Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The “I Want To” of our Christian Experience

It is a good thing to be obedient to the Word of God, by the impressions of the Holy Spirit.

It is a better thing to “I want to”, for Christ’s sake.

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

If the Holy Spirit has not yet created within you a desire for Spiritual Reality, then that is the place to start. This is the “want to”.

We are to come to Him and ask for it, to be placed within us.

It is usually a progressive desire.

We go from lost to born again. But we are babes, needing a whole lot of care. A whole lot of His teaching us His Will and Way.

We go from rebels (yes, this is even as Christians), fighting against God because of our position in the world, our looks, our parents, our circumstances; to yielding to the Holy Spirit, where we throw down these “reasons” against God, and submit.

(2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

We go from stumbling along (because we do not want to do what He asks, or are afraid to find out what He asks), to walking with Him in fellowship.

The way forward, in all of these, is: Yielding, denying self, getting out of the way. There are a lot of terms for the same experience (and it is an experience), of giving into Christ, each time.

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

Notice it is as we give the Lord our hearts, that we will yield to His ways for us.

Now I believe that when the Bible speaks of our heart, it is speaking of our souls.

That which is uniquely us. Our personality, if you will.

I believe, it is the most precious thing in God’s sight, having sent His Beloved Son to save it.

Give Him your heart, and keep giving it; till you know He has it.

“Let” thine eyes observe my ways. Let it happen. This is an act of your will. Let it.

Stop resisting it; for whatever reason.

Now, plainly, it is the Holy Spirit that works these changes within us:

John 7:38-39 “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

(But this spake He of the Spirit, which they which believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”

If you don’t have this flowing rivers of living water in you, and through you, then it means you have blocked that flow.

That is why the Word says, “let it”.

(But let me tell you, like the water, the Holy Spirit keeps building up, and building up behind the blockage; till it is dealt with)

It is His power….and love, that molds us into Christ’s image.

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.”

As Christ is our example, we are to follow Him into the experiences of the love of God, our Father;

of doing His Will, willingly;

of trusting, to the end, on His Word to us;

and of living in the Light and warmth of His Love.

Jude 21 “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

All of this is by the Holy Spirit working in us:

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

And How Shall His Kingdom Come to You?

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

Psalm 103:20 “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word.”

(I know I have preached on this lots of times, but it is a subject which is so important;…….I am going to set forth this, again.)

Obedience is required in God’s servants. We are, as the angels, to hearken or listen to the “Voice of His Word”.

That means we are to hear what He is speaking to us through His Word, in scripture, and inwardly by His Holy Spirit.

“Hearken” is, to listen intently, with the thought to obey what is heard.

To have “hearing ears”.

This is not sinless perfection, as it is with the angels, but it is Obedience.

An obedience which continues.

Some are obedient, when they have to be. (No love there)

Some are obedient in spurts.

With diligence and joy they do a job……Next they are down in the dumps and their obedience is partial, if at all. (They love, but are too wrapped up in their emotions, for stability.)

Some have left their old life, and begun to have the fellowship with Christ that is necessary for real obedience,…..but they keep getting “sidetracked” with their own “good ideas” of God’s Will. (They love, but their reasons influence their wills.)

But there is freedom from our stubborn wills, emotions and reasons…

This is why His Kingdom must come within us.

Luke 17:20-21 “And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

These Pharisees (and they were the most religious and most right of the sects which were in Christ’s time) demanded of Christ:

“Show us some manifestation of the kingdom, something we can observe.”

His answer? “The kingdom of God is not going to come with fanfare and parades. People will not shout and say, Come and see!

No, the real kingdom of God is within your midst right now, in the person of Me, the King, the Son of God.

And as King, I will set up My kingdom first, in the hearts of My people, then I will set it up on earth; and will rule and reign from Jerusalem.”

The place and power of His Manifest Presence, is within those who will be subjects of His kingdom. Who will to let Him rule in their lives.

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,”

Here is an unlimited measure. No one has ever reached the fullness of that “exceeding abundantly”.

No,……we often have little,…..and blame God for our lack.

But His power for our lives, is given to us with the condition of: “According to the power that works within us.”

In other words, how ever much of the power of God we let work on us, to bring us to where we should be;……that much power He is going to give us, to work through us,….to witness,…..to rise above our circumstances,….to be joyful.

Our prayers will be answered, our lives will be really useful.

God will never empower me to see my will done; but He will empower me to see His Will done.

And that “empowerment” is personal.

Remember The Lord Jesus’ kingdom is set up in our hearts and lives, personally, here and now;….as well as in the Millennial Reign.

