Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Edification, Exhortation, and Comfort.

1 Corinthians 14:3 “But he that prophetieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”

Paul is speaking concerning prophesying….or preaching what is on God’s mind for His people.

1 Corinthians 14:4 “….but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.”

As preachers, we are to bring before the people we preach to, three things:

Edification….which is to build up.

We are to preach the Word of God in such a way that the people will grow in grace. That they will grow from children…tossed to and fro in doctrine…..to grown men of God.

Ephesians 4:13-15 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things which is the head, even Christ:”

God’s Word is full of “building blocks”….that will fortify us against this world’s tricks and allurements….for through His Word, and by HIs Spirit, we will know our God.

Daniel 11:32 “And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

Psalm 61:3 “For Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.”

Psalm 62:2 “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.”

To know the Lord, and HIs Word to us….builds us up. We are not tricked….for we know HIs Will.

We are not “greatly moved”….it does not say we are never moved by emotions, troubles, or adversity…..but we are not greatly moved….because Christ is our Rock and fortress.

Then we are to Exhort.

Exhortation is to awaken….

Hebrews 13:22 “And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation : for I have written a letter unto you in few words.”

When we exhort, we are preaching to wake our hearers up. It is so easy to fall asleep, or settle down in what we consider a time of rest.

The Adversary of our souls, the devil, never rests….but seeks to trick or beguile us.

So we must be watchful of our souls….and awake to hear the calling of our Lord for the next step.

Paul wrote the Ephesians in the early part of his first imprisonment….a letter of affection….reminding them of the Will of God from “before times eternal”….and the blessings He has for us. But he exhorts them to be awake….not comfortable in their spiritual lives….but staying in the light.

Ephesians 5:14 “Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

Paul wrote the Romans about the Purpose of God….and the importance of continuing in it.

Romans 13:11-12 “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”

Exhortation is an important element in our growth in grace….for it we are not awake to Christ’s call and direction….we may surely take a wrong turn.

Then we are to Comfort.

How important this is to godly growth in grace! For to comfort a Christian is to turn their eyes upward to Christ….and His love and peace.

Romans 8:35, 38-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?…

….For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

To see and feel the needs of others….their grief, sorrow, pain,….tiredness even. As a Christian, we are to pray for….and speak the words of Christ which will heal, and give something to lean upon.

For God is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3)

Paul, when the Thessalonians were sorrowful about those who had died already…thinking that perhaps since they were dead, the Lord would not raise them up when He came….wrote to them.

1 Thessalonians 4:13, 16-18 “But I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

The Holy Spirit is the Comforter (John 14:16, 26)….for He abides with us forever.

The scriptures are for our comfort…..

….”…that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”(Romans 15:4)

And we are to comfort each other.

2 Thessalonians 5:11 “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 “Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

Comfort your hearts and stablish you in every good word and work.”

We are called help each other grow in grace…..

Maybe you can not preach or teach…..but you can witness to God’s grace and comfort to you….and pray for His people, that they may know Him as they should.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Mark

2 Timothy 4:11 “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”

It was not always so. Mark the writer of the Gospel of Mark, was first named in:

Acts 12:12 “And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.”

He was a believer, young….and right in the middle of things from the first.

The verses where he is first mentioned, was where Herod began a persecution against the church.

James was taken and killed by the sword. (Acts 12:1-2). And Peter was taken, and put in prison.

But Peter, was kicked awake by an angel, and brought out of prison (Acts 12:6-11).

Then he found his way to Mary’s house, a Christian who had kept a prayer meeting going for his release.

Acts 12:5, 12 “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; for many were gathered together praying.”

Mary was John Mark’s mother, and Mark saw many wonderful things in those early days.

But his personal faith was not so strong. (Which suggests that seeing miracles, or great spiritual acts does not always increase faith…by themselves.)

Paul and Barnabas had John Mark for their helper, when they went out on their first missionary journey.

Acts 13:5 “And when they were come to Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.”

But as they went on in their missionary journey; John Mark became frightened and decided to go back from the work, to Jerusalem, where he thought he would be safe….back home.

Acts 13:13 “Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.”

Paul and Barnabas continued their journey, experiencing many wonderful and terrible things (this missionary journey was where Paul was stoned: Acts 14:19).

But no John Mark.

(Think of all the experiences he missed, because he let fear rule….instead of Christ)

After the first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem to speak about the growing problem of Judiazers.

(Those that taught they could not be saved except they follow the Law, as well.)

Acts 15:1 “And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”

Paul and Barnabas were sent by the brethren to go to Jerusalem, and having spoken about what the Holy Spirit was doing among the Gentiles…..it was determined that God had received the Gentiles…without them following the ceremonial law….

so they made the decision to admit them,…without making them follow the Law.

