Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Know the manner of the love of God

1 John 3:1-2 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.

Beloved now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”

What manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!

He could have simply called us servants in His house.

For us sinners, that would have been a great mercy.

But He calls us “sons of God”.

In this, He gives us the privilege of “access”.

Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

By Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

Access…..we many come before His throne, anytime….

And He says we may come “boldly”.

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

The Lord says,….Come and get My mercy and help for now…..

….”in this time of need”, is the way I pray….when I claim this verse.

He gives us a place in the household of God.

Ephesians 2:19 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”

He blesses us with all spiritual blessings in Christ.

Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

In Christ we have an inheritance of blessings….not cursing.

He has so many for us: peace, joy, strength, courage, patience…etc.

He gives us authority to speak in His Name…we are His ambassadors.

2 Corinthians 5:19-20 “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath 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.”

He gives us an inheritance; the Holy Spirit being the earnest or downpayment of all which is to come, here, and in heaven.

Through the Holy Spirit, we are lead, comforted, graced, and corrected all through this life to the life in heaven.

Ephesians 1:13-14 “In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also, after that ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,

Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”

1 Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

And as a Father, He corrects us, that we might become all we can be.

Hebrews 12:9-10 “Futhermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence (respect): shall we not much more 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.”

God’s character in sending His Beloved Son to die for us, is love.

God’s purpose in sending His Beloved Son to die for us, is that we might be “the sons of God”; conformed into His likeness.

1 John 4:8-9 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”

What manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us!

“Bestowed” here is in the present tense: which means He is always giving us (has given, is giving, and will give), because we are His sons.

One of the last exhortations before the Revelation; is…

Jude 20-21 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

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

Hold tight onto the Father’s hand, as His children.

Receive from the Father’s hand all He wants to give, and use it.

Hear His correction and become conformed to Christ’s image.

Keep ourselves in the love of God.

Preaching, Teaching, and N

Our Resurrection Ground

Life, is what Christ came to give us…..Eternal life, which begins the moment we receive Him into our hearts and lives (get born again)…..and continues to all eternity.

Salvation is all of Christ Jesus.

But the enjoyment and witness of Christ’s life within us…..includes our willingness.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13. “My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”

All these verses speak of resurrection fruits. The waking up from the cold and bitterness of winter….to the warmth and life of spring.

Life is awaking, and budding, and blossoms appear. The harvest is not yet, but life is there and working…..bringing out a witness to this new life.

(“Rise up”…I love this…..how many times does He call us on with these words. Rise up from where you are….

…..stand….that’s right, on your feet…and then take that next step….don’t worry, I am right here….I will never leave you….but it is time to go on…I will show you the way.

Once a man in our church gave this testimony….he had been recently restored to the Lord’s Will for his life…..and was often discouraged by the consequences for the things he had gotten himself into:

“I was sitting at the desk at work, after a day of trying to solve other people’s problems….

……and I realized that I was drowning in emotions.

I felt that I was floundering…..when I asked the Lord for help…..

….and He said to me, “Stand up, get up! You are drowning because you have set down….up, on your feet and look at things from My point of view.”

Well, spiritually, I just willed to stand with Christ in everything…..and I wasn’t drowning anymore….

… I started to see where I first “sat down”…..and confessed my self-pity….and I began to bring everything to the Lord from that day.

By the time I was done, I was rejoicing in spirit….it was wonderful”)

Jesus is calling….for us to follow Him into resurrection life.

A life that comes out of the “death” of the cross….our cross.

(If you say to me, that Jesus paid the penalty for everything….I say “yes”. Jesus took all our sins on His cross…..but we are to take our wills on to ours.

It is a matter of becoming willing in everything….

…everything He requires, and leads us into.

…everything of our self lives….willing to put Christ first.)

Matthew 16:24-25 “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

Are you a “whosever will”? Or a “whosoever won’t”?

If you will, Jesus says….then let him deny himself…

….you deny yourself here in the will.

Jesus says to go here….and you will to do so.

Jesus says to “stand still”….and you will to do so.

