Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Lame man at the gate Beautiful

Acts 3:1-3 “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;

Who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked an alms.”

This is days after the giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost,….

Peter and John were going up to the temple to pray (remember the church met in the porches of the temple as well as in their houses, for prayer and preaching in the early days)

As they are about to go in, a lame man asks alms.

Now this man, though an Israelite…one under the covenant……had never entered the temple….for from the day he was born, he was lame.

So he begged from those who could.

He was just outside…always just outside….but never having gone in, to come near to God,….or worship

Acts 3:4-7 “And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.

And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”

This miracle is done in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…

(Philippians 2:9-11 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”)

Then Peter took him by the right hand, and lifted him up….

….notice the confidence of Peter in the name of Jesus.

He does not wait for the man to obey….but reached down and grabbed him….lifting him.

When he is lifted—then his ankles and feet receive strength…..

…….it is when strength was required by standing, that strength was given to stand.

(How much the same way we should be:

We should lift each other up in prayer in Jesus Name.

We should lift up each other in words of encouragement, edification, and exhortation.

How many people’s “walk” would become stronger….being helped from a crippling sin, habit, or resentment….by our faith in Jesus Name, and lifting them up in our prayers.)

And then joy…..and abundant strength is given:

Acts 3:8 “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”

This lame man,….lame from birth…..entered…for the first time into the temple to praise God.

Acts 3:11 “ And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s , greatly wondering.”

This man was so joyful….so grateful….so praiseful….

….he held Peter and John…..and would not let them go!

This was quite the sight! Joyful praise from a man, who all knew to be lame….yet he was leaping now….and walking.

Peter takes this opportunity to preach to those gathered:

First, he tells them that it was not their own power or holiness that caused this man to walk…..

Then He tells them that God…..the God of their fathers has glorified His Son Jesus….

….who they crucified….

Acts 3:14-16 “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just,….and killed the Prince of life whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

And His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong,….”

This miracle is done in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This is the name of the Lord when he was here, going about Israel, preaching and doing good.

This is important…..for this is the name they knew Him by…..this is the name used when they cried for Him to be crucified….

And now in this Name,…..this miracle was performed…..proving that He is not dead…..but risen, as promised…..and that He is approved of God.

Acts 3:18-19 “But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,…”

There is such a scene that the temple guards are called….by the Sadducees.

(The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection. They believed in being religious so God would bless them…in the now. )

They arrested Peter, John, and the lame man! (Perhaps thinking a night in “the hold” would dampen their testimony….and cool their devotion.)

Yet many which heard Peter’s message….seeing the proof of Jesus Name….believed.

The next morning, the council brought them out, before them…..

….and asked a question,…

Acts 4:7 “….By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?”

(We say that God is in control…..and look at this question! Amazing! They asked them exactly what Peter needed to show the authority and power of Jesus’ Name….now…before this council!)

Acts 4:8 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them,….”

(Jesus said, “And when they bring you unto….magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”

So Peter, given power by the Holy Ghost, spoke boldly)

“…….Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;

Be it known unto you all,….that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whole ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole.

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

What an amazing scriptural message….laying out in no uncertain terms….Jesus Christ was the Messiah…

…..they crucified Him,…even though they were given the ministry of “building” God’s nation by God’s law….

…..yet that Name is still calling all who will believe….even them….for there is no other name under heaven whereby they…..”they” could be saved.

Acts 4:13-14 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.”

(When the Holy Spirit speaks through us….there is power, and authority in the words we speak.

He brings back scripture to mind, and can plant that seed in those that hear.)

Because the council could not say anything against the miracle….the man standing right there….

…..they threatened Peter and John…..and commanded them not to speak in Jesus name anymore.

But Peter and John are fixed in their determination to serve the Lord….

Acts 4:19-20 “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

….and they speak to the conscience of the council right then, if they will hear it—it is right to serve God more than man.

“God is doing this, listen carefully….for we will not stop speaking about what we have seen….though you threaten us…

…we will speak about….

….Jesus crucified…..and raised up….speaking to us, before He went back up to heaven….and the giving of the Holy Spirit…”

The council threatens them again….but lets them go.