John Mark must have come with the men which came back to the church at Antioch, for he is Barnabas’ nephew.

Some while later, Paul and Barnabas begin to talk of visiting the churches they had preached to before (Acts 15:36)

But before they get started, there was “a contention”.

Acts 15:37-38 “And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.

But Paul thought not good to take with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia and went not with them to the work.”

You will notice the terms the Holy Spirit uses here:

Barnabas “determined”.

Paul “thought not good”.

John Mark was Barnabas’ nephew, and he would want to give him another chance to do what he should have.

But his “determined”, meant, he already had his mind made up.

He was going to do this. No matter what anyone said….this is never a good attitude.

Paul “thought it not good”. He was looking at the churches.

How would it appear to them, to have someone who would not hazard his life for Christ to come and minister to them?

These churches had begun to experience persecutions……how could Mark stand before them?

Now notice the Holy Spirit’s terms for the results of this “contention”.

Acts 15:39-40 “And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.”

Barnabas “took”. His mind had become hard, unmoving on this point; this was what he was going to do.

Paul “chose”. Thinking what should be best for Christ’s work.

Barnabas took off with Mark. It seems as if the Holy Spirit is emphasizing his willfulness. What a shame! You never hear of Barnabas’ work in the Scriptures again.

Paul chose, having the recommendation of the brethren, unto the grace of God.

Two different choices…two different ways.

But what about Mark?

Was there really a second chance for him? Of course….with the Lord, in His Way, there is always a way of forgiveness and restoration.

Some say that under the hand of Peter, he grew up into Christ.

For he became Peter’s helper.

1 Peter 5:13 “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.”

Some say the Gospel of Mark is actually Mark, writing it for Peter.

Whether that is true, Mark was restored to a work, for the Lord.

He grew up, and began to understand the true value of the life in Christ Jesus,…..no matter what the place or circumstances.

For it is not just miracles, and signs; but life, real life in our spirits, souls (personalities), and bodies…in great times, normal times, and in persecution.

Paul wrote later of Mark:

Colossians 4:10″Aristarchus my fellow prisoner saluteth you, and Mark, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom you received commandment: if he come unto you receive him:)

2 Timothy 4:11 “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”

Mark has become “profitable”….a vessel meet for the Master’s use (2 Timothy 2:20-21)

Later Paul writes about bishops:

1 Timothy 3:6-7 “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

(Is that what happened to Mark at the first?)

He also wrote:

1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation (everyday actions), in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

(It is not age of years… but devotion to Christ, that is important)

We are to keep growing by yielding to the Holy Spirit, in encouragement, correction, and guidance.

We will never have sinless perfection…but we can be forgiven…grow…and go on with Christ.

Mark did.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Brazen Laver

It is the maintaining of fellowship with Christ, that we wish to speak of.

And one of the examples of this, is:

Exodus 30:18-20 “Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.

For Aaron and his sons shall wash there hands and there feet thereat:

When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord:”

The brazen Laver was made for cleansing.

It was set just outside the door of the Holy Place, in the court of the tabernacle. This was in the natural sunlight.

Both the priests, and people could be in this court; but the people could not minister at the altar or the laver; only the priests could.

When Aaron and his sons were given for the service of the priesthood, they were brought to the laver and given a bath by Moses; once.

Exodus 29:4, 9 “And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall wash them with water.

And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.”

This pictures our regeneration; when we are born again. It was never repeated.

They and their decedents, were priests from then on.

So with us. When we are born again, we are forever His children.

1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:”

But as priests, they would minister, by sacrifice, at the brazen altar. There, the sacrifices for sin and peace would be given.

Their hands would be bloody, and their feet would be dirty from walking on the bare ground.

So, they were commanded to come to the Laver to wash both their hands and feet, before they went into the Holy Place to burn incense at the golden altar, or light the lamp (M’nourah).

This, they were to do every time they went into the Holy Place.

The Holy Place signified fellowship with God:

the golden altar and the burning incense showed the prayer which ascends to God

(the fire to burn came from the brazen altar everyday, tying Christ sacrifice and our prayers together)…..

…the table of shewbread showed forth the sufficiency of God for our needs….

…and the lampstand showed forth God as the only light for our work.

All showed forth fellowship with God.

But before they could go in and have this fellowship, they must wash at the brazen laver.

The Laver, like everything else in the Tabernacle speaks of Christ’s sufficiency to meet our every need; for the priests could not enter the Holy Place, without washing there.

The Laver was there, but they had to wash in the water that it provided.

