Preaching, Teaching, and N

Peter

2 Peter 1:1 “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ:”

Now we know Peter was an imminent Apostle. He was a good man, and from the first, Peter often did bold things….yet by it, would run into trouble.

He often spoke hurriedly, out of his heart’s emotion…and would trip himself up with his words.

He left all to follow Christ…Matthew 4:18-20…his livelihood….and his father.

He came out on the sea to walk to Jesus….during a storm….when Jesus sent them across the Sea of Galilee….Matthew14:28-31….though he became afraid as he looked at the waves…and began to sink (both in faith and in the water)…

He saw Jesus transfiguration on the mountain,……and had to say something!

He spoke of building tabernacles for Elijah, Moses and Jesus…..”for he did not know what to say..”….Mark 9:2-7

(And do we not open our mouths to say “something”, we hope is spiritual, when what we need to do is hear Jesus)

He declared in faith that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 16:13-17)…..

….then turned around and told the Lord that what He was saying about His death was not going to happen….Matthew 16:21-23

(And how many times we trust in the Lord…until it is something we do not like)

He swore he would never be offended because of knowing Jesus and said he would never deny Him….Matthew 26:33-35…but he did.

(Have we?)

He slept when he should have stayed awake and prayed….and is surprised when Jesus is betrayed….even though Jesus had warned him….

First, he pulls a sword and cuts off an ear, which Jesus healed (Luke 22:50-51)…..then he ran with all the disciples when Jesus let them take Him…Matthew 26:56

…..then he followed “afar off” with John, which went to the high priest’ palace to see what would happen…..but then denied the Lord three times, even before a young girl….Luke 22:55-62.

Peter is one of the first disciples, again with John, at the empty tomb (Luke 24:12)….yet a while later he says….”I go a fishing”….and goes back to fishing at Galilee….John 21:3

(What of us? After a failure, do we become despondent….and feel our witness useless?)

He was with Jesus for three full years…seeing miracles, and hearing Christ’s Words….

….he truly believed in Jesus as the Christ…

….yet, in himself, he was weak…..easily blown around by circumstances…..and emotions….

…and are not we the same, as Peter?

Ephesians 4:14 “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.”

At the Sea of Galilee, he is forgiven by the resurrected Jesus…..three times he denied the Lord….three times he told the Lord he loved Him. (John 21:15-17)

Restored, he does what he is told and waits for the Holy Spirit back at Jerusalem….where they are to stay till He empowers them (Acts 1:8)…..

….for forty days…he, and they…wait and pray…

….but then, on the day of Pentecost, after the Holy Ghost is given……it is Peter that stands up…..before the thousands gathered (yes, that could easily be a crowd to crucify him)….

….and speaks boldly of Christ Jesus….before them all….as Lord and Christ.

Acts 2:23-24, 32-33, 36, 38 “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be held of it.

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

Wherefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

That is laying the truth out before thousands….a crowd that could have taken and destroyed him….

…..yet under the power of God, many repented and believed.

What is the difference in Peter?

The Holy Spirit in him.

Jesus said about the Spirit:

Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

This power, by the Holy Spirit, is what Peter received…..and went and used….being used in Jerusalem to lead the church at first….Acts 5:12-15

….he was sent down to Samaria to confirm the converts there…Acts 8:14-15

….then he went out and lead the first Gentiles to Christ….Acts 10

…..he wrote as a “servant and apostle of Jesus Christ”, that grace and peace would be multiplied unto them…”through the knowledge of God and our Savior Jesus Christ”

2 Peter 1:12-13 “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;”

…ending, with his last word for Christ Jesus…

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.”

Peter had done that….he had grown in the grace given him…..

…..weak in himself,….forgiven by Christ….he had received the Holy Spirit….and grown strong in the Lord.

More than the other Apostles….Peter is like us….(me, at least)

impetuous;

bold one moment and a coward then next;

loving of Christ, yet a failure;

full of things to say, but often “sticking his foot in his mouth”;….

…yet, his faith and love of Christ was real….and when he received the Holy Spirit….he went out, in obedience to Him….and witnessed, ministered, and encouraged his people to believe and love the Lord.

