Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

What is the difference between knowing and knowing?

Mark 1:22 “And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He thought them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.”

This is astonishing! When Jesus came to Israel, preaching the Kingdom of God is at hand….there were many scribes who knew the Word of God.

Many who could point out exactly what should be done according to the Law.

(Under king Josiah, the scribe was established. As many things, at the beginning, it was a very blessed plan.

Send men out into the land of Judah, who knew the Law….to teach it, so that everyone would know what God wanted them to do. It was exactly what Moses had said to do when they entered the land……though Israel had failed to do it….and many did not know what God had said in His Law.)

But now, at Jesus time, the scribes had degenerated into a class of men, separate from others…..better than others….who generally used their knowledge of the Law…..not to teach others, but to point out other people’s faults.

Then comes Jesus…..He preaches and teaches what should be done from the scriptures….but with the authority of One Who knows God,…..and that His Law is good, merciful, and right.

(It is not real authority for others, without the Authority of God and His Word for me.)

Mark 1:21 “And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day He entered into the synagogue, and taught.”

This is the same incident as in…

Matthew 4:13, 23 “And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum…..

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”

This was at the beginning of His ministry…..and we see Him teaching the people….with authority.

Giving the Word, with power to change them……to those starving for it.

(At least seven times in scripture it is recorded that they were astonished at His doctrine, wisdom and understanding….for it was with authority…”power”. Luke 4:32)

We think He had power only because He was the Son of God….yet He plainly says…

John 8:26, 29 “I have many things to say and to judge of you: but He that sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.

And He that sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.”

John 12:49-50 “For I have not spoken of Myself, but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak.”

Here is a real….”And I know”. Christ Jesus knew God HIs Father,….and that His Word is good, merciful, and right.

How much do we know God, and His Word in us?

Though the scribes knew the Word…..yet they did not know the reality of the authority of that Word….for themselves.

They could give good advice, but could not command the heart of their hearers…..because the blessing of God comes to the devoted and obedient heart….and through them, to others.

We, too, must acquire the knowledge of the Word…..how important for these days….

….but also the authority of that Word in our lives, that we might show the Lord to others,….and the goodness, mercy and power of His Word, by being under it’s Authority ourselves.

It is not head knowledge, but of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the Person of the Godhead that we work mostly with.

When we speak for the Lord,….by His Word, or by obedience…..and we have that experience in our lives,….the Holy Spirit takes what is said, and done….and empowers it in the lives of the hearers.

They may reject the conviction, or help…..but they can not get around that Word, when spoken with the power of the Holy Spirit.

What is the difference between knowing and knowing?

The knowing of our heads….not bad, but not enough.

And the knowing of our lives…..we have what the Lord said…..in us!

And we can speak with authority anything we get into our own lives.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Of One Accord

Acts 5:12 “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.”

(Solomon’s porch was just off the main temple area. It was where the first church often met.)

“With one accord.” Here is the real power of this verse.

It means to be gathered to the Lord, Himself.

We are not come together for the preaching, or for the music, or for the company….although there is nothing wrong with good preaching, music, or fellowship of company….

….but to be of one accord….

…..Christ has to be the reason we come together.

Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Gathered together in His Name, there He is in the midst.

To be gathered together in His Name….is to be impelled of the Holy Spirit.

You are there because He has sent you there….and you want to be no where else.

(Years ago, my husband knew a man that came every Sunday,…..but confided in my husband that he would rather be home watching the games on T.V.

My husband looked at him….and told him that he might be better off if he did….for if the heart is not in the “coming”…..that coldness spills out into the life and service. [Sometime we can never really see our lostness when we are hiding in a church.]

My husband had been praying for this man, and had wondered….after all this time, why there seemed to be no spiritual growth. He tried dealing with this man….showing him the wonderful things of Christ….but…

He often said the right words….but the light of the eyes and heart did not seem to be in what he was saying.

Several years past, and this man finally stayed home. He went from one thing to another…..trying the “happiness” of the world.

There are always those….like Demas….who go along awhile….yet finally leave….”having loved this present world”.