As Christians, we need daily cleansing from the defilements of the way we walk through,……if we are to maintain our fellowship with God.

In our walk, we constantly have dealings with those who are dead in trespasses and sins;……and their influence defiles us.

(You can not go very many places without hearing cursing, filthy references, or anger. How much anger is about.)

In honesty, we are also aware of the blemishes of our service (which speak of our hands), and the failures of our walk (our feet).

We obey; but we often hesitate. (as though we were ashamed of Christ)

Or we don’t do what God wants us to do, as He wants. (We have good reasons, we think.)

These do not interfere with our standing as Christians. We are still born again.

But it does interfere with our communion and fellowship, with God. (For every time we step back from God, we are further away from His help)

Ephesians 5:26 “That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Christ Jesus has made a way for us to come and wash, and be cleansed……..according to His Word.

Do we want that fellowship and communion which enlivens us?

Will we go to the Word of God and judge our ways before Him?….cleanse our hands and our feet?

1 Corinthians 11:31 “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”

Water is also to invigorate.

And the Word of God gives us comfort and refreshing.

It revives our spirits.

It makes us feel whole, and clean again. Ready for the next moment, the next day.

Revelation 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

He offers His life “freely”, to us…..will we come and be cleansed and have that light and fellowship He has for us, today?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

I Live by the Faith of the Son of God

Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

By faith I am crucified with Christ.

Yes, when He died there on the cross, I died with Him.

[Though we have not experienced salvation yet….we were not born, yet…..nevertheless….in God’s sight….I died to my sin, in Christ’s sacrifice….and yes, when He rose again,….I was also raised to newness of life….in God’s sight.

I would still have to be born….and born again, but Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection were so powerful…that they could save me (and all others who come to Him….”whosoever will”) from sin, self, the world, death, and hell.]

But how do I work this out into my everyday experience? Are we just to think that we are crucified?

No, thinking will not get the job done…we must die to our old way of life: our self life. And we must live to our new way of life: our Christ life.

Matthew 16:24-25 “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

I deny myself and take up my cross (not some Roman cross) but my cross.

As the cross was the Will of the Father to Christ, so our “cross” is God’s Will for me.

It is that which cuts across my will, and demands that I, the creature, bow before the Creator, and obey.

Then, I am following Him into His life for me.

(It is always the will, willing it. It is not emotional following…though our hearts are present in the act. Nor is it mental following, though our minds must understand He is asking us. It is the will…pushing you into it. Then the will…taking your arm and walking with you into His Will. For it is a process.)

He asks our willing cooperation: siding with Him against ourselves is a great joy to Him.

I must bear my cross till I come to the place where I no longer resist the Lord’s Will in anything.

It is there, my rebellion is ended.

(There are many Christians who say that you can not rebel against God after you are born again.

But the experiences of all believers from the first to last show differently.

We still have our old nature. Our selfish ways are ingrained in us deeply. And it is a process which requires God’s great patience to mold us into the character of Christ.)

“And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

The faith of the Son of God is a demanding, sustaining, victorious faith. It was for Him, it is in us.

It demands obedience. It says that we are to move at His direction, under His banner; leaving behind our old life.

It sustains against trials, sorrows, and change, around us.

It gives a victory within us, for this faith enlivens us when we are weary; it orders our thoughts to see Him in all circumstances; and it never gives up on us.

It gives a victory outside of us, for this faith guides us through the quicksand of people’s flatteries, or complaints;

it shows Christ to others through us…..and draws them to Him;

and it holds us up, with a power that moves heaven and earth to help us.

And it is ours in Christ Jesus.

Will we have His life? Then we must lose our self life…..for He has it for us, if we will.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Voice of God

The Voice of God in the Hebrew…means anything you can hear that leads you to Him.

In the south, after the Civil War, an Evangelist was having a street meeting, when across the street….at a saloon….some men were standing, drinking, laughing at the people gathered [and especially the preacher].

When the preacher got to the verse:

Hosea 6:3 “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”

Then one of the men….shouted over…..”Hey, preacher! You really believe that? You really believe that…I…that I could know the Lord..?”

The preacher stared at the men….and then looked right at the man that asked…..”Yes, son, I do.”

“How?” Came the reply….

“Just as the verse says….

Do you believe that the sun will come up tomorrow?

Well, believe God’s Word the way you believe in the sun tomorrow……come to Him, and ask to know Him….then follow what He has said to you in HIs Word.”

“What has God said to me?” The man asked, laughing.

The preacher said, “let me tell you”….and he opened his Bible and preached Jesus Christ….and salvation by Him…..telling this man what the Bible says….to him, and to all of us.

