos of all we ever did wrong played before others in heaven. God would not allow such unholy events in heaven. Instead, what will take place is a reward ceremony where only that which is done for Christ with the right attitude will receive a reward. 

The second judgment relates to the wicked. Revelation 20 explains the judgment. Revelation 20:11-15: "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

We can be thankful that as true believers in Christ, we will never feel the flames of the Lake of Fire. This encourages us to evangelize others who are destined to eternal punishment.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.9/20/2019 10:40:10 AM

A New Body
Philippians 1:6 (ESV): "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." I believe that the day of Christ begins with the rapture of the Church. At that time, we will receive our glorified bodies.

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 reveals much concerning our hope of a gloried body: "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is dismantled, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. So while we are in this tent, we groan under our burdens, because we do not wish to be unclothed but clothed, so that our mortality may be swallowed up by life. And God has prepared us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a pledge of what is to come. Therefore we are always confident, although we know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, then, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we aspire to please Him, whether we are here in this body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive his due for the things done in the body, whether good or bad."

While the only member of the Trinity to possess a physical body is Jesus, our body will be like His, in that the life giving force is the Holy Spirit. We will be impervious to disease, sin, and death. Our current bodies are unfit to be in the unveiled glory of God. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 reveals that after the rapture of the church, we will be forever with the Lord: "Brothers, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who are without hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we also believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. By the word of the Lord, we declare to you that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise. After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words." 

The older I get, the more I long for heaven.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr. 9/6/2019 2:17:29 PM

Who Is Jesus? - Matthew 4:23-25
The main focus of the four Gospels is to explain who Jesus is. He claimed to be God, and he shows through His ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing that He is God. He established His deity through His words and His works.

Jesus proved who He was through His teaching (Matthew 4:23a). He went throughout Galilee teaching in Jewish synagogues where He was often asked to read and expound on the Old Testament Scriptures. Luke 4:16-21 is a good example of Jesus teaching from the book of Isaiah. He pointed out that these Scriptures were speaking of Him.

Jesus proved who He was through His preaching (Matthew 4:23b). Jesus’ first proclamation was of good news. God’s marvelous offer was to deliver us from the power of darkness, to redeem us, and to forgive our sins (Colossians 1:13-14). Had the Jews accepted Jesus as the Messiah, His kingdom would have come on earth. Even though they were amazed at the words of Jesus, they rejected His message.

Jesus proved who He was through His healing (Matthew 4:23c-25). Some people are sick and unhealthy as a direct consequence of their sin. God sometimes also uses physical affliction to discipline His people. Ananias and Sapphira lost their lives for lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-10). Yet the Scriptures make it clear that all suffering and disease are not caused by sin, ignorance, errors in judgment, or God’s discipline. Job suffered greatly even though he was blameless and upright and feared God.

Jesus’ healing was a divine proof of His words. These miracles of healing by Jesus were proof of His deity and also proof that He was the Messiah. A miracle by definition is something that occurs against the laws of nature. Jesus healed many kinds of sicknesses and diseases.

The preaching, teaching, and works of Christ all point to Him as the long-awaited Messiah. He alone can bring salvation and hope to a lost and dying world.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.7/27/2019 10:29:38 PM