Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Fountain of Life

Psalm 36:9 “For with Thee is the fountain of life: in Thy light shall we see light.”

Have you drunk from the fountain of life?

A fountain is water, contained in some way…but still bubbling up…..

…..so is our life in Christ, contained in us…..but bubbling up by the Holy Spirit in us….

….refreshing…

….enlivening…

….and satisfying our hearts, minds and wills.

Is it? Or is it a trickle…..barely satisfying our need?

I am going to mention here….that there were twelve disciples….

Some were fishermen….one was a tax collector….most from Galilee…but not all…some older….some younger….some had followed John the Baptist….

I mention this, because all of them were different.

All heard Christ Jesus for almost three years…..but each had different reactions to what they heard.

Some believed, readily…..others were often puzzled about what He said….

Why did He speak to the Pharisees and Scribes (they were important!) the way He did?

How could He calm the storm, yet be tired….asleep in the boat?

Why did He walk and talk to the multitudes…..yet only in parables?

….and one followed for “the bag”.

All had plenty of time to change their mind…..but they stayed and followed on….each coming to the place where Jesus was their Lord…..or was only a means, to their own end.

I mention all of them, because…..like them, we are all different.

We take in the Word of God….sometimes with enthusiasm….and then turn around and fail of what we just learned.

Some are more diligent….some are doubting (remember Thomas)….

But we all must come to the place where we make Jesus Christ….Lord of our lives….or we backslide and “return” to our self-life.

(Backslide is a term used for putting in your heels, where you are, so that you will not go any further, with God.)

1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

We think of contentment as being happy in the place, or circumstances that we are in.

No, contentment has nothing to do with circumstances…..but with our attitude with the Lord of the circumstances!

Contentment is settling in with the warm mug of grace, in the comfortable lap of God….in whatever circumstances.

It is satisfaction with “my God”

….Psalm 118:27-28 “God is the Lord, which hath shown us His light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.

Thou art my God, and I will praise Thee: Thou art my God, I will exalt Thee.”

(Forty-nine times in Psalms is “my God” written….mostly when there are troubles or enemies harassing His people)

Remember Paul and Silas in jail, bent over in stocks, after being beaten….praying, then singing. (Acts 16:23-25)

They were not trying to cheer each other up…..they were praising God, for the privilege of suffering for Christ Jesus.

That is contentment.

Again, I ask, have you tasted of the fountain of life….are you drinking each day from it….and getting the contentment in Christ, He has for you.

Or…..

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

“And in Thy light shall we see light.”

God is light….and in His light we see…

…for light is the glory of life.

Life in the dark is miserable…..and spiritual blindness is a curse…

….therefore, God, who is light….gives us His light….and also, enlightens us (Ephesians 1:18)

But we often think of it,…..as seeing others, or the circumstances, in truth around us….

…all of which is true…..but that is not all…

…for in His light we can be cleansed.

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.”

For in His light….we see light…

2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

This light is power, as well….

2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

Paul’s testimony was:

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; We are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”

This is life and light…..help, comfort, power….from my God….to me personally.

Are we letting His life and light shine through us?

Are we drinking to the full

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Remember Lot’s Wife

Luke 17:32 “Remember Lot’s wife.”

Why would our Lord want us to remember Lot’s wife?

Because looking back is a trap we should not fall into.

The story:

Lot lived in Sodom. Sodom and Gomorrah were situated in a beautiful valley; full of lush pastures, and full rivers. They were rich cities, and Lot and his family had moved there to enjoy all they had to offer. But…

But they were also wicked places. Terrible sexual practices were carried out in the city, and all of them were allowed on any who would venture in. They were also idolatrous people; so bad that “the cry of them is great before the face of the Lord”.

God sent angels to Lot, so that he and his familxy, could escape the coming destruction.

Genesis 19:12-13 “And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any beside? Son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of the place:

For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it.”

Well, Lot told his family,…..but no one would listen to him; “he seemed as one that mocked”. (Genesis 19:14).

They thought he was joking.