Because there has been some confusion about the kingdoms of God, I will explain:

1. The Father’s Kingdom is His absolute dominion over all things, creatures, worlds, the universe, the heaven of heavens.

1 Chronicles 29:11 “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in heaven and in the earth is thine; Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as head above all.”

He rules. Whether we understand His way or not, He will see His will done; for all power exists in Him, and none have power, except He allows it.

2. There is the Kingdom of His grace on earth. This is where He is acknowledged as God, and Jesus Christ as His Son. The true Church is the bounds of this Kingdom.

Matthew 13:11 “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.”

3. There is the Personal Kingdom of Christ, which is entered into when we are born again,…again, which is personal.

John 3:5 “Jesus answered, Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

When we are born again, we enter His kingdom, and begin to receive grace as His subjects.

But our power is feeble at first, because we are often at odds with our King, in this thing or that….but…

When we have fully yielded ourselves up to His reign within us; we begin to experience that “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”.

And it continues, as we continue on with Him.

It is always His power;….but it is at work within us, and through us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Without a Vision, the People perish.

Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

“Vision” here, means what they were to keep looking toward, their goal.

This “vision” was the purpose of Israel in Canaan: They were to show the nations round about them, what it was like to have God, as their God and King.

Deuteronomy 28:9-10 “The Lord shall establish thee a Holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in His ways.

And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.”

They failed in this Purpose. (Although the Lord promises that Israel will have this one day: Ezekiel 36:25-28)

But why did they fail? Sin, of course, was involved…but the main reason was:

1 Samuel 8:19-20 “…and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;

That we also may be like all the nations;……”

Because they wanted to be like everybody else!

How often this hinders us in our Spiritual lives!

There should be a “vision” for us, as Christians. A goal or purpose of where we are going in life, and a way of getting there.

There should be something we are working toward:

1) A purpose which we are to obtain through our lifetime.

2)And there should be a goal for today…

Our purpose is given us when we are born again, and this purpose is the same for all. (How much we obtain it, is an individual thing)

It is to be conformed to the image of His Son:

Romans 8:29 “For whom He did foreknow (that means God saw you in Christ Jesus before the world began 2 Timothy 1:9)

He also did predestinate (that means He made full provision for you in grace or power for the work He gives you)

to be conformed to the image of His Son,

that He might be the first born among many brethren (All of us, loving and obeying the Father).”

I have broken down the verse, so we can see what is really being said.

God has purposed, that we might be just like Jesus in our character….

But He has also provided the Holy Spirit, and the grace (the unmerited favor of power, and ability) to do this.

If we actually saw how much the Lord has given us, we would be amazed!

And we just need to obtain it…..first, to want it. Second, to receive it…now.

(Sometimes it depends on what He is asking, doesn’t it?

Sadly, and this has happened to me:

we let the opportunity to have abundant measure of His power….slide.

We hesitate….what will this cost me, to say this, or do this…..and it is gone….we have stifled the Spirit.

It is so silly, we have let go a treasure, for what?

But if we receive it, whether you say, Yes, Lord, please give me this. Or whether you just yield and follow….it is given!)

Then…we are given a place in the scheme of God’s Plan…a calling to fulfill. (Everyone is called as a witness to Christ…we are all called to speak about our Lord)

When I was first introduced to “Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Me”, (Matthew 16:24)

I struggled a lot with time: my time, and the time I gave to prayer.

Don’t get me wrong, I prayed….but I had been called to pray, and I had a lot to learn.

At that time, my purpose was to obtain my calling….and my goal for today was to learn the lesson of self-denial. (For “my time” was robbing my efforts.)

Later, it was patience.

How many times has the Lord reminded me about patience.

It is His attribute (look how He puts up with me), and I need to get it into me, by denying myself when I get frustrated, or late.

Or when I want Him to answer my prayer….now, not in God’s time.

You get the idea….we all need to see God’s overall purpose for us….to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).

And then to fulfill for today, our work as His disciples. If we do today, then it is easier to do tomorrow.

When we slip and fall; and we will….as we confess it, He forgives us and lifts us back up, to go on with Him.

The Lord often deals with our besetting sin, first (He did with me)….

Then, with our habits, and attitudes….and onward, till all of us, shows that we belong to Christ Jesus.

Acts 4:13 “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.”

If we remember Peter’s denial of the Lord…not once but three times…we, too, might marvel.

But the answer is….”they had been with Jesus”.

The Holy Spirit reminded them of all they had heard, and learned in the years with Jesus….and when it was needed, they were empowered to use it.