And they (I believe all three, including the lame man) immediately go to the gathered church….where they told of all that had happened:

This is a warning of maybe future persecution….and the means of going through it….by the direction and power of the Holy Spirit.

And it showed the love the church had for each other….for they “lifted up their voice with one accord,…” (Acts 4:24)

Their prayer was praise: “…Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven and earth…”

And their prayer was claiming the prophesy of the rulers of the earth standing up against Jesus Christ (Psalm 2 which includes in the last days of the Tribulation Period)…and that it was and will be…..all according to God’s plan.

“And now, Lord,….”

Acts 4:29-30 “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word,

And stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy child Jesus.”

Boldness is what they wanted….(not necessarily protection from their enemies….but boldness to honor Jesus. What love!)…

….and God’s healing….for the nation of Israel, if according to His Will….and to the individual, in salvation…

…and that in Jesus’ Name….signs and wonders would be done….to magnify His name.

Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together ; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness.”

The place was shaken….a sign of His Might for them:

Haggai 2:6-7 “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;

And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.”

God had “shaken” the earth at the coming of Christ….everything changed….for God’s people, Israel, were given the opportunity to receive their King….

….and now again, at the giving of the Holy Spirit, and the power manifested through Christ’s Name….

…..He is going to shake things up….for all the earth…

….for all people can receive His kingdom within in them….”in earth” (Matthew 6:10)….by faith in Christ Jesus.

And He will shake it again,….at the second coming of Christ to the earth to establish His Kingdom….on earth.

The lame man, is lame no more….and more, has faith Jesus…..and is filled with the Spirit with the rest of the church gathered.

He is healed….spiritually and physically…..and praising God…..

….and lead into a life of power and prayer.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Stand ye in the Ways

Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”

Jeremiah was called to a time, like ours, where much religion was going on; but very little true obedience to God. They had all the outward trappings and show…….but none of the devotion to God and His commandments.

Under King Josiah, who was a godly king; Jeremiah was given the job of going about Judah and instructing the people in the laws of God. This was important….to know the Word of God….what it says and what He promises those who turn to Him and obey Him.

Many did not want to hear, for they had been influenced by the idolatrous nations round about them; and refused subjection to the Lord, although they went along with the outward ceremony….along with worshipping idols.

Jeremiah 2:13 “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living water, and hewed them our cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

Then he was told to go to Jerusalem and preach there…telling the people what God would do, if they would repent and turn back in obedience to Him.

He would forgive and help them:

Jeremiah 7:5-7″For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor;

If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:

Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.”

For what God wanted of His people was that they obey Him, from the heart.

“Stand ye in the ways”. In the Hebrew, means “Get up and do it”

Start actively seeking My ways.

If you just do this seeking, you are returning to your God and honoring Him.

This I will count,….and will honor you, in return.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you.

And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.

And I will be found of you, saith the Lord:….”

And ask for the old paths: The path of obedience to His Word,….which leads us to straighten out our lives before Him.

God has made a way to return to Him…..take it.

(How was it with those who came before us?

Those that martyred their lives for God and his gospel? From the apostles to our forefathers?

How did they attain to what they had?

Through the Holy Spirit’s enabling, and the Word of God to them.

We must seek out the truth of the Scriptures for ourselves: What does it say to me?

For now? For my calling and ministry? And yield to the Holy Spirit within!)

As Jeremiah said to Judah:

Jeremiah 7:23 “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be My people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.”

Obey My voice….and I will be your God….and ye shall be My people.

(This is an amazing promise…..the Almighty, Eternal, Personal God will be my God…..me, who am one of how many millions?….

….me, who have fought against Him?…

….me, who can do nothing for God…

Yet, me, whom He loved enough to save…..me, I shall be His….

….and that means He will “see to” me….spiritually, physically, and emotionally….

….amazing promise!)

Jesus said the same thing when He was talking to His disciples, before He went to the cross.

John 15:10″ If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.”

Though there were failures,…….His disciples did, and they stirred the whole world, for Christ Jesus.

If we get our life in order before Him, and honor Him in this,……He will honor our obedience, in our everyday life.

God speaks through His Word: whether read, preached, or spoken by His inner Voice, by the Holy Spirit.