After all, Lot lived in Sodom; had been there quite a while, surely this was not going to happen.

Beside, when was the last time Lot talked about God? He must be joking.

When the next morning came, the angels said:

Genesis 19:15 “And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.”

It was time to go, but he hesitated.

Hesitation is such an easy thing for us to do.

We wait, a moment or so,…….wishing things were different;……and by doing so, lose the joy in doing the Lord’s Will, in what is next.

In mercy the Lord had His angels take hold on their hands and guide them out of the city.

Genesis 19:16-17 “And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand and upon the hand of his wife and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful to him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.”

Standing outside the city the angels warn them not to look back, but to keep moving forward.

God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, for their awful sin, before it corrupted more of the world.

They started to go to a little city, at the far end of the plain. And when they got there, two things happened:

The Lord did destroy the cities with fire,…utterly.

And Lot’s wife looked back.

Genesis 19:24, 26 “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;”

“But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”

But why did she look back at such destruction?

She did not want to leave that life. They were pretty well-to-do. They had a standing in the city, for Lot had a position of judge; for he sat in the gate, as judge.

Even though it was a wicked place, she enjoyed the life of “being somebody”…..and she did not want to leave it.

She did not want to go on, to what she did not know. She did not trust the Lord.

No! She only wanted what she had.

So she looked back, and was turned into a pillar of salt.

But why salt? As a warning….For salt is suppose to preserve.

She should have preserved her family in the belief of the true God….and kept looking forward.

But, she got wrapped up in the things of this life,…..and she began to love them too much….she expected that it would continue….so she gave herself over to them…..and it cost her, her life.

Even though she felt like this,…..(and I want to stress this!)…..if she had simply obeyed God’s Word,….she would have been delivered.

But…she didn’t.

How much our unbelief takes away from us.

How many of us have tripped and fallen here?

Wishing for…..something,…..instead of taking the next step with Jesus.

Matthew 5:13 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt hath lost it’s savor: wherewith it shall be salted? It is therefore good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

Jesus says: Remember Lot’s wife.

Some times it is hard to go forward: very hard.

But we need to remember that God always has our best interests on His heart.

God does all things in mercy to His people.

We need to receive it, and go along with Him.

Paul said:

“…Forgetting what is 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.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

We are called to take each step with Him; that is all.

That will save us from the destruction that is in this world, all around us….

And He often takes our hand, when we hesitate, and even helps us do that.

We just need to believe and obey Him.

Remember Lot’s wife.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Lift up the Hands that Hang Down

Hebrews 12: 12-13 “Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees;

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

This has to do with the race we are called to finish for the Lord.

God never intends that we go through life miserable.

It is true that we are in a battle with sin, self, and the Adversary, but it should always be a path of Light.

In this part of Hebrews, the writer has just told of heroes of faith (Hebrews 11).

Not just how they had faith….but how they used their faith.

And he calls all who have faith now, to:

Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”

In every race, it is those who lay aside every weight, who will win.

You can not be weighed down, and run well.

This race is not a sprint….but a long distance race; it is the race that compasses our lives.

Weights are those things which we carry, which are unnecessary to our walk with the Lord. In fact, they hinder it.

These can be habits we have picked up, which need to be put aside;

or acquaintance which we have let get an advantage over us;

or ideas from the world which sound right, but are not.

These weights interfere with our race; and hinder our faith’s growth.

We can still run; but with difficulty….and perhaps a fall.

So, the writer says, you need to “lay aside” these; and run with patience the race that is set before us, by the Lord.

A good way to start this is:

Hebrews 12: 2-3 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy 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 contradictions of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

We are to look to Jesus: look at His example, and look at the reason He went to the cross.

Jesus Christ our Lord came from His glory, into humiliation for us; that we might have His life and peace.

We are His joy, and satisfaction.

(Isaiah 53:11 “He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.”)

It was not just His suffering in death, but the “contradiction of sinners”.

That was in the unbelief of the people he came to;

the anger of the chief priests and Pharisees, who refused to acknowledge Jesus’ authority;…..