….for they would rather leave Christ than give up their loves, or plans.)

“With one accord”

Your whole body, soul and spirit longs to be where the children of God are gathered….to be there for Christ,….and for His Purpose.

That is God’s Purpose and it becomes your Purpose.

That is to be of one accord.

The Vulgar Latin word for “accord” meant….”to be heart to heart with”.

This was the way the first church met.

All would be heart to heart with the Lord…having HIs heart’s desire for this situation.

That gave a power to the services….for the Lord’s Will being done has real practical power in it….and when it is done with all the heart….there is blessing and power.

We say they were on fire for the Lord…. the love they felt for Him overcame every fear and concern.

They were forgiven and wanted to continue in the fellowship and joy of that peace with God….and with their fellow believers.

Love in scripture is willed…..it is the willed tendency of the heart after Someone….Christ.

That love is practical….and the first place it is shown is in our obedience to Him…..heart obedience.

Acts 5:32 “And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey Him.”

With His accord you are “heart to heart” with Him…..and this is what He wants….

….your heart so wrapped up in Him, that slight differences with people, or changes in circumstances, will not be a concern….or take our eyes off of Him.

This is, of course, between each believer and the Lord….but it is felt in the corporate ministry….and in the world. (Acts 4:13)

Song of Solomon 2:15 “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”

When you take care of these little foxes…those little strifes, or desires, or hinderances in your hearts affection…..then…

…you have fellowship with Him…in a new way.

And when that fellowship continues….you will begin to know His accord,…as you are removing all that hinders this from being so.

And by many acts of the will you become heart to heart with Him…..of one accord….with the love and power that it brings.

Rich

When we think of being rich, we think of money, or lands, or possessions…..

……but when God thinks of us being rich….it is an entirely different answer…

….let us consider what God thinks…

Proverbs 10:22 “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it.”

Many have found that their riches have brought “things”…..but also much sorrow.

Whenever we begin to build on a foundation of…”what we have”….we are in trouble. (Psalm 62:10)

But the Lord promises no sorrow with the riches of His blessing….for they are given day by day…..heavenly blessings which come to us through Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

In scripture there are two very good examples of “rich”….

Luke 12:16-20: “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully….”

(This man was already rich in this world’s goods….yet the Lord gave him a very good crop of “fruits”.

What would he do with them?

Please understand that every law in Israel about harvest, included sharing with the poor, the priests living nearby, and those that gleaned.)

“This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

And I will say to my soul, soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.”

This man decided to forget about God’s liberality to him…overlook the laws God had set down….and devote all that he had….to himself.

(When we share our blessings with others….it should not be for them….but for God. All things given, in obedience to His Will, is an offering to Him…and a blessing to others)

We know what the man was going to do…..so what did God say?

“But God said unto him,…”.

This is amazing….God speaks to all….through His Word, through others, to their conscience….He speaks and asks them…

….Who is in charge? What will happen to all your plans if “your soul” is removed?

Things will come and go….but your soul is the value of your life….why are you just wasting it?

“Thou fool (Psalm 14:1), this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”

Sadly this man……thinking he had gained all….lost all that was important…when he could have been really rich.

Then the Lord speaks:

Luke 12:21 “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. “

The other example is Paul:

Paul was a very ‘up and coming’ Pharisee,…till he was saved on the road to Damascus.

Then he became a simple believer….an apostle to the Gentiles…a missionary which worked as a tent maker to provide for himself and others that were with him.

His testimony after many years…

2 Corinthians 6:4,10 “But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,”

(Now this does not sound “rich”…yet…)

“As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

“Possessing all things”….God could change circumstances for Paul….and did….many times. Paul had “all things” in Christ.

Paul knew of the “riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering;” which leads to repentance. (Romans 2:4)

He knew of the “riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy” (Romans 9:23) to share in Christ’s life within us by the Holy Spirit!

He knew…”O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33) in planning our salvation…both Jew and Gentile!

Paul knew God’s power to give him directions and guidance in His Will…. “the riches of His grace; wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;” (Ephesians 1:7-8).

