Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

For by grace are ye saved

Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

This is surely, the testimony of Saul, who would become Paul.

Yet he was not a man who sought out the truth….but he was an enemy….relentless in his hatred of “this Way”….who found grace from the Lord of this Way.

Saul, a self-righteous Pharisee….a man determined to seek out and destroy all who believed in Jesus of Nazareth…

…yet, his testimony was….

“Touching the righteousness of the law, blameless”.

In all things concerning his love of his religion, and his good character….his zeal for God….that God was the true God…

…he was righteous.

Yet he was fighting against God,…..and knew it not.

Saul had “made havoc of the church” (Acts 8:3), “committed them to prison”.

But their blood was not enough….”yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1)…..

….so he took his campaign of destruction to Damascus.

Till…”suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:” (Acts 9:3)

(Later, Saul/Paul would give this testimony:

1 Timothy 1:16 “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.”

Saul/Paul was really the preacher of the grace of God.

Grace is God’s uplifting and sustaining power given to sinners, through the merits of Christ. “By grace are we saved”….it is the unmerited favor of power.

Saul had made his own “light” out of his knowledge of the law, and his zeal for it….there are many instances of God as light in the scriptures….and that knowledge is light….

…but he was refusing the Light God had showed him of Jesus of Nazareth as His Son……as Lord and Christ.

….until God knocked him down by light. God made him bow….but what would he do after?

Voluntarily submit or continue in blind darkness?

(How much light do we need to see, before we acknowledge God’s Will?)

The conversation is remarkable:

Saul is on his knees, practically holding his breath,….wondering…

….and God repeats his name twice….”Saul, Saul”…showing him how hard of hearing he was…..

“Why persecutest thou Me?”

Though there is acknowledgement of a wrong (he felt it clear through him)…

……yet he did not know “Who” was judging him in His light.

“Who art Thou, Lord?”

“I am Jesus, Whom thou persecutest”…..Saul knew that name….he had caused many to blaspheme that name,…or die for it…..

…but now he is made to bow to Him….”a light above the brightness of the sun” (Acts 26:13)

In that Light, by Jesus Voice,….Saul is made to see that he had been fighting against Jesus….not just his believers.

And that he was blood-guilty…..he had sinned….and what a sinner he was! A murderer.

“It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks”. Jesus shows him the many times He had “pricked” his spirit with the light of the works of the Holy Spirit….had “pricked” his mind with the truth.

And Saul trembles (Acts 9:6)…..

…he is astonished. His mind is whirling….he should have known….he should have seen…..what has he done!

How much blood is on his hands!

What will this Jesus do to him,….

What could he do,….what could he say….he was guilty…

“Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”

Grace is God’s uplifting and sustaining power given to sinners, through the merits of Christ. “By grace are we saved”

And the great change by our salvation, is worked on our will,….

….and shows (evidences) itself in the subjection of our will to Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

He has been made to bow,…..made to see the Light….made to see himself as a sinner….

….but now grace bows his heart….”Lord, What wilt Thou have me to do?”

“Lord, what can I possible do to get this terrible blood-guiltiness forgiven? What can I do to amend my life?”

What Jesus says here is amazing….and worthy to note.

The real battle was over…..Saul, bowed to Jesus Christ, now, of his own free will.

So Christ Jesus speaks now to his servant….”Arise, Go, and it will be told you.”

“Leave your life now in My hands….My grace….My light….

….I will lead you from now on.” And Saul obeys, but is blind, needing help to get there.

Grace has been offered….and received.

For three days (number of resurrection)…..in blindness, Saul prays. He is shut up unto complete dependence upon Christ to finish what He started with him on the road to Damascus.

The Lord sends a believer to him to pray for him…..the mighty persecutor, turned brother/believer in Christ,….waiting, waiting,…for a prayer by a simple fellow believer.

(No wonder Paul’s epistles exclaim the beauty of the body of Christ….each believer in their place, doing their job….for God, and for each other.)

Saul’s sight restored…..

….the grace that saved Saul…..empowers him to immediately go into the synagogue and preaches Christ….as the Son of God.

This is a title of authority, and power. And Saul preaches Him to all who would hear of the mighty grace from God’s Son to us.

