Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

1 Corinthians 3:10-11 “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Paul says he is a masterbuilder….an ambassador of Christ.

Simply he has gone about preaching the foundation of salvation through grace and faith….in Christ Jesus.

All is through Christ Jesus….but we must have the foundation of being born again…..then we too may build upon Him our part of His Purpose. (Matthew 7:24-27)

We are to be be watchful, as we preach and teach the kingdom…..to build on that foundation….all the things of Christ.

Titus 2:11-12 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

Oh, the fullness of the grace of God that bringeth salvation….from sin, and ourselves, and the world! There is saving grace…Hallelujah! And there is enabling grace….Praise God!

Paul preached grace…and often sought in prayer a greater supply of grace for the churches…..that Christians might be spiritually awakened, and vigorous….in a healthy and obedient state….that they might be “to the praise of His glory.”

(You will notice here, it is the denying of ourselves…first,…in anything that opposes God (ungodliness)….and in anything that runs after the world’s attitudes and opinions (worldly lust)…

…that we might live…unto God.)

Soberly here, does not mean sadly…..

…it means concentrating on the things of the Lord….not letting things distract us.

(Some people say Christians are sad and mournful.

But Christianity….though often full of trials….is a joyous life….a life of:

“Turn my eyes upon Jesus….look full into HIs wonderful face….and the things of earth will grow strangely dim….in the light of HIs glory and grace.”)

Righteously,…walking in the light of HIs Will….keeping safely close to Him….and turning others to His light.

Godly, means reverent….honoring the Lord in word and life…..being a faithful servant to our Lord…..a faithful brother or sister in Christ.

(The word, “reverent” has somehow gotten to be spoken of in a bad light in this world….

….but reverent is a sweet term showing the hearts awe of our wonderful Lord. It is placing Him above and first….and laboring to give glory to Him in character, as well as words.)

This is how we should live….eyes to Christ, walking in light, and our hearts full of honor to God.

Titus 2:13-14 “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.

Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Paul’s heart wells up….as he is thinking of the goal of all our lives…

….to be in a ready state….for Christ’s return.

To be ready for the reign of Christ on the earth….by having that kingdom within us now! (Matthew 6:10)

For Christ Jesus gave Himself for us…..He became the sacrifice which would once take away our sins! (Hebrews 10:10, 12)

Christ now purifies us….by HIs blood and His Spirit….that we might be…

(It is “might be”….for the power by His Spirit is there….will we use what He paid the price for?)

…that we might be a peculiar people…zealous of good works.

We understand the good works….

…and we understand to do them in the chaos of this world…we need zealousness….or to be boiling hot!

But peculiar people? This simply means….”being beyond usual….special”.

He wants us to live up to our privileges as HIs son and daughter…to gain every promise….come to HIs throne of grace and get grace and mercy…

….and live obedient, joyful lives.

And as we look for Christ’s return for us…..let us also live for Him….and build on the foundation of Christ….those good works He has for us to do.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Thankfulness

In this Thanksgiving day, let us consider Who it is that gives to us of His fullness…..our blessed Lord Jesus Christ.

And let us remember the price He paid to redeem us, and bring us into His righteousness and glory.

John 1:16 “And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.”

Romans 11:36 “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory forever. Amen.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Quench not the Spirit.”

As Christians we are to seek God’s glory first. We are to shine His light through us, and to witness of Him.

One of the most effective means of “spreading abroad” His light is to give thanks;…..to be thankful.

I was quite unaware of how much the Old Testament spoke of rejoicing with God, until I read the scriptures through. It is amazing to see how much God wanted fellowship, even under the restraints of the law, with His own.

Leviticus 7:11-15 speaks of the peace offering.

It was one big party with God.

You were to bring your peace offering when something good happened. And you were to sacrifice part of the offering, then eat the rest of the offering with your family, friends, and the priests.

It was to eaten the same day, unless it was for a vow…..everyone was to have enough and abundance.

Moses in his instruction concerning their life in the land God gave them:

Deuteronomy 12:5, 7 “But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put His name there, even unto His habitation shall ye seek, and thither shalt thou come.

And there ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee.”

(Three times in this chapter, they are told to “rejoice” before the Lord. Deuteronomy 12:7, 12, 18)

The Psalms are full of praise, and glory to God. Most of them are written by David, a man after God’s own heart.

Psalm 30:11-12 “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

To the end that my glory may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto Thee forever.”

Psalm 150:6 “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.”

Daniel was constant in his thanks to God, even when it meant he might be thrown into the lion’s den.

Daniel 6:10 “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house, and his windows being opened in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”

Praise and thankfulness is the result of yielding to the Spirit of God. He gives us the fullness of praise.

Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Prayer and praise often goes together; for fellowship with the Lord encourages our joy.

Colossians 4:2. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;”

Philippians 4:4, 6 “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice.