What of us? We are weak in ourselves….like Peter; forgiven by Christ, having received the Holy Spirit…

…but are we growing in grace….and in more knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Patience of God: Come, let us Reason Together

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

How patient the Lord is with us.

Talking to us, again and again.

Sometimes, He deals with an individual for a long time before there is the rebuke or the chastening.

Hebrews 12:5 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him:”

And it is all to get us into the way of peace.

It is very dangerous to be out of fellowship with our Lord.

This world is under the influence of our Adversary, the devil. Our only safe refuge, here, is next to Jesus.

Sometimes, He sends messages, or people to say what we are refusing to listen to,….from Him.

( I knew a lady, who had asked for some tracts from me. My ministry led me down that way, at that time. And she was interested in reading some of them.

So I brought several and gave them to her.

I had not noticed, but on the top was one on gossiping. I did not know she had this problem, and paid no attention to her reaction when I gave them to her.

Latter, she came up to me and asked me if I had given that tract to her on purpose.

I told her, No, I just brought some for you to read.

Well, she then told me that she was a gossip. And that the Lord had been dealing with her about it—but she had been trying to ignore it.

I told her I did not know that and if I had offended her, I was sorry; but if the Lord had spoken to her, that was between her and Him.

Then she smiled, and said, Yes, she would need to get it set right with Him.)

Sometimes, He makes us feel the darkness of our turning from Him; giving little hints of His light, if we would just return to Him.

However He deals with us; He does it out of love for us.

“Come, let us…”

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

This is not one-sided; it is the believer and their Lord sitting down and reasoning together.

This is a reality that must be of the Holy Spirit sinking deep within your soul.

It requires honesty, to sit still, and tell the Lord why you do not want to do what He tells you;……

…….or to tell Him of that thing that has become more important in your life than Him.

What is more important then His Will?

And as we are honest with Him, He will show us the truth about the whole thing.

(Isn’t wonderful that He is always saving us from all that would hurt us!)

We are totally dependent upon Him: His light, power, grace, mercy, peace, and joy.

But He is Almighty. The Creator and Sustainer of everything. He is able to help us in all that we come into.

He says,

“Come, let us reason together…”

Will we?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

What does it mean to Overcome?

To Overcome means to subdue, have the Victory, prevail , or conqueror.

For us, as Christians, we are called to overcome everything which stands in the way of our doing the Lord’s Will.

This is a battle. We are to do battle with our lusts, our self life, and the world, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

First, Christ speaks of His Overcoming:

Luke 11:21-22 ” When a strong man armed keepeth his palace his goods are in peace:

But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, He taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.”

This is speaking about Christ Jesus’ overcoming the Devil and releasing his prisoners.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

This is speaking about His overcoming the world.

Both of these He overcame for us. On the Cross, when He said, “It is Finished”,……the Victory was won.

The Devil would have to open his prison house for those who received Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior.

The World and it’s influence, would not be able to persuade the Christian, who truly obeyed Christ; to follow it’s corruptions.

1 John 2:15-17 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”

The Victory is won; but we still have to enter into it, for ourselves, personally. This is the Battle.

We have to exercise the faith Christ gives us, in our lives, today.

For faith lays hold on God and His promise of Victory, and brings down from God the needed grace,…..that we can have it.

1 John 5:4-5 “And whosoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

Faith looks to God. It says that God will, with Christ, “freely give us all things.”

Romans 8:32 “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

In the letters to the seven Churches; Christ Jesus commands those who have ears to hear; to “Hear what the Spirit says”. (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26-28, 3:5, 12, 21-22)

From the times of the Apostles, who warned of “wolves in sheep clothing” (Acts 20:29)…….to the present age, Christ Jesus is saying:

“Follow My Holy Spirit,….by hearing what He is saying to you;…..and overcome that which stands in the Way of doing My will for your life;…..My Spirit will show you all that hinders you, and how to remove it from your life.”

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

Just as the Man Christ Jesus, overcame every obstacle that stood in the Way of His Father’s Will for Him, here on earth….

(He went to the Cross, was Resurrected, and received all power in heaven and earth for His Church. Matthew 28:18-20)

….So must we overcome everything which stands in the way of Christ’s Will for our lives

He gives the faith which overcomes,…..the light which makes the darkness in our lives flee away,…..and the grace, by the Holy Spirit within, to finish the work He has given us….