Saul / Paul’s testimony, from that time on:

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or with wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

1 Timothy 1:12-15 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, Who hath enabled me, for that He counted me worthy, putting me into the ministry;

Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”

Saul/Paul’s dependence, from that time on,…..was not on anything, or anyone…..but Christ Jesus….”Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”(Galatians 2:20)

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

In Christ Jesus

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

In Christ Jesus, we have all blessings. And he wants us to have them, in our circumstances, here. (Ephesians 1:3)

He has for us: wisdom.

This is special light for those times we need it. (Light in scripture is knowledge. It is showing us what is real. God turns on the light, so to speak, so we can see the truth)

Wisdom is empowering light.

Wisdom is not only seeing things as they affect ourselves, but also, as they affect others we may be responsible for, in some way. It is special light for special times.

Proverbs 3:21-23 “My son, let them not depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:

So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.

Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.”

Christ has for us: righteousness.

This is, of course, His righteousness imparted to us; giving us a right standing before God.

He also works within us righteousness which is obedience to His Will. This is good protection in this world, against the tricks of the devil.

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 (living up to the light that he has been given in the Word), throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Christ has for us: sanctification.

This is when we set ourselves aside to God in thought, word, and deed, for sacred use, in our everyday living.

We deny ourselves, and yield to the Holy Spirit within us, and be obedient.

Jude 1 “Jude the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:”

1 Corinthians 1:2 “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified by Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.”

1 Peter 1:2 “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: grace unto you, and peace be multiplied.”

All the Godhead is at work in our sanctification.

The Father chose it for us.

The Son, through His merits, won it for us.

And the Holy Spirit works it within us, everyday. It is His power within us to enable us to work it out.

Christ has for us: redemption.

This is a wonderfully complete word. For it means…”completely brought out from, by the ransomed price being paid.” (Hallelujah! What a Savior we have.)

It speaks of now,…..for we are His purchased possession;……never to have to be in bondage to anything or anyone, again.

Colossians 1:14 “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”

1 Peter 1:18-19 “For as much as ye know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by your tradition by your fathers;

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

And He works His redemption within us, being faithful to us.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it.”

(Blameless is an interesting word: it does not mean sinless…..nor does it only mean, that the sins we commit are forgiven by Him….they all are.

But it means that the sins we commit were not “meant to”.

Did we mean to lie? Then the sin, and it’s consequences are blameworthy. We did, what we knew should not be done….but we did it; putting our interests first.

But God brings us to the point in our lives, where we do not sin, willfully.

Yes, we will always sin….either in error, or speaking out of turn [Colossians 4:6], or anger [Ephesians 4:26]….but these are trips, not denying self,….and not willful sin against our loving Lord.)

This redemption speaks, also, of the coming transformation of our spirit, soul, and body, to heaven forever.

1 Corinthians 15:42-43 “So also is the resurrection from the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption:

It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power:”

In Christ Jesus, we have, and will have, all these things.

Are we getting them into us?

The Woman at the Well

John 4:3-4, 6-7 “He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. For he must needs go through Samaria.

Now Jacobs’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.”

Why is the woman at the well important?

1. the Salvation of every person is important.

2. She became a light which brought her city to Christ, though she was an adulteress.

3. Because Jesus lets us know that it is not in a place, or because you are a particular people….but He tells that anyone must worship God in Spirit and in truth.

Jesus is passing through Samaria, and was tired, hungry and thirsty. His disciples went into the city to buy some food. And Jesus sat on the well, waiting.

She had come to the well when no one was around, because of what she was; and yet wanted the truth of God’s Word…..even though she was, what she was.

(I am stressing this, because we all begin our journey with the Lord the same way: We are sinners. Maybe we have never done what she did, but sin places us on the same plain….on the way to death.)

“Why do you a Jew ask a drink of me, a Samaritan?” (John 4:9)

It seemed a good question, for the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans,….thinking them defiled.

(The Samaritans were the descendants of the inter marriages of Hebrew and the other nations. Ezra 9:1-2,12)

But Jesus came to save all those who would believe and receive His life.

So, instead of pressing His right to a drink again;…….Jesus speaks to her about “living water”.

John 4:10, 13-14 “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knowest the gift of God, and Who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosever drinkers of this water shall thirst again:

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall grave him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Her reply was very practical: “Give me that water so I won’t have to come and draw from this well.”

So Jesus brings her a step further toward real life, by dealing with her real problem: “Go get your husband.”

Would she tell the truth?

She replied, “I have no husband”.

John 4:17-18 “….Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said I have no husband:

For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.”

What would she do now? Run away? Spit on Him? Throw water on Him?