We should all have our “vision” or revelation from God of what He has for us, where we are going with Him, here; and how we are to go…

He has given it in His Word, and will relate it to us personally, by the blessed Holy Spirit.

Know His Will for you….and grow in grace and knowledge.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

A Temple built and a Temple filled

I first want to speak of the Temple at Jerusalem.

Solomon had been given detailed instruction as how to build it from his father David.

It was an amazing building…..each piece of wood and stone made exactly as it was to be in it’s place…..somewhere else and brought.

There was so sound of hammer and tool at the site (1 Kings 6:7)…..but workers fitting each piece into it’s place…..

…..it was impressive….and beautiful.

Gold and silver were everywhere…….”So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold…”(1Kings 6:21)

…. for the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies where the Ark of God was.

As I said it was beautiful and amazing…..and just according to the plans David had made.

It took seven years to build….

Then…..

There was the day of dedication…..a day of sacrifice and prayer…..a day of praise to God….

….and beseeching Him to look to this place…..and to this people….for good.

2 Chronicles 5:1, 6-7 “Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the Lord was finished:…

Also King Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen….

And the priests brought in the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord unto His place, to the oracle of the house, into the most Holy Place, even under the wings of the cherubims:”

And Solomon prayed…..if they sin…..

2 Chronicles 6:19-21 “….O Lord my God…that Thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof Thou hast said that Thou wouldest put Thy name there;….

Hearken therefore unto the supplications…..which they shall make toward this place: hear Thou from Thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when Thou hearest, forgive.”

(if you read Solomon’s prayer….it is a prophesy of the things that would happen.

And isn’t that just like God to warn, and to make provision for…..by that prayer….for a way to repent….a way to come back to God…even in foreign countries! What a Amazing God we have!)

….and when then would sin….Solomon pleaded that God would not forsake them. (2 Chronicles 6:36-39)

And then…..the beautiful Temple built just as it was planned…..

….became inhabited and filled with God.

(The cloud of glory filled the house, when the Ark was set in the Holy of Holies 2 Chronicles 5:13-14…….and God’s glory came down in fire and consumed the sacrifices and filled the house again, when Solomon’s prayer was ended.)

2 Chronicles 7:1-2 “Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.

And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.”

Then, all of a sudden it was not just a beautiful and amazing building…..but a house….a dwelling place of God! “… filled the Lord’s house.”

Now I would like to speak of the Lord’s temple….now….

1 Corinthians 4:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

We are the temple of God…..we are built by Him, in Christ Jesus, for good works. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

But we are just a beautiful “building”…..(maybe we are even a little proud of what we have become, as Christians)….

….until the Holy Spirit fills us….and we become the dwelling place and manifestation….Ambassadors of God wherever we are.

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

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

To be filled with God…..by the Holy Spirit is a humbling thing.

When God came into the temple…..the priests could not do service or anything, because of the glory of the Lord.

When God comes into us, we realize our efforts are useless without His blessing…..

….that all we do,….should be to His glory.

When God comes into us…..we are never the same. He has given us Himself, and we must answer with more of ourselves to Him. (A life open to and receptive to Him)

When God comes into us…..there is joy. Joy is the presence of God in my life. It is not circumstances or prosperity…..but His presence which brings joy.

And when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, there is joy…..and with that joy, there is peace and more.

When God comes into us….He establishes His order. And HIs order never forgets the smallest offerings or the smallest obediences…..but establishes the blessings according to love and obedience to Him….for Christ’s sake. (John 14:15)

Solomon’s Temple at Jerusalem was a beautiful, and intricate building….shining with gold and silver….

……but until God came to fill it and show His glory….no matter how amazing…..it was just a building.

When God came…..then and now…..He shows us His glory (light and power) and gives us the blessing of His Presence with joy and peace….

….and sets us on a path of peace.

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

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Feast for Today

Today we can “feast” on Christ Jesus, all the time.

We can enjoy fellowship with Him, and have the abundance of the Holy Spirit filling us up with joy, peace, love, strength, etc.

But often He has set a feast before you, and bidden you to come and fellowship with Him, and you have not come.

Or come, and taken a sandwich, when so much more was offered.

I’m going to speak about the Feast of Tabernacles which Jesus attended.

John 7:2 “Now the Jews feast of tabernacles was at hand.”

This feast was to remember the time of the wilderness wanderings, when Israel came from Egypt to the Promised Land.

They were to come to Jerusalem and build booths, and camp out, so to speak;……..rejoicing in God’s goodness, in bringing them through the wilderness, with it’s trials;…..into the land.