….within ourselves, and….

…and the work of the Spirit in us, by us, and through us…for others.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Hold Thou me up

Ps 119:114-117 “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Thy Word.

Depart from me, ye evil doers: For I will keep the commandments of my God.

Uphold me according to Thy Word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto Thy statues continually.”

This is a prayer for the keeping power of God to “uphold”, or “hold Thou me up”….in the position that I have obtained through the Holy Spirit.

“There are so many enemies….within me, and temptations in this world….hold on to me, Lord Jesus.

I do not want to fear,….hold on to my peace.

I do not want to be angry,….hold on to my love.

I do not want to go my own way….hold me up by Your Word.”

Christ Jesus taught us to pray: “Lead us not into temptation”. For temptation is dangerous…though we do not often see it’s poison…..

….but dangerous situations call for extra watchfulness and prayers to our God, that He would stretch out His right hand….and help us.

This may not be immediate deliverance;….but His hand…holding us up…out of the mire of this world….

….the attitudes and emotions…the love of money or power…the misery and sorrow of failures (and who does not have them?)…or ingratitude.

Isaiah 41:13 “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”

Psalm 17:5 “Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.”

He helps us “hold fast” in His paths….those that are shown us in His Word.

We can not keep from sin, unless we keep to His Word.

Psalm 17:4 “Concerning the works of men, by the Word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.”

When temptations are about…when the world’s siren call comes….and the devil tricks….

…..then we must pray…..hold Thou me up in Thy Word…..

….give me understanding to know….and grace to do……so that we may hold out against these temptations…and find His “way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

The Word is what Jesus used, when He was tempted by the devil. (Luke 4:4, 8, 12)

He could have easily used His deity to defeat the devil….

…..but instead….showed us the weapon we should use, when under attack….”It is written”…the Word of God.

The Word of God is called “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17)….for it is by His reminding us of His Word….and by His power through it…that it is effectual for us….against our enemies…now.

(A few verses that have helped me:

1). Romans 14:22 “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing that he alloweth.”

What we know we should not do…..we should not do, that our conscience stays yielding to the Holy Spirit.

2). 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort:

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

Our testimonies about what God has done for us….though they seem little to us…carry a great deal of weight with the Holy Spirit….they are reality…and He blesses them.

3). Ephesians 5:16 “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Each day brings things we never expected….so be prepared in the Lord…by prayer, before you begin the day.

4). Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

Praise God for this….and I ask for it often….”work in me, Lord”…..it is both: to will….for I am sometimes “unwilling” in this thing. And to do….for I am often lazy in this thing.

5). Colossians 3:15-16 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts….and be ye thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;…”

We must yield and stand upon His peace,……and HIs Word must be listened to.

6). 1 Thessalonians 5:8 “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

In how many scriptures does God call us to stand with Him….in light….in this world?

7). 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

We are to be before Him at all times, wherever we are….then our whole life is in an attitude to pray.

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

One of my favorites…..anytime you think you are drifting from God….pull yourself back….To the one constant in your life….God’s love of us…..even when we are quite unloveable. It is like walking in the sunny side of the street!)

The Psalmist says:

Hold Thou me up…..and I shall be safe…

…my own learning, or experience, or skill will not help in times of temptation…..for we are only tempted by something our hearts are interested in.

James 1:14 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lusts, and enticed.”

(Lust is….I want this…and I want it now….whatever this is.)

But Christ Jesus has made a way to escape temptation:

1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Ps 119:114-117 “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Thy Word.

Depart from me, ye evil doers: For I will keep the commandments of my God.

Uphold me according to Thy Word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto Thy statues continually.”

In His hands we are safe….He holds us up….He is our hiding place….His Word guides and enlightens us….and His Holy Spirit empowers us.

Hallelujah, What a Savior!

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

What seest thou, Amos?

Amos 7:7-8 “Thus He showed me and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in His hand.

And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline, Then said the Lord, Behold, I set a plumbline in the midst of My people Israel: I will not again pass by them anymore.”

A plumbline is a line with a heavy pointed weight on the end of it. Held up for a wall in building……..it shows whether the wall is straight…or crooked.

No matter how high you build it….or with what you build….if the wall is not straight (though it may appear so), it is out of alignment, and hinders more building.