He knew he was saved to preach about the grace given him….”Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8)

And he knew the mighty working of the Holy Spirit within him….”according to His working, which worketh in me mightily.” (Colossians 1:29).

Paul was rich….and wanted every Christian to share in the manifold riches of Christ.

Ephesians 3:17-19 “That Christ may dwell in you hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

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

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

He wanted all to know these true riches….(Paul speaks at length about the practical life of “gain”. 1 Timothy 6:6-12)

1 Timothy 6:17-18 “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;”

But the living God, Who gives us richly…all things to enjoy!

Are we “rich” in this world…..in things….or in plans and ambitions?

Or are we becoming rich in grace, and the love of Christ…..experiencing the many blessings of the living God?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Temptation of Jesus

Matthew 4:1 “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”

Jesus was “led up of the Spirit”. This temptation, then, was God’s Plan and Purpose for His Son.

He was in all points tempted, like as we are, the writer to the Hebrews revealed. (Hebrews 4:15)

So this temptation shows us how to act when we, too, are tempted.

First, notice that our hardest temptations come after we have gotten more Spiritual power and grace.

Jesus had just been baptized by John the Baptist, and the Holy Spirit had come down upon Him without measure, as He came up from the water.

A Voice had announced that Jesus was God’s Beloved Son! And that He was well pleasing in God’s sight!

But then He was tempted.

Matthew 4:2-4 “And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered.

And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread.

But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Jesus was hungry. He had been fasting for forty days, and nights; so when He could, He wanted to break the fast by food.

But when tempted by the devil to change stones into bread, so He could satisfy His hunger,…….now,…..and prove that He was the Son of God;…..Jesus refused.

But He did not just say “No”, but rebuked the suggestion by quoting “It is written”.

What the Scriptures say, help us to live right, and know what to do.

The suggestion of the devil, was that because Jesus was the Son of God,…..He could do what ever He wanted, have whatever He wanted, whenever He wanted, by simply commanding it to be so.

Of course, Jesus had power to do that,…..but that was not why He became man.

He became man, to live a perfect life….so He could be a perfect sacrifice for sin, for us…..that we might live.

It was ever to do the Father’s Will, that He came, and that was what He lived for…..and would die by.

(So should we do the Father’s Will for us.

It puts us in the wonderful position of being able to stand back from temptations, and plans of the world and the devil………and seek God’s Will in everything.

That puts temptations in a new light.

It is not: “You want this,….it is not too awful,….why not do it?”

It is: “Is this what the Lord would have me to do,…now?”)

Notice this first temptation of Jesus, was for bodily wants.

Matthew 4:5-7 “And the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple.

And saith unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.

Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

Jesus had quoted Scripture,……so now the devil quotes it.

This scripture is a promise to Christ, for protection (Like When Harod sent soldiers to kill the baby; or when they were going to throw Him off the cliff at Nazareth)……..but not the presumption the devil suggested.

Notice the devil says again,……”If thou be the Son of God”.

Here the temptation is for public announcement, and fame.

Cast yourself down from the pinnacle of the temple.

What a better way to prove the fact that You are the Son of God!

For God would certainly do His promise,….and those that saw it, might have been awed into following Jesus for awhile, because of it…….

…….but that is not true believing.

But Jesus refused it, for it was not the Father’s Way of announcement.

His Way was for Jesus to go about preaching, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.

He was to do good to all. (Matthew 4:17)

Certainly it was not as exciting as angels catching Him……..but it was God’s Will.

The devil’s suggestion was just tempting God;……and Jesus refused it and quoted that Scripture: “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

(To tempt God is to make God prove Himself or His Word, by demanding that He do something for us,….now. Do this, or we won’t trust You.)

This second temptation had been for Fame, and prestige.

How often we get trapped into “seeking” these.

Matthew 4:8-10 “Again, the devil taketh Him up unto an exceeding high mountain, and showeth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them:

And saith unto Him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”

The temptation here is: Forget the path to the cross.

If You will fall down and worship me, You can have all the kingdoms and the power of them…now;……without the suffering and shameful death of the cross.