Hear Him, and return to the ways of peace,…..knowing His presence with you,……and for you,……everyday.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

When I was a Child

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

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

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

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

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

And how do we put away childish things?

By knowing the scriptures.

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

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

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

That Spirit works in the heart, ass well.

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

Peter ends his second epistle with this exhortation.

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

David said:

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

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

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

Our hearts are naturally drawn to worldly things.

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

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

I spake as a child:

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

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

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

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

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

We are to do the same.

We are to show forth Christ Jesus.

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

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

When we need direction, we should ask for it.

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

I understood as a child:

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

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

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

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

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

We get distracted, we hesitate, we doubt.

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

How important these are.

He knows, and He will gladly tell us.

I thought (reasoned) as a child:

Paul wrote about himself:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

To be Saved, Spirit, Soul, and Body

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

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

He is faithful….this is a wonderful name of our Lord Jesus.

Faithful here means to be trustworthy….like a parent who builds us up…we can trust ourselves to Him….and His guidance….for He wants the best for us.

All He does, is with the view in mind, to make us….and give us…all He has for us.

While we are body, soul, and spirit (this is the way we see ourselves,….

……although you will note: that He says spirit, soul and body)……we can not really separate one from the other….

What we feel in our emotions….we often show on our faces. What we think, we often express in words.

But there is a complete salvation: spirit, soul, and body.

We are body, soul and spirit….even when we are lost. Our spirit is darkened, and we are alone.

But when we are born again….the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit,…comes into our spirit….and implants a new nature….God’s nature; and gives us faith, and grace.

Then, everything changes.

Before we lived from the outward in….

…..things influencing us from our bodies:

what we see, what we hear, what we smell, what we feel….all influence our souls…..and our soul’s reaction to them.

(Our souls are our minds….thoughts and reasons; Our hearts….emotions and affections; Our wills….which is the action part of us….for what we will, we do.)

But now, we live from the inside out:

The Holy Spirit, in our spirit….which is now enlightened and empowered by faith and grace….

….presses against our souls….our minds, our hearts affection and emotion, and our wills…

….to work out His Will and Word to us.

This “working out” changes our character into the character of Christ.

For God has placed within us a new nature…..a new disposition.

And we express our character through our bodies.

We are drawn to the things of God….we are interested in His Word….we are desirous of fellowship with others who love the Lord.

Philippians 2:12-13 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling:

For it is God Who worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

This working out is from the spirit to the body….because of the Atonement of Christ….

Because of what Christ did….and Who He is to us (our Lord and Savior)….we can claim the full salvation of us.

He saves us spiritually, when we are born again.

He is faithful….He will never let us go….nor let any pluck us from His hand.

John 10:28 “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.”

Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

He saves our souls,….our minds from the world’s thoughts and opinions; our hearts from inordinate affections, and our wills from stubbornness and going our own way…

……as we yield to the Holy Spirit’s authority over our lives.

First, in denying our self life, our habits, our opinions, our plans, our associates….(all of this is taking away the old….putting off)

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

Second, by taking on the character of Christ…by using the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)….that the Holy Spirit works within us (remember, now that we are born again, we grow from inward to outward….yet all of us is saved)

Love,….when we would prefer not to

(and love is in the active noun….not some nice, sweet, thought that never transfers to work)

Joy, which is the Presence of God in my life….even amid trials and tribulations.

Patience, when we would normally get frustrated…or run ahead.

Peace, when we would normally be in turmoil.

Yes, these and all the rest….can….will….be worked in our spirits, then our characters……through our bodies….by the Holy Spirit of God!

1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

Do I pay any attention that my body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost?….the place where He is working?

Or do I think of Him as “a Roomer”; one which has a room in my house, but that is all?

When Jesus Christ came to earth,….very God and very man….He was filled with the Holy Spirit,……

….because that is what we need….and He was an example in all things.

After that, every day was a day to work, to teach, to witness, to rebuke, to heal…

….yet everyday was filled with the ordinary things of walking, talking, eating, and praying.

His life was the template of the life God has for us….

…are we ready to be saved….spirit,….soul,…and body….and manifest Christ’s character through us?

To Count the Cost.

Luke 14:28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”

Luke 14:31 “Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?”

The Lord told His disciples that they were to count the cost of service, and following Him.