That man was saved….and went on to be a preacher in the south himself!

God’s Voice can come to us through the Word, or anything…..if it leads us to Him.

In the dark ages (1600’s) a mercenary soldier, who has killed and spoiled….turns and sees a tree stripped of it’s leaves….and meets God.

Desolation was at every turn, yet at that look,….God spoke to him.

Leaves come….and go….and yet at the appointed time (no matter what is around them)….they come again, at God’s bidding.

He could not get around it….he turns his life over to God…..he goes….and becomes a monk…Brother Lawrence….and over the years there, writes a book,…”Practicing the Presence of God.”

Genesis 8:22 “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

When Noah came out of the Ark, and built an altar….

(It is always a good thing for us to do, when we are leaving one thing behind and going on to the next….

…to place ourselves on the altar….to commit our way unto the Lord…to give Him all we are and have…that the next steps might be to HIs glory….and blessing.)

When Noah built that altar….God was pleased….and promised that He would never again destroy the earth with flood.

He gave the sign of a rainbow….one of the most beautiful and amazing things….”a bow in the cloud”….

….and then God established His timeline for the earth….and His Purpose.

God would keep this old earth…..(He had merely covered it with water for a little over a year…to cleanse it)….till His Purpose would be fulfilled…..many hundreds of years latter….

….fulfilled in Christ Jesus His Son…..the great sacrifice that can cleanse our hearts from sin.

For that is the Purpose of God….to call out and save a people for the Kingdom of His dear Son. (Colossians 1:13)

….then He showed the way we can know when time is growing short for this earth….and us again: the seasons.

Romans 8:22 “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together unto now.”

Sin has marred all of creation….not just man. Even the earth feels the effects of the sin upon it. But God has plans for us…..and for this earth.

The seasons will begin to change….slightly at first….then more so as the time comes on. And when these changes begin….the earth itself will “speak” to us….if we will hear….

….”Jesus Christ is coming again, prepare to meet your Maker”.

Psalms 19:1-3 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.”

There is the Voice of God in nature….showing the grandeur, the wonderful glory of our God.

And the Voice of God in time…..it keeps ticking….I grow older while I sit still or if I move around…..

…..today turns into tomorrow…..which turns into next week…and so on.

Nothing stays the same….all is aging….and decaying.

And this Voice of God is sent everywhere….not just with Christians….but in every nation….among every people….

….the Earth continues and yet, changes….will they “hear” it?

Time continues….I, you, the earth itself, grows older still….do we recognize our “end”?

Psalms 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”

Proverbs 1:20-21, 23 “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:

She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying

Turn you at My reproof: behold, I will pour out My Spirit unto you, I will make known My Words unto you.”

We must turn from the world,…it’s views, it’s opinions….to hear His reproof….His correction…

……and then, He will give us His Spirit in new measure!

There was a sad time in my life that I was wandering about searching for a “happiness”.

(I was young, and I thought that I could ignore God’s plan for me….

…how we need to instill in our children the love of God….and the Kingship of God!)

Now I want to say that the Lord wants us happy….happy in Him….but what I was searching for was not real.

I smiled a lot. I told terrible jokes. I tried to hang around the “cool kids”….but….

….I had “put aside” the Word of the Lord to me….in how I was to be…for I belonged to Him….

….looking for “happiness” instead.

The Lord sent someone to our Church, to awaken me to my attitudes and actions (Praise God)….and I got back into the Way.

It was not easy….

…..for it is never easy to “re-do” your steps, and leave some “friends”…..

……but I realized….even for all I had to do….it was easier than keeping up the act.

Instead of phony”happiness”…..God gave me forgiveness, peace, and joy.

What are you looking for?

We must understand just Who it is that is speaking to us.

It is as we go along with the Lord, that we leave the better that we have…..for the best that He has for us.

In the Song of Solomon, the believing maiden has come to a place of rest in the Lord…..she has come out of the wilderness…and gone on…growing in grace.

But, in this rest,…..she has stayed….thinking that this is the fulfillment of this onward call.

Till she hears the Lord’s voice “waking” her.

(Had she gone from resting to sleeping? How easy it is, when things seem right, to trust in what we have, rather than continue to seek where we should go.)

Song of Solomon 5:2 “I sleep but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my Beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to Me, My sister, My love, My dove, My undefiled: for My head is filled with dew and My locks with the drops of the night.”

Here, the Lord comes to wake her. But look at what He calls her:

My sister—recognizing her belief in Him.

My love—showing His heart to her.

My dove—recognizing that she has come to look and rely on Him only.

My undefiled—showing that He sees her separation from the world.

All these are good….

But the Lord knocks for what is next….but she is sleeping.

