Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Grace,…and Noah.

God, is the God of all grace

1 Peter 5:10 “But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect (complete), stablish, strengthen, settle you.”

Grace is spoken of, for the first time, in Genesis.

It is seen in Noah. “He found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

The world had become so wicked, that God saw that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was evil continually. “All flesh had corrupted his way…”

Romans 1:21, 23 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”

Men knew God, yet they chose to worship animals..

Adam had lived nine hundred and thirty years to tell to all his children of the Eden he knew, and the sin which drove him from it. Also to tell of the promise of a coming Savior. (Genesis 3:15)

Yet….”And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8)……it was the grace of God, not the graces of Noah that God saw.

But notice it says, “Noah found grace”….as though he had been searching for it….grace is the unmerited favor of power….power, to help Noah live in, but not of, the world around him.

And he sought it from God… Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord…..for only The Lord can give grace.

This was a terrible time…sin had reached a height that could not be ignored….

Noah lived around it everyday…..

Got married…..had three sons….and he felt the contamination surrounding himself and his family….

Then when the sin of man had reached it’s worst….God speaks of grace….

….grace given to Noah, for a special ministry and work.

Where grace comes, God is obeyed. For grace brings the creature to rely solely on the Creator.

Grace is the power of God to change men’s hearts…..and in the middle of the worst wickedness….Noah is just…speaking of his faith.

Genesis 6:9 “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.”

A walk with God, means a walk against the ways of the world….and the people of the world….and their sin.

Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

Faith and grace go together…..Faith shows us God, and keeps Him before us…..

….grace enables us to persevere…..under varying trials, mocking, and persecution.

Noah, even before he began to build the Ark….had set his heart against the opinion and actions of the rest of the world.

The ground of faith is on God’s Word….and Noah had heard Him…”being warned of God” (Hebrews 11:7)

He was going to hear and obey God….no matter what others did…..or thought about him, for doing so. That is faith.

For one hundred years, while the ark was being built,….and the animals (seven pairs of the clean animals, and the unclean animals by two….one pair) were being brought….

….Noah preached to those who would gather around, looking at this strange sight….a large boat on dry land….telling of the judgement of God to come…..and of something which had not yet happened…..rain.

(Till that time, a mist had come up and watered the ground. Genesis 2:4-6)

2 Peter 2:5 “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;”

One thing I want to mention here,…..the people had turned from worship of God to the worship of animals…..

So God, had Noah, His servant…..bring all the animals,……following him….the man that follows God….toward the ark! The ark that God said would be built to save those that believed Him!

What a testimony of the worthlessness of worshipping these creatures, that should have been.

What a showing of the real power of God to them all……if they had wanted to turn and believe.

Genesis 6:22 “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”

“Faith, if it hath not works is dead, being by itself” (James 2:17).

This faith believed God…..and prepared an ark,……gathered the animals,…..preached to those all around him as he went and did these things…..

…these were hard things….expensive things….yet, Noah did these hard things, by faith…in grace…

…..and in doing so, left a witness which condemned the rest of the world….

….but also won for him the blessing of God, and the peace of God, in it all.

Seven days before the rain began, God told Noah, to begin moving in the animals (Genesis 7:9)…..it took seven days.

On the seventh day…..the rain began:

Genesis 7:11, 13 “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the dame day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.”

In the selfsame day entered, Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;”

Everything was ready, and they had heard God say, “Come thou and all thy house into the ark;…” Genesis 7:1

There was just one door into the ark….and one window. (Genesis 6:16)

Now the door was wide open to get every thing in…..along with Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives.

It had begun to rain…..and I am sure, at the start of this, people became convinced of their judgement…..and started to run either higher in their buildings….or toward the ark….

But Noah did not shut the door…..the Lord did.

Genesis 7:16 “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him:….

(In the beginning God had made male and female, man and woman….so now, God again stresses His Way, and has the animals go in two by two….and Noah and his wife, the sons with their wives, together, into the ark….the only place of safety, against God’s judgement.)

….and the Lord shut him in.”

The door had been opened to all who would come and repent and believe;…..but now the door was shut…..by the Lord….and would not be opened till the Lord gave the Word.