He gave two examples…..one of building,…and one of warfare.

We are to do both.

If we follow Christ, we will be in a battle against the wiles of the Devil. The Adversary will seek to dissuade us, by fear. Or seek to destroy us, if we stand with Christ.

If we follow Christ, we are to build.

First we are to build our house upon the Rock of Christ and His Word.

Then we are to add to the building of the Church. From the foundation to the roof, we are to build up His Church, by edification (teaching); exhortation (to wake up) and comfort.

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

We are to count the cost, because to stand with Jesus in this world, will cause you to be mocked, hated, ridiculed, and left out of a lot of what the world has.

You sit down and count the cost. And He says to do it first.

To run after Christ emotionally, will play out. (Emotions do)

To run after Christ mentally, will lead you to reasons, and when reasons run out, so do you.

To run after Christ willfully, will lead you to count the cost for yourself, and choose.

Christ wants you to run after Him willfully; eyes wide open, to what is ahead.

He has a great life for all who follow Him:

…..here in our lives: peace, and joy in Christ Jesus,….even amid the trouble this life gives,…

(and He always tells His disciples that there will be trouble).

There in Heaven: face to face with Christ; which makes heaven, heaven.

Luke 14:33 “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”

“Forsaketh” here means to bid adieu, to depart from, to leave.

We are to count the cost of giving up all that we have, for the life Christ has for us.

That way you know, if there is something in your life that you refuse to give up, even for Christ’s sake.

That is what counting the cost means. Christ requires of His servants, that they should obey Him, and His words to Him.

It costs everyone the same amount: everything.

Jesus did not seek to persuade men to follow Him with false promises.

He spoke plainly, that to follow Him was the most costly of decisions, for it meant putting Him above everything and everyone else in our lives.

Luke 14:25-26 “And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

Multitudes were following Christ, but instead of encouraging them, He put a hurtle in front of them.

Why?

Because the only reason to follow Christ, was love to Him. If you love Him, no cost is too much.

He was saying:

“To follow Me, means that the affections you feel for everything else, even yourself, will be nothing in comparison to the love you have to Me.”

Are you a disciple of Christ Jesus? Have you counted the cost?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Our conscience

What is our conscience? Our conscience is the “light that lighteth every man” (John 1:9)….

…it is the impress of the brilliant light of the Holy Spirit when we were first created (Genesis 2:7)….

….the Holy Spirit left Adam when he sinned….but left the impress of the knowledge of God,…..and man’s responsibility to obey Him.

It is our moral compass….a gift from our Creator….

….it is a inward knowledge of what is good and what is evil,…showing that man is responsible to God’s will…….which either approves of what is done….or reproves what is done.

Romans 2:13-15 “(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another;)”

Our conscience can become contaminated, darkened,….by the choices we make….

….or they can hear the Lord’s voice, and convict us….to lead us toward or away from Him,….

….they can be cleansed…..through Christ….

….and we can have a “good conscience, void of offense.”

There are several types of consciences in scripture:

There is the defiled conscience…

Titus 1:15 “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”

Defiled means to taint or to contaminate.

Simply speaking, those with a defiled conscience see good in nothing…..they expect everyone to have the same greedy, lustful, or malicious motives as they do….

Example: Judas when he saw Mary pour a very expensive box of ointment on Jesus….

John 12:3-6 “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus….

Then saith….Judas Iscariot….which should betray Him,

Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief….”

Now what he said, sounded good…..maybe even charitable…..but behind it was his defiled conscience….which thought Jesus not worthy of anything…..and him worthy of getting all he could get (for he wanted to steal part of the money).

(The sad thing is……what people suggest often effects others….for when Judas says this…..even the other disciples were…..for a moment…thinking that way….

Mark 14:4 says, “And there were some that had indignation…”

Matthew 26:6 says, “But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation…”

But in both of these places, it shows the real attitude of the other disciples….for when Jesus corrects them, that settles it.)

But Judas immediately goes to the chief priests to “sell” Jesus to them [Matthew 26:14-16]

And to his defiled conscience, it was perfectly alright to do so.

