Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

His Pleasure for me.

Revelation 4:10 “The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,”

The glory of having a crown in that day, will be, to cast it at the feet of Jesus.

He deserves all the honor: for He created us, saved us, sustained us, and brought us to the place of all joy: heaven and His Presence forever.

This crown is truly our own; we have “earned” it as a reward for our devotion to the Lord Jesus. We could walk around heaven with it on, if we wanted to.

[There are three crowns for us in heaven, spoken of in scripture:

the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) to them that love His appearing;

the crown of life (James 1:12) to them that love Him;

and the crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4) by feeding the flock of God, by being examples to the flock.]

But the real glory of having a crown; is to cast it down at His feet.

He has shown me this verse, I read it everyday:

Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”

He created all things: By His Almighty Power He made something out of nothing.

And for His pleasure they are , and were created.

“Pleasure” here means determination.

If, indeed, we exist for His Pleasure/Determination, what is His Pleasure where we are concerned?

What has He determined for us?

It is to be reconciled to Him…..in all things.

(Is there something you are not reconciled to God, about? I wish to tell you….He comes to meet us….as we come to Him. [the prodigal])

2 Corinthians 5:19-20 “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and have committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

This is to put first things, first.

And it is in today’s situation that this must be done.

We can not wait for “better” opportunities, or a “more convenient season”.

“Lord, I am here now, by Your pleasure……In this set of circumstances.

May I adjust to them,…..seek Your will in them,…..and see Your will brought to pass in me, by them.

And may I know Your joy and peace in them.”

(How many opportunities have I missed because I thought that this situation was just like before? Too many. )

But we can be “crowned” here, by the Lord, as well:

Psalms 103:2-5 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all they diseases;

Who Redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowned thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

The “crownest” here, means to encircle for protection.

Here, we are crowned with God’s lovingkindness and mercy for our protection…..crowned also suggests noticeable, for testimony to others for our God.

In heaven, we are given crowns to reward our devotion to Christ…..the joy of which, will be to give them back to Jesus….Who won us to Himself….by His sacrifice and life.

We are created for a purpose. Saved for a purpose. Guided into that purpose, which is His Pleasure/Determination, by the Holy Spirit.

Will we be reconciled to Him in all things,…..and our purpose….day by day?

Let us have the crown of love and mercy encircle us now….and look forward in devotion to Christ, to be able to throw our crowns down at His feet.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Praise ye the Lord

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

Thirteen times in this psalm….praise of the Lord is spoken of:

“praise the Lord”, “praise Him”, “praise God”.

The book of Psalms begins with God’s estimate of the man that is blessed….which is the man who makes God and His Word, his satisfaction.

Psalms 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.”

The Psalms ends with a estimate of God’s due….by the man who has found God as his satisfaction….praise for all He is, and all He has done.

Psalm 150:1-2 “Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in HIs sanctuary: praise Him in the firmament of His power.

Praise Him for HIs mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness.”

Someone has said, that the Psalms are the heart’s response to God’s dealings with HIs people.

In Psalms we see, not just the spiritual history…..but the feelings and thoughts of the people of God.

Some were written by Moses….and placed in this book. (Psalm 90)

Some were written by others….but most were songs and cries from David.

David, the shepherd,(Psalm 23, 100)…..David, in prayer (Ps. 86),….David, the hunted by Saul, (Ps. 59)…..David, the king,….David, the sinner (Psalm 32, 51)…..David, the lover of the House of the Lord (Psalm 84, 24)

In all the situations and trials we come into contact with….we will find a like situation….and feelings in the Psalms.

Moses about the attitude of the Israelites. (Ps.106)

David when his own son was trying to destroy him and his kingship (Ps. 3).

When the psalmist became discouraged about the wicked…how they seemed to have no trouble, yet the righteous had all sorts of trials. (Ps. 73)

David when he gave into the wrong means….and tried to “save” himself from Saul’s hate, by going to the Philistines. (1 Sam. 21:10-15, Ps.34)

All through the Psalms there are passages of great comfort…..exhortations to right means….and the cries of God’s people in distress, trouble, doubt, and correction.

Psalm 102…a prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the Lord.

Psalm 102:19-20 “For He hath looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth.