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God.”

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Paul says, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

God’s will is always our privilege to do.

But the giving of thanks to our blessed God in the Trinity of His Persons, is the strengthening of our bond with Him,

the encouraging of our faith,

fruitfulness in our life,

and a way to grow more in love with Him.

To Whom is the Arm of the Lord Revealed?

When God speaks of His Arm…..He refers to HIs might.

Isaiah 53:1 “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the Arm of the Lord revealed?”

To whom indeed was His Arm revealed?

Not to many….and not to many of any consequence to the world.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 “For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are nought, to bring to nought things that are:

That no flesh should glory in HIs presence.”

“But God chose”….if you are one of the chosen of God, by salvation in Christ Jesus the Lord….you will have His Arm (HIs power and might) revealed to you……and for you.

Deuteronomy 33:27 “The Eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms:…”

“Underneath”…to uphold and catch us.

But He is not always seen as He is…

Isaiah 53:2 “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”

This speaks of Christ in His humiliation…..when He came to earth to take away our sins on the cross….He did not come with pomp and pageantry…..but:

Philippians 2:7 “But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”

If you had seen Him on the dusty road of Judea, He would have seem quite like everyone else.

Yet He was the Son of God…..and as a Servant to God, He went about doing good and healing people.

He spoke of the Kingdom of God…..inviting men to believe on Him….calling men to follow after Him, if they would.

Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.”

For the three years of ministry and service to Israel, He had few real followers, although many would come to hear Him,…..or receive something from Him.

And when He presented Himself to them, as the Son of God…..even riding into Jerusalem as the Scriptures said (Zechariah 9:9)….”lowly, and riding upon a colt the foal of an ass”…to Hosanna to the Highest! (Matthew 21:9)

…still they rejected Him.

And have not we done the same….rejecting Who He is…..turning away from Him….until the Holy Spirit has awakened us to His claims on our lives?

To whom is the Arm of the Lord revealed? Only to those who will submit themselves to that Arm…..

And follow Him.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down.

Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are exercised thereby.”

Have you been exercised thereby? Simply, have you learned from your failures?

You see, this term is from the training those of fighters that went into Roman arena for sport.

They would be trained by a master trainer, and they would get plenty of bumps and bruises along the way.

To be “exercised thereby” is to learn, through all the training, how to use your hands and feet aright.

The training was strenuous and extensive. It covered attitude, as well as form. It covered strength, as well as technique.

And if you really wanted to learn, the master trainer would often give extra time to teach you harder things. (Yes, that usually meant more bruises.)

Here, it is talking about our learning from the hands of our Heavenly Father, who has to correct us, when we error; so we can learn to walk and stand aright.

Hebrews 12:12 “Wherefore lift the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees:”

Our hands symbolize everything that we accomplish, in the will of God. Everything that is our responsibility to do.

Therefore if they hang down; become weakened by discouragement or “weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9), then we can not have the victory in the battle. (And sometimes the consequences of this discouragement, lasts for a long time)

Our knees are feeble, when our hearts begin to weaken, and our minds begin to wander.

They can hardly hold our weight; for we are burdened with the cares of this life.

We have forgotten that we are yoked with Christ, and that we are to:

“Come to Him, all ye that labor and are heavy ladened”. (Matthew 11:28-30)

We are to come, all through our life and walk, to Christ, as our yoke partner.

Hebrews 12:13 “And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which be lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”

Outward problems come when we do not maintain our way before God.

Perhaps we think we know what we should do.

Perhaps we have been careless in letting something “slip”.

Perhaps we have been too tired, and feeling sorry for ourselves, we have not put forth the effort, or even asked for the strength we need.

Proverbs 4:25-27 “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”

When we have stumbled in our ways, we are to “straighten” them.

Set them right before the Lord, by confession and ask for joy and peace; strength and courage, to conquer our hinderances…..

…….so that none that follow after will be turned aside by our lack of maintaining our way.

“Healed” is the ultimate goal of all who are in such a situation.

Don’t doubt.

Don’t fear.

Come to Christ, and be restored to spiritual health.

The verse says, “let it” be healed.

How often the Lord would give us joy for sorrow; and we have turned away from Him, because we want the circumstances to change, not us.

You see, “happiness” has to do with our circumstances. If they are good to us, we are happy.

Joy, on the other hand, comes directly from the Lord to us, through His Holy Spirit within.

It does not care about circumstances (and often comes in the worst circumstances, as we believe God),……because it cares only about our relationship to God.

He showed me once, that He would give joy a lot more often, if I would “Let it”.

All this comes as our Heavenly Father corrects our failures, to bring us into a closer relationship to Him.

When we see the correction; to “let” ourselves be healed, we must see our Father’s love behind them.

Hebrews 12:7, 9-10, 14 “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he who the Father chasteneth not?