But instead she considered the truth,…….instead of her feelings,….and spoke to this man of something which was on her heart: worship,….for she knew He was a prophet.

She wanted to know, what was right, in God sight.

This is amazing…..she was being shown for what she was….yet…she is drawn out of herself….because she sees He is a prophet (she still does not see Who He is as Lord and Savior)….but she is being drawn toward more of the truth…

Let me say, that Jesus does this within us….He draws us out of ourselves….our circumstances….toward Him.

“Were they right to worship in this mountain, as their fathers did? Or were the Jews right in saying Jerusalem was the only place to worship God?”

Odd conversation for a woman who had been looking for satisfaction in sexual and romantic emotions.

John 4:21-22 “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship;…

…But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:….

God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

Right here, could have been a problem; if she did not really want the truth.

(Maybe this was what she had been searching for in those five husbands she’d had.

But to want the truth,….generally, and to face the truth for yourself, is two different things.)

Yet, here again, she does not back away from getting the truth,……of getting that living water;……even when it came to what He would say about herself.

John 4:25-26 “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will teach us all things.

Jesus saith unto her, I that speaketh unto thee am He.”

Jesus had revealed Himself to very few people; but to this woman who wanted the truth, He did.

This shows us the great value the Lord Jesus puts on truth,….and those that seek it.

(John 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

When truth is faced, grace is always given….no matter what our background)

This woman was afraid of people….and how they treated her….

Because of that she had come to the well at this time…..and met Jesus.

But hearing the Truth, and the Messiah……sent her into that same town, to tell all that she would meet, about Christ Jesus.

John 4:29 “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?”

By her witness, many came to believe on Jesus, too:

John 4:39-42 “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified , He told me all that ever I did.

So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

And many more believed because of his own word.

And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

What of us? How much do we value the truth, especially for ourselves?

Have we hidden lives we do not want to admit to?

Or are we believing in a doctrine, and that is enough?

The truth is that everyone who comes to Jesus can find the water of life……

……real satisfaction…..and know for themselves that He is Lord and Savior, for themselves….and show Him to others.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

“Direct” here is to “make straight, or right”, “to make prosperous”.

My husband received these verses years ago when praying about how to receive direction, for the work he was called to do at the time.

It is of the heart not the head….

…what this means is, that we have to want to hear what the Lord is telling us…..we have to incline our ear…..lean toward Him, so we can really hear what the Lord is saying to us.

Again, this is of the heart.

(Jeremiah 25:4 “And the Lord hath sent unto you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.”)

He told me the story of when he was first brought into the ministry of tract passing and soul winning….even before he was called to preach.

He was always praying for opportunities to be used…and as he prayed, he learned how to get guidance for this work…..to yield to the Holy Spirit’s promptings….where people was concerned, and for the words to say.

But after a while, when he prayed……the Lord would impress him, with this one person he should speak to….

….but he did not want to speak to this particular person.

Finally, the Lord told my husband…..this person….or none.

And that settled it…..he spoke to this man.

You see, we can not pick and choose…..who, or where, or how…..if we are to let the Lord direct us.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

But the real secret to this direction from the Holy Spirit for our walk (our conversation, our calling, our ministry, our life)….is:

To acknowledge Him…..in all our ways…..and then He will direct our paths.

But to have this direction aright, we must do this in everything,….

…..not just the big, important things….but the little, everyday things as well.

It is seeking Him in our “paths”…..it is our everyday walk that matters.

And that is where the “trust in the Lord” comes in.

Trust is hanging on to Jesus….to hold Him….and not to let Him go….for His felt Presence with us, by the Holy Spirit, is our power.

Acknowledge comes from the root word “know”….and that is what it is all about.

What do we know about our God….

….that is what we tell Him….and ask Him, in accordance to that knowledge, to do for us.

Examples:

David after his sin with Bathsheba….

….David cried for mercy…getting honest with God……for he knew God was merciful:

Psalm 51:1, 6 “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”

Jeremiah’s lamentation when Josiah, the last godly king, died…and he knew that terrible judgement which would come on Jerusalem and Judah…

….for they had forsaken God,and His commandments……even while they pretended to attend the sacrifices:

Lamentations 3:16-17, 47 “He (God) hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, He hath covered me with ashes.

And Thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forget prosperity,

Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction.”

Here was the cry of the Lord’s prophet knowing what would come to His people….