…..and in the face of so many proofs, rejected Him and sought to make others refuse Him as well.

Yet Christ Jesus went to the cross to die and save all who would come unto Him.

He ran the race His Father placed before Him, that He might have us with Him for all eternity. Again, we are His joy.

The writer also goes on to say that we should be prepared to be corrected, if you wander from the path of life.

Your Heavenly Father loves you, and seeks to keep you safe.

The further you are from Jesus; the further out of His Light and Love you go; the more in the dark we are.

This is not what Jesus has for us.

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

“Them that are exercised thereby” are the people who really want to learn.

(A group of people are all training for a big game.

The trainer is working hard with all of them, in order for them to win.

But he will take extra time with those who get bruises, or sore feet, or are failures at first; and still get up and want more of the training, so they can get it right. These are those that are “exercised thereby”.)

When we have seen the value of the life the Lord gives us, and we come to the place where we need correcting (and we all do)…..yet if we go on with Jesus, and learn; we will bare the fruit of righteousness within ourselves….because we stayed with Him.

So in Spiritual Life:

Our Trainer is the Holy Spirit He is come to us to guide us in the Lord’s Way, in grace.

But we are often slow learners; or frightened; or we want to do it another way.

But the Holy Spirit does not give up on us; but rather seeks to point us to Christ; and keeps working in us. (Philippians 2:13)

He tells us: don’t give up, do not get discouraged; but go on with Him.

Hebrew 12: 12-13 “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

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

Lift up the hands which hang down in fear or tiredness.

Strengthen the knees which want to just sit down, and forget it.

Make your paths straight, by:

Trusting in the Lord.

Listening to Him.

And holding on to His love.

He is always with us, let us stay with Him.

Ask for these to be shown to you; and be prepared to be strengthened by His Holy Spirit, in peace and joy.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Reality and Responsibility

The beginning of reality for us, as Christians, is the hearts desire to know God’s personality and character…..intimately.

The end of reality….if end it could be called,….is the hearts love of God only.

To see and know the love of God….to desire to be near to Him always, to ache, to long, to let nothing come between our hearts gazing on Him.

Psalm 42:1-2 “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.

My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”

The Song by Fredrick Faber:

“Only to sit and think on God, oh what a joy it is!

To think the thought, breathe the Name, earth has no higher bliss.

Father of Jesus, loves reward! What rapture will it be,

Prostrate before Thy throne to lie, and gaze and gaze on Thee!

Jesus, I love Thee so, I know not how, my transports to control;

Thy love is like a burning fire, within my very soul.

O Spirit beautiful and dread! My heart is fit to break,

With love of all they tenderness, for us poor sinners sake.”

Psalm 43:3-4 “O send out Thy light and Thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto Thy holy hill, and to Thy tabernacles.

Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise Thee, O God my God.”

We think that our responsibility as His believers is varied….with many things that we should do….

…and though we are called to individual obediences….

…..our responsibility, as Christians, is simply to use God’s foreordained means to bring about His foreordained ends for us.

Jeremiah 29:11 “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.”

God saw you before He created anything, and gave a purpose and power for your life in Christ.

He gave you a will so that when His life is implanted within you, you could will with Him.

For it is, as Jesus said, “If any man will…”

He gives us the Holy Spirit….Who supplies the means for obedience….

…..but we must exercise our will.

Our will is the faculty of choice….the cause of all our actions.

When we will, we are choosing one thing….and refusing another.

When God, through the Holy Spirit makes known HIs Will, we are to deny ourselves (which is to refuse my thoughts, and feelings about this)….

…and then, I accept His Will for this.

I want to stress in this, that spiritual reality is in the fellowship and communion we have with God along the way in which we will to do His Will.

The Israelites crossed the Rea Sea dry shod, were fed and cared for with Manna from heaven, and had water come out of a Rock so that all had some….

….but they never had spiritual reality.

To them God was either a benefactor…..or a hard taskmaster.

They applauded His mercy….and despised His righteous judgements.

So when it came time to completely trust Him,….they failed.