Furthermore, we have had father’s of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of Spirits, and live?

For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

His great love for us is the reason He corrects us.

Let us lift up our hands to Him!

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Behold! I Stand!

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

(We sometimes picture this as Christ standing at the heart’s door of a sinner…..knocking and calling….so they will open their lives to Him in salvation.

But Jesus is standing at the church’s door…..knocking.

For He is outside His own church, in Laodicea……and they are not aware of it…..nor of the cause, in themselves.)

I will come into him and sup with him and he with Me.

This “sup” in the original, means fellowship.

I will fellowship with him, and he with Me.

“Can two walk together except they be agreed?…”. (Amos 3:3)

This also sets forth fellowship.

Creature before the Creator. When the creature acknowledges his creatureliness….his utter dependence upon God for every thing….then he is ready for fellowship with his Creator.

(That was one of the temptations for Eve…..”you will be as gods”….

……”you won’t be a mere creature, no! you will be like God….and do what you want!”

And that temptation brought about their sin.)

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

(Many years ago, I used to read this and think that the Lord was just giving us good advice…..”I counsel thee”.

But no, Christ Jesus, is as our counselor, lawyer before the Court of Heaven. He knows the Judge and what the Judge expects….and therefore tells us what we should do, to stand in good stead with the Judge.)

Gold in scripture speaks of God….we need to get God back into our whole lives….by obedience to Him.

It is the creature (us) taking on the character of the Creator….that He might be seen in us…..instead of our own good opinion.

2 Peter 1:6 “And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;”

Or… God-likeness. Not in HIs divinity and power….but in His character.

“White rainment”. All the garments of self-will…will be consumed at the Judgement Seat of Christ.

Nakedness was what Adam and Eve realized when they had sinned. God clothes us with the righteousness of Christ…..but are we showing His righteousness every day by our obedience to Him?

God has plainly told me to act like the person He has made me…..not like the old me, but like the new creature in Christ.

Sometimes, as Christians, I think we put off Christ and put on the old man….yet,….”but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13)

…..and Christ counsels us to put on Christ….and keep ourselves in His Will.

And anoint thy eyes with eye-salve that thou mayest see”.

We are to buy gold from Him, We are to buy the white rainment from Him…..but it does not say that we are to buy the eye-salve.

No, we are to use it….we are to anoint our own eyes with honesty….the eye-salve of God.

Whenever we face the Truth about ourselves….as the creature, before the Creator……the Truth given us by the scriptures or by His Holy Spirit….then His grace (the unmerited favor of power) will be applied.

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

This is an act of our will….to get honest with God….and see.

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.”

Cleanseth is in the present tense…..which takes in past, present, and future sins.

But walking in the light implies obedience….not sinless perfection….but believing obedience.

Psalms 138:8 “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth forever: forsake not the works of Thy own hands.”

The Lord will perfect….complete…His work in me….praise God for His mercy!

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

He is not going to stop working in us…..that we might walk in His character through this world….doing the works He has given us to do.

He is going to keep knocking…..keep speaking…..

Do we want that fellowship with Him, which requires us to put off our old man….and put on Christ?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Right place, God’s Will, our Surrender

Esther 5:1 “Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the kings house,…”

Obedience to a command from God, we often think, will turn out well….

Yet here, Esther, a Jewish woman, made queen in Persia, stands in a place of complete surrender….not to the command of God,….but to the Will of God.

You may say that there is no difference….but the Will of God transcends “good”, and “bad”.

It is what God intends done, how He intends done, and for the Purpose which pleases Him.

(As believers, we obey His commands,…..or not; but we “fit into” His Will by surrender to Him….whatever happens.)

(Someone has written that God and prayer, is never mentioned in this book…and it is true. These people, when they had the chance to return to Israel, and build lives in the land God gave them, refused….for they now had lives in Persia.

But equally true, is that wherever His people are….He has His eye on them.

He does not forget them, but brings His Will to pass,….even through them; and for them…..though it is not in the same personal way He does for those who gather close to Him.)

Background:

Persia had conquered Babylon and had given invitation “to all of a willing heart to return to Israel and build a house for God”, to do so.

They had, and God had helped them….though they had many enemies.

Yet, now, things are going to take a dramatic turn. Back in Persia…..

Two things happen: The king, Ahasuerus, wants a new queen….and a Jewish woman, Esther is picked as one of the choices.

And Haman, an Agagite (a descendent from a people who, since Israel came out of Egypt, have sought to destroy them….down through the generations Exodus 17:16)……this man comes to power, in the king’s court.

This is a battle brewing which is amazing to read…..for behind the scenes is God working His Will….even in the things which seem to work for His people’s hurt.

Esther is the niece of Mordecai. And when Esther is taken to court, Mordecai tells Esther not to lie about her heritage, but only to keep quiet about it.