…but He also knows God….so he prays….

Lamentations 3:48-50 “Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughters of my people.

My eye tricketh down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission,

Till the Lord looked down, and behold from heaven.”

Lamentations 3:22-23, 25 “It is of the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness.

The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him.”

And then Peter:

Peter had denied the Lord three times….after he had said he would “lay down his life” for Jesus (John 13:37)

But then Peter is given the opportunity to confess and get forgiveness….

But the subject is not sin…..although that was there….but love.

John 21:15-17 “So when they had dined, Jesus saith unto Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My Sheep.

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?

Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me?

And he said unto Him, Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed My Sheep.”

Why did Peter deny the Lord? Fear.

Why would Peter go on and do the Lord’s Will, feeding His lambs and sheep, now….against all that would come up? Love.

Love must be the motivating factor to our lives….love for Jesus. Peter would be empowered by the Holy Spirit when He was given on the day of Pentecost….but love must wave the banner over our lives.

“…And when He (Jesus) had spoken this, He saith unto him (Peter), Follow Me.” (John 21:19)

Peter must love the Lord (so must we)….if we are to “Trust in the Lord”….and get direction.

It must be love…..to trust and obey.

It is our privilege and duty to seek His direction in our paths….our everyday walk in this world….even when we have failed….

And He is more than willing to give it.

Let us….Trust in the Lord,….stop leaning on our own opinions….and since we know Him….and love Him….

…..let us go to Him in all our ways, and seek Him according to our knowledge of Him…..and He will guide us.

Preaching, Teaching, and

To reign in real life

Roman 5:17 “For if by one man’s offense (Adam’s sin), death reigned by one;

much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”

But how to reign in real life?

We know that Christ reigns as Sovereign over all….

….and that in Him we reign as “a royal priesthood” 1 Peter 2:9….spiritually.

But how do we get that into our real life?….the life I live at home, at work, with friends,…

….in real life.

Paul wrote about his experience, after his conversion on the road to Damascus….

…..the battle Paul had with himself.

He said he saw in the Law, that he was covetous….

Paul had been a Pharisee, a very religious man…..knowing the scriptures well…but when he was born again….the Holy Spirit used that knowledge of the law….

….to “slay” (Romans 7:9, 11) in Paul some part of himself….his desire for self-glory.

He saw that no matter how he willed to do good in the things he was doing for God….that self sin was there….making his good works and obediences…..corrupt.

For it is our attitude toward the things we do that gives them value…..do we do them out of love for Christ….or out of love for Christ and myself (even a little)?

Romans 7:18-19 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”

This has been my experience….I will to be different….

….but how to do what is good, I find not.

I will to do Your Will, O Lord…..but every time I begin, I seem to trip over myself…

Lord, I am weary of all this covetousness…

…my mind looks for another way of doing Your will…

…my heart yearns for some praise for myself.

Paul cries out for deliverance from himself!….from his “body of death”

Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

If there is anything that can be done about it….I want to do it!

The first step in deliverance from “the body of this death”…..is to admit complete defeat.

We could not defeat our sin…..Christ’s cross and sacrificial death does that.

And we can not defeat ourselves….Christ’s life through the Holy Spirit in us, does that.

Romans 7:25 “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind (my determination) I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh (my old nature) the law of sin.”

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

(You will notice, that in Romans 7:7-25, which is Paul’s own testimony……”I” is mentioned thirty-one times.

But in Romans 8, the Spirit is mentioned nineteen times….and “I”, only twice.

It is interesting to note….that the Holy Spirit is only once named before this ….Romans 5:5 “….because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

There Paul talks of conversion….being “justified by faith”…”though our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1-5.

But in Romans 7 and 8, Paul is speaking about the battle with self sins….the battle to bring everything we are, into subjection to Christ…..through the Spirit.

That is why “I” is prominent in Romans 7;…..and “the Spirit” is prominent in Romans 8…

….and why the connection between the two is Romans 7:25-8:1.

It is through Christ Jesus’ merit that the Holy Spirit is given! Praise God for His wonderful works!)

So how do we reign in “real life”?

We continue…..to receive the grace given….and yield to the Holy Spirit in our life.

But how do we cease or hinder this abundance of grace?

We quench the Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Quench not the Spirit”

Paul’s self-sin was quenching the Spirit….he was being defeated, because the power of Christ’s life, was being overshadowed by his desire for glory.