All outside became a watery grave….cries became quiet…..the rain was the only sound….till after forty days it stopped.

The ark continued to float and move at God’s Will for almost a year

But God’s grace continued on through it all.

The warning,

The work and preparation,

The moving of everything in,

The rain,

The new earth….one year later Noah and his family were told to….”Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons and thy son’s wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing…” (Genesis 8:16-17)

And the first thing done by Noah, was an altar: “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord;…and offered burnt offerings on the altar.” (Genesis 8:20)

Genesis 9:1 “And God blessed Noah….”.

This is the first time, since Adam was in Eden, before his sin…..that God is said to bless anyone.

The flood was not Noah’s idea….but he took his place in God’s Will for it.

The ark was not Noah’s design….but he did all God’s Will for it.

The animals were not Noah’s thought….but he went to wherever they were and brought them in, according to God’s Will.

The time to return to the earth was not Noah’s time….but he went out when God said, and built an altar of worship and thanksgiving.

Faith always shows us God….and keeps Him before us.

Where grace comes….God is obeyed.

And this same grace lives within each of our hearts, if we are born again by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

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

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

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

This is how everyone is born again….by grace (the unmerited favor of God’s power)….through faith (given by the Holy Spirit to all who come to God in Christ Jesus).

And we are “His workmanship”….for His good works.

We have no flood ahead….or ark to build…..but we all have a world around us that we are to live in….but not of;

….and God’s Will to do.

Let us receive His grace….all we can get, and be obedient….today.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

How did we get here?

Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent for His Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

God’s purpose for the earth has to do with Christ and His glory….before times eternal God the Father made the Everlasting Covenant with His Son.

God the Father would draw a people to His Son, if……

……Jesus would come to earth and live a perfect life…..in this wicked world…..and if you read about the world, Jesus lived in…it was a desperate and despicable place.

It was as if the devil knew the Son of God was coming, and wanted to make it impossible to live a perfect life.

And then die a perfect sacrifice….He would receive the reward of His labors…..us. (Isaiah 53:10. Think of how marvelous a thought that is!)

In Bethlehem, He was born…..but promise concerning His birth began, right as soon as sin enter the world, through Adam. The promise of a Savior, to save us from our sin. Hallelujah!

Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee (the devil) and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

Jesus Christ who came to save the world from sin, would be born of a woman.

Christ would bruise the devil’s head (on the cross when Jesus said “it is finished”, the victory over sin and death was won)

The devil would bruise Christ ‘s heel (the mocking, beatings, the betrayal)

Abraham was chosen to be the one who God spoke to next, about His beloved Son:

Genesis 17:7 “And I will establish My covenant between me and thee and thy Seed after thee in their generations for a everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy Seed after thee.”

Seed not seeds

Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ.”

Under Jacob (and he was a schemer, but he really did want the spiritual blessing…..the birthright….which was to have the Christ come through his line. Genesis 25:31-33)

In Jacob’s last blessing for his sons, God made known in prophesy that Judah would be the tribe from which Christ would come.

Genesis 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.”

This prophesy continued until David….then God added more information…..Christ would come as King through David’s line:

2 Samuel 7:25-26 “And now, O Lord God, the word that Thou has spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as Thou hast said.

And let Thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of Thy servant David be established before Thee.”

Matthew 1:1 “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.”

The line is set….but one more promise:

Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

A virgin…..a total miracle will take place in the womb of a woman….whose known no man……and He will be the Son of God placed within her.

This was the last promise….until….

Luke 1:26-27, 31-32, 35 “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father David:

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Although God had chosen Mary, it was still up to Mary to choose God.

Of course, she did….

Luke 1:38 “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to Thy Word. And the angel departed from her.”

The title of this is……How did we get here?

How did a sinful world get a Savior, and King?

It was all planned for us in eternity past…..a Savior and King…..and as the years rolled down the promise was added to,…..some believed, some did not.

It is the same to day.

Some believe the testimony of His Word, and others do not…..

But it is certain I am in the time and place that the Lord wants me…..and so for you.