Esther 2:17 “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight…..so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen…”

And when she is chosen as queen, he warns her again, to hold her peace….at that time there was no danger….but soon enough, there will be.

He will be at the gate, sitting each day, if she needs to send a message to him.

(During this time, Mordecai has a chance to do the king some kindness: he overhears two men servants plotting the kings death…and he sends word to Esther. She tells the kings servants in Mordecai’s name, and they stop the assassination plot….and the deed is written in the Chronicles of the king Esther 2:21-23)

Esther 3:1-2 “After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman….the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.

And all the kings servants, that were with him in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman:…”

Here comes the trouble. Haman is promoted above everyone else! Exactly the kind of power this evil person would want. Real influence with the king, and in court….people bowing….this is the life.

But a man who sits at the gate…..and yes, this is Mordecai….does not bow to him.

Esther 3:2,5-6 “….but Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.

And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.

And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had showed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.”

What should Haman care?

But it infuriates him…..so much so, that he finds out that Mordecai is an Israelite….and he begins a plan….to destroy him and all his people—everywhere in the kingdom.

(As I said….the Agagite of the Amalekites, were sworn enemies of Israel…and he is taking vengeance, not just on Mordecai but on every last Israelite he can.)

Now, let me ask you….was it God’s Will that Mordecai not bow? Or just an occasion to the Adversary, the devil, to stir up trouble?

(True conviction is of the Holy Spirit…and if followed, will lead to more knowledge of God’s Will for ourselves…..but it must needs be followed through, no matter what it costs you.

Mordecai had the conviction for himself that he could not bow to an enemy of his people, so….he did not bow. But it could bring terrible trouble not just for him, but for his people.)

Haman now had to persuade the king to make a decree for all the Jews to be slain.

(It is interesting to note, that the decrees of the Medes and Persians were unbreakable…”altereth not” (Daniel 6:8)….but we will see how God changes what man decrees,…..and does all His Will.)

Haman goes to the king with a lie…”there is a people…their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them (put up with them)”. So Haman offers money to the king to pay for the cost of destroying them. The king believes Haman, and so the plan is made.

Then, Haman casts lots for the day of his vengeance…..

Esther 3:7 “In the first month,….they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month….”

…and when he does, he places his plans unwittingly under the Will of God….for the lot—like dice thrown in chance—is ruled by God. (Proverbs 16:33)

The slaughter was to be in the last month of the year, a whole year away.

It was then proclaimed through the nations under Persia….and when the Israelites heard it, they wept, and lay in sackcloth and ashes.

What could be done?

But God is not upset…His plan is already in motion, although unseen.

Mordecai did not know what to do….but he showed the decree to Esther, and asked her to talk to the king. She was saddened, but she did not know what to do either.

Even she could not go into the king, unless she be called…..and she hadn’t for thirty days.

And if she did without being called she could be killed…..unless he would hold out his scepter to her.

Mordecai realizes this is why she was there….and even though she was afraid, he was faithful, and told her the truth (“speaking the truth in love” Ephesians 4:15):

Esther 4:13–14 “Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shall escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed:

And who knowest wither thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Now was the time, to stand up and be shown as an Israelite…no matter what the outcome for her or her people. Her duty was shown to her….now it was up to her.

(This is a word in due season… Proverbs 15:23. How many times, we too need a word given us, to remind us of Jesus’ Way for us)

Plainly, after hiding in the palace for some time, Esther did not want to show the king her people. If she was out of favor, she could do no good…for them or herself.

But Mordecai’s words brought her to see the situation clearly…..and her duty.

Mordecai believed that Israel would survive….somehow. He might die, and she might die….but deliverance would come;…..but he thought maybe Esther was “come into this position,….to do this very thing.”

Esther 4:15-16 “Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,

Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise: and so I will go into the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”

This was not said in despair or passion, but in holy resolve to do her duty….no matter what happened to her.

And so she did her duty….she came into the court…..and was accepted by the king.

Esther 5:2 “And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favor in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the scepter.”

The king asks her, What is thy request?

Esther does not charge right into the matter, but….knowing the king,….she invites him and Haman to a banquet for the next two days, where she promised to tell the king what is on her mind….

They come to the first, and Haman is proud as a peacock in his privileged position;……bragging to all his family and friends.

In between the two days, the king can not sleep…..(and here is the amazing part):

The king hears in the Chronicles which are read to him,….(to help put him to sleep)…..about Mordecai’s saving him from assignation.

But what had been done for him, as a reward? Nothing…..so…

The next morning, Haman, so full of pride, comes into the king….wanting to talk of killing Mordecai, that very day….no waiting for the rest of the Israelites….he wanted his blood now.

But, he gets a surprise…the king wanted to honor Mordecai for saving him!

Esther 6:6, 10 “So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor?

Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honor more than to myself?

Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew,….”