He calls….open to Me….

And then shows her the next step….prayer and intercession for His Will done in His people…..the intercession that requires “waking early”…..and continuing late…that requires effort.

It was a call to be always ready to pray for, and do His Work, for others.

Her reply?

Song of Solomon 5:3 “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet, how shall I defile them?”

Basically, she was saying…..”I have come out from the world, now you want me to deal with it?”

But she knows the answer even when she asks…..if she is separated to Him, she can be in the world….but not of it.

So she rises….but He has gone on…..must He do the work without her? Does she love her “rest” more than His Presence?

Song of Solomon 5:6 “I opened to my Beloved; but my Beloved had withdrawn Himself and was gone: my soul failed when He spake: I called Him, but He gave me no answer.”

I called Him but He gave me no answer….

That is because she was seeking Him….in the confines of her own particular thoughts….of how He would call.

She wanted Him to come to her, again…….instead of her seeking Him.

I will tell you plainly, that sometimes we can call and the Lord is Present…..and sometimes….He will wait to be gracious….

….it is to instill within us a constant desire for Him….and not His gifts.

Yet the call to this maiden,…..and to all of us,….

…..is an ever onward call to “come away”…..”open to Me”…..”come, let us go”.

Are you hearing the Voice of God to you?

Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My Voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.”

In this lukewarm Laodicean Church age…..the call is to “hear My Voice”….”open to Me”….and “sup (fellowship) with Me”.

Are we? Will we hear Him, and give Him a life open to and receptive to Him?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

That thou mayest

Permission to enter into all that the Lord has for you has been granted us…..why do we wait?

Revelation 3:18 “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and the at the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

I counsel thee….that thou mayest be other than you are. Do we want the spiritual riches of Christ? The gold, the white raiment, and to see.

The Lord looks on the heart….and He see us:

Revelation 3:17 “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”

Simply what we say we are…..we are not.

So Christ….the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God….says: “I counsel thee”….it is very personal counsel He is giving.

And we will start with the last thing….the eyesalve….for we believe. It is the one thing needful to change the rest.

Now just what is this eyesalve we are to use?

(Notice, that the Lord counsels to buy the gold, and the white raiment….but the eyesalve we are just to use. Therefore it must be something we have already….and can use, if we would)

We believe the eyesalve is the ointment of honesty….as in “the honest and good heart” which is the only ground that brings forth fruit.

Luke 8:15 “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”

Anyone can get honest….though it is not a characteristic of natural man….

….but spiritual honesty comes from yielding to the Holy Spirit’s searching.

If we will take the time before God to get honest we will see.

Praying about the church, my husband received….

“That any Laodicean that would get a good look at their own heart….would do something about it.”

If we get honest with God and let Him show us the truth about our hearts and lives, then….we have applied the eyesalve and are ready to….

….buy of Me…”white raiment that thou mayest be clothed….and the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.”

When we are truly born again, we receive the white robe of Christ’s righteousness.

But many will have Christ for me….without willing to have Christ formed in me.

To have Christ save them from hell….but not have Christ save them from sin.

The white robe of Christ’s righteousness makes us pure…..not just in the sight of God,….but in practical life….so you will have this righteousness being worked out in obedience to Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-24 “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

That ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Put off….put on….this you must do that “the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.”

And this you do by willing with Him to refuse the old ways, and yield to the Holy Spirit in the new ways.

Then “buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich”.

In the Bible, gold speaks of God. Tried in the fire…is pure gold…with all the dross consumed.

Psalm 45:13-14 “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework:…”

Here is described, I believe, a picture of the true church, bought to her King at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

And how is she dressed? In white raiment interwoven with gold. This is how we will be seen….glorious, because clothed with the purity of Christ,…having put off our old man….

…with gold threads of needlework, interwoven into her garment….gold, tried in the fire to manifest God in our lives. (Revelation 19:7-8)

It is not Christ for me,….without Christ being formed in me….and He is the true gold…riches of life. As we are less of us, we are more of Him.

There are many instances of “tried in the fire”.

(Of course we think of the three Hebrew young men who stood and said to Nebuchadnezzar…..”O king, whether our God saves us or not….we know He can….and we will not bow down to your image.” They were thrown into the furnace alone, but One like unto the Son of God was seen with them.

And we think of the trials David went through before he truly became king….because of murderous Saul chasing him, to kill him. All of which he came through, though with some failures….God was faithful…and kept him.

And the trials our Lord went through here on earth. The sin and sickness the Lord of Life saw.

Those that sought to catch Him in HIs speech….or those that finally betrayed Him….and every beating, and mocking, that He went through.)