Out of all the world of men, God called Abraham

Out of two brothers God chose Jacob

Out of twelve brothers God chose Judah

Out of many thousands of virgins in Israel….at the time of Roman rule….He chose Mary.

And Jesus plainly says “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you (made provision for), that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.” (John 15:16)

He chose us, made provision for us, and called us……now, like Mary, we need to choose God….His Son, His Lordship, His Will and Way.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Make Room For Christ, by Repentance

Luke 3:2-6 “…the word of God came unto John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

And he came into all the country about Jordon, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;

And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Baptism was done to proselytes (Gentiles who wanted to be admitted into the worship of God). Then they could go into the Temple. (There was a court of the Gentiles)

But here, John the Baptist comes to Israel, God’s chosen people; and preaches repentance from their sins, as he was told to do…..by baptism.

Prepare yourselves: for the Lord is coming.

If you want to be in the kingdom of God, prepare your hearts by repentance, and bring forth fruit in your life that shows that you have repented.

Luke 3:8-9 “Bring forth therefore fruits of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the tree: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn (cut) down, and cast into the fire.”

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” But how? Bring all who would hear, to the place that they know that the Christ is coming to set all things in order…..

Malachi 4:4-6 “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant….

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

“To turn the hearts”…..that is repentance. To remember who we are….the called of the Lord,….and what should first….in our lives.

Luke 3:10-11 “And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?

He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”

These were simple things which were written in the Law. But the poor state of most of the people, had caused them to think only of themselves.

Luke 3:12-13 “Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?

And he said unto them, Exact no more then that which is appointed you.”

Publicans were tax collectors, and were most often cheats.

They demanded extra taxes to be paid, and kept the extra. The people could not say anything about it, for they were under the authority of Rome.

Luke 3:14 “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.”

Again, these would have been things which were written in the Law. Things which they should have already been doing.

But everyone had stopped paying any attention to God’s Word: going, instead, after their own way, or the way of the times (everyone else is doing it, so I can too.).

The “valleys to be filled”, were those who had given up: depressed, despondent; they were to be given joy in the Lord.

The mountains and hills to be “brought low”, were the proud and rich, with the attitude of piling up riches, to gain power or influence. Not caring about their responsibility in caring for their brethren. They were to come to a new understanding about mercy. (Matthew 9:11-13)

The “crooked” were the flagrant sinners; those who everyone knew to be sinners.

They were to be saved and “sin no more”. (John 8:11)

The “rough ways” were the practices of the scribes and Pharisees, which instructed the people in the traditions; yet did not practice them, themselves.

All needed repentance. To change their hearts and lives. To live according to the Word they had already received. To make room for Christ.

Isaiah said, “…make straight in the desert a highway for our God….And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh see it together ; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 40:3-5)

A highway is a road built up; set up above the ground around. It is a road that all can see, for it is higher than the fields and streams.

John the Baptist came building up a way that all could see and follow.

It would be straight;….and all who would repent and come,….could walk in it.

Isaiah 35:8 “And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”

“Wayfaring men” are those whose whole lives are moving from one thing to another. Yet even though they are just passing by, they will know God’s Will for them.

John the Baptist came preaching and baptizing all who wanted to have the reality of true worship of the Lord.

The people who knew they were not right, and wanted to be. Maybe they were called the “down-and-out”……

Maybe they were so far from God, they thought they would never be able to come back…..

But John preached to all: and whosoever will, may come.

Then Jesus came.

“And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

John 1:29 “The next day John seeing Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!”

Matthew 3:16-17 “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lightening upon Him:

And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

He was the Son of God, having come to take away the sins of the world.

And when He had done that by the sacrifice of Himself, and after His resurrection:…..the message to all His disciples was:

Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

May I ask you: what will we do with His Word?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The God of Peace.

God is a God of peace in two ways…..

…in HIs very attributes He is peace….nothing “ruffles” Him….nothing takes Him by surprise….

….all things move forward…at His time and at His decree.

God is also a God of peace….to us, who have been born again….for we are in Christ Jesus.

First, He can be at peace with us, because of His Son’s life, sacrifice, resurrection, and ascension in power.