Matthew 15:18-20 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

These are the things which defile a man:…”

Then there is the convicted conscience:

John 8:9 “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”

This was the woman taken in adultery….quite guilty….and according to the law…should be stoned (so should the man that had been with her, though the Pharisee’s did not bring him)…

…..yet Jesus’s statement brought everyone of them to their senses…..to the moral right.

They had not brought the man….only her….not for God’s glory, but to lay a trap for Jesus.

When Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (Verse 7)

That brought their minds back to God….sin….their sin….

And their moral compass turned to right thoughts….and they left.

(We could also mention Peter’s convicted conscience…….when he heard the cock crow….which Jesus had told him would happen……and went out weeping.)

There is the weak conscience:

1 Corinthians 8:12 “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.”

Some Christians are strong in the faith….some are not. The weak are easily fearful, without the confidence in God’s Word to them.

What Christians do, has a great deal of influence on others. Some could eat the meat, that had been formerly offered to idols…..because they were just idols…

….while others thought that it would be sacrilege, because the meat had been part of the offering to what they came out of….idol worship.

We are not to offend a brother or sister with a weak conscience…..for Christ shed HIs blood to save them, just like He did for us.

We are to “bend over backward” so that they will not be offended…

…..or worse,…..we are not to encourage them to do, what would be sin to them.

Matthew 18:6-7 “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone where hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Woe unto the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to the man by whom the offenses cometh!”

We are not to dishearten or discourage the weaker children of God…..but strengthen and encourage them to keep following Christ.

There is a cleansed conscience:

Hebrews 9:14 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Christ’s blood cleanses us from all sin…..and cleanses our conscience, that we may come boldly to God.

Hebrews 10:19, 22 “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

We come to Christ….just as we are…and then He washes us by His blood, His Word, and His Spirit….

…..making us clean….in spirit, mind, and heart….right down to our consciences….making us pure, in wanting God’s Will

1 John 3:20-21 “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.”

And then there is the “good conscience”….

1 Timothy 1:5 “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:”

Notice that a good conscience has to do with a pure heart (which sees God Matthew 5:8)…..and faith.

Acts 23:1 “And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”

And how did he do this?

Acts 24:16 “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men.”

It wasn’t that Paul was especially good….rather it was that he lived not to do anything that would dishonor his God, or injure another person…..

….and if he did, he wanted to know….and to get it taken care of.

Our conscience is our moral compass…..which shows us that we have a responsibility to God, and our fellowman.

When we are born again…..our conscience is enlightened by His Word, and cleansed by His blood……so that it is not an enemy to us, but a helper.

It does not lead us…..the Holy Spirit does that…..but it lends it’s inward voice within us….saying “Amen”….to what the Holy Spirit does.

Our enlightened conscience helps to unite all the voices within (the voice of reason, the voice of emotion, the voice of others we hear) to Christ.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Fear……and it’s consequences

Deuteronomy 31:8 “And the Lord, He it is that doth go before Thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.”

This is Moses’s charge to Joshua, in front of all Israel…..for Moses would die….and Joshua would lead the people into their inheritance.

And what did Joshua need to know?

That God would go before…..to lead, and warn.

That God would be with him, not fail him, not forsake him…..

That he should fear not….nor be dismayed about the things ahead….for God was ahead….and with….and for him.

Our God says the same thing to us:

Hebrews 13:5-6 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

Fear is a terrible enemy….

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment, he that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

Fear stops us….from having all that the Lord wants for us:

God wants us to believe….and fear steps in and says….”Wait! What about this…..or what about them?”

The Lord gives us peace amid trouble……we are calm….until….a new twist in the trouble comes….and fear sends panic!

The Lord gives us promises….and the adversary says….”That will never happen for you…..look at what you are up against!”

Fear can stop us slightly….as Peter walking on the water:

Matthew 14:29-30 “And He (Jesus) said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”

(But notice, his faith was enough to cry to Jesus to save him……and not try and swim back to the ship without Him!)

Or it can stop us completely….

…like the children of Israel at Kadesh-barnea (Deuteronomy 1:25-28)

They loved the land….it was everything God said….why then did they not believe Him, and go in and possess it?

Fear was one reason….and it’s complications (unbelief and rebellion) left them outside God’s blessing.

Fear also causes complications of feelings and thoughts:

It causes anger….Why is this happening to me?