What are our self-sins? Well, the Spirit can have the victory over us, and them…and give us grace to live…abundant grace.

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.”

If we are born again,…then we are abiding in Him….we are “in Christ Jesus”

And My words abide in you…..are we being obedient to the light we have received?

Are we doing His Words to us? Doing what we are told?

Then His Words should be abiding in us….

Then we can ask what we will,….this covers a lot….

…and it shall be done…

….unto us.

Not unto others, not unto circumstances,…..but unto us!

This is the life of the Vine entering into the branches…..peace in trouble….hope in times of darkness…joy in the face of anger….order in chaos….love to Christ in the face of persecution.

These are not from ourselves….

Where do we get these? From the overflow….the abundance of grace by the Holy Spirit! To abide….to live….in the Spirit of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:18-19 “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Quench not the Spirit.”

This gets right down into today….with all those I live with, work with, talk to, go to school with, or drive around….

Are you letting the Spirit reign in you?

Are you letting Christ’s Words abide….be worked out by obedience in you?

Later, Paul wrote to the Galatians

Galatians 2:20-21a “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: for 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.

I do not frustrate the grace of God:…”

Paul learned that he had to…..with all his learning, speech, direction, everything….he had to yield this day….this time to the Holy Spirit….and keep receiving His abundant grace.

Preaching, Teaching, and

I Will, will you?

This is God speaking, and when He says, “I will”, nothing can hinder Him, except what He allows.

And in His people, which should know and believe Him; He allows their unbelief to hinder His works.

And why does He allow this?

Hebrews 3:10,12 “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their hearts, and they have not known My ways.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”

For unbelief is departing from the living God….however that departing is….in heart, or in life.

The example I want to talk about is in Ezekiel.

Ezekiel is an interesting prophet. Exiled with many of Judah’s people in the second captivity under Nebuchadnezzar (there were three times people were taken away.), Ezekiel’s ministry was:

To tell the captives the reason of their captivity.

He tells them of their forsaking of God, and the terrible iniquity that was still going on in Judah and Jerusalem. He tells them that God will judge Judah, destroying the Temple, and the kingdom, because of their continued wickedness.

Ezekiel 33:28-29 “For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through. Then shall they know that I am the Lord, when I have laid the land most desolate, because of all their abominations which they have committed.”

And he encouraged the captives to accept the chastening of the Lord, and build houses and take care of their families.

To do the commandments of the Lord, till God was pleased to bring them back into the land.

For after God had chastened them, He would remember His covenant with Abraham, and bring them back.

Ezekiel 36:28 “And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.”

This is a great promise, for it deals not just with the outward inheritance, but the inward heart.

Ezekiel 36: 32-36 “Not for your sakes do I do this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.

Thus saith the Lord God; in the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.

And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.

And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the wastes and the desolate and ruined cities become fenced, and are inhabited.

Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruin places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.”

“I have spoken it, and I will do it.” But it would not be for their sakes.

I was not a matter of merit. But God would do it, for His Word’s sake.

This should have caused the people to praise God, and pray and pray for it.

To get right with God, and seek the good of their brethren.

But what did they do?

Ezekiel 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 nothing.

God had promised. He would do it. Great!

And then:

Forget about it, till we actually see it.

Unbelief abounded:

Not the “I don’t believe in God”, unbelief.

But the “I will believe, only when I see it”, unbelief.

For unbelief is departing from the living God.

Ezekiel spoke and warned them that God required righteousness from them. To do what they, as His people, should do, even in a foreign land.

Not for merit, but to show their belief in Him, as their God.

(Ezekiel 33:14-15 “…if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;

If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statues of life, with out committing iniquity; he shall surely live,…”)

They could pine away, wishing for better days; Or turn from their sins of idolatry and rebellion against God’s dealings, and “live”.

Again, and again Ezekiel spoke to them; but they mocked him. Listening, but still refusing to “hear and obey.”

Ezekiel 33:31-32 “And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit thee before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.

And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.”

God says, “I will”. And nothing can hinder God, but what He allows. And with His own people, who should know Him; He refuses to bless our unbelief (whatever kind it is).

He rebukes us to get our attention, so we will hear His Word to us.

He chastens us, to awaken us to the seriousness of our way. To draw us back into the right way.

Real life is in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. It is by faith.

Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.”

Now let me ask you: Which really lived? Ezekiel or the people who “pined” away in their sins?

Ezekiel’s way was hard. But God was with him.