Second He sets our hearts right, practically….giving us peace by His Holy Spirit from sin and self.

Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

Make you perfect in every good work to do His Will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

I love the book of Hebrews…

(I once taught a Sunday school class in it for two years…..Hebrews has amazing lessons which are written to to a weak and wobbly people. But aren’t we weak and wobbly at times? That is why it was so amazing….every lesson dealing with something the devil uses to trick or “shake” us.)

….it starts out with Christ in the Heavens….having come and “spoken” to us of HIs Father God….drawing our eyes up to heaven where Christ sits at the right hand of God in all power…for us.

….and ends…calling each of us to “let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.”

….and then Paul prays to the God of peace….

….Who raised Jesus from the death of perfect sacrifice….and accepted His blood in payment for our sin…

….that the mighty God of peace….would “make you”….mold and shape us…that our outward obediences would be in love to Him (perfect means complete; and nothing is complete without love to Him)

…and that inwardly, we would be molded into His character….through Jesus Christ.

Let me tell you about the power of Christ’s life…..for this whole book is a praise to Him:

He came….and manifested HIs Father.

He came….as very God and very Man, under the angels….to elevate us into the Presence and Peace of God.

He came….as a High Priest to sacrifice Himself to God….not under Aaron’s priesthood, but under Melchisedec.

He came and ascended, and is now before the throne of God….for us. (Hebrews 9:11-12)

He came that we might come before God…..by Him (Hebrews 10:19-20)

Then the writer warns….we who have received Christ….must live by faith in Him, and “hold on”,….and gives examples of those who by faith, did.

Then the writer says…

Hebrews 12:2-4 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the enjoy that was set before Him endured the cross despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”

This world is in chaos….and we too are affected, often. But, praise God, He is peace….and bids us receive His peace and stand with Him.

God is a God of Peace to us, because of Christ.

In Christ’s life we have all things we need.

Hallelujah what a Savior!

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Are you an Overcomer?

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

Before you can become the overcomer of Revelation 3:21; you must open the door of your life to Christ.
He will not knock down the door and come in; nor will He force His way in some other way.
He calls to the individual that hears His voice, to open to Him. It is a Life, open to and receptive to Him, that counts.

This is not sinless perfection; but the desire to have the fellowship offered by the Lord, here.
He will not force us to have this fellowship which is suggested in the, “sup with him, and he with me”.
It all rests with our “want to”.
You will never have the Reality of the love relationship that He intends, until the Holy Spirit has created within you this want to.

(What is the want to?
It is not just feelings….like the want to of a new car.
It is not just reasons….like a mathematical problem solved.
It is the new nature within you replacing the desires of this world, with the desire of God’s rule within.
“The lack of desire is the ill of all ills.
Many thousand through it, the dark pathway have trod.
The balsam, the wine of predestinate wills,
Is the jubilant pining and longing for God.”

Psalm 119:36 “Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.”
This should be our prayer….and God will answer within us by placing that fire of “want to” within.
Psalm 119:40 “Behold, I have longed after Thy precepts: quicken me in Thy righteousness.”)

We can know and claim His love to us. All His children can. But before you can really say “I love you” to Christ; you must give up loving yourself so much.
Again, it is the want to .

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.”

And what do we overcome?
Everything which stands in the way of God’s Will for our lives.
This is what Christ did while He was on earth,…..so must we.
We overcome fear, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit,….and trust.

We overcome ourselves in every way, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and deny ourselves, and be obedient to Christ.

We overcome circumstances, in the power of the Holy Spirit, joy for sorrow, peace for chaos, patience for worry, and anger. He empowers. He gives grace (the unmerited favor of power)

To overcome anything is to yield to Christ’s Word, and the Holy Spirit within; and come out of your self life, and into Christ’s life for you.

We must always bear in mind, Who it is that speaks to us. And What He is able to do; even within the most rebellious, or lazy, or selfish thoughts within us.
Christ is able, and has sent His Holy Spirit to us, to enable us in the very place, time, and circumstances, we are in.