This is not natural to us,….but a willed response to our Lord, and often there is resistance within us to doing what He says.

Then one day you realize…..Hey, it has been a while since I have argued with the Lord about what He said…..or how to do what He said.

You realize you are no longer resisting His will….but have come to the place where you will do His Will, no matter what.

We begin to lose our life in ourself,….to find our life in Christ.

This is not instant obedience…..but final obedience…

….and once that is really settled….there is liberty and life….the resurrection life of Christ working in us.

Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

The word means “work mightily”…..effectively.

It is God Himself in the heart of the believer.

Ephesians 3:20 “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,”

We should all….ask ourselves….how much of the power of the Spirit are we letting work in us?

Are we letting Him speak to us about things that have happened?

Are we letting Him guide us?

Are we letting Him show us things, or people?

Are we talking to Him….bringing everything to Him….that He may give us His peace and patience?

Romans 8:29 “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

The Greek here is literally “conformed ones of the Image”……

Christ is the One we are to be conformed to.

His character is our example….

….the mold into which the Holy Spirit pours our lives, that we might be:

“Conformed”….Romans 8:29

“Transformed”….Romans 12:1-2

“Translated into the kingdom of His dear Son”….Colossians 1:13

“That we might find our lives in Christ”….Matthew 16:25

True life is to be found in Christ alone.

Not in the world….or the things of the world….

….or in Christ plus the things of the world……..but in Christ.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Now Unto Him

Ephesians 3:20 “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.”

“That is Able.” This is the first thing to consider.

But today it is so often changed into: “Who probably could if He really wanted to.”

This is the way we act, even if we say we believe He is able.

But what does “Able” mean?

Able to give us just enough to squeak by? No! That is not what the Scriptures say.

Able enough to just get us to heaven? No!

Able here, means that God has the power to do anything…..the knowledge to do it righteously….and the will to perform for the good of His people.

“Able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”. God is not bound by anything, but His Will.

What is His Will for you?

He will not give you power to do anything that will eventually harm you, or your relationship to Him.

He will do more than we can ask Him for, or even think about, when it comes to His Will for you, “according to the power that worketh in us.”

According as we are allowing the Holy Spirit within us to work;

according to that measure of yielding,…..He will give you power,….and power above all that we ask or think.

Jesus said the same thing to His disciples when He was here:

Luke 11:11-13 “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?”

The Holy Spirit is the power within us, bringing about God’s Will in us.

Enabling us by His grace to have the fruit of the Spirit within the circumstances of our individual lives, no matter the provocation. (Galatians 5:22-23)

And enabling us to make the changes in our lives that He wants.

But He won’t give us look alike answers to our prayers.

And that is what the Lord Jesus was talking about:

A stone for bread.

A serpent for a eel.

A rolled up scorpion for an egg.

A father would not do this. And our Heavenly Father would not give us look alike answers,……for the things we need.

How much of that Power is at work in us? Making us what we ought to be?

Is it enabling you to deny yourself and pick up your cross and follow the Lord in your life? (Matthew 16:24). In your everyday….go to work….go to school….drive in traffic….life?

How much of that Power is at work in us, saving you from yourself and sin, with His sanctifying graces?

For Christ came to save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

How much of that Power is at work within us, to give us subjection to His Will for our lives?

For it is God which worketh in us both to will and do of His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

There is a vast reservoir of Power by the Holy Spirit, open to all of us;…..if we follow His way to have it.

And His Way is….that it has to work within us…..first.

Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

God’s Name is glorified here, in us;……only in the proportion in which His Kingdom comes to us,….and His Will is done by us.

God can not be honored in us, until we submit to His Rule over us.

For nothing dishonors His Name more than self-will.

Rebels despise His Kingdom within,…….seeking to make it mean only the kingdom which will come;…..and nothing for now. (Which is what they object to)

But it says “in earth”.

Yes, He will come and establish His Kingdom on earth one day (Hallelujah for that!)……but here, in this prayer, it is His call to His disciples to pray for the things of our lives,now….the things He gives us grace (the unmerited favor of power)….for….now!