This was the devil’s attempt to destroy Who Jesus was: “I will give you all I have, to make God finally submit to me, in the person of His Son.”

Of course Jesus refused this:

But after this final suggestion, Jesus commands the devil to depart; quoting the verse, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”

Jesus would do all the Father’s Will.

And He was confident that those kingdoms would be His, God’s Way….and that was through the suffering of the cross,….onward to resurrection and glory.

The third temptation was for personal power, and glory;…….without suffering.

And the devil temps us in the same ways:

1. See to your needs first. Yes, your a Christian, but God has not “forbidden” you to do this, so He probably doesn’t care. Big temptation.

2. If you are going to have a ministry for God, make it flashy. People will remember you. They will admire you. They will think you are great! (There is a whole lot of “you” in that “ministry”)

3. If you will just go along with the world, you could skip a whole lot of trouble. Sure, you can look like a Christian, but you don’t have to walk in that “narrow” way.

In other words, “Go ahead, lose your Christ’s Life, to have your self life”. (Matthew 16:25)

These,……..and others like them,……are the things the devil tempts us with

(For he tempted our Lord the same way.)

Looking to the Father’s Will, Jesus went through these temptations, standing on the Word of God.

Jesus left the place of temptation, having the victory,……by placing Himself in the Father’s hands, under the authority of the Word of God.

He did all the work the Father had for Him, and finished it…..for us.

So we need to look to Christ Jesus, and go through all He has purposed for us, with Him.

He will empower us, giving us our measure of our devotion and obedience, by the Holy Spirit,………to know and to do His Will.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Strait Gate and the Narrow Way

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

“Strait” here means “narrow, with obstacles standing close about”.

“Narrow” is a thin path.

Is Jesus trying to discourage people?

No, He is just telling the truth….for all of us have “turned everyone to his own way”.

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

Now we must turn from that way, and seek to enter into His Way, which is Life.

Isn’t He the door….by Him, if we enter in, we will be saved?

Yes! Absolutely! But getting to the door, or the “gate” as it is referenced here, is often the problem…..for we try and bring all that we are, with us.

This is not our possessions….but our old life, old habits, old way of doing things, our old way of seeing things.

Luke 18:25 “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needles eye, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

I use this verse….for it exemplifies that we need to set everything aside to “enter in”.

In the old walled cities of Israel…..there were gates….wide and broad; which the caravans of camels and carts came in and out all day. There were guards, it is true….but they seldom restricted the merchandise from coming in and out.

But at night, when robbers and enemies were about….the gate was shut; and any caravan,….having missed the time…..would be stuck outside,….a easy prey for these bandits. For the guards would not come out to fight for them.

If this happened, the only other recourse, was to empty every animal, and squeeze them through a door, which was set beside the gate for travelers at night. One guard could easily hold the door if bandits or an enemy tried to come in.

This door was called the needle’s eye. For no animal could come through it, carry all they had.

(I know some people say that the Lord Jesus was telling a ridiculous joke….that He meant it for the impossible. For He goes on to say….”The things that are impossible with men are possible with God.” And it could be true….for Jesus was illustrating the impossibility of those that hold on to “my things”, to be saved.)

So let us see, what we hold on to:

Our opinions,…..formed when we were under the influence of the world.

We often continue to see things the same way….and God wants us to see through His eyes…

Mark 6:34 “And Jesus, when He came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and He began to teach them many things.”

Mark 3:5 “And when He had looked round about on them in anger(on those who did not want Him to heal on the Sabbath)….being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts…”

We often hold on to alliances,….people we had the same interests with before,….but now?….which will we choose?

2 Corinthians 6:17-18”Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

We often hold on to habits…whether games, T.V., or being fans of a particular thing……

Habits of speech, or a certain way we do things….all of these are formed when we were not born again….

And I must stress…….we should be willing to lay any of these things aside.

Not that the Lord always asks us to…..but anything that will “weigh us down”, or burden our following Him…..you have to be willing to take off. (Hebrews 12:1)

Matthew 10:37-38 “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.”

How much do you want Him in your life? And how much of your life is yours…..and how much is His?