And now it is our turn….for all who will “see” ourselves in honesty, and have Christ formed in us by the trials of our life…

….we have trials…and yes persecutions, we all have to go through.

But we have the great promise of His Kingly Presence and authority….if we will.

Revelation 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.”

Let us hear for ourselves, His permission to come and get all He has for us….and then step out in faith, and overcome….to see, be clothed in righteousness and obedience, and have all the riches of Christ in our lives.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Light Expels Darkness

Genesis 1:3 “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

When the earth was darkened, in a state of chaos, God spoke, “Let there be light”.

He did not need the light, for He is light; but the earth did.

All of His creatures He was about to create, did.

We need to consider the fact that there are two Principles at work in the Universe.

One is the Principle of Obedience, which is of God.

The other is the Principle of Rebellion, which is of the Adversary, the Devil.

God’s Principle is called Light. While the other is called Darkness.

God has given light to each person born:

John 1:9 “That was the true light, which lighteth every man which cometh into the world.”

Each person is given the light or knowledge that there is God.

It is what we do with that light, that matters.

John 3:19-21 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

Jesus said:

John 3:7 “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

To be born again is to have Christ’s life placed within us by the Holy Spirit. He indwells us, empowering us to know and do His Will.

(“We are saved by grace through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God…For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10)

John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

You can not see the wind; but you can see the effects of the wind: the leaves blowing, the trees moving, etc.

So when you are born again, you can tell by the effects of this new birth in your life.

2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who hath commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

The first thing of His New Creation within us?

“Hath shined in our hearts”

He gave His Light to our hearts so that we might clearly see Him, and love Him dearly.

“To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

This is personal knowledge, for ourselves, in our lives, as they are.

This is emphasizing the personal relationship of Christ Jesus to us, which is what He wants for us.

When the Light comes, it leads us to fellowship with Christ:

1 John 1:7 “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.”

This fellowship is spoken of as “walking in the Light”.

You can think of stepping out of the Shadows of your life, into the light of day.

Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”

But what to do?

We Walk. We are to continue to walk in the light: Walking, not running in the light of His love, and Word. This suggests the nearness of friends, the comfort of good conversation, and the strength of two.

“And the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

1 John 1:8-9 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Here is set forth the means for that cleansing from all sin.

It is to know deliverance from the Power of Sin in your life. This is very personal.

It is not sinless perfection, but deliverance.

Deliverance means to rescue. It means we are brought out of, not only the sin of one time, but from the power of that sin in our lives.

The true taking away of sin is this: If the Light comes in, the darkness is expelled.

They can not dwell together.

The Light of Christ yields honesty of heart and mind.

We will see, by the Holy Spirit, the truth of our attitudes, ways of doing things, and the truth of the why of our sin.

(Why we do what we do, to the people we do it to.)

Honesty will lead us to throw ourselves on God more, for strength, wisdom, help, patience, etc.

And if we get honest with Him, He will help us in every aspect of our lives. He is Light, and with Him (and we need to stay with Him) we will be empowered in the day by day circumstances of our lives. (Even if we have made a mess of them before.)

We are to walk with Jesus in His Light. Yes, He will reprove and correct us; for light does both.

But it is in love, always looking for the response of love from us:

Jude 21 :”Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Paul’s Conversion, and a Certain Disciple.

(To convert, is to change one thing, into another…

Conversion, here, means to spiritually change the direction of your life, by placing yourself on the foundation of Christ Jesus.)

To begin this, we must understand that Saul was a “up and coming” Pharisee.

He was going to be somebody in the Jewish Religion!

He was zealous concerning the Law; “a Hebrew of the Hebrews”. (Philippians 3:5)

But things began to “change”, when he heard, and saw a follower of Jesus Christ, die a martyr’s death.

For the man, Stephen, asked God to forgive them; and Saul knew that this is how a true follower of God would act. (Saul was there as a representative of the Council who judged Stephen. Acts 7:54-58)

But the “change”, then,….was not toward the Light he had seen,….but sent him fighting against it.

Vicious was his attack on all of “this Way”.

Acts 26:9-11 “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.

And I punished them in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.”

And why was he “exceedingly mad against them”?

Because, as we shall see, God was pricking his heart; and telling him that “this Way” was the right way.

That Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of God.

But he refused to listen, or to bow to God’s Way. Instead he would fight against it.

By destroying Christ’s followers; he would destroy this Way. (So he thought)

Acts 9:1-2 “And Saul yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest.

And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whither they be men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”

So he is going to take his hatred of this Way to other cities; to Damascus. He gathers men to come as escorts for the prisoners he will bring back.

Everything is proceeding according to his plan.