Have you heard His voice to you? Is He knocking again for entrance to your life?
It is fellowship that He desires, do you so desire this fellowship, too?

Are you an overcomer? Will you overcome everything which stands in the way of Christ’s life for you?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?

1 Samuel 15:1-3 “Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over His people….now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord.

Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”

To “hearken” in scripture means “to hear intelligently, so you understand what to do, and do it”.

“Hearken, Saul. Hear what the Lord wants done by you….who are at the head of My army….hear, and complete the task,…for Me.”

Saul had not asked to be king….as a matter of fact, he hid from it at first. (1 Samuel 10:21-24)

But now that he was king…..he liked it. The power over the army…the prestige and praise….this was a pretty great job! He was finally “somebody”!

Amalek was the people that attacked after the water was given from the Rock. But they did not stop with that….for they had been defeated that day.

So they came up and would kill the ones who were in the back….the weakest who could not keep up, in sneak attacks….

….and the Lord promised He would not forget what they had done.

Deuteronomy 25:17-19 “Remember what Amalek did unto thee…

How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary: and he feared not God.

Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies….that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.”

Now this task was assigned to Saul…..for the Lord. It was not because Saul thought it a good idea….

…but because the Lord keeps His Word….He sent Saul to destroy Amalek.

But Saul did not destroy Amalek….he took a “trophy” captive….the king…Agag.

And he let the people take the best of the animals as spoil. Some, it is true for a sacrifice to the Lord….but a lot…just for them.

The Lord spoke to Samuel….”It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following Me, and hath not performed my commandments.”

“He is turned back from following Me”…..this disobedience is of the heart, not just of the actions.

This made Samuel sad….but he would speak to Saul for God, one last time….and he did.

1 Samuel 15:16-17 “And Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.

And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?”

“When thou was little in thine own sight.”

How much is said here.

When you had no personal plans or ambitions….then it mattered not what was to be done,…..only that it was God’s Will.

(But it is when we set above God’s Word, and decide what is “better”. We stifle the Holy Spirit.

“No, this can not be the way to do it. Surely God would not care about this or that.”)

And that is what Saul thought…..God would not care about a king taking a king as a trophy…..but it was….”evil in the sight of the Lord?” (1 Samuel 15:19)

Then Saul tried bargaining with Samuel and God…..the people brought these animals for sacrifice….surely God would like that!

And then Samuel said…..

…(I believe ever so sadly….for he had hopes that Saul would be able to lead Israel in obedience….teaching them to follow the Lord, as a nation….but Saul never did.)

1 Samuel 15:22 “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”

Remember, Saul was told to “hearken”…to hear intelligently so you understand what you are to do, and do it.

Saul had heard….with his ears what he was to do.

But his heart had not “understood” the importance of God’s Word.

Saul let his reasoning, and his heart’s desire overrule God’s Will.

(All our religious activities….no matter what they cost….are of no value, without obedience.)

1 Samuel 15:23 “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the Word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king.”

To be rebellious about God’s Will is as bad as practicing witchcraft, and to be stubborn, is as worshipping idols.

Where there is a divided heart….where we think we can have God’s Will and our own….there is danger. For God may let us have our will….what danger that is!

(We think we can never lose out…but we are warned:

2 John 8 “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.”

This has nothing to do with salvation….that is a free gift. But it has to do with our joy and peace here,…..and our reward in heaven. For we receive a reward for those things we have done out of love to the Lord.)

I believe the truth of God is only revealed to us, as Christians,….personally….by obedience.

It is by our full committal to HIs Truth, that we know it. And by full committal I mean…actually doing it.

John 7:17 LNT “If any of you really determines to do God’s Will, then you will certainly know whether My teaching is from God or is merely My own.”

Are we “hearkening to the voice of His Word”?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Rock of our Foundation 

Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the wind blew, and beat upon the house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock.”

Ephesians 2:21-22 “In Whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple unto the Lord:

In Whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.”

A building is laid on the foundation and attached to that foundation; then built on that attachment.

As Christians, when we are born again, we choose to build our “home” on the Foundation of Christ, as our Rock.

But we are attached to that Rock by faith, and love. We build on that.