What do you consider “life” to you? Life with Christ Jesus? Or life here and now?

God says, “I will”. Will we believe Him, and live?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Elisha and the cruse of Salt.

2 Kings 2:19 “And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is nought, and the ground barren.”

The city of Jericho was situated near the Jordan River; it was a beautiful city, but the spring water that watered the land was bitter and caused the crops to fail.

Jericho was rebuilt under a curse. (Joshua 6:26). I am only mentioning this because the world system we live in, is also under a curse.

One day there will be a new heaven and earth, but now we are called to live here for Christ Jesus.

To “build” here,……as though this was our final home, and not keep our hearts for Heaven,……will cause any Christian to be barren, and not produce the fruit of joy and peace in the soul.

The men of Jericho, hearing that Elisha had been anointed by the Holy Spirit to be prophet after Elijah,……so they came to him, and asked that he would seek God for help, to heal the waters.

2 Kings 2:20 “And he said, Bring me a new cruse (jar) and put salt therein, and they brought it to him.”

Salt, we know is a preservative. It keeps bacteria and decay away.

[We, as Christians, are to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).

We are to “preserve” it from evil…….the part we have influence in…..in our everyday circumstances,…..by manifesting the Lord Jesus’ character in the world.

We are to honor the Holy Spirit within us, and witness of Christ’s life.]

Elisha had agreed to ask God what He wanted done about Jericho’s water….

And he had received what to do…..using a jar full of salt.

But the healing of the waters, was not to cost the men of the city, nothing.

They were to buy a new cruse (jar) and the salt, and bring it to him.

It would have cost them little,….but they were to do it,…..willingly being obedient to God’s requirements.

When they did this, Elisha was instructed to:

2 Kings 2:21-22 “And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.

So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.”

The salt, itself, was not the healer. Nor was Elisha. But the Lord healed them.

The salt was the means God wanted used, and Elisha was the instrument the Lord used, for that time.

This is a picture of how we, as Christians, can be fruitful in this barren world.

The world looks good, the situation seems “pleasant”…….but without the “living water” of Christ….this world is barren….not bringing forth the fruit unto holiness….but only supplying death.

The Lord requires new, clean vessels;…..by being born again. (John 3:3)

And we need to be salt; the preserving power of the Holy Spirit working through us to a sad world. (Matthew 5:16)

That is simply doing what were told by God, and showing His character to those around us.

Then we can be the means and the instruments for “healing” in this world.

The waters were healed, not just for a day or two….but from then on.

They could have harvests of plenty.

God wants that for each life He saves: To bring forth the fruits of the Holy Spirit within (to have His joy and peace, even in this world); and to manifest His gospel without.

(Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance….”)

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Appointed

Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement:”

By God’s appointment, every life shall end in fire:

For the Christian, it is the purifying fire of the Bema of Christ,….before we enter the eternity of Heaven:

1 Corinthians 3:13. “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.”

For the unsaved, it is ultimately the Lake of Fire:

Revelation 20:13, 15 “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 whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

[Matthew 25:41 “Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

Notice: God made the Lake of Fire for the devil and his angels. Not man. Man chooses to rebel against his Maker, and refuses the only Savior.]

God has appointed this day: it is not for anyone to know, when it is…

Acts 1:7 “And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.”

But it is put into God’s appointment book; it will happen.

As John the Baptist warned those Pharisees and rulers that came to be seen, when John baptized in repentance:

Matthew 3:10-12 “And now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

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:

Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat unto the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Yet they would not accept his word….or his baptism unto repentance….and so perished in their sins.

As Job said:

Job 23:14. “For He performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with Him.”

God performs the thing appointed.

For every Christian, this is a blessed fact.

Every trial, every person, every circumstance which is in the path that I am to take, following Him,……is appointed for me.

1 Thessalonians 3:3 “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereinto.”

Paul was writing them about the persecution he was facing…..and that they were going through…

….God has put in the appointment book of each of us….certain trials….and troubles….and even persecutions….

…but we should not “be moved” (to shake or be disturbed) by them….

….instead Paul was praying…

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

To the end that He may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”

So because God has appointed this day of judgement for each of us….

He would have us as His born again ones to receive the reward and crown He has for us.

In that day: He will purify us with fire.

Today: He wants to purify us by trials.

Faith must be tried to show us that it is there, and how much we have. That is the way we learn what God will do for us.