These are the things He was addressing in the broad way and the strait gate….our willingness to give Him all.

Proverbs 23:26 “My son, give Me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways.”

Not that He gains by us….He is self-existent, eternal, Almighty. But that the more we love Him, the more free we become from sin, self, and the world.

The more our heart grows with love for Him…the more it expands in light, peace, and joy.

It is for our benefit He asks us, as He asked Peter by Galilee….”Lovest thou Me more than these?”

It was not just his fellow fishermen, the Lord was asking about……but fishing, the sea, the old life…..”Do you love Me, Peter, more than all of them?”

Twice in the Psalms, David says, “my heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” (Psalm 57:7, Psalm 108:1). Both times he is speaking of God’s mercy to him.

The “fixed” in these Psalms is “prepared”. David had prepared his heart to receive mercy from God….and had run straight to His God, trusting Him, to receive it.

Psalm 57:1 “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpassed.”

Let me ask….are we preparing our hearts to hear Him,….to follow Him,….to love Him?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Cursed or Blessed

Jeremiah 17:5 “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.

Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed be the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” I’m

When God says, “cursed” to anyone…..then He is giving that one over to the bondage of sin…..the weight of sin,….the darkness of sin….the penalty of sin.

The curse is sin. Sin is the refusal of God’s authority over our life….in thought, attitude, and action (Romans 14:23, James 4:17).

When God says, “blessed” to anyone…..then He is giving His Spirit and the influence of love, joy, peace….and liberty of obedience to that one.

(In the Bible, the heart is the personality of a person.

God gave us a personality when He formed us….

….of the dust of the ground He formed our bodies,

….He breathed into us the “breath of life” (the Holy Spirit) into our spirits,

….And we became a living soul….living personalities that responded to our Creator, God.

Ecclesiastes 7:29 “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright [righteous]; but they have sought out many inventions.”

We were made upright….fully capable of not sinning. We had the Holy Spirit within, and we did not have a sinful nature….till Adam willed to sin, instead of obey God.

Many inventions….many things which will take the place of God in the heart.

And the biggest thing we try and fill our hearts with……is us.

Our plans, our riches, our jobs, our friends, our…whatever…

…but it is “our”….”mine”.)

In Jeremiah’s time, under king Josiah, there was a “revival” of religion.

Josiah was a godly king and ordered the Temple worship re-established and had one of the few Passover feasts that Israel had.

He ordered those of the priestly family who knew the Law, to go about teaching it.

Many came back to worship God…..but many came back to the Temple,…..and still worshiped their other gods.

Time came, when Josiah died…the kings after were wicked…..and the worship went on,…but in form only.

There were still those who preached the truth, wrote the truth to be read,….and who believed God…..yet they were becoming less and less.

Jeremiah was told to tell them of their sin…..(remember sin is the curse)…

….and God said:

“Cursed is the man that trusteth in man….and whose heart departeth from the Lord.”

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.”

These are the choices every person has to make….

We trust in our own way…..departing from the God who made us and would save us…..and be cursed of God, and left to the sin we have chosen.

(every man can be saved….all they have to do is come to God through Jesus Christ.

John 1:12 “For as many as received Him (Jesus Christ), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”

In the Old Testament….it was faith in the Savior’s coming. In the New Testament time, the time we are living in….it is faith that the Savior, Christ Jesus has come.)

Or to trust in the Lord,….and be blessed of God, and saved from our sin….into liberty of love obedience.

I want to explain something…..

…God is Light. (1 John 1:5)

If you love the darkness so you can hide in it with your sin…then, face it, your sin is ruling you….and you will not want the Light….that is why you are rejecting God…and for no other reason.

…God is Love. (1 John 4:8)

God’s love in not an indulgent pat on our head….

….His love is a consuming fire which burns up our hatred, anger, resentments, and self-pity.

He will continue to love us….taking away all those emotions which destroy us….and will change our hearts into vessels of overflowing peace and praise.

…God is Truth.(John 14:16)

His truth is our safety. Never is our step more safe and firm, then when we are walking in His truth….not following the crooked ways of the world.