Hebrews 3:19 “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

Faith and Hope are given Christians by the Holy Spirit.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for..” (Hebrews 11:1)

That “substance” means a setting underneath……like the Rock we are to stand and build on…..like the Everlasting Arm that holds us up.

That is faith. It establishes in our hearts and minds that God is real….and is our God…now.

This is the Faith that commands, and it rest in the Hope of all you have been given up-to-date.

Hope is the anchor of our soul (Hebrews 6:18-19)…..which goes deep and embeds us firmly in Christ….so that as He is unmovable, so are we.

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

And how are we to be unmoveable? “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)

Faith is the substance of things hoped for…

…and both faith and hope take the things the Holy Spirit reveals to us, and makes them real in our experience…..

….makes them part of the building we are building with God…..as we deny ourselves, and will with Him.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Lord’s Personal Prayer for His Believers

John 17:6 “I have manifested Thy name unto the men Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me; and they have kept Thy word.”

They had been in the upper room where they had had the Last Supper.

Before they left to go to Gethsemane, Jesus “lifted up His eyes” and prayed to the Father for these gathered here. (Judas was gone)

He prays for them to be “kept”

(How much we need this; we are so weak and helpless against sin, self, the malice and temptations of the world, and the devil.):

First, they would be kept through the Word that He had spoken to them when He was on earth.

John 17:8 “For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I have come out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me.”

Notice that they had “received” it. This is truly an amazing statement about these unlearned men.

Thousands had heard Jesus. But these men had received the words and message that He had given.

They received that He was the Son of God (Matthew 16:15–17).

They received the call that He gave them: Peter, Andrew, James and John from fishing boats; Matthew from collecting taxes; others from the lives they were living.

They received His corrections for their unbelief in the storm (Luke 8:23-25), and when they sought prestige for themselves….being above others. (Mark 10:35-37).

They had received His Words and by these Words of knowledge and guidance, they could be kept safe; when Jesus went back to heaven.

Second, they would be “kept” by God’s Name.

John 17:11 “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given to Me, that they may be one, as we are.”

When we are said to be under the Name of God, that means that He has declared that we are His, and by His authority, we are under His protection.

“That they may be one, as we are.”

That we may be one with The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; in peace, and love.

John 17:26 “And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

What stronger bond, surrounding us, can we have, then that of love?

And that is the bond that Jesus prayed to the Father that they have. God’s bond of love would keep them.

Praise God, Jesus did not leave us out of this prayer:

John 17:20 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word;”

He prayed for all who would believe the word that was preached and written by these disciples.

He prayed for us.

Next, Jesus would go to Gethsemane, and pray for Himself : “Father, not my will, but Thine be done.”

But, first He prayed for those who believed in Him…..and received His Word.

What a Lord and Savior we have!

He came for us,….lived a perfect life to honor His Father’s Will……He prayed for us….He died for our sins…..He arose to manifest the life we now can have in Him….and….

He is still praying for us before the Father…..with all Authority (Matthew 28:18)

1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is One God, and One Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus;”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Christ on the Isle of Patmos with John

Revelation 1:1-2 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him,….and he sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John:

Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.”

The Apostle John was on the Isle of Patmos, sent there as punishment….exiled there to keep him away from continuing his ministry.

John was now old…..

….he had been a young man when Jesus called he and his brother James from the fishing boats of their father, to follow Him.

Being so young, Jesus had taken extra care of him,…..Peter, James and John were the three closest to Jesus….His inner circle.

John was the one who was leaning on Jesus shoulder at the Last Supper….who had asked Him,…..”who will betray You?” (John 13:21-26)

John, though he had run away with everyone else in the garden, when Jesus was taken;…..had come back to follow Jesus into the Hall where Jesus was being tried by the Sanhedrin. (John 18:15)

He was the only one of the apostles at the foot of the cross….(John 19:26-27)

The two terms found a lot in John’s gospel and his epistles are: Light, and Love. Light must be first….we must “see” the Lord, and then, we will love Him, and His Word.