It causes a sense of loss….when we are afraid,….we suddenly feel alone….no peace…no sense of direction.

It causes darkness….a shadow or a dimming in the light we have.

Fear intimidates…..telling us…”do something”……even if we have not gotten guidance…..”do something”.

“Fear not” or “do not fear” is written seventy-three times in the scriptures.

What is the answer to fear?

How do we get the victory over it?

Well, by experience, I can tell you that when fear has grasped ahold of you….it is hard to escape it.

Thankfully, we have power in the blood, and in the name of Jesus,….and power in the words of the Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 3:25-26 “Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.

For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”

Isaiah 12:2 “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation.”

Psalm 56:3-4 “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.

In God I will praise His Word, In God I have put my trust, I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”

Faith is the answer to the victory we need…

(how many times we let our shield of faith slip down….and we get hit by the fiery darts of the wicked one)

….”Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

When the Holy Spirit implants faith within us (for it is a gift from God to sustain and stabilize us)….then that faith makes the things God says, real to us.

We feel their blessing….though we may not have all there is in the Word….it gives us strength, for what is ahead.

When we let down our shield of faith, and let one of the Adversary’s darts hit us….we are wounded….

….putting up our shield afterward will not help.

But pulling out the dart of suggestion, accusation, and fear……and showing it to Christ Jesus, will.

Fear grabs ahold of us and says……”Do not trust God”

Faith comes from within, and enlightens the lie of the devil,….the suggestions of the world….and the desires from ourselves….

….and then faith keeps the candle of the Lord’s truth and grace burning.

Psalm 91:2, 4-6 “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.

He shall cover thee with feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night: nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”

Fear is an terrible enemy…..which only the implanted faith, by the Holy Spirit can deal with.

Let us hold up our shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16)….”wherewith ye shall”…..

….notice “shall”….”be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked.”

And if we have become afraid….take it….tell it to Jesus. Cry unto Him for salvation from it.

Like for Peter, His hand will save you out of it….and put your feet on solid ground again.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Two Mirrors

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

James 1:23-24 “For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”

These two verses describe the one way we can “see” ourselves….and the two outcomes.

The “glass” here, means a “mirror” in which we can see ourselves….

….that mirror is the Word of God…..made known to us by the Spirit of God.

When we read it,…..or hear it preached,….when the Holy Spirit reminds us of it….then we “see” ourselves in the light of God….and we are given opportunity to be changed.

Notice I say, “to be changed”….not….”to change”.

Man is totally sinful….our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9-10)….we are incapable of making any “change” that will please God….in our own power.

Even in the best of our works,….naturally,….there is the selfish desire for own honor, and our own praise for them.

The only thing we can do…..and that is with the help of the Holy Spirit within….is to will with God….yield to Him.

The Lord, by the workings of the Holy Spirit….changes us….transforms us,….molds us….into what we “see” in the Word….

….for the Word of God shows us Christ Jesus……His person, attributes….His character.

Let us look at the first Mirror:

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Notice “open” face….(this is the only place this Greek word is used in the New Testament. Open has a different Greek word everywhere else.)

“Open” here means…..unveiled!

When we come before the Lord, willing to know, by the Spirit, how we are….who we are….

…..then we have “open face” to behold what the Lord by the Spirit wants to show us….and to be changed.

(I want to mention here, that in the Old Testament….the Ten Commandments, and the law of Moses was given….so that the Israelite and all who would come to God….would “see” themselves as they were.

The Law was their mirror.

God was Holy. They were sinners….and could never measure up to His commandments….Hebrews 7:18-19…

….this is what the Law showed them….but there was no power in this mirror….only the bare truth of their sin.

Therefore God made the Tabernacle, and the sacrifices….to show them there is only power to live for God….in nearness to everything which spoke of Christ to come.

The Law showed them what they should do….and gave them sacrifices for their failures….which pointed them to Christ to come….

….for those who would have faith in the promise of His salvation from their sin.)

But since Christ has come and been the sacrifice for sin…..once for all….and is ascended to the right hand of God as our Mediator…….their is an open way to God….and to the power by the Holy Spirit….to be and to do:

Hebrews 4:14-15 “Seeing that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

For we have not a high priest which can not be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

Because of Who He is…..and what He finished….we can have the power of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling…..first as Comforter….then in fullness.