The very person Haman wanted dead, he had to help honor……this was not what he had planned….but God has more surprises for him.

In the second banquet, Esther tells the king of Haman’s plot to destroy her people….he listens to her, and ends in destroying Haman.

The enemy is destroyed, but what about the unchangable decree against the Israelites?

How will God take care of that?

Well, the king promotes Mordecai….telling him that the decree can not be altered…..

….but, he can do what he can…..

And God made a way: they made a second decree….so that the Israelites could destroy all those that would come against them…..signed by the king….backed up by the king.

and that sent fear into their enemies,….and stopped the massacre of the Israelites!

Against all odds….God saw to His people.

And the principle is the same for us.

How many times things seem impossible and against us, and Him….but He is working His Will….perhaps puffing up those proud rebels….just enough to destroy themselves.

Perhaps putting us in a place of duty, to do His Will,……speaking His Word faithfully.

Psalm 94:21-23 “They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.

But the Lord is my defense; and My God is the Rock of my refuge.

And He shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.”

God still sees to us….His Will is still being done.

Let us surrender to our part in it.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Jacob

Approximately twelve chapters…in Genesis deal with Jacob.

What is so great about the dealings with Jacob,…. is God’s grace.

Jacob was so unworthy….he was always working things out for himself, often in unbelief of God’s promises to him…yet God was faithful and amazingly patient with him….loving him, and seeing to him.

Grace is the unmerited favor of power….and Jacob…which means schemer….by God’s grace was first called to be Israel….which means prince with God….and then finally made Israel.

(Jacob is a manifestation of the two natures within a believer….the old nature which works his own way….and the new nature which ever wants to please God.

They “fight, or lusteth” against each other Galatians 5:17….till the Holy Spirit produces His fruit within us….

…..Galatians 6:8 “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”)

God’s grace kept Jacob in all of his schemes and travels….and finally leads him into the apprehending of God’s promise to him.

It is that promise we will speak of:

Genesis 28:10-11 “And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.

And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.”

By this time, Jacob was a grown man. He was a man of the herds,…and growing things. He wanted the “birthright”….or the promises of God to Abraham about the Messiah….to come to him.

But ever, as his name implies….he seeks to get them by ungodly means. First getting his brother to “sell” the birthright, which would have come to the eldest son, for a “mess of pottage”.

Then tricking his father into giving him the blessing of the elder, which included the birthright. It was a trick….but Isaac could not retract the blessing….in fact, saw that it should have been given to Jacob and not the elder as he thought.

All this caused tension in the household…..and so,…

…Jacob was sent to his mother’s brother family to get a wife. (He was not to marry a Canaanite.)…to try and cool down tensions.

So he travels alone….the first time away from home….toward his mother’s family…in Haran.

(…and have not we done the same…..tried to work out the Lord’s will….our way!)

It is growing dark, so he stops and gathers some stones for a makeshift bed….and fell asleep.

But he dreamed.

Genesis28:12 “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.”

Here we see God’s grace to Jacob, who by his actions have distanced the affections of all but a few. Alone, and asleep.

But in this state….after all Jacob has done, God marvelously appears to him. This is grace….the unmerited favor of power. And this power comes to Jacob in the way of a promise.

The first thing Jacob sees is a “ladder”.

We know this is a picture of Christ.

John 1:51 “And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

(This ladder is seen “set on earth”….up to heaven….showing that Christ Jesus’ earthly ministry fulfilled our Salvation and Sanctification…..He has made a way from earth to heaven…through Himself.)

The ladder reached down….right where Jacob, the schemer lay…..and reached up to heaven….where the Lord stood.

(Any time the Lord is standing, it signifies He is ready to do for us!

◦ And God in Christ reaches down to us…..right where we are….as we are…”just as I am”.)

Genesis 28:13-15 “And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father , and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou lies, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;

…..and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”

What a promise! Everything Jacob could want….a man alone, but not alone, for God is with him…..protected by God!…wherever he goes….and guiding him there….and back again into the land God would give him…and his seed.

(The promise of his “seed” is the same promise God gave Abraham concerning the Messiah to come. (Galatians 3:16). Here, the Lord gives Jacob the blessing of the lineage of Christ!)

But Jacob…..how little did he believe! How little did he understand God’s ways! How little did he grasp the wonder and magnitude of God’s Word!

(And are we not the same? How many times God has given us a promise and we do not appropriate the grace of it!

In a promise there is the first benefit of the Word of the Most High….to us. It should instill peace.

The second benefit of a promise is to lead us to look to God…and keep looking.

The last benefit of the Word of a promise is to prove the faithfulness of God to us….personally by receiving the grace to have it….and marking when it is fulfilled….in any measure….and give thanks.)

Genesis 28:16-18, 20-22 “And Jacob awaked…..and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place;…And he was afraid and said, How dreadful is this place!….And Jacob….took the stone he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.”