The Lord was standing, with a plumbline to measure Israel’s righteousness….and it was not coming out straight…

In previous visions Amos had seen judgement come upon Israel……and the Lord had listened to the pleas of His prophet for His people….for mercy….

….but now He did not permit Amos to intercede….judgement had to come for those who were “crooked”.

Israel was built on God Word……upon sacrifices which pictured Christ Jesus….upon a Law, that if followed, lead to blessings….

…but they “perverted” their way…or made them crooked.

Jeremiah 3:21 “A voice was heard upon high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God.”

Israel was to have been a “wall”. A bulwark for God in the midst of the world’s idolatry.

Yet now, they were like a wall out of plumb,…unable to manifest His strength, and His honor against His enemies.

And here is the plumbline, with which God measured Israel:

Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

(The Lord wanted His people to come and “agree” with Him, in the ways of their lives….all the parts of their life.

He wants the same with us…..

…Life is many agreements with Him….bringing us to the place in our experience that we are fully submitted to His Will….and the way He is going to bring His Will to pass….with me.

We might be a “church goer”, or someone who is busy with serving others,….but if that is hiding something in your life that you are refusing to give to the Lord Jesus Christ….then we are out of plumb….we are not coming to the agreements with Christ that He wants.

“My son, give Me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways.” Proverbs 23:26 “Observe”, here, means to maintain and obey in the Hebrew)

One of these agreements He wanted with Israel, was….they were to be His people,…..accepting His honor….

…..and they were to honor Him….

…they were to worship Him in heart and life,…not just in words.

This would have made them a wall…straight and strong….honoring HIs Name, His Word, and praising Him…and He would have strengthened them, and given them victory against their enemies. (Psalm 8:1-2)

Yet, now, God holds the plumbline to measure their straightness (Matthew 7:13-14)

Those who conform to His Word, were saved….but those who were “out of plumb” with Him, would be judged.

He had sent Amos to warn them…..to tell them, He will not pass by this….

……will they come and agree with Him?

That was for Israel,….but what about us…..His people now….His church?

Christ Jesus said that in the last days:

Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

Why shall their love wax cold? Because of iniquities.

(An iniquity is anything unequal to our high calling in Christ Jesus.)

This is not open sin…..but something which might even seem Ok…..but which we, who belong to Him,…..should not do….

(I could suggest: certain movies, certain books, making fun of people, wanting “bad things” to happen to our enemies…….any thing which puts you out of place with the convictions of the Holy Spirit, as a Christian…

…and this can be done as an individual…or a group. This is personal….for our convictions are personal from Him.)

When we commit iniquity….the Holy Spirit will convict us….He will remind us that we belong to Christ….

….soon, if we will not listen…..our love of Christ is turned into…just a duty to Christ….

….our service becomes obligations…..which makes us “weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9)

Like a ship in the harbor against a pier….that is not moored properly.

The gentlest waves push it against that pier (the very place of safety) and can completely ruin it…..without it ever being in stormy seas.

The very obediences to Christ, which bring joy to our hearts, and purpose to our lives….can by “small” iniquities, become “burdens”…..which can wreak our joy and peace.

But when we line up everything in our life,….with the plumbline of “For His Sake”.

When what we do, or not do…..is just that…..”For His Sake”…..then our wall is straight….and strong.

Our service takes on a lightness,….when it is a matter of love for Him.

Have we lost our joyful yielding to His Voice?

Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Moses and the mountains

In scripture, mountains represent two things….impossible difficulties, which only God can surmount (and we all have those in our lives)….

….and places of close, personal dealing with God; where we grow intimately closer to Him.

Moses had several such experiences in the mountains.

Exodus 3:1-3 “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.”

Here Moses “turns aside” from his everyday routine……and meets God.

He hears His Voice in a bush which burned, without burning up….on a mountain.

This was his calling….”come close to Me, and go for Me…..and deliver My people from the bondage of Pharaoh”.

Moses is given God’s Word….and told…”return unto thy people”.

(Our calling is often among the people around us…whether in our own home or church, or town…..though it may lead elsewhere.)

Moses did that….bringing them by God’s Word, out of Egypt….and across the Red Sea, on dry ground.