Hebrews 7:25 “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost

that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

This is power…..power to change us spiritually, emotionally, mentally,….in every way.

My husband, once, was praying about the these verses….and saw in a mirror his own reflection…..nothing new….but then, transposed over his reflection….was Jesus’s reflection.

We are to be us….the people the Lord has made us….yet, to be changed into the character of Christ….through us.

His reflection was still there….yet so was Christ’s….both together…..and this is the secret of power:

The Holy Spirit does not empower you to go off and take care of things yourself….not even for yourself.

But He empowers you to change….

…patience for impatience and frustration.

…forgiveness for anger and old resentments.

…energy for laziness.

…hope for discouragement and despair.

…love for the unlovely.

…peace in the rocky and desperate moments.

How?…..Now where the Spirit of the Lord is….there is liberty!

Liberty from our sins!

From our emotions, which roar in, when we least expect it!

From our thoughts….oh, how they can go from one thing to another! Right into sin!

All is given in the liberty of the Spirit. Us giving Him liberty in us…..then through us….we are changed….into Christ’s character….taking on His likeness….becoming filled with all the fullness of God.

James 1:23-24 “For if any man be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”

There are two things to say about this man…..he listens and hears so he comes to the mirror…..and beholds his character.

He goes his way…..he does not act on what he sees….right away.

He puts it off.

“Wow!…..I’ll never forget what the Lord has shown me. I should do something about that.”

But he does not do anything….then. And he goes his way….thinking he can do something about it anytime.

And he forgets….he neglects, and forgets.

There is nothing of the Holy Spirit mentioned here. Where is He?

Is the liberty of the Spirit for this man as well?

It could have been….but the Spirit acts…now. There must be a act of the will toward God….now…

….or the hesitation, and putting off of God’s Call….will quench the Spirit.

When the man refused to will with the Word at first…..the Spirit was quenched.

When the man went his way….back into his normal life….the Spirit was grieved.

Where the Spirit of the Lord…..”is”…..there is liberty.

How important to come and “see”…..and then enter into that liberty immediately….willing to be changed….

….and have the Lord’s reflection on us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Saith the Lord

Jeremiah 23:28-29 “The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? Saith the Lord.

Is not My word like as a fire? Saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”

“He that hath My word…..let him speak My word faithfully.”

Faithfully, here, means to be established.

How much we need that today!

If the Lord has given you a word….He wants you to speak it faithfully….

…whether it is a word of witness of Him….

….or a word of scripture for comfort and edification…

….or a word of warning to someone….whether you use your own experience, or the examples in the Bible.

Our words are important….

Matthew 12:36-37 “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement.

For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou be condemned.”

As Christians, we should come to Him and…

…see where we spoke out of turn….(so easy to do….to give an opinion, rather than what the Lord wants said)

…know the witness that we missed

…or hear “well done” to the words that we gave, whether in prayer, or witness.

(and our witnesses do not have to be messages, but a “word in due season”)

Someday, all our speeches and conversations will be open before us…and Him.

(We must remember that Enoch, the man who walked with God [Genesis ] prophesied against the wicked:

Jude 14-15 “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints,

To execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Their “hard speeches”…….how many of those do we hear today?)

God’s Word is like fire….enlightening me to my sin,….and burning up my excuses.

God’s Word is like a hammer….pounding away at the hard places of my heart….slowly chipping away at the long-time resentments,….and reasons that I keep God at a distance.

“Saith the Lord.” It is simple…..direct….commanding.

When the Lord speaks,….things change.

(If He is our Lord, we change)

Once His word is spoken, it does not return unto Him void.

Isaiah 55:10-11 “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it.”

What changes?

Well, for us….

First, our vision changes….we have heard God…

We can believe and side with Him…..

….or we can distrust, and enter into shadows.

Second, our faith reaches out to God, to do exactly what He said.

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

Third, our feet stand on that Word….holding on by trust to what the Lord saith. (Matthew 7:24-27. We may wobble, but the Word is firm, and true.)

And then,….this word is from….”the Lord”.