We are to pray for His kingdom to come within us.

We are to pray for “daily bread”; for forgiveness, as we forgive.

We are to pray that we will be kept from temptation; and for deliverance from it, if we fall into it.

These are all things of here and now for each individual follower of Christ….for He is working HIs Will in us….now.

God is Able. And more, He is willing.

What will we do?

Let us yield…..for when we do…..we will see what God will do for us

….for it is to each of us He speaks.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Habakkuk 2:20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

There was a time when we read this before each service in our church. A time to bow our heads and consider that we were gathered together to worship God.

It is a good practice to do the same thing, sometime during the day….to bow the head,….and consider the Almighty God.

We often think of His attributes: His mercy, grace, His unchanging love, His power….

….but to contemplate God, in His majesty…in the fullness of His splendor….Who created and upholds the universe, and all that is in it…is helpful.

Psalm 104:1-3 “Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God Thou art very great; Thou art clothed with honor and majesty:

Who coverest Thyself with light as with a garment: Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

Who layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters: Who maketh the clouds His chariot: Who walketh upon the wings of the wind:”

For me, it keeps me small.

I can get stuck into the middle of many things….and get to think that all I need to do is keep moving.

But God says: be quiet….stop…let the silence of your awe and reverence for Me, still your soul.

And it works.

Psalm 46:10-11 “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

The Lord of Hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

I love these verses….they remind me of when Israel was standing at the Red Sea…with the most powerful army of the day behind them, with vengeance;….

….yet God says, “Stand still, and see…”

So when I have these verses….I think that God knows what is around me….I must stop….watch, and wait on Him to speak….

….to speak about what I need to deal with.

….to speak about a battle ahead (John 16:13)

….to speak about Himself.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Psalms 93:1-2 “The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith He hath girded Himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

Thy throne is established of old: Thou art from everlasting.”

Our God is the Almighty God….full of power, mercy, goodness, strength, wisdom, knowledge,…

Psalms 91:1-2 “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”

I believe that “secret place” is the quiet times before Him, when we know He is God Almighty, for us.

Habakkuk 2:20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

One day the whole earth will do so….the whole of mankind will have their mouths stopped,….from excuses, curses, and lies….(Romans 3:19, Matthew 12:36-37)

….but for us Christians, who belong to Him, we can stop and be still, now…..and know His majesty and power…..

….and find our rightful place before Him: at His feet.

Which gives order and perspective to everything else ahead.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Pride

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Pride is a dreadful sin, for it places us just a little bit better than our fellowmen. Just a little bit smarter, a little bit nicer.

We are not like…….them….

Pride sees that “I am right”. Therefore we argue easily.

Pride sees that “I deserve more”. Therefore we envy, and are jealous of others who have, before we do, or more than we do.

Pride leads us to try and shut out everyone else, because they are not as “good” as we are.

I have never found “pride” in scripture in a good sense.

It was the sin of the devil:

Isaiah 14:12-14 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will set also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.”

Lucifer,(who became the Devil)….was the highest of angelic beings….

but pride was found in him….and he rebelled against God….wanting to take over God’s throne and rule….and so was “cut down to the ground”…thrown out of heaven. (Ezekiel 28:14-16, 17)

(The opposite of pride is humility.

To be humble is to place yourself in the right place before God…..right where we are….not want to be…..wish to be…..or where we want others to see us…

…but where we are….

….and then, will to change anything that displeases Him.)

Pride was found in the first sin:

Genesis 3:4-6 “And the serpent (the devil in disguise) said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

When the woman “saw”…..the temptation of “being like gods”…..took hold on Eve and she saw this forbidden tree with new desire:

first,…she had plenty of trees for food….but the first thought to lead her on, was to “eat it….for food.”

Then she suddenly noticed how “beautiful” it was….

…..and…then she wanted that “like god” stuff……pride came in and she lusted after that newfound knowledge! (And we know where that took her.)

1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world.”