And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If…..”

(There was no “if” on God’s part….sadly, only on Jacob’s!)

“….If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,

So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God:….

And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.”

Bargains are what Jacob was noted for….he did not praise God for His Word to him….but spoke mostly of what he will do!

But God will not desert him for his ignorance in unbelief….

…but will train and teach him…..and fulfill His Word….through many trials….(some he caused to himself)….

…this is God’s great grace….to Jacob….through all his years,…sorrows, victories, and joys.

And this same grace is to us!

The Lord will not leave us….even in our failures; but will correct and get us back in the way of blessing.

As one preacher prayed: “May the God of grace enlarge our hearts to receive His grace for today…..and may He empower us to magnify HIs grace, in our lives.”

(It is amazing the number of times in the scriptures that the “God of Jacob” is mentioned…..to encourage us.

Psalm 20:1 “The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee.”

Psalm 46:7, 11 “The Lord of hosts is with us; God of Jacob is our refuge.”

Psalm 75:9 “…I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.”

Psalm 81:1 “Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.”

Psalm 84:8 “O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.

Psalm 114:7-8 “Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; which turned the rock into a standing water,…”

Psalm 146:5 “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is the Lord his God:”)

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Scribe Which Is Instructed Unto the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 13:52 ” Then said He (Jesus). unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.”

We started this page for Christians. To strengthen and encourage God’s people to seek, and trust the Lord, in these times.

All given with the prayer that they meet the need of those who read them.

We believe that one of the greatest needs of this Church Age is to understand……and have Christ’s kingdom come within the heart of each of His own.

Matthew 6:10 “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.” (KJV)

Notice, here, it is “in earth”,….not on it.

This is His Personal Kingdom coming with in your life. When you make Him King of your life,…..and He reigns there.

When we are born again (John 3:3, 7) and “ye must be born again”….we enter His kingdom as His citizens.

But it is only when we are obedient to His laws and ordinances that we make Him King in our lives.

If we are still “running the show” ; He is not King, Personally.

“Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done.”

When this becomes a fact in our everyday lives, we are subjects of that Kingdom,…..and expressions of it:

Our Wills are His, and are then empowered to do His Will.

For it is then, He sits on the Throne of our Hearts.

Not that we make others do His Will….but that we do His will.

Then His Kingdom has come,….within us.

It is a great feeling to come to the place where the arguments with God end; and the Holy Spirit–instead of correcting ,…empowers to go forward in peace, joy and faith.

[And How shall His Kingdom come on earth?

Luke 18:8 “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?”

This is “on the earth”.

There are some who believe that His Kingdom will be brought in, when enough of His Own are praying for it.

I do not know if that is true.

But I do know that readiness for His return will be conditioned by prayer:

Luke 18:1 “And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;”

Jesus speaks here, of the closing days of the Church Age. Just before He returns. Just how the times will be, and just what we should be doing about it .

Luke 21:28 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.”

Everyday we hear and see more of what Jesus said would happen….happen.

And what are we to do about it? Hide our heads….Act out…..wring our hands in fear?

No! That is not it.

Look up! Lift up your heads!

1st turn your eyes away from the world-system.

2nd be actively seeking the joy and peace of God for each situation you need to go thru, till He comes.

We should rejoice in seeing these things come to pass , even as Jesus said they would.

We should be praying. “Amen. Even so Come Lord Jesus.”

And we should be “loving His Appearing”. For there is a Crown of Righteousness laid up for all who Love His Appearing! (2 Timothy 4:8)]

Luke 18:2-7 “Saying, there was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

And there was a widow in that city, and she came unto him saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Tho I fear not God, nor regard man;

Yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge says.

And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, tho He bear long with them?”

If this were a Roman Judge (the Jewish judges, were always in 3’s). He would not care much for the needs of a Jew. Especially one of no importance, like a widow. For she could do him no damage!

But she kept coming back! She was often in his court!

Now he feared not God nor regarded man.

So anything he did , would be on a personal level….without thought of anything or anyone else.

Not because of pressure from someone or something.

But she kept coming! “Avenge me of mine Adversary!”

This is not a request for punishment of her Adversary.

But for a Decree, issued by this Judge, that would give her protection from his injustices.

To keep him from harming her.

Like a restraining order issued today.

Luke 18:5 “Yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”

“She weary me”; Literally means. “She give me a black eye”

Her always appearing there , in his court, might ruin his reputation!

People might get the wrong idea about him.

This Judge acted from only self-involved motives.

From this consideration–alone–he thought it best to avenge her….and get her out of his court.

And our Lord said “Hear what the unjust judge says”

Because the Lord Jesus wanted to show that: the judge’s motives were personal…yet what this widow sought,……she got.

Then our Lord Jesus contrasts the unjust judge and God. Shall not our God surely do right?