…God is Life. (John 14:16)

Only in His life, can we have life.

If your breathing in and out, yet without Christ….you are merely existing.

Life is walking, talking, and having a personal relationship with Christ Jesus, letting His Spirit empower, enable, comfort and encourage us.

…God is Faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9, 10:13)

Both in His promises and in His threatenings…..for He is Able to do everything according to His Will.

He is faithful “to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him (Jesus Christ)…” (Hebrews 7:25)

He is faithful….”and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

In these titles…..I am not seeking to make you love and admire God….only the Holy Spirit can do that….

….but seeking to manifest your choice…

…cursed or blessed? Which? Choose God, or your own way.

He spoke to Israel before they were taken away into captivity….so they would turn….and be saved.

He speaks now to all…

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.

He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

We are condemned already…..cursed already because of our sin…..

…but God, through Christ will save us….if we believe on Him.

And He speaks to Christians:

2 Corinthians 6:17, 18-7:1 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Holiness is sanctification….to set ourselves aside to God in all the parts of our lives….to keep coming after Him, who loves us and saves us.

Cursed is the man….whose heart departeth from the Lord.

Blessed is the man who trusteth in the Lord…

We have a choice…..which will we choose.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Let this mind be in you.

We often ask the question…..”How can I be more spiritual? How can I bear the trials that I am going through?”

Well, the Philippians were a church born in persecution….yet knew joy.

Philippians 2:1-2 “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

“Consolation” means anything from comfort and solace….to exhortation. It is anything spiritually or emotionally that gives us what we need…..

…..Christ sends us His consolation in many ways.

A word of encouragement…..a call to a friend to see how they are doing…..a passage of scripture….a hug (I call them) from the Holy Spirit saying, I am here with you, in this.

Christ had sought them out…..He had sent Paul to them, to give them the good news of Salvation.

Christ had shown them His love by saving them and giving them the fellowship of the Spirit.

Christ had shown them mercy, and grown the church even under persecution….giving them a testimony in all the city.

Now, Paul says…..don’t become easily offended with others…..or seek a “position” in the church…..but seek to serve in the place you are….

…for Paul knew, that often when our testimony is strong….the devil seeks to get us by “strife, or vain glory”.

Instead, he says…..look to Christ…

…if we do that, we can look on others without judgement….rejoicing in any growth of grace each makes.

Philippians 2:5-8 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus;

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God;

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

And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto the death, even the death of the cross.”

“Let this mind be in you….me”

Here is the way we are to think about our path or way before us,….no matter how it is:

Christ Jesus came from the highest glory…..through His own Will and self-denial…

….moved by love of His Father’s Will, and for the love of His own, that He would save.

He came to the lowest depths….every step, giving up something….

….He humbled Himself.

He gave up the outward manifestation of His glory and power….He became man, submitting to His Father’s Will in everything.

(He who could feed 5000, waited by a well for His disciples to bring back some food, and asked a Samaritan woman to give His some water)

In everything He kept the goal in view….to honor His Father, and His law….and save all who would come to Him.

In His self-denial, He stooped to death…..even the death of the cross.

The death of the cross was not just a horrible, painful way to die,….but shameful…..outside the city….mocked, spit upon, cursed,…

…..all that went on, while the strength, and life slowly left Him…

….and it showed man’s rejection of Him and God….

….until the mass of our putrid sin was placed upon Him….but He still went on in self-denial….till all was accomplished

He did this…..He humbled Himself….He became obedient to death…..even the death of the cross.

And we are to think the same way….to follow His steps….for the love of God and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Self-denial needs to be our constant companion.

But that was not the end:

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

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

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

Because Christ fulfilled His Work….God….(can you hear the trumpets blowing in heaven?)….”highly exalted Him”.

Highly is to raise to the highest position….above all others. (Matthew 28:18, Revelation 3:21)

Here the Father manifests Christ’s Victory over all opposition…..raising Him…not just from death, but to a place in His Throne…with all power and authority….

….releasing His grace to flow out to the redeemed!

And commanding that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord….