Our “home” here, in this world, is the life we dedicate to Christ Jesus. We persevere to the end of our life in obedience to Him by exercising our wills to do His Will.

Then we are building our homes on Christ. This is hearing His Word to us, and doing it.

So let us look at our building, and see how our building stands:

Is it straight?

Have we progressed in the straight and narrow way of God, through His Word? Or have we settled unevenly?

Is our faith giving into doubt? Or is our love turning cold?

All houses settle;….in fact it is a good thing, if it settles together.

It actually firms up the house on it’s foundation.

But a house, when it settles unevenly, is (just a little) down on one side, and straight on the other.

Doorways are affected, strength is lessened.

Sometimes, it is not the winds or storms which hinder our building on Christ; but weariness in well doing, and discontent.

We feel we are not getting “ahead” like we should.

(often this is caused by looking at others, and what we think is happening to them; Instead of looking to Jesus. Hebrews 12:2)

But where has the imbalance come from?

Often is comes from focusing too much on the present,……or the future:

When you get to focusing on the present

(let’s face it, things happen that gets us “out of sort”….because they are not what we intended to happen)

…..then we can, forget that there is a goal to reach out for.

When this happens, we need to heed Paul’s exhortation:

Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

For you see, it is always how we deal with what happens that makes the difference: going to God for His Will in it,…..or struggling through yourself, sometimes going nowhere….fast.

There is focusing too much on the future…….the “someday things will be great” attitude…….and forget to see the work done for now.

When we do, we need to:

2 Timothy 1:6-7 “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind [or disciplined mind].”

Hebrews 10:35-36 “Cast not away therefore your confidence [boldness], which hath great recompense of reward.

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

Our lives are a “holy habitation” where the Holy Spirit abides in us, and with us.

We are to face each day with Him, as another chance to:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, praise His holy name.” (Psalm 103:1)

It is when our joy gets silenced,……by doubt, hesitation, anger, guilt, or worldliness;…..then the praise becomes just words….and the emptiness we begin to feel.

Then our peace is attacked…for we feel like God has moved away from us;…….when it is actually us, backing away from Him.

Christ, as our Foundation, our Rock does not move.

Circumstances around us, and the temptations they cause…..make us feel like were in that wind storm….or rain storm;

It is how we deal with those storms; Who we cling to, in obedience to His Word;…..that makes the difference.

And we often waver….

….but He is immovable where we are concerned.

He is a Rock to us…..let us cling to Him….and stand firm.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

If we walk in the Light

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

This is a personal, private, and powerful cleansing.

A child of God, walking in the Light, confesses his sin the moment he sees it, honestly before God.

A child of God, walking in the shadows of life, says, “Oh, I can explain that away; that is because of this reason,…..or that person,…..or some other thing, that I am doing that.

Like when a child says, “It just got broke”……not, “Sorry, I broke it.”

When once the Light breaks into our hearts and minds, the conviction of sin of any sort, comes; and I then, have a choice.

Cover my sin…….or confess it to the Lord.

Proverbs 28:13 “He that covereth his sin shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

The difference is the submission of the heart to Christ.

We many accept His Lordship in a general manner….

But He is not Lord, where obedience is left out.

Light makes manifest.

Song of Solomon 4:6 ” Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and the hill of frankincense.”

When there are shadows between you and the Lord; then there is the influence of the Adversary and the sin that was once there.

Shadows are not substance; that has been dealt with by confession, but the influence of them is there, casting a shadow.

(Why did I do that? How could I be so stupid! Look at what I’ve lost by my sin! What are people thinking about me now? All these and more, makes shadows.)

Until the day break, and that perfect day of nothing between, to separate you from your Lord. Light makes even the shadows flee away.

Proverbs 4:18 “But the path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”

That “perfect day” is the high noon of your experience with Jesus Christ…there is nothing between to cast shadows.

When the dawn breaks; light comes! But that light manifests places of darkness because of this thing and that thing which needs to be dealt with in our lives.

(We are what we are, by a series of choices we have made. And through the circumstances we have been brought up in; or the pain of the moment.)