Three months later:

Exodus 19:1-3 “In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.

….and there Israel camped before the mount.

And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying….”

Again Moses hears God’s Voice,….this time with a promise for His people….

Exodus 19:5-6 “Now therefore , if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine:

And ye shall be unto a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. Those are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”

Sinai was where God entered into a covenant relationship with Israel….there they became a nation, not just a family.

Four times Moses went up into the mountain:

(Exodus 19:19-20) When God came down on Mt. Sinai, Moses was called up in the mountain for instruction to the people.

(Exodus 24:12-13) God called Moses the first time to receive instruction for the Tabernacle and to get the Ten Commandments written on stone….these tablets he threw down and broke, when the people sinned, worshipping the golden calf…Exodus32:19.

(Exodus 32:30-33) Moses went up to God in the mountain to intercede for Israel, because of their sin with the golden calf.

(Exodus 34:1, 4) God called Moses up to the mountain to receive a new tablet containing the Ten Commandments….and saw His glory.

Each time God spoke to him, giving Moses His pattern for access to Him.

(And often our mountain experience is when we have new insight from God for our lives….which brings us into a closer relationship with Him.

Like Moses we have often prayed…..”I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory.”

But we notice, Moses had to leave the people at the bottom of the mountain….and even Joshua, his minister….was left at a low level.

He had to travel up….alone. Most of the time, we too, need to leave the crowd, to gain closer union with God.)

The next mountain Moses climbed was about thirty nine years later….that mountain was mount Hor, for it was time for Aaron, the high priest (Moses brother)…..to die.

Numbers 20:25-26 “Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor:

And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there.”

All three went up the mountain, but only two: Moses and Eleazar, now as high priest, came down, to continue to minister.

It was time for Aaron to die….and that shows that there is a time for all of us…whether sickness, or accident….death will come to those we love. He was not alone….Moses and his son were there….and God, of course….to take his hand.

And they mourned for Aaron for thirty days.

(Sometimes our mountain experience is grief…..grief is one of those things that is very hard to deal with…for often we do not know how it will affect us.

I have seen solid people fall apart….in grief.

I have seen the faithful….question God for a time.

I have seen children, bewildered….because parents lack the courage to speak about these things [instead of giving hope and confidence in God to these little ones, they give vague answers….which are not answers.]

Some cry and mourn out loud….and others silently.

Some grow angry that there was not more time….thinking of things unsaid, or things undone.

But grief….is our heart’s feeling, when a loved one goes away [in the Hebrew it means “to carve”….and their loss will “carve a place for them that is empty…unfilled in us”.]

It hurts us, for we will miss them, and their voice….speaking to us.

But, like all “hurts”….there is our Beloved Physician, Jesus Christ…..who fills their loss with good: good memories, good courage, good peace….

…..and it is good, if we like Moses and Israel here….take time to mourn.

“Mourn” means to pour out your hurt (that means the hurt is gone, but not the memories)…and for us Christians….we should pour it out to God.)

The next mountain that Moses climbed was Pisgah.

It was on the far side of Jordon….for he could not go into the land because in his anger he disobeyed God, the second time he brought water from the Rock.

(The Rock symbolized Christ….giving life giving water to His people. Moses struck it once in Horeb (Exodus 17:6)….this showed that all the blessings we receive, are because Jesus was smitten for us.

…..the next time he was to bring water from the Rock, Moses was to speak to it…showing Christ Jesus in ascension glory, giving blessing to His people, from heaven, when we ask.

But Moses, in anger struck the Rock again….having a fit, and disobeying God.

After all God had showed Moses, his temper-tantrum barred him from Canaan. Deuteronomy 32:51)

On Pisgah, God showed Moses the land:

Deuteronomy 3:27 “Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.”

Deuteronomy 34:1, 5 “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho: and the Lord showed him all the land…

So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.”

This time the mountain brought him, not just to see the Lord’s glory….but the Lord Himself in heaven.

His work was done….now his ministry he had accomplished by shepherding the second generation, would be blessed….but without him, for under Joshua (who was Moses helper. Exodus 24:13) all Israel went in to possess the Land.

(This is a great mountain….for when we die, as Christians, we are in the hands of God….our spirits and souls go with Him….but our body stays here(Deuteronomy 34:6) for a while….one day it will be raised to a glorified body, as well.