But now, he was an old man…..having had a ministry with Peter (Acts 3:1, Acts 8:14-15), and with others…..writing letters, warning of apostasy from Christ (2 John 7)……and the rise of false “authorities” in the church. (3 John 9-10)

…..but then he was arrested, and exiled.

Here, he thought he would die….his public work for the Lord over with….

….but the Lord had other plans….

….manifesting to John some of His resurrection glory and Authority…for His church,…..and for the evil days ahead.

Revelation 1:9-10 “I John, who also am your bother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,”

Jesus voice always had authority….but, people were given the choice to receive it or not, when He was here.

But this Voice is speaking in a power not to be ignored….as a trumpet….

…to awaken His church to His Word (“Voice” here means to disclose or lighten. His Voice makes us see the truth.)

Revelation 1:11 “Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last:

and What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”

John turned to see…”the Voice that spake with me.”

Here standing before him,…..an old, persecuted believer, thinking his work was over…….was Christ, pictured in His manifestive glory, as Ruler of His church.

He stands in the midst of seven candlesticks (each representing a church that was named…..and the seven church dispensations in the Church age)

The Church is to be lights to the world, and Christ is to be the Light within us:

Matthew 5:14-16 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Who John saw, was “the Son of Man”…..with the authority and power given to Him of His Father (Matthew 28:18)

(Revelation 1:13-16) He stands “…..clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the chest with a golden girdle (as the High Priest wore…He stands as our Mediator, 1 Timothy 2:5….interceding for us)

His head and HIs hairs were white as snow; (He is the Ancient of days, Pure and Lovely)

…His eyes were as a flame of fire; (His eyes see everything where His people are concerned…judging their sin,……and those that come against them.)

…His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; (As His walk here was in subjection and devotion to the Father, so He judges the walk of His people according to their subjection and devotion to Him.)

…His Voice as the sound of many waters. (No matter the languages used; if we are speaking His Word….He is speaking through them)

….in His right hand seven stars: (the completed number of those called to preach His Word to the churches: called “the messengers of the Lord of Hosts” Malachi 2:7)

…out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: (His Word is powerful,…”discerning thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12)

…His countenance was as the sun shineth in His strength.” (When it speaks of His face shining upon us; Numbers 6:24-26, Psalm 80:3; it means blessing to us.)

John sees Him, in His glory…..and “fell at His feet as dead”.

This was the same effect as Isaiah had (Isaiah 6:4-5), as Ezekiel had (Ezekiel 1:28), as Daniel had (Daniel 10:5-9)…….when we truly see the Lord in His power, we die to all our own “glory” or strength…

Revelation 1:17 “….and He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:”

(Any time in scripture that God says, “Fear not”….there is usually something to fear, though He has taken care of it….and we are to keep our eyes on Him, for that deliverance and help.)

“I am the first and the last”.

He was ruling before all things….and when time, itself is gone….He will be controlling all in eternity….

….He wanted His church to know His unlimited power.

Revelation 1:18 “I am He that liveth, and was dead, and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

When Christ Jesus fulfilled His the work the Father had sent Him to do…..all power for life was reestablished with Him by His resurrection from the dead….giving Him Victory over death and hell (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

Revelation 1:19 “Write these things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;”

Here are the three divisions of the book:

“these things which thou hast seen”…..the sight of Jesus Christ, as Ruler and High Priest in the midst of His Church…..commanding, judging, and interceding for His Church.

“The things which are”….the Church age. (John was the only Apostle that died a natural death. The others were martyred for their faith in Christ.) The Church age was just really beginning, even now when John is old….and it has continued for two thousand years….

“The things which shall be hereafter”….after the Rapture of the Church out of the world (Revelation 4:1)……then the Tribulation Period.

(It is only seven years, but it will be a horrible period, full of death and judgements on a world that rejected God’s Son and His salvation…..

…..and who strived against God’s Holy Spirit [Genesis 6:3, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 “…until He be taken out of the way.”

When the Holy Spirit leaves the world with the saints at the Rapture, the world will be dark indeed!].