As the sun rises on the day, less and less shadows appear, because the light is “taking over” the day.

(As we let Christ “take over” in our lives, we are given the knowledge and ability to do His will in our times.)

When the sun gets to high noon, all things are clear and bright.

That is the experience the Lord wants for each of us. Things clear and bright in His Light.

No darkness. No shadows. Nothing to separate us from the love of God.

God is Light. He manifests clearly what is in our lives, if we will with Him, and come to the light.

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

But the final thing is: our choice.

What we choose to do with what we have: Live in the Light He has shown us, or hide among the shadows.

This should be the blessing of our life, that the Almighty God, who loves me, sees, and will help me by His light and love.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Now According to the Faithful and True Witness

Revelation 3:14 “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; these things saith the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the Creation of God.”

I will say here, that we believe that we are called to this Laodicean age. In other words we believe that we are called to Awaken the church to God’s claims on their lives.

As Christians, we are redeemed; we belong to Him, therefore His Will should be the purpose of our lives.

(Yes, we believe that these letters each represent both a real church being written to; and an age within the Church dispensation.

In each letter, the church or the true believers is the focus—not the lost. Jesus Christ is dictating these letters so they will know how He feels about their problems, their tribulations, and their failures; and the grace they need to get, to deal with them.)

Thus saith the Amen.

Now, He alone can say this: this means “Let it be, Let it happen.” He alone is the Affirmation and Confirmation of every Word of God.

We must say, “If God wills.” (James 4:13-15). But He can say Amen, and it will be.

The Faithful and True Witness. A witness just states what He sees and what He knows.

And what does Jesus see when He looks at Laodicea?

Revelation 3:15-16 “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold or hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.”

(Indifference to God, after He has done so much for us; is the very worst state we can possibly be in.

And if continued in, will result in being “spued out of His mouth”.)

And the reason of our indifference?

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

Because we say, that I am rich, and increased with goods….and our attitude is

I “have need of nothing”….not even God’s direction, anymore.

This attitude is:

“I am saved, and for that I will praise You; but let me have my place in this world with all of it’s goods…..

……for I can have heaven and earth; both salvation and the world…..

and do what I want for now.”

But Jesus sees their true condition before Him, and says: And knowest not!

Is it possible to be in such a state and not know it? According to the Faithful and True Witness, it is; and we Laodiceans, are.

We do not know that we are really wretched:

This is a terrible word, but Paul used it of himself when he was testifying of his battle with himself, his “old man”.

Paul was a very religious Pharisee, but he discovered from the Spirit of God, his covetousness.

To covet is to “set the heart upon”.

(When we set our hearts upon something, it takes over our emotions, our reason, and our wills…..we even become unwilling to listen to God,…to have this thing.)

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

Why did he say this? Because he saw that even as a Christian, we have our old nature within us.

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

Paul was having trouble with his old self. He was trying to do what God wanted, but found that his trying often failed.

Paul knew he was wretched.

So what did he do? He sought freedom from self, by the Spirit of God.

Romans 8:2, 4 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Here was the answer to his wretchedness: walking in the Spirit, not in the flesh.

We Laodiceans are trying to do both: be in Christ, and in the world……for ourselves.

Christ Jesus plainly teaches that if you would be a follower of Christ you should deny yourself, pick up your cross [does that sound like something the world would like to be around?] and follow Him.

We are to lose our self-life, to have our Christ- life (Matthew 16:24-26)

That is why the Faithful and True Witness says we are also:

miserable…..how many Christians today are unhappy, discontented.

and poor….not rich in God’s grace by His Spirit, but barely getting by.

and blind….someone has said, we are blind because we have our eyes shut, so we can not see ourselves as Christ sees us.

And naked…..without the righteous acts which are those obediences to God, which separate us from the world, and give a “covering” of peace, and power.

Christ’s witness has been against us so far……..but our blessed Lord Jesus does not leave us (never!); but counsels us, as our Advocate, with the best advice:

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

When we “buy” from Jesus, we are not buying salvation; that is a free gift.

But when we are His, we are to come to Him and get what we need.

He calls it “buying” here because we are to come with the attitude of getting real gain, real value.