The Lord, here, is Jehovah….the Ever-existent, Ever-becoming One. He always was, is, and will be…..yet, for His own….He becomes their need.

“The chaff to the wheat”….the chaff is the outside layer of the wheat….which is worth little….to be thrown down and trampled upon….to be used as stubble or fodder (to bulk up cow feed).

What does it mean here?

If we are truly born again….we are the wheat.

If we speak His Word faithfully, we are bringing forth more fruit.

But the chaff…will never “bring forth” fruit.

It is the worthless philosophy, or opinions, that are bantered about….which might seem bulky……but are nothing

“Saith the Lord”….this is what we need to hear….what He is saying to us, through HIs Word….by His Spirit…

…and then use it….stand fast, and speak HIs Word faithfully.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Our Purpose as Christians

2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began;”

The Purpose of God for us, was set in motion before the world began.

Before He created anything at the first; God saw us in Christ Jesus, according to His Purpose.

It is according to His Purpose and grace. His Purpose is His Will; and His grace is His unmerited favor of Power to bring His Will to pass.

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

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

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

This is written to Christians, telling them how they were saved.

It was by the power of grace, not anything they did to deserve it.

It was through faith, a gift given them by the Holy Spirit.

And they are “created in Christ Jesus”; given new birth and a new nature.

So created, not to stand by and watch; but to take part in His Purpose: those good works we are to walk in.

We are so created as a “workmanship”; which is a molded image.

We are to be molded into the image of Christ. (Remember the word Christian means: Little Christ)

And how are we to do this?

By using the means and provision God has given.

That is what “ordained” means.

It means that all the provision for our walk with Him, has been set aside for us.

Let us talk, for a moment, about the things which hinder His Purpose.

(If you ask, How can anything hinder God’s Purpose? I answer, that as He gives us choices, He is allowing His Purpose to be fulfilled or hindered by us. It is His way of teaching us, and training us. He knows all things, and makes arrangements for it. His Will, will be done; but He wants it to be done through us, so He can bless us.)

The greatest hinderance to God’s Will, is that we do not go on with Him as we should.

Our walk with Christ is progressive:

We are babes in Christ, being seen to, fed with the milk of His Word, so we can begin to crawl and then walk with Him.

We come to the place of walking; and often like mules, stop and stand and bray. Having a fit about some part of His Will.

He must, and will correct us: sometimes with rebukes.

Rebukes are words which awaken us to His claims on us. Showing us where we should be, and how to get there. (Hebrews 12:5)

Sometimes He must chasten us. This is serious; He does not do this lightly. (1 John 5:16)

But He will not empower rebels with His Spirit. That would be joining our rebellion against Himself. But what He does, He does because He loves us. As a parent corrects a child, for their good, so God corrects us.

The answer to this is to will to deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24)

We preach on this often; because it is the backbone of progress. We will deny ourselves, and follow Him.

Or we will put up with ourselves, and lose another opportunity to please our Lord.

It is a choice the Lord gives us: for it is “if” any man will.

Those that love Me, Jesus said, keep My commandments.

John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

When we truly want His Will and have denied ourselves, daily; we come to the place where we no longer resist His Will in anything.

(Resist is a good term. Do you instantly want to “back up” every time you hear about what you should be doing? )

Well, we can come to the place, in our experience, that we don’t resist. It is not instant obedience, but it is final obedience. We will obey.

But the crowning glory, in this life, is to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:17-18 “Wherefore be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

When we are filled with the Spirit of God (and this only happens as we are emptied of the fullness of self); then the blessed influence of His life, love, peace, joy, and patience, is flowing within us.

And can be seen through us.

We are expressions of His life, and Purpose. That Purpose He wanted for us before the world began.

Imagine a life full of the Lord’s light, and joy.

Better yet, don’t imagine it. Get it.

If you are in Christ Jesus, born again; then His Purpose for you is to be filled with all the fullness of God. Filled to your capacity.

Ephesians 3:16-19 “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love,

May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”

We never truly know the love of Christ, the way He wants us to, until we walk along with Him, in the Spirit.

His hand for our strength,

His Word for our help,

His Spirit shining in us for comfort, and joy.

His Purpose for us, in Christ, is to walk with Him, into those good works He has ordained us for.

Will we go on with Him?