The only merciful thing is the calling of the Jewish remnant to go out and preach the gospel….that Jesus Christ was, and is the Son of God which taketh away the sin of the world. The difference being: all who believe,…will seal their testimony with their blood. [Revelation 7:14]

As I said, it is the worst time the world has ever seen.)

John, saw all this….and was to write it down…sending it to the seven main churches….as a warning…..and into the Holy Scriptures for us.

As for John….he was commissioned again….a ministry of repair to the Churches….

Revelation 10:(8-10), 11 “And He said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.”

He was an old man, but he would do it….speaking God’s Word, and letting His Voice through His Word, call others.

For all of us, as Christians, the most blessed sight we can have is of Jesus Christ…..at the right hand of God,….for us.

1 John 4:17 “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgement: because as He is, so are we in this world.”

John was given new boldness….seeing Christ ruling and overruling in His Church.

1 John 5:20 “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”

Where are you in your work for Jesus?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

A more excellent Way.

1 Corinthians 12:31 “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.”

Some say there are many “ways” to God. There are not; the only way to come to God is through our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life.

But once we have come to Christ and been born again; our gifts and talents are to be for the service of Jesus, to honor the One who saved us.

But it is serving out of love, that is the more excellent way.

We should love Him, for He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

1 Corinthians 13:1 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal”

Though I could speak in every language of this earth; proclaiming the gospel far and wide.

And if I could testify of the gospel story in angels language:

If love for Jesus is not the motivation for all that preaching…

It would be just so much noise.

Loud noise; “sounding brass” like trumpets. “How great!” man will say; but to God it would be just noise.

Soft noise; “tinkling cymbal” like the end of a orchestra piece. Empty and just noise.

1 Corinthians 13:2 “And though I have the gift of prophesy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”

This is the one that used to shake me up. I am a preacher; and I study a lot. But all of that study and knowledge would be useless if I don’t use this knowledge, so I know Jesus, the lover of my soul, more.

And faith to remove mountains; that’s something that everyone wants….but without love to Jesus as our motive; we will be nothing.

Remember Paul was writing this; and he had great knowledge, and understood many mysteries.

But Paul also understood, that to do for God, without love to God; is really doing for a reward from God.

Which is another way of saying, you are doing it to please yourself.

1 Corinthians 13:3 “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

If I give all my possessions to God’s work of feeding the poor; and if I die a martyr’s death: burned at the stake, as many down through the ages have.

Though it cost me everything, as well as my life; if love for Jesus is not the reason; then it profits me nothing, with God.

I am none the better, for eternity, for it.

You say, surely that can not be!

But let us consider what love is. We love, when we prefer a certain One, over others.

Love is willed. We think of emotions and surely, they are there.

But love is a choice, and our choices come from our wills.

God is asking, “Will we love Jesus?”

He does not ask the world; they hate God and Christ.

But He asks Christians, those who have been saved from sin; will you love Jesus?

There is a price for love.

It is certainly, a turning away from others, to the One loved.

It is giving time and effort to please the One loved.

And most of all, it is standing with that One, even till death.

1 Corinthians 12:31 “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.”

The “more excellent way” is to love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. The first and greatest commandment.

And the Holy Spirit within us gives us that fruit of love, if we will.

1 Corinthians 13:13 ” And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

To truly love God is the greatest work we can do.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

It is time to Come, for all things are Ready

Luke 14:16-17 “Then said He unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.”

Who would refuse a great supper, unless they wanted to dishonor the One giving it?

Luke 14:18-20 “And they all with one consent begin to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.

And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.

And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I can not come.”

These are ridiculous excuses:

Who would examine a piece of ground in the night? With torches? What would you be able to see?

Or who would check on five yoke of oxen, to see if they pulled together, in the night?

Wouldn’t they take a chance of hurting some of them?

And this last was the worst: In Israel, when you were first married, all you did was go to parties, and dinners. Relatives, and friends, all sought to have you come, to honor your marriage.

But they all refused the invitation; and forfeited the privilege of feasting with Christ.

Luke 14:21-22 “So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.”

The call has issued down through the ages. All who would, have come.