To come with the knowledge of our lack; and seek Him for His precious grace, being obedient to His call;….this is to “buy” from Him.

He knows all and counsels us to get gold—gold always speaks of God. So we are to get the true riches of His commanding presence and power in our lives.

(Tried in the fire, is true gold with the dross or admixture burnt out, by the trials of standing with Him)

He counsels us to get white raiment, or the covering of righteous acts, so we will not be ashamed at His coming. (2 John 8-9)

He counsels us to stop being blind, by getting honest (by the Holy Spirit’s help) with Him and with ourselves.

As the Lord told me once: that if any true Christian would get a good look at their own heart, they would want to do something about it immediately.

Then Jesus says to His Laodicean church:

Revelation 3:19-20 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

This is fellowship…

And the power of His presence.

(Psalm 23:5 “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”)

“I will come into him and will sup with him”….these two things the Lord says He will do…..if we will repent and open our lives to Him, again.

Do you hear Him today, calling you to repent of your lukewarmness to Him?

Then answer His voice:

To answer the call of Christ in this Laodicean age, requires not an answer of words at some altar;

But the answer of a life open to and receptive to Him.

None other will do.

He says, “I will”. Will you?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Calling of Matthew

Matthew 9:9 “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.”

Matthew was a publican, or tax collector. These men were hated of their own nation, because they worked for the Romans.

They were also often corrupt, and took more than they were suppose to, or stole from their own people.

But Jesus passed that way, and did something others would not (unless it was in cursing). He spoke to Matthew.

And called him to follow Him as one of His disciples.

By this time He had called the fishermen, Peter, James, and John.

He had preached the sermon on the mount; and a conversation with the scribes, and Pharisees, had been started.

This conversation was about His authority.

Did He have the authority from God to do what He was doing: healing the sick, forgiving sins, and calling disciples?

Many people were interested in His authority; not to submit to it, but to prove it wrong, so they could go on in their own way.

(And this is what Jesus came to save his people out of:

Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”)

So the Pharisees and scribes took every opportunity to question His actions, and His words. If they could just prove Him wrong, then that would prove themselves right. Right?

(Of course, it would not; but sin makes us believe a lie. How much we need a Savior from it!)

Matthew 9:10 “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house (of Matthew), behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.”

After his call to follow Jesus, Matthew invites Him into his home. Anxious to have others of his acquaintance, know Jesus, he has a supper for Him, and invites many.

(Perhaps Matthew was going to give his testimony about how Jesus had called him, and how he knew that it was a call from God; and he had answered it.

They would not see him at the receipt of customs any more, for he knew that Jesus was from God, and he would leave all and follow Him.)

Matthew 9:11-13 “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

And when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

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

Jesus is quoting what God has told His people in the Old Testament. Verses that set forth what God wanted from His people:

Hosea 6:6 “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”

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

God wanted His people to love Him, and each other. The sacrifices, set forth the means of having their sins cleansed, and coming close to God. (They all looked forward to Christ’s sacrifice)

But they were to be given, along with the inward love of their hearts; not just in outward show.

“Mercy”, here, means brotherly kindness. They were always to be helping each other, as brothers. They were to be seeing to their welfare.

And what better way to give mercy to another, than to introduce them to Jesus?

Jesus then rebukes these Pharisees, by saying what His work, as the Son of God is:

“…for I am not come to call the righteous,…..but (to call) sinners to repentance.”

That is what this supper was about. To introduce Matthew’s Master to Matthew’s friends.

Yes, they were publicans and sinners.

But they, like Matthew, needed to hear and see Jesus.

Matthew loved his friends, so he wanted them to know Him, who was the Savior.

This is true love.

Jesus said later:

John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another.”

Surely the Pharisees knew that Matthew was now a disciple of Jesus.

How many believed on Jesus because of this supper, it does not say. But love was present; even for the Pharisees, if they would receive Jesus and HIs Word.

To “receive” Jesus, is to let Him come in as Master; into our hearts, and lives.(John 1:12)

Matthew certainly did this, for he manifested the greatest calling of a disciple: mercy and love.