Shall He not avenge His own elect? From their Adversary?

And how are we to ask?

Luke18:1 “And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;”

Faint means to weaken in purpose, or spirit; to languish; to just give up.

When we pray, we ought to believe that God is going to hear, and keep at it until we know He does.

Luke 18:7 “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, tho he bear long with them?”

We are not what we ought to be in this Age; yet He bears long with us.

Wanting us to be other than we are ….to enjoy the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit’s enablement.

To get us out from the Adversary’s injustices.

To know the power of life (abundant life) as obedient subjects of His kingdom now.

He Loves us, So He corrects us, and even chastens us…that we might become full sons…having His authority in our own life, and speak His Word in power.

Luke 18:8 “I tell you (and this is the Lord Jesus speaking) that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?”

Yes, He will avenge us…speedily.

“Heavenly Father, Avenge me of my Adversary!”

This is like a restraining order, remember; against our Adversary , the Devil.

To keep him from hurting us.

And we should always ask for such decrees against our Adversary.

He will not only issue such Decrees, He will do so speedily.

Yet , Jesus asked; “shall he find faith on the earth?” Not that He doesn’t know what will be….but to Awaken us to the very dangerous times in which we live.

There are temptations, cares, enemies of God, worldly pleasures, evil companions, …..

All of them can be used by our Adversary to “hurt us”.

To keep us from entering into God’s Best for us.

The Devil seeks to defeat every child of God.

To delay or stop their Progress.

To keep them children , when they should go on to maturity in the faith.

To keep them self-centered, instead of Christ-centered…

That will devour up a whole lifetime of works and attitudes.

Shall He find “faith” on the earth?

This faith here is (in the Greek “pistis”). Conviction of truth or the truthfulness of God. Reliance upon Christ for salvation and constancy in such profession.

Do you trust Christ for Salvation, but not for today?

Shall we not apprehend that for which we are apprehended of Christ Jesus?

Has the Church ever had so much riches as it has today?

With so little results?

Why is it we see so little Reality in a Christian’s Profession?

I don’t know…but I am sure it is a matter of the Heart.

I believe that today many claim the Promise; without having the corresponding experience of that Promise.

They honor the Word, while rejecting the living Lord of that Word.

As Israel of old, they draw near with their lips, to God; but their hearts are far from Him.

For I believe it is a matter of the heart.

Who or What do we love?

Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”

What “life” will you have?

1 Peter 1:3 ” According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, thru the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”

He “hath given”. Then why don’t we have it in practice?

Because the personal knowledge of Christ, costs us.

He wants to come and reign in our lives, with that joy and power that comes with Himself.

What takes first place in your life?

To what do you give final obedience….for surely this is your God.

Matthew 6:10 “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven”

He is King. But is He my King?

Who sits on the throne of our hearts?

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

He stands ready to do. To do for you. And Jesus has said God will issue such Decrees against our Adversary when we cry unto Him.

And just what kind of Christians ought we to be; with so much offered?

He is King….Will we make Him our King?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Of One Accord

Acts 5:12 “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.”

“With one accord”. Here is the real power of this verse.

One accord….the Lord’s accord.

This is to be “gathered”.

Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.”

“Gathered” here, means to be led together in association, companionship, resemblance or union….for completeness.

(This is a wonderful look at what the local church is to be….. the Christians “gathered” together….by the Lord,….

….for the good of themselves…and the others there….for the ministry of the body of Christ for ourselves and to each other.

I may be sad, for some reason….but gathered together in His name….with other believers, the Spirit of the Lord can lift my burden to the right place….namely on the Mighty arm of God.

My eyes may be drawn to the world….worldly affection is a great temptation….but gathered together in His Name….He draws my eyes back to Him…..

….and these are by the manifestation of the Spirit through the corporate ministry.)

Where we are gathered together in His Name,…there He is….in the midst.

To be gathered together in His name is to be impelled of the Holy Spirit. We are there because He has brought us…..led us.

And you want to be there. (We can never discount the heart in our obedience.)

With “one accord”…..your whole spirit, soul (mind, heart, and will) and body wants to be there,….for HIs purpose…..for “one accord” sets forth His Lordship….

…..for the “one accord”….is His accord.

The Vulgar Latin word for “accord” meant….”to be heart to heart with”.

To be heart to heart with the Lord…wanting HIs heart’s desire for this situation.

It is always personally, as we remove all that hinders the Lordship of Christ in our lives….

…and then, it is corporately…as others become heart to heart with the Lord.

There is a lot going on in this fifth chapter of Acts….and it begins….

First….God deals with the hypocrites in the church….Ananias and Sapphira…whose sin was lying to the Holy Ghost.

Others were giving all to the support of the work….in taking care of each other. Ananias and Sapphira had a possession that they sold….but kept back part of it.