To the world: they were the poor, downtrodden; and the maimed, halt, and blind. Those who realized they were lost and hopeless without Christ.

They were ushered in, to sit at the table, and feast with Jesus.

But there are places yet to be filled.

The last invitation is now going out.

There is an urgency to this last call, as the feast can not begin, until every place is filled.

Luke 14:23 “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highway and hedges, And compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”

So, he sends his servants again. It is late, there is no time now. They must compel them to come in.

“Compel them” means constrain them, or stop them in their tracks and bring them in.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.”

To stop them in the highways……going on in their own ways, unknowing or uncaring of Christ and His invitation of grace.

To make them hear the invitation.

Stop them in the hedges……hiding out, from all the chaos of the world; and speak to them of the invitation, which is being offered to them.

And the Holy Spirit will bring them in, “compel them”; that every place in the feast will be filled.

Luke 14:24 “For I say unto you, that none of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper.”

We don’t like to think of God’s Voice this way.

We don’t like to think of the “down side” to our rejection of God’s invitation to us: the fact that we have put off doing anything,…even though we know we should do something.

We have given excuses for our lack of desire; to know God, or even about Him. Wanting instead to pretend He does not exist, or that He is cruel and not to be yielded to.

But, unfortunately, one day, we will hear His Voice very clearly.

What we hear Him say will be most important, then.

We think of the merciful God; and He is. That is why this invitation is still going out.

The invitation to fellowship with Him is still be given out.

Some are being stopped, now, in their ways, and being presented with it.

What will you do? “Come, for all things are ready.”

There is a place for you, at Jesus table…..if you will come, at His invitation.

Is the Holy Spirit compelling you with Christ’s love, today?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Thou Wilt

Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.”

This peace is not the result of our self determination….trying to “be calm”,……but it is ministered to us by God.

Peace of mind is freedom from anxiety, worry, fear, and panic…

….God gives this to us, as we commit ourselves unto Him.

The word “mind” here is imagination….and how easily they can carry us away.

(A funny story: when my daughter was small (about 35 years ago)….a member of our congregation gave us a old rooster they had to get rid of.

We braised it with vegetables….very tasty. Evidently their family did not want to try and eat it.

Well, when my daughter heard we were having rooster, she asked what it tasted like.

“Like chicken”, I said, not thinking anything about it.

“Yea, well somebody said rattlesnake taste like chicken (where she heard that, I have no idea!)….are we eating snake?”

“No, no” I said, laughing, “a rooster is a boy chicken.”

“Oh….ok”……but she sure looked at it when it came on her plate.

We still laugh about….”Is this real chicken,chicken?”)

How often we “imagine” scenarios in our minds, with the knowledge we have….when what we need to do….is trust Jesus….

…..He knows everything…and is prepared for everything…..and will guide us, if we will let Him.

Trust is to hang on to.

When our hearts are looking to Christ, and our minds are trusting Him for our lives…..we have peace.

It garrisons us…..like a fortress; we are kept from the chaos of worry and from the desire to “do something”…..when we do not know what to do.

Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

For those that love God;….who are listening for His Voice,….when we are doing His Will….it brings peace to our lives, like nothing else.

There is a settled rest within us…..no matter what is around us.

Isaiah 48:18 “O that thou hast harkened to My commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and they righteousness as the waves of the sea:”

Our peace comes to us through Christ:

Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

“Thou wilt”. God will….amazing promise…

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Isaiah 26:3-4 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.

Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”

“Stayed” has the meaning of longevity…..it is a decision to keep before our thoughts…..this one particular thought…..”I am God’s, and He is here with me”

And this is personal. “Thou wilt keep him….”

I love this verse in Psalms:

Psalm 20:7 “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.”

Chariots and war horses lined up in battle make a grand sight….and many have trusted in them, only to be broken and defeated by God.

(Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea, the five kings Joshua 10:11, the siege of Samaria 2 Kings 7:4-7, Singing instead of fighting 2 Chronicles 20:17,21-22, and others,….because they believed in God.)