Micah 6:8-9 “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see Thy name: hear ye the rod, and Who hath appointed it.”

[The rod here is the same as “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23). They are given the Shepherd, both to correct the sheep…and protect them.]

Our path is one in which we deal with ourselves, and others.

We ask for mercy, and deal with others in mercy.

We ask for forgiveness, and forgive others.

We ask for help, and pray for help for others.

(Giving it in comfort, and encouragement, as we can)

Our path is one which follows our Lord,………”to walk humbly with our God”, in the many “appointments” He has made for us…

….including the appointment of the day of judgement.

We agree with Him in this path, leaning on Him and His Word to us, to see us through in safety……And in joy…

…that we might hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

He has appointed for me, and for you. Let us receive a full reward (2 John 8), and enter into all He has for us: both here,….and there.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Elder Brother

Luke 15:25-26 “Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.

And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.”

Here is the elder brother of the Prodigal, doing what he always does….coming in from the field after seeing to the work there.

This he had done many times since his younger brother had left.

As the eldest son, he had been given the first two-thirds of the inheritance; while his younger brother had taken his one-third and left (to squander it).

But what he had not realized was, that when the Father divided his living among them (Luke 15:12)…

…..it was a legal transaction that transferred all the substance, authority, and wealth to them.

So when the younger left with his….everything (2/3 of the estate), was now his, to do what he wanted with.

The elder son was lord of the manor…..his Father was nothing more than an honored guest in his house.

(Yes, he was to honor and to see to him as long as he lived….but the place, house, money, and servants, etc. was his….with all the legal standing of this position.

He could do what he wanted with all of it.)

But the elder son never saw or possessed this……..and that was because he never really knew his Father, and his goodness.

He still saw things as they had always been….a son just doing his chores.

There was no enjoyment of his inheritance….no enjoyment or fellowship between him and his Father….just the duty, somehow to gain……something.

(that is the intangible “something”, because we should not do our duty for gain; but for love’s sake)

But sadly, he had everything….and never enjoyed it.

I am emphasizing this, because there are a lot of Christians the same way.

We have an inheritance…..yes, it will be complete in heaven….but, we have the earnest of that inheritance, now….in the Person of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

We have “all spiritual blessings” in Christ, waiting for us to get them down here in our practical life. (Ephesians 1:3)

We have the fruit of the Spirit to enjoy….and the ability to fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Do we really know this? What are we doing about it?

Or are we like the elder brother, who never really knew his Father….so did not know the enjoyment of the life he (or we) have been given.

(The Prodigal, though a mess and a failure….losing so much of his life on riotous living in the world….yet he, at least, knew his Father, and knew he would be given a place (even as a servant)…..if he returned to Him.

When he did, the Father ran out to meet him, for he had been “dead” to all the life he should have had, till he returned. Luke 15:32)

But the Father also “came out and entreated” the elder brother.

When the elder brother found out the younger was home, and the Father had killed the fatted calf for him (something that was reserved for honored guests and special occasions)….

He was angry…

Luke 15:28-30 “And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his Father out, and entreated him.

And he answering said to his Father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.”

Now you might think, having heard this….that he had good reason to be angry.

No, he did not. He could have had a party with his friends, anytime he wanted….with a kid, or the fatted calf, if he wanted.

But sadly, he did not know this.

He thought he was a servant….not a son.

He thought his inheritance rested in his merit….how hard he worked, and obedient he had been.

“I never transgressed Thy commandments….even though I grudgingly did them for merit”.

Is this obedience?…..

…….maybe to the letter….not to the heart of them.

For the heart of any commandment, or direction from the Lord is to guide you into greater enjoyment of the life of God, in you.

“I deserve better than You have given me”…

…..what?!

He did not even know or use……what the Father had given him.

“I deserve better than You have given the prodigal”….

……But, the Father said……you had it….all the time…to have and use, anytime!

No, his inheritance (and ours) rests in the fact that we are sons of God, not in our merits.

The Father had come out, and “entreated” him. He earnestly beseeched, implored, begged him to come on in, and party with them.

How this shows the desire of the Father’s heart for His sons….to have them fellowshipping with Him.

Luke 15:31 “And He said unto His son, Son, thou art ever with Me, and all that I have is thine.”

All that Christ obtained for us, in His death and resurrection, are laid up for us…..not just for the by-and-by….but for now, to own and use.