Moses work was done….and he had prepared others to go on…..are we preparing for our final journey….and for others to go on without us?)

But there is one more mountain for Moses: and this is a Hallelujah one!

Luke 9:28-31 “And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, He (Jesus) took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.

And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering.

And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elijah:

Who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.”

Jesus is praying on the mountain, and His Father sends Him Moses, representing the Law….and Elijah, representing the Prophets to talk to Him….

……about “His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem”.

Moses finally got into the Land, in his glorified body,….standing on a mountain, talking to the Son of God/ the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, face to face.

And what other subject would they have?….but the great work Christ would accomplish for Salvation at Jerusalem….what a conversation that would have been!

(And this mountain show us that, in heaven, we will be able to talk to Jesus face to face….in our glorified bodies….and with other believers.)

The “mountain” experiences of our lives are there to bring us closer to the Lord…to give us a desire to grow even more closer.

What of us? Are we “turning aside” from our everyday lives, to hear God’s voice…even on the more difficult mountains of experience?

Are we seeking a closer view of God, no matter what others feel about Him?

God has mountain experiences for us….do we want them?

Moses did….and had them….do we?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Come let us Reason together

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

This is one of my favorite verses in the Old Testament.

Think of it! The Almighty God wants us to come and give Him our reasons for our behavior.

And He will listen to them, and then, He will give us His reasons for His Way of doing things!

I have always been amazed at that much love to us!

This is reality, sinking deep within your soul. This requires honesty.

We can all blurt out feelings,….things which we may or may not really mean.

But Christ Jesus wants us to get honest, with ourselves (with the help of His Holy Spirit) about what is going on.

And then to tell Him.

“Come” , shows that we are far away from Him. So Come, now.

“Let us” means that this is not one-sided, but “us” talking.

(What a nice word, “us”, when it is the Lord and I)

“Reason together” means that we come, wanting to tell our side, but willing to be corrected, and go to His side.

This is intelligent conversation.

“Though your sins be as scarlet”: and who can say that their’s is not? Not me!

“They shall be white as snow”: by His cleansing us in His precious blood.

He died to save us; was raised to empower us; and intercedes for us in all we do.

If we are born again, He gave us His Holy Spirit, Who is with us always…..Who

helps us to get honest, for He is the God of all Truth;…….and helps us interpret our emotions, so we can see where we truly are,…..and what we truly want.

With God with us, even when we are out of the Way, He will help us.

He is the Creator,…we are His creatures. He created us, for He has a Purpose for us.

And we must come;……always we must come to Him, for all we need.

If we learn the lesson of coming before His throne, as creature before the Creator: knowing our weakness, and His Might, then we have learned a lesson which will be the corner stone of our life.

He calls: Come now, let us reason together.

He wants to hear from you.

And you to hear from Him.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

A Certain King made a marriage for His Son

Matthew 22:2-6 “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.”

The Lord told this parable about the preparation for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9).

The first servants sent forth were the prophets in the Old Testament….and Israel “would not come”.

God had wanted a Theocracy….where He was their king, but Israel refused to have Him as their king.

The second servants were the disciples which were sent out to preach the kingdom of God is at hand, when Jesus was on earth. (Matthew 10:5-7)

Everything was ready for the kingdom to be set up then….but “they made light of it, and went their ways”….

….”one to his farm”….(farms were quite complete in themselves)….to his own little world, without God.

….”another to his merchandise”….looking for profit from God, not to obey Him.

….”the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them”….John the Baptist was refused, and then beheaded…and he was the forerunner of Christ.

The message having been refused by Israel….God sends Rome against Israel and destroys Jerusalem (70 A.D.) (Matthew 22:7)

God sends other servants to bring in guests to His Son’s marriage supper.

Matthew 22:9-10 “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.”

Some believe this to be the church sent out into the world with the gospel….

2 Peter 3:9, 13-14 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for the new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”

….others believe it to be the Jewish believers, sealed and sent out in the Tribulation period….preaching Christ as the true Lord and Son of God, to Israel again.

Revelation 7:3, 9, 14 “Saying, Hurt not the earth,….till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes,…

….And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

As the parable says….His servants went out and the “wedding was furnished with guests”.