It does not say what the possession was….or how much other possessions they had….

But they came and lied about it….presenting the “gift” as all, when they “held back” part.

(How many want to look “good” before people, by words….without the heart’s accord to the Lord?)

As Peter said to Ananias…..”While it remained in your possession….was it not yours? And when you sold it, could you not do what you wanted with the money? Why come, before the Lord, and lie to Him about it?

Oh, Ananias, it was a matter of your heart!”

When they heard the Lord’s Word….they died!

Ananias and Sapphira had hearts that were divided;…..

…..and that always leads to putting something over God.

(Matthew 6:21, 24 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”)

Then,…is stressed….being of one accord….the Lord’s accord. Here is the way of peace and power.

(And hasn’t the devil been trying to sow discord among believers, since the first? 1 Corinthians 3:3)

Acts 5:12 “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.”

Again, “all with one accord” is the real power of the work.

Acts 5:32 “And we are HIs witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.”

There is power when we are “one accord” with the Lord….the Holy Spirit’s power in ourselves….personally. And then corporately, as others are of “one accord” with the Lord.

This is, of course, between each believer and His Lord. Removing all that hinders our hearts from fully following the Lord.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

When I was a Child

1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

“When I was a child”…this phrase suggest that these childish things have been “put away”; that the writer here is remembering what the Lord showed him of the things that needed to be removed, that he might grow up into Christ.

The writer here is Paul. It is hard to think that Paul was ever childish, yet we have his testimony here, that even the mighty apostle had to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

(He was writing the Corinthian Church, who were childishly arguing over “who was who”. “I am of Paul, I of Apollos, I of Cephas,….is Christ divided?” 1 Corinthians 1:12-13a.

This was silly, and Paul was writing them to correct their behavior; to help them grow up into Christ.)

And how do we put away childish things?

By knowing the scriptures.

1 Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.”

It is as we are established in the Word of God, that we are able to know what the Lord is saying to us.

As we read and listen to that Word, the power of the Spirit speaks to us; and He applies them to us.

That Spirit works in the heart, as well.

He works understanding of the Word, and then He works obedience to it, so we will receive the blessing of it.

Peter ends his second epistle with this exhortation.

2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

David said:

Psalm 131:2 “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.”

David is saying here that he had wanted to stay with his head on the heart of God and let God continue to feed him like he was a baby,…..but that he had come to the place where he had stilled his crying,….his discontent at having to stand and trust.

These are more adult things. To trust that your Father and His might is right beside you, when you have to face trials….is quite different than hiding behind your Father when things trouble you.

Our hearts are naturally drawn to worldly things.

But by the grace of God, the soul is “weaned” from the desire for them.

There are three things which the Apostle Paul says he “put away”.

I spake as a child:

1 Corinthians 2:1-2,4-5 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech, or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

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

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

Paul did not speak in all the eloquence he could, so people would applaud him; but spake in the power of the Holy Spirit, about Christ Jesus.

We are to do the same.

We are to show forth Christ Jesus.

Whether by testimony (about being born again, or right up to the minute about what He has showed us for this situation.), or by giving the gospel message of His salvation.

[This also has reference to talking to the Lord: Our confessions should not be as children, “It got broke”; but, “I broke it, forgive me.”

When we need direction, we should ask for it.

When we need help, we should turn to Him immediately, and not try and “cover up” our lack of knowledge, or struggle through]

I understood as a child:

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

Speaking the truth in love, may grow up unto Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”

Paul includes himself here; for our “growing up” continues until we get to heaven. We are babes, children, then adults: yet we continue to grow in grace, and get more understanding of Him, as we go along.

To have this understanding, we should work at being steadfast in His Word, and learning how to listen to His Spirit.

We get distracted, we hesitate, we doubt.

But the Spirit is willing to help us with light (knowledge), insight (for the situation), and discernment (about people).

How important these are.

He knows, and He will gladly tell us.

I thought (reasoned) as a child:

Paul wrote about himself:

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

This is Paul’s testimony as to the persecution he lead, before being born again, against the church: “I verily thought with myself…”.

He let his own emotions(anger), lead him into doing terrible things against the people of the Lord.

This is childish reasoning: we react to our own feelings toward things.

[Of course, once the Lord struck him down and got his attention; things were different.

But, Paul had refused the testimony of Stephen about Christ; which began his downward spiral into violence against the Lord’s own.

It was of God’s mercy and love that He did not forget about this man (or us: Praise God for His mercy to me, a thousand times over). But His grace saved him! And gave him the right way of thinking]

Let us, as Paul did, and every other Christian can: “put away childish things.”

Put them away, like we put old toys away; to go on with older, more mature pursuits.

How? By the Word of God, spoken, read, and preached: applied to us by His Holy Spirit, for our help.

So let us grow up into Him, trust Him…..and be all He wants for us.