The world around us,…..would not call these sin,….no, no, they are:

…satisfaction of the body,…we have to have that, we are human.

….gratification of the eyes,….who does not love beauty and form.

….and a sense of pride in your accomplishments….what is wrong with feeling good about “me”

….and how many are drawn away by these very temptations?

So simple….they could not be sin.

Such little steps….they could not be wrong.

But they are.

They all play on our desire for pride in ourselves.

Not to take our place before God in repentance, or faith, or obedience….but….

…..pride in us.

Pride is always against God,…..for when we exalt or rise up in our thoughts ,…..God becomes less in our eyes,…..in our hearts…..and in our actions.

An example of pride,and the pursuit of position…..is Lot.

Abraham told Lot that the whole land was before them….and he gave Lot the opportunity to choose which way he would go….and Abraham would go the other way….so that their herdsman would not fight over grass.

Lot “lifted up his eyes” (Genesis 13:10). Lot should have humbled himself and let God choose….God would have not sent him toward Sodom….

….but Lot’s eyes “saw” a useful pasture, a beautiful valley,……..and a place where he could get up in the world….become “somebody important”.

Proverbs 16:5, 8 “Everyone that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

Better is a little with righteousness, than great revenues without right.”

Even, later when Lot was taken as a captive by an invading army…..and Abraham saved him and his family…..

….Lot did not humble himself and choose to follow the Lord…..

…..no, he went back to Sodom….

and in his pride of place,…

…..eventually….he lost his family to sin, and destruction.

An example of learning from God’s correction about pride is Nebuchadnezzar….the king of Babylon.

Proud of…”his accomplishments “….of “his power”(God warned him of his abuse of power with other people)…..of “his great city” (unconquerable)….

….yet in a moment, brought to madness and made like a beast before his court and people. (Daniel 4:27-31)

Yet, after a time….when his reason is restored….he does not return to his old ways, but:

Daniel 4:37 “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all Whose works are truth, and His ways judgement: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.”

Paul warns, that in the last days….”…men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud,…….lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof:…” (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

They will go along with the form of religion….saying the Bible is God’s Word….but taking out the power of His sovereignty……the power of the resurrection of Christ….the power of the Holy Spirit’s rule….

….”from such turn away”. (In 1 Peter 5:12-15 the leaders we are to listen to, is spoken of)

But then Paul goes on to speak to Timothy…..and us…about what we should do….2 Timothy 3:14-17:

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of,…..that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

That the man of God may be perfect (sanctified), thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

In other words…..keep following Christ as Lord and Savior…..continuing to follow His Word,….His correction by the Holy Spirit….His leading into the “good works” the Lord has for you.

There is no pride of life here…..but a sincere desire to honor the Lord and be useful to Him….in all the days we are given…..love is there, not pride.

Pride is “to rise up, a swelling, majesty”….all are used to magnify “us”….our knowledge, our place, our calling from God.

And pride is always against God….for when we “rise up”….the Lord becomes less in our eyes….in our hearts….in our actions.

Let us pray for wisdom to see ourselves in the Light of His Word by His Holy Spirit….that we may put away pride…..and humble ourselves under the Mighty Hand of God.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Why does God want us to be cold or hot, not lukewarm

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

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

What is wrong with lukewarm?

At least it is not cold.

But Jesus says, He would rather have us cold, then lukewarm.

If we were cold, we would know we are far away from Him. (Frankly, the devil likes us to have a little “heat”, rather then for us to know we are lacking)

If we are lukewarm, there is some kind of “heat” within, but it is natural heat from emotions, not the fire of the Holy Spirit making us zealous for God.

(Zealous means “boiling hot”. Revelation 3:19)

And what is wrong with emotional “heat”?

Plainly, it fools us. It deceives us into believing we are Ok with God, when the only thing which is touched is our emotions, which often are high, and then low.

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Our hearts (emotions) are deceitful. They tell us one thing, when the truth is something else.

They say, “We love God.”

But we do not do what He says. Is that love of the Lord?

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

Thankfully God has made a way for His born again ones to become “hot” by the fire of the Holy Spirit within.