To hear the groaning of the prisoners; to loose those that are appointed to death.”

Psalm 22….a prophesy of the afflictions and crucifixion of Christ.

Psalm 22:1, 18 “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Why art Thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my venture.”

Psalm 110…a prophesy of the coming kingdom of David’s son….Christ Jesus.

Psalm 110:2 “The Lord shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion: rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies.”

God and me….is a great title for many of the psalms….

…and so, in the end,….through all these situations and deliverances…

…there is only one thing to do:

Praise the Lord! For all His wonderful works! For all HIs mercy!

Praise God! From the sanctuary to the heavens above…..give glory and praise to our Lord!

From me to Him…..let my heart, and mind, and whole being….praise the Lord.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Rain

Hosea 6:3 “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”

Christ Jesus, when He comes to us by the influence of the Holy Spirit, is like a shower of rain, to a dry and thirsty ground.

When we are without Jesus in our lives, our hearts are hard, and nothing seems to soften them or make an impression on them.

(We may feel many emotions….which come and go….bring thoughts to lift or depress…..but our hearts are not softened by them….only used….in and out….never becoming the fruitful garden full of beauty and usefulness to the Lord.)

When we are born again….the Holy Spirit comes within us…..like a gentle rain, He softens us…..to feel the impressions of the Word of God for our lives.

But when we fall into sin after becoming Christians,(and sadly this can happen)…..we can again become “hardened”.

So we need to turn to Him again, and pray for showers of His mercy and grace to come to us, and soften our hearts in repentance, and cleansing in His blood.

Wherever Christ comes, the rain of the Holy Spirit and of grace, comes to our souls;…..and we are turned into a well watered land.

Fruitful and beautiful, for we drink Him in;…..and by His Spirit’s influence, we are changed little by little, into His character.

As rain is a free gift of God to the earth……to poor and rich alike, the rain falls.

So Christ is offered to all who will receive Him.

The rain is most necessary to all the parts of the plants: roots, trunk, branches, leaves, and blossom.

So Christ is necessary to every part of us: our understanding, our will, our emotions, and our memories.

He strengthens us in good things, and enlivens us as we grow.

He increases our peace, and love for Him and others.

He preserves us within, by His Spirit; and without, by HIs Word.

As rain sometimes comes amid thunderstorms, as well as the gentle warm rain; so Christ comes to us to warn us, as well as to encourage us.

As rain satisfies the dry earth, so Christ comes and satisfies us.

He gives us the fruit of His Spirit within us.

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”

If we follow on to know the Lord,…..He will come unto us as the rain, the former and latter rain, upon the dryness of our souls.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…that we might live…unto God.)

Soberly here, does not mean sadly…..

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

(Some people say Christians are sad and mournful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We understand the good works….

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

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

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

….and live obedient, joyful lives.

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Thankfulness

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quench not the Spirit.”

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

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

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

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

It was one big party with God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue,

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

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

God’s will is always our privilege to do.

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

the encouraging of our faith,

fruitfulness in our life,

and a way to grow more in love with Him.

To Whom is the Arm of the Lord Revealed?

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

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

To whom indeed was His Arm revealed?

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

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

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

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

That no flesh should glory in HIs presence.”

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

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

“Underneath”…to uphold and catch us.

But He is not always seen as He is…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…still they rejected Him.

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

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

And follow Him.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps we think we know what we should do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t doubt.

Don’t fear.

Come to Christ, and be restored to spiritual health.

The verse says, “let it” be healed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us lift up our hands to Him!

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Behold! I Stand!

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

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

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

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

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

This “sup” in the original, means fellowship.

I will fellowship with him, and he with Me.

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

This also sets forth fellowship.

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

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

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

And that temptation brought about their sin.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Right place, God’s Will, our Surrender

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What should Haman care?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What could be done?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The king asks her, What is thy request?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How will God take care of that?

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

….but, he can do what he can…..

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

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

Against all odds….God saw to His people.

And the principle is the same for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us surrender to our part in it.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Jacob

Approximately twelve chapters…in Genesis deal with Jacob.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is that promise we will speak of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But he dreamed.

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

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

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

The first thing Jacob sees is a “ladder”.

We know this is a picture of Christ.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If…..”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this same grace is to us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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