But he has a surprise in store;…..for this is not according to God’s plan.

Acts 9:3 “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven.”

Almost to his journeys end, close to Damascus; God shines a light down upon him that he can not ignore!

Acts 9:4-6 “And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, Why persecutest thou Me?

And he said, Who art thou Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

Here, Saul falls to the ground. The Light is blinding, and he can not stand against it.

He falls (finally in the right position before Jesus Christ), and then he is spoken to: Why are you persecuting Me, Saul?

(Notice that Jesus always identifies Himself with His people: Their persecution is His, as well.)

Saul is quite shocked! He thought he was just fighting against people; Who was he fighting against?

The Lord Jesus Christ then tells him, “It is I, you are trying to destroy. And I am here to tell you, you can not.

I have been pricking your heart with the truth of Who I am for some time.

You just keep kicking against it.

Stop fighting My Way. Stop fighting the Light I have given you.”

Saul, having heard Christ Jesus for himself, gives himself over to Him: “Lord……What would You have me to do?”

Yielding simple allegiance, and seeking to obey; Saul gives up his life into the hands of Jesus Christ.

“I am Yours, what do you want me to do? Go on, or go back, or what?”

The Lord then calls him on to Damascus, not as persecutor of His people, but as brother to those of this Way.

The rest would be “told” him, when he got there.

Acts 9:8 “And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they lead him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.”

Refusing to see the Light God first gave him, Saul is now blinded for a time. They lead him to Damascus.

Saul is now fasting, waiting to hear from the Lord the instruction he was promised.

And now to the “certain disciple”:

Acts 9:10-12 “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision; Ananias, and he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.”

Ananias spoke up;….he did not say he would not go, for he had called Jesus, Lord. (He is not Lord to you, if you will not do what He says.)

But he prays a prayer that we all would be well to imitate, when we are afraid about doing God’s Will:

Ananias told God what he had heard about Saul, the evil he had done in Jerusalem, and that he had come to do the same here in Damascus.

In other words, Ananias told God his fear, and ask what to do about it.

Now God knew this, but as Ananias prayed this information to the Lord, peace came upon his heart. A peace that passeth understanding.

Ananias was then ready to hear what Jesus said to him: “Go”

Acts 9:15-16 “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

And so Ananias, went; doing exactly what Jesus had commanded him to do for Saul.

Praying for him to receive his sight, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

(And because he went and prayed for Saul; every reward Saul [His name was later changed to Paul] will receive from the Lord,…..Ananias will receive a part, too.)

And what did Saul do?

Acts 9:19-20,22 “…Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

And straightway preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

And Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which were at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.”

Acts 26:19-20 “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision:

But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coast of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”

Saul continued on, doing the Will of Christ Jesus, his Lord, through many afflictions, and persecutions of his own;…..till, at the last he could say:

2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”

Conversion meant for Saul that he spiritually changed the direction of his life by placing himself on the foundation of Jesus Christ, his Lord.

Have you been converted to Christ?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice

Psalm 27:7 “Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.”

Psalm 20:9 “Save, Lord: let the King hear us when we call.”

One of our great blessings, as Christians, is that God hears our prayers, and answers them.

1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His Will, He heareth us.

And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”

They may be short like Peter walking on the sea: “Lord, save me”(Matthew 14:28-30).

Or they may be long petitions, laying out our troubles before Him (Psalm 142:1-2).

Psalm 86:7 “In the day of my trouble I will call upon Thee: for Thou wilt answer me.”

True prayer is finding out what God wants us to pray, and then praying in accordance with His Will…..for ourselves and others. Lifting up to Him, His Will; by our will and words.

Psalm 27:8 “When Thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.”

During the ministry of Isaiah, the Lord corrected His people….when after giving a wonderful promise to them, they did not ask Him to do it:

(The promise: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean…..a new heart also will I give you….and I will put my Spirit within you,…” Isaiah 36:25-27)

Isaiah 36:37 “Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them;…”

They did not ask for what He promised them.

Do we take for granted His promises, and not ask, for what He wants to give?

Sometimes the Lord asks us what we want:

David, after his sin in numbering the people, was given a choice as to the correction he was to receive,……..and his answer was:

“let us now fall into the hand of the Lord; for His mercies are great:….” (2 Samuel 24:12-14)

And I ask all who know the Lord Jesus……..where else can we feel safe….but in His hand……..even, when we are being corrected?

One of the things the Lord requires, when we pray…..is to listen for His answer.

Isaiah 55:3 “Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”

Isaiah 30:21 “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”

One of the great parables Jesus told about prayer is:

Luke 18:10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.”