….all for the glory of God.

(As Christians, born again ones, we will bow and confess here in our lives that Jesus is Lord…..our Lord and Savior.

As the lost, they will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord, at the White Throne Judgement….and then be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Their knees will bow…..knowing then Who they rejected here…that Jesus is the Lord and Savior with the power that could have saved them….

….and their tongues will confess it…..their will be no delight….only terror, knowing they refused to receive and confess Him here.)

What is the reason Paul states these truths?

Life is hard…..Christianity is harder. The consolation, that Christ chose them, each of them…..by the preaching of the gospel and the ministry of the Word….

….should yield unity and one accord with each other.

And the example of Christ’s humbling Himself….should yield submission and love…in all circumstances that they are….and will, go through.

To what lengths Christ came that I, a rebellious and wicked sinner might come to Him!

The glory of Christ and the Father is assured….have we entered into our part of it, by bowing to Christ? And confessing in life….His Lordship?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

John 15:7 “If ye abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

“If ye abide in Me”.

Are you born again? Then you are abiding in Him.

“And My words abide in you”

If you are not refusing His Will and Way for you, and your sins are confessed up to date (1 John 1:9)….then His Words abide in you.

This word “abide” here, means more than….just come and go…..here and there.

It means….that it is a constant part of my life.

“And ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

Notice it is not….

Through you…or by you….or for you, even.

(This was an amazing revelation to my soul, when the Lord pointed out what this said.

We sometimes zoom through scripture, thinking that we know what is being said….after all we have heard it so many times….)

But it is “unto you”.

Christ Jesus will make you what you ought to be….

If what you are asking done “unto you” is His Will….it will most certainly be done unto you.

What is the difference between “for you” and “unto you”?

“For you” denotes that God is working to increase your grace, knowledge or faith….through the Holy Spirit and circumstances.

“Unto you” shows us that some work needs to be done on what we already have.

(Like the Potter and the clay. Some shaping, or some kneading of the clay needs to be done….to make us ready to be molded and useable for what is next.)

This is amazing because what Jesus is talking about here is fruit bearing….us bearing fruit for Him….the vine and the branches.

John 15:2, 5 “Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that bears fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.”

The branch abides in the Vine….it does not hold on for dear life….it abides.

It lets the flow of life (the Holy Spirit) continue to work within.

But there are branches which do not bear fruit….or bear little fruit to God…..what of them?

First the Husbandman (Father God)….takes away the branches that just bear leaves.

They look good, but they are just taking in…and taking in…and taking in. They are hearing the Word, they are agreeing with the Word….but…

…they are not even bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit.

These are let go for a while to see what they will bear….but taken away when they only produce that which makes them look good.

Then the Husbandman “purges” the branches that bear fruit….that they may bear more fruit. How does He do this?

“Now ye are clean through the Word I have spoken unto you.” (Verse 3)

We often stop in our spiritual walk….we grow weary,….we begin to feel that we have “enough”….we let fear stop us.

Then the Word comes to us….and we are awakened to our trouble and set things right with God.

Then….”If ye abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

We may not be able to remove the hinderance within…..but He can…

…”unto you”.

We may be willing….and this is what God requires….us willing with Him….to have it done….”unto us”.

To let God do as He wills….

….that we might “abide”…..constantly know His Presence and His Word to us.

How safe is the branch which abides in the Vine, and brings forth the fruit of His Life!

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Lord is My Shepherd

John 10:11 “I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.”

In the Psalms, we are called the “sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3), denoting His ownership of us. We belong to Him, and by this…..are under His protection.

It is a good thing that we are; for the Lord Jesus warns us of the enemies which are against us:

Thieves and robbers…wolves…and those that are not sheep:

John 10:1 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”

John 10:12 “But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, see the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.”

John 10:26 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you.”

The true flock of God, hear His voice and follow where He leads:

John 10:3-4 “To Him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.”

Do you think Jesus doesn’t know you? Certainly He does.

He calls you by name—your name; that you may follow Him.

He does not drive the sheep before…..but leads them.