There were ceremonies to celebrate different parts of His Salvation; and seven days were sent aside to do this.

John 7:14 “Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.”

Many people had looked for Him to come,……some to accuse and others to hear.

But now He was here, and He was teaching God’s Word in the temple.

The people were being confronted with HIs Words, His teachings, and many believed He was the Christ, who was to come.

But many did not.

Many among the authorities, wanted only to kill Him and get rid of Him.

During the feast, everyday the priests would take the temple jars and go in a procession out to the wells outside the city, and fill them up.

Then they would bring them up and into the temple area;…….a place right before the stairs which went up to the Brazen Altar,…..where the sacrifices were offered.

There, on the floor, they would pour out the water, quoting in song a prophesy from Isaiah (Isaiah 12:2-6):

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation….

Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”

This would be repeated everyday with the water for six days.

The last day, the great day of the feast, they would gather at the same spot, without water, and wait:

Jesus moves to the steps between the men……and the Brazen Altar and says:

John 7:37-39. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.)”

I used to think: What an announcement! Wow!

and so it was!

But did they believe and receive Him? No.

Like so many times with us; they discussed it. Talked about Him, but did nothing about the offer of Life.

How sad. An opportunity with out the resulting Life.

Some sought to do Him harm:

John 7:44 “And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.”

The chief priests and Pharisees called the officers of the temple to go get Him, but:

John 7:45-46 “Then came the officers to the chief priest and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?

The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.”

They knew His power and authority! So they did not arrest Him.

Here, Jesus was offering, to those who would believe on Him, a constant source of life from within.

His life, by the Holy Spirit, to those who would believe.

The feast of the tabernacles ended.

Jesus had called to all who will. Some thought about it….some talked about Him….others just rejected out of hand His Word, and offer.

But most, sadly, did not continue with Him.

He calls today. To come and have a constant supply of life; His life, within us.

To feast with Him every day, by the Holy Spirit within .

He offers Himself again to you, today. “If anyone thirst….are you surrounded by things, even religious things, and still not satisfied….well, I have that satisfaction for you, if you will come unto Me.”

What will you do with Jesus?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Path to Reality

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.”

So many speak of these things, yet know very little of the reality they set forth.

Do you?

What is your life?

For our lives are made up of so many areas….parts, if you will. The part that prays, or the part that goes to work, or the part that “hangs out” with friends or the memories of past…..or dreams of future….

….these are all parts of us….they make up our lives.

And Christ Jesus is saying: “I do not just want to be taken along…..I want to lead and rule in all these parts.”

What is your Christ’s life?

To hear and answer the call of Christ is nothing unless somewhere along the line you have this reality,

So many say that they have surrendered to the Lord’s Will for their lives, and yet constantly reject the Lord’s Way of bringing to pass that Will.

When the reality of it all is: God’s Will is certainly His Way.

The whole objective of denying yourself and bearing your cross…..is that you might lose you life in yourself, that you might find the reality, that is your life in Christ Jesus.

We can either go back and make ourselves of no account for the kingdom of God, or we can truly lose all these things that make up our Old life, and let Jesus bring another son to glory.

This is the price of reality…..this is the path to it.

God will not empower me to bring my will to pass……but He certainly will His.

I must lose my self-life, if I am to have my Christ life.

Matthew 16:24 “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.”

The crucified life…..or the life we have, when we let our cross do it’s work….. is where we come to the place where we no longer resist His Will in anything.

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

We will obey.

This is a great part of finding your Christ life…..for you come to the place where it is settled…..you will do God’s Will, no matter what.

You may not like what He commands…..you may not see how it will be as He commands…..but once you know it is His Will, you will do what He commands.

Matthew 16:25 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

Once again I ask….what is your Christ life?

Once you have come to the place that you will do God’s Will……then you begin a process of losing every area of our lives

Until self is no longer ruling our thoughts, attitudes and actions…..and Christ sits on the throne of our heart.

You can not have both…..you lose on for the other.

This losing your self-life must be very complete, covering everything: Your past, your present, your future.

Your dreams, your hopes, desires…..everything that is uniquely you.

This is, of course, very personal. It is between you and your Lord. It is not something others need intrude in.

But when you are done with this process you should be much better equipped to count for the Lord Jesus Christ, having removed a great deal of what the Adversary uses, through the old nature, to trip us up…..one way or the other.

There should be liberty in service.

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

And this is never without a battle.

There is to be a voluntary surrender of the whole man…..body, soul and spirit to the revealed will of God, so that His Rule over us is entire.

To have your Christ life, you must lose your self-life!