Now you would think that would be the end of it….but…(and I believe this to be the true message of this parable Jesus is telling, for us today……we are to be ready to meet the King…and there is only one way to be ready.)

There are two calls given by the gospel:

The general call, which is heard by many….who hear it and only respond to the promise of the call….and not to receive Christ.

Then there is the effectual call, which is heard by those who open up their hearts and lives to Christ.

It is termed effectual, because it effects a real change in the Ruler, and direction of our life.

Matthew 22:11-14 “And when the king came into see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

Then said the king to the servants, bind him hand and foot, and take him a way, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Are you wearing the wedding garment which is the righteousness of Christ imputed to all who receive Him by faith?

For when you had an audience with a king….a proper garment was provided to you….you did not go in, with your own garments on.

This man, however, appeared before the king without it….representing all who firmly believe they are ready for His kingdom to come….but are not.

There are many good people….yet their goodness does not lead them to faith.

There are many people who have a knowledge of God,….but knowledge does not give us faith.

All our righteousness is as filthy rags….

Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

If we trust in our own goodness, kindness, or right living….we certainly will be “taken away” in our iniquities (iniquities is anything unequal to our high calling in Christ Jesus)…

……we can only be “ready” to come before the King if we come to Christ and receive Him as Lord and Savior…..and put on Christ.

Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”

For anyone to be saved, they must turn from their “own ways”, and come to Christ.

Have you heard the call to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, and have you come to Him?

Or are you still making excuses and going your “own way”?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Have you Heard the Lord call you?

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

This is a story of a believer, who has gone to sleep. But she hears the voice of her Lord, in her heart, and she awakes.

So far, so good.

Then with her understanding, she hears Him call to her to open to Him.

This opening up of her life, is different than the Salvation she has already experienced. For He calls her, His sister; being joint-heirs with Christ.

Romans 8:16-17 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.”

She has had fellowship with the Lord; and has gone on in that fellowship to be called His dove.

Now a dove can see only one thing at a time, and this has been her experience in Christ; keeping her eyes on Him.

Song of Solomon 1:15 “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves eyes.”

Matthew 6:22 “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

He calls her His undefiled. This shows, that in that love relationship, she has gone on with Him;…..so she is being saved from the defilements of the world, and self.

1 John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

But this calling, here, is a deeper calling, for Jesus calls her, as the One who sweat great drops of blood as in the garden (Luke 22:44).

But there seems to be a hinderance to His call,….

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

It would seem that having experienced so much of Her Lord, she has become a little proud. (Remember, one of the things the Lord deals with His own about is the “pride of life”)

“I have put off my coat”…….simply means she had begun to put off the old man with it’s deeds.

Colossians 3:9 “Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds;”

Was she now to be defiled by working in the world?

“I have washed my feet”……..All her sins were confessed, up to date. And she had been cleansed from them. If she ventures out into the world to work for Jesus, won’t she again be contaminated by it?

These might have been very good questions,…..if…..Jesus were not the One calling her to go out with Him,…..to the work of bringing souls to Christ.

Song of Solomon 5:4-5 “My beloved put his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.

I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.”

The ancient doors used to have holes in them by the handle, so that when someone dear would come, they would put perfume (myrrh) on the inside of the door handle, to show they had been there.

Though she had hesitated to go further with the Lord,…..for what she thought were good reasons;……still she loves Him and is moved to go and open her hearts door again to His Call.

When she does, her hands drip with the perfume of myrrh.

(Myrrh was used to anoint the bodies of the dead, before burial, and was one of the treasures brought to Jesus at His birth by the wise men.)

So Jesus Christ is calling this loved one to go with Him into the experience of intercession, and travail for those He wants saved…..

and to work for those who are babes in Christ,….to help them, grow up in Him.

Often, this is a hard work, for it recognizes our imperfections, as well as those of others.

Also, it is a long work; it is not done in a day, or even a week; but till Christ be formed in them.

Galatians 4:19 “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,”

But she had opened,……..but she found Him gone.

Christ never retracts a calling; but He often withdraws the feeling of His presence, to prove us.

Will we become angry?

Or will be seek Him?

Song of Solomon 5:6 “I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer:”

She seeks Him. She sought Christ Jesus in the usual means….of prayer and church services…..hoping to find Him there.