Anything that is waiting for the sheep, will first be faced by Him.

He has prepared the way, we are to go.

He measures every temptation, and trial….and makes a way through it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.”

Rightly has Matthew Henry said:

“I shall be supplied with what I need. And if I do not have everything I desire, I may conclude that it is not good for me; Or I shall have it in due time.”

Psalm 23:2-3 “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake.”

His leading us is essential; for He knows where and how we are to safely rest.

He restores me in His redemption, to God;…..in His forgiveness, to peace;….in His fellowship, to joy and love.

And we walk and rest, under the banner of His Name. (Song of Solomon 2:4)

Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”

Even in the darkest times…times of shadows between us…..and times when things are not so clear….

Thy rod….Your Word of correction, and instruction comfort me….for in the trials, it is so easy for me to become discouraged….and begin to “look around”.

But Your “rod” awakens me to who I am…..I am Yours; and that You are here, with me….now.

Your Staff….the Holy Spirit….nudges me along….rescuing me from dangers.

They both are used on me, to keep me safe behind You….

…and You use them on the enemies which wait for my soul.

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

We walk through this wilderness world…..with temptations, anger, and even hate, all around us…..Yet, He has supplied a feast….in Himself…..for us.

We can come to Him anytime, getting protection….and guidance through this maze of life.

The Holy Spirit gives us His “anointing”:

“But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth,….”. (1 John 2:27)

So that I may testify to others of Your overflow in my life.

Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

In this life of troubles, and trials, and joys……I will praise Your goodness to me. And praise Your mercy in my weaknesses, my doubts, my backsliding, my failures, and my discouragement under them all.

I praise You for all You have done….and I am confident it will continue forever, with You, in Your heavenly home.

The Good Shepherd is Jesus Christ….is He your Shepherd?

Perhaps you have said you would follow….but your confidence is wavering…

You know your calling….but, you are feeling anxious…

He has always known the way, and delivered you….but time has passed….

Then, read again Psalm 23…..and put your name there. For if you are born again, then He is “my shepherd”……

Call out to Him, and hear again His voice….and follow Him.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Will God’s Purpose be fulfilled?

We might say, “Of course”…..without really thinking of the things which fight against it….in us, and in this world’s system.

Let us consider sin….the ferocity and evil of sin.

Let us consider willfulness.

Let us consider a creation turned from God to the devil’s lies…..following eagerly down to a devil’s Hell. (Matthew 25:41)

Now let us consider God’s answer….

….for this is played out before the Apostle John in Revelation

Will God be able to finish His Will….His Purpose?

Revelation 5:1-2 “And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book…..

And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?”

This book will tell what God has purposed for the earth….what He will do…..but who is able to open it….and bring it to pass?

Revelation 5:3-4 “And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

And I (the Apostle John) wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.”

The beloved apostle wept to even think that a part of God’s Will would not be “opened” or completed.

Do we love the Lord’s Will with the same emotion? Would we weep if we thought it might not be fulfilled…..in us?

Revelation 5:5-7 “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: Behold the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain,….

And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne.”

The Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ prevailed….against all that was against Him….to go and open….fulfill God’s Will completely!

Hallelujah!!

The heavens and the earth brake out in joy and praise….

….first those around the throne of God:

“Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10

Then the angels (ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousand;) saying…

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Revelation 5:12

Then “every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea”….saying…

“Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”

Will God’s Purpose be fulfilled…..Yes! For the Lamb of God….the Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled the Law of God in His life,….

….has fulfilled the atoning sacrifice in His death,…

….has fulfilled the power of life in His resurrection and ascension.

He has and will fulfill God’s Will….in everything.

But since Christ has and will fulfill God’s Will….does that mean He will do it without using those He has called?

No….God’s Purpose is for us….

…..in us….and through us.

His means of “opening the book” of His will for our lives,……is His power (grace) working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)

Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

One day we will join our voices in Heaven in praise and honor for the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus our Lord, that He fulfilled His Purpose…in us,…in others,….and on the earth.

Today, will we join our wills with His will, and let His power work within us to His glory? To praise Him now in our lives?

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

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