I want to mention here, that both men went to the right place, to do the right thing: To pray…….both of them.

When men would go into the temple, they would look toward the mercy seat. It was hidden, in the Holy of Holies; behind the first curtain, the Holy Place (where only the priests ministered), and a second curtain.

It was where the blood of the sin offering was poured out for the sins of the nation. And to this mercy seat, all were to look, to pray. (Exodus 25:21-22)

The Lord tells of the Pharisee’s prayer first:

Luke 18:11-12 “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.”

This man begins with praise to God…..but it is for himself, being so much better than so many others.

He was not a gross sinner, and he thanks God for that….and goes on to tell God: that he was a good man….certain that God appreciated him,….and his good works.

“…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:45)

This man’s heart was full of himself…..so the words spoken praised God,…..yet his heart came out….and showed that the only thing he was praising was himself.

(Frankly, he was stuck with himself, and his thoughts of God…a bad place to be in:

Matthew 16:25 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:….”)

Luke 18:13-14 “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

This man was a tax collector: usually they were a cheat or thief….taking more than Rome demanded….for themselves.

But his prayer was of repentance: “God be merciful to me a sinner”.

Mercy is God’s kindness to sinners. There are temporal mercies: the sun, rain, harvests, etc., for all.

And there are spiritual mercies, which include sending His Son to save us, His faith and grace to help us, and His Holy Spirit to guide us.

Titus. 3:4-5 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared,

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior;”

That is what this man wanted…..God’s mercy to him, spiritually, as a sinner…..one who had rebelled and offended God, and His Way.

He would not even look up….”would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven”.

Those that humble themselves under the hand of God, will be exalted in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)

“…for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5)

This man wanted mercy for forgiveness, and grace for salvation……

And he got it. “This man”—the publican—went to his house justified.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Real repentance does not go out and do the sin all over…..and that is what this man wanted….he wanted mercy for his sin, and salvation from it……and he got it.

Sadly, the Pharisee did not. He went home the same, as when he came….thinking he was in God’s favor…..but, he neither received mercy, nor justification.

Psalm 85:7-8 “Show us Thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us Thy salvation.

I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints: but let them not turn again to folly.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

You will notice that before we can resist the devil…..we should “submit ourselves to God”.

There is a means James is setting forth, here, of having our prayers answered.

James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

Our prayers are a view into our spiritual state. If our prayers are healthy, they will bring forth fruit within ourselves and within others.

That does not mean, we always get what we ask for….but it means that our prayers will take hold on God’s Word and promises…and change circumstances….or us.

Submit here is to subordinate…to be under obedience. If we expect our prayers to be answered….we are to submit our selves to God.

It is so easy for us to lust after things we do not have (James 4:3)….and to envy others, what they do have (James 4:5)…

….but,

James 4:6 “But He giveth more grace, wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

No matter the lust (I want this and I want this now)….

….or the envy which is within us…..

….God gives more grace….more of the power we need to subdue our lusts….

….and submit to God in the circumstances we are in.

(Although there are times He brings us out of them.)

James 4:7 ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

When we are submitted to God….we are to resist the devil….his whisperings, his doubts, his accusations….and he will flee from us.

Resist is to stand against….not listen to….not consider the pros and cons. The devil often tells enough truth to get us to look at what he is saying…..but resist his words and stand with the Lord’s Word.

(You can not stop birds from flying over your head….but you can keep them from building nests in your hair.”)

James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.”

Resist….stand with God against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-18).

James 4:8 “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

It seems as though James is repeating himself….

…but if we are submitted to God….and that is in our will…

…then we can resist the devil.

Then James says….draw near to God with your hearts.

And He will draw near to you….you will know His presence in this trial.

“Draw nigh”. Or make near. If we will make a way in our hearts for God to come near….He will make a way to come near.

How many of God’s children keep the attitude of nearness to God?

Nearness brings many things. First and foremost….it increases our faith, peace, and strength.

For when we are at a distance from the Lord (some Christians like to only be within shouting distance)….we are not only in danger, but we are weak in guidance, peace, and joy.

For when we see God, we see ourselves more clearly…so James says:

Be sure you confess your sins….those done (your hands).

Then confess your attitude, your desire for something other than the Lord’s Will……your hearts running after the world. (Being double minded James 1:8)

Now that you are coming closer to God, do not let anything interfere with that….for when we seek for Christ….He will be found of us….and more….He will draw near us, where we are.

To know the everlasting Arms around, and under us….we need to be close…closer still to Christ Jesus our Lord.

Deuteronomy 33:27 “The Eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”

First the right relationship to God….then the battle is His….and He shall thrust them out….while we destroy all that comes between us.