Jeremiah 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins (will), even to give ever man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

Search means to penetrate into the inner part; to examine intimately.

God promises to get through our wall of self-righteousness and our wall of self-consciousness, that has been erected to keep the Lord at arm’s length.

Then, He and you, will examine together the things (fear, anger, resentment, and hurt) that hinder us from knowing Him as we should.

You see, that is what He wants. You to know Him; who He really is…..and Who He wants to be to you.

He gives every man “according to his ways.”

Luke 8:15 “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”

If we will get honest with the Lord about our attitudes and hurts; (He will give “accordingly”) He will give you the fruit of the Spirit within you to meet that need.

I would say that most of the hinderances in our spiritual live’s come from mistaken ideas about God and His Will for us.

Is He really like the Egyptian taskmasters? Commanding you to make bricks without straw?

(Remember, after Moses told Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, Pharaoh was furious. So he told the taskmasters over the people to stop giving them straw for the bricks.

But make them go out to gather stubble and make the same number of bricks as before; beating them if they could not. Exodus 5:6-18)

Do you think the Lord is asking you to do what is impossible for you to do?

That He will not give you the knowledge and power by His Holy Spirit, to do what He asks of you? (“…for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13)

Luke 11:13 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

But we must not stifle Him, but yield to Him, within us.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Quench not the Spirit.”

Quench means “put out”. Paul is telling these here, “Don’t put out the fire of the Holy Spirit.”

Perhaps you feel, you have too heavy a burden. Then cast it on Jesus.

1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”

Psalms 55:22 “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, for He shall sustain thee: He will never suffer the righteous to be moved (fearful).”

He not only speaks peace, but sustains it within us, as we yield to Him.

You see, it is the Lord’s Will, that we work with Him.

We are never sent out on our own. He is within us, and He goes before us, to prepare our way.

The Lord Jesus Christ came to save His people from their sins. He saves us, all the way to heaven.

Forgiving us, keeping us in peace, giving us joy for sorrow, love for hate, and mostly (this is has been my greatest joy) Himself as our companion.

He will never leave us; but have we left Him for some reason?

Have we let our feelings come between us and Him?

Come, stop being just lukewarm, and get hot, by the fire of His Holy Spirit.

Get honest with Him, and repent.

Get zealous, boiling hot for God. For He is ready to do within you, and for you.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Lame man at the gate Beautiful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So he begged from those who could.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(How much the same way we should be:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter takes this opportunity to preach to those gathered:

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

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

….who they crucified….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

….and asked a question,…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…we will speak about….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“And now, Lord,….”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Stand ye in the Ways

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

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

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

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

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

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

He would forgive and help them:

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

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

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

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

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

Start actively seeking My ways.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(How was it with those who came before us?

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

How did they attain to what they had?

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

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

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

As Jeremiah said to Judah:

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

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

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

….me, who have fought against Him?…

….me, who can do nothing for God…

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

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

….amazing promise!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

When I was a Child

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

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

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

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

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

And how do we put away childish things?

By knowing the scriptures.

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

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

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

That Spirit works in the heart, ass well.

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

Peter ends his second epistle with this exhortation.

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

David said:

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

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

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

Our hearts are naturally drawn to worldly things.

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

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

I spake as a child:

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

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

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

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

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

We are to do the same.

We are to show forth Christ Jesus.

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

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

When we need direction, we should ask for it.

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

I understood as a child:

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

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

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

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

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

We get distracted, we hesitate, we doubt.

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

How important these are.

He knows, and He will gladly tell us.

I thought (reasoned) as a child:

Paul wrote about himself:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

To be Saved, Spirit, Soul, and Body

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then, everything changes.

Before we lived from the outward in….

…..things influencing us from our bodies:

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

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

But now, we live from the inside out:

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

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

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

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

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

And we express our character through our bodies.

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

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

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

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

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

He saves us spiritually, when we are born again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,….when we would prefer not to

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

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

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

Peace, when we would normally be in turmoil.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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