She calls to Him to speak to her again, but it seemed as if He was refusing to call again.

She had come so far with Him, and now she had failed Him, the dearest Friend she had ever had.

She wanted to go back to the way things were….but the call had come, and she was either going to seek till she did find,……or yield to the pride she had shown earlier.

What follows is a conversation between her, and those who would seek Him also.

“What is thy beloved more that another beloved?” They ask. (Song of Solomon 5:9-16)

Then she describes His Greatness, His strength in times of her weakness,…….and that He is the altogether lovely One to her.

Song of Solomon 5:16 “His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”

When she describes Him, she realizes that He has never left her, but proved her love to Him.

Did she love Him?…….Or His gifts?

She loved Him, and found Him.

They were united in the work as well as in life.

Theirs was a love relationship; And true love follows to the end, for the Loved One.

Have you heard the Lord call you? Perhaps you have hesitated, too. Listen to the love in your heart for Jesus, and answer His call.

Jeremiah 29:13 “And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.”

His, has been and is an everlasting love, for us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Mightily Grew the Word and Prevailed

Acts 19:20 “So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed.”

And how is it, that the Word grew?

Background:

Paul was in Ephesus. He had been preaching there for about two years….”so that all they that dwell in Asia (Minor) heard the Word of the Lord Jesus…”

He had also, by the Holy Spirit, worked miracles.

Acts 19:10-12 “And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they that dwell in Asia heard the Word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:

So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs and aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.”

When we hear the Word…it makes demands on our life; which we either yield to, or refuse.

All, in this area, had heard….God was making demands on their lives about His Son, Jesus Christ…

And by Paul, the Lord was healing many from spiritual and physical illness.

Paul not only preached the Word of God, concerning Jesus Christ,….but that Word prevailed (had the victory over) in Paul….so it could prevail, through Paul.

But when God does a work, then there are always those that seek to mimic it, especially for money…..some were even using the names of Jesus and Paul…

Acts 19:13, 15-16, 20 “Then certain…took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.

And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them and overcame them….so they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

This was known to all….dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

So mightily grew the word of God, and prevailed.”

The Name of the Lord Jesus was magnified….for God showed that He will not honor the use of His Name,…… except by those who believe and receive Him, as Lord and Savior.

His Name is powerful only to those who shelter beneath Him, in believing obedience.

The Word of God is the instrument of salvation.

1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”

Now this Word lives and abides.

If it is not a living Word to you, you have not heard it aright.

If the Word does not make demands on your life, you have not heard it aright.

The gospel must wound, before it can heal.

It wounds our pride: we are sinners, like everyone else.

It wounds our reason: we can do nothing to save ourselves.

It wounds our hearts: it points out our secret sins.

“And the Name of the Lord Jesus was magnified”.

Here was the prevailing influence. He showed that He would honor His servants…..but not those who did not know Him, and only wanted to use Him (Matthew 7: )

“And fear fell on them all”….the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom….and it drew many to believe on the Lord Jesus, through HIs Word.

The fear that Jesus Christ knew their heart’s motives as well.

Acts 19:18-19 “And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds.

Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.”

And many that believed came and confessed…

God requires honesty….getting right with Him….and your brethren.

And showed their deeds,….to know the healing power of forgiveness from these things.

Acts 19:19 “…and burned them before all men:…”

This was an act most necessary to have done with it all.

And the results?

Acts 19:20 “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”

God’s Word was being shared….and it was having the victory in the lives of these people.

Do we want to know the power of the Word of God?

Then we must give ourselves to God….to be prevailed upon.

If we, in believing obedience act upon what I know He requires of me now….I will know that prevailing power for myself.

There is for each of us, that power that is “exceeding, abundantly, above all that we ask or thing….according to the power that works within us”. (Ephesians 5:20)

Are we born again? Are we sheltered under Him, and obedient to His Word?

Then that Word will prevail in us…..and through us.

It is in knowing His Will, and doing it.

And as His children, we are as responsible to know His Will,….as to do it.

In our progressive walk before the Lord, we must always leave the better…..for the best.

This must always be done if the Word of God is to prevail through me…..it must prevail in me….where I am….with the circumstances I am in now.