But the Name of my God, if remembered (that Name suggesting all of His character and attributes)…..will stay our hearts and minds in the battles we face….today.

He will give us peace.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Oh foolish heart…

A fool is he who through this life,

pursues the clouds he cannot own.

And leaves a wealth of things undone,

his tomb a final stepping stone.

What are we pursuing? Who are we following after?

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

(When I was a child, my Grandmother made it very clear…..both in word, and in her life….that God was real,….and that He personally knew me.

Yes, I went to Sunday School,…..I had aunts that were missionaries….who traveled through jungles, and taught the children there. It was exciting to hear their “adventures” with God….

….but no one taught we so well as Grandma. She prayed….and worked for others (including me)….loved her family….but it was always clear, God was first for her.

Though I have met many Christians in my life, it is true….I never felt the same reality of God in everyday circumstances, till I met my husband. He has the same personal presence of God with him, as my Grandmother did.

God is real, He is here, and by instruction, correction, and care….God will see His Will done.)

“But fools despise wisdom and instruction”

We mostly think of foolishness in the lost…..and they certainly are.

So foolish as to ignore or reject Christ, as Lord and Savior….”The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…”(Psalm 14:1),…..when He is the only Way of Salvation from sin and the Lake of Fire.

(I believe we are not to call men fools…Matthew 5:22 esp. in anger…..but we can call their actions foolish.)

Foolishness is acting without regard to God,….and His Will.

(We can be foolish when we follow some man and not God’s Word, we can be foolish when we think we can get along with out the Holy Spirit’s guidance….for these things and others, are actions are without regard to God, and His Will.)

Proverbs 1:5 “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:”

Are we hearing and learning….and attaining in Christ?

After Christ’s resurrection, Jesus appeared to many of His disciples (as Paul would say later in 1 Corinthians 15:6….up to 500 brethren saw Him)….

…but at first many refused to believe what the scriptures had said….(death, yes, but also resurrection and glory Psalm 22:22-31)….. and what He had told them (Luke 24:6-7)…..

Two of such disciples were going from Jerusalem to Emmaus, when Jesus (though they did not recognize Him at the first) walked with them and talked to them.

Luke 24:25-26 “Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?”

Remember foolish behavior regards not God….

…..and here on the road to Emmaus….these two disciples, who had heard of Christ’s resurrection….from witnesses who went to the empty tomb….were foolish…

….because they were “slow of heart to believe”.

They were leaving Jerusalem….without waiting to see if what they had heard about Jesus resurrection was true! They would miss out on the Lord’s appearing to them, and the Holy Spirit’s coming!

But the Lord did not just “let them go”….but as a good Shepherd, He went after them…and instructed them.

(How often our attitude is: No use waiting for the Lord any longer….what I expected did not happen.

We may not leave the place of duty…but become defeated in our minds. Proverbs 8:33 “Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.”)

They obviously knew the Scriptures…..but had been hesitant to believe…for it was not what they had expected to happen.

Luke 24:21 “But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel:…”

Though the Lord withheld their eyes from seeing Him at first….

….yet these two disciples became wise, as they listened to the Lord,…first on the road in discussion of Scripture….then when He gave thanks for the bread that resurrection evening….

Luke 24:30-32 “And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, He took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.

And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight.

And they said to one another, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?”

Then they hurried back to Jerusalem and met with the other disciples and saw Jesus again…

Luke 24:36 “And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”

How often our hearts are foolish……slow to believe the Lord, and what He has said to us.

But we can become wise….hearing the Lord’s instruction…believing in our hearts…

Luke 24:45-49 “Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

(Praise God, He does this for us as well!)

And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

And ye are witnesses of these things.

And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”

Here was proof…..here was the gospel message…here was promise for their future….

….yet they would have foolishly missed all of these blessings….by being slow to believe.

We, too, can let the circumstances of the times discourage us….

…we, too, can walk away from what God is working…..because we are “slow of heart to believe”.

Or we can wait on the Lord to show us what is next….for He will lead us on, and give us grace, by the Holy Spirit, to take that next step.