It is in Christ….but we are in Christ. (“In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance…” Ephesians 1:11)

Ephesians 1:3, 7-9, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace.

Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: “

1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:….”

We have our inheritance now….what will we do with it?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Lord Jesus will not knock down your heart’s door….

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.”

What is “sup” here?

It is fellowship……..the Creator with His creature, the Lord with His disciple, the Master with His servant.

But there is no real fellowship, if there is not an open door to our lives.

Fellowship means shared conversation….as with a partner, or companion who is traveling with you.

To sit before Jesus and hear His parables would be amazing….

To sit at Jesus feet, and listen to Him is wonderful…..

But to sit with Jesus in conversation, and life…..is “sup”…..for we are opening up ourselves and our life to Him, in everything.

A life open to and receptive to Him.

The Lord will not knock down the door to our hearts, and come in….

….nor will He force us into a fellowship that we do not desire;

All this rest with our “want to”…..do we want to have shared conversations with Christ Jesus, our Lord,…….about everything?

You will never have the love relationship that He wants for us, until the Holy Spirit has created within you this “want to”.

Luke 19:1 “And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho,”

Notice that Jesus was just passing through…..He was not staying, or even preaching….He was passing through.

He had just healed the blind man, at the outskirts of Jericho (Luke 18:41-43)…..

….and He was headed to Jerusalem (Luke 18:31).

Jesus was in His last weeks, before He was to be crucified…..He was going to Jerusalem…..

…but all along the way….He saves…..all who “want to”

Luke 19:2-4 “And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

And he sought to see Jesus who He was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him: for he was to pass that way.”

Here was “want to”……for Zacchaeus does everything he can to see Jesus.

Notice the verse says, “….he sought to see Jesus who He was…”

Jesus’ fame had spread all over the land….and Zacchaeus wanted to know what real godly goodness and power looked like.

Zacchaeus was a publican…..a tax collector….who made himself rich from the taxes he collected for Rome, from his own people.

Tax collectors were hated,…..I probably would have felt the same way about someone who was acting for the those that oppressed the people….and Zacchaeus was “chief” among them.

But Zacchaeus had a longing…..which turned into opportunity, when Jesus came through his city.

So with as much diligence and effort as this little man had,…

…….he climbed up into a tree so that he might see this man that was suppose to be the Messiah, the Son of God….

….and then something unexpected happened…

Luke 19:5. “And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.”

What!?

Here is an invitation to “sup”……to fellowship with Jesus….in Zacchaeus own house…

Why?

Jesus was passing through….yet stayed because Zacchaeus wanted to see……and know Him.

(He will do the same with anyone who wants to fellowship with Him…..He will stay and “abide”….another term of fellowship and partnership.)

Jesus’ invitation given…..there are two distinct reactions:

Joy for Zacchaeus……”he made haste and came down and received Him joyfully”

Murmuring for the people who saw…….”He is gone to be a guest with a man that is a sinner.”

They were following their leaders attitude….even after all the miracles and Words from the Lord Jesus….they still murmured when mercy was shown someone they considered unworthy…

Jesus had explained, at the beginning of His ministry to the Pharisees…..

“They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matthew 9:11-13)

That is why Jesus Christ came to earth…..to save sinners…..for He will save all who will come to Him.

Zacchaeus had….”put himself in the way of righteousness”

Luke 19:8-10 “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord;

Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor;

and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Under the law, if a man defrauded another Israelite, they would have to restore the value of what was taken,….plus a fifth part of the value…..

……but Zacchaeus restored…..not according to law….

….but according to his love for his Savior….”fourfold”.

Jesus continued on to Jerusalem….

Luke 19:28 “And when He had thus spoken, He went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.”

There He would come in to praises and shouts of…..”Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord…” (Matthew 21:9)

And a week later….He would be given a cross…..to shouts of…..”Crucify Him, crucify Him.” (Luke 23:21)…..

He came to “knock and speak” to His people……and now He “knocks and speaks” to His Church….

…but…He will not knock our heart’s door down.

He offers fellowship….have we heard Him….do we have this longing…this “want to”…..to know Him in this way?

We must always keep in mind, Who it is, that is speaking to us…..and what He is able to do….

Will we answer His call to “abide” with Him in our house….joyfully?……to “sup” with Him continually in our lives?

How much we need this of Christ Jesus….will we open the door to our lives….as we opened the door to our hearts…..and have that fellowship?

‘A life open to and receptive to Him.