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Psalm 61:2 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.”

One of my favorite verses, when things are looking like they are falling apart.

“From the end of the earth”……that means from any where, in any circumstances….

….I can cry unto the Lord….

….He is not too far away…even though at times it may feel like it.

….He is not deaf to my call for help….though He may not answer right away.

….He is willing, and certainly able…. to speak, and see to His Will.

I can let my voice be heard….or I can silently plead….”unto the Lord”…

….the One who loved me enough to die for me.

He is our Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5)….He is before the throne of God for me…

…He is Who I turn to.

“When my heart is overwhelmed:”….when I read this:

…I can feel the waters rush in….I can feel the crushing blow of bad news.

…I can feel my mind racing….I can feel myself searching for an answer.

…I can feel the loss…

….and then:

“Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I”

The only safe place….the only solid emotion….the only strength….is Christ.

He is our Rock, our Foundation, our Fortress.

Psalm 61:3 “For Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.”

Here is the testimony of our memories. How beautiful and comforting…

For God has been (and so will be)….a shelter for me….covering me from the storm around me.

For God has been (and so will be)….a tower of strength from my enemies.

Psalm 61:4 “I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of Thy wings. Selah.(pause and consider!)

Because You, Lord, have been…..I will.

This we can do….we can will with God. We can will to abide in the place He puts us……His tabernacle….

…..It is actually “tent” here.

A tent is a temporary dwelling….ready to be moved.

And we are to dwell with Him, in our place, till He calls us to do something else…….ready to be moved on with Him, forever.

I will trust….hang on….under the safety of His mighty arms.

“Under His wings” is a favorite expression of David’s (six times in the Psalms he speaks their comfort to him.). It is a place of intimate safety and comfort.

There used to be a saying…..

“I am at the end of my rope!”

Which meant that there was very little left to hang on to!

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee”…..

When we are “at the end of my rope”…….where else can we go?

Who else can we call out to?

“Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I”.

Let me stand on solid ground.

Let me see from Your viewpoint, Lord.

Let me know Your guidance and protection.

This “lead” is not just pointing it out…..but guiding us into….again, personal.

“Take me by the hand, Lord, and guide me to You.

That is what I need….when the world swirls around me….and the quicksand of life is making me sink….

….take me….under Your wings, and hide me in peace.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

For their good.

Jeremiah was a prophet sent to Jerusalem to preach.

He told them, that if they wanted to stay in the land…..they could, if they would repent, and turn from their idolatry and meanness to others.

Jerusalem was more than the capital of Judah…..it was the spiritual magnet as well. What was done here, was copied and done everywhere in Judah…..and God wanted them to hear and turn.

Jeremiah had preached to them for twenty-three years! (Jeremiah 25:3)

He had shown them the commandments….and preached unto them God’s Word….but they had not “hearkened.”

Jeremiah 24:1-2, 5 “The Lord shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord,….

One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe:

and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.

Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Like theses good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.”

“I have sent them out…..for their good”,….the Lord said.

Just the opposite of what we would think.

We would think, if they stayed in the Promised land….those would be the ones God would bless….but no,…

….He…the Lord God….

has sent them out.

Yes. Even the ferocious Nebuchadnezzar was subject to God’s sovereignty…..for God used him to save His people, even though it was in slavery….for a while.

They would return…..He would bring their children back…seventy years later….with joy….(Jeremiah 25:12)

Jeremiah 24:6-7 “For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land:….

And I will give them an heart to know Me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart.”

And how many times has circumstances been this way with His church?

We see disaster…..yet He sees a His Way to save some. To give His people the “heart” to know Him again.

The years of captivity gave His people a hunger for that which they thought little of before….His Word….His House….His land.

What of us? Are we submitting to the correction He is sending?

Are we looking to His Way of salvation? Are we beginning to value His Word and work again?

“For I will set My eyes upon them for good”.

When God’s eyes are toward someone or something….it means that He is working His Will and Purpose out for them.

God is still working His Will out for His Church…..the Lord has not forgotten us…..waiting till the time of the Rapture.

He is still sending people to us. He is still giving HIs message to us. He is waiting to be gracious….

Isaiah 30:18 “And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all that that wait for Him.”

He promises grace and mercy…..let us be obedient and receive these at His hand…..

….for He does all things….even corrections……”for our good”.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Let us go on to Perfection

Hebrews 6:1-2 “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection from the dead, and of eternal judgement.”

These verses follow a correction to the Christian Jews, who had failed to “go on”.

They were still viewing Christ as their Messiah, coming back to re-establish the traditions of the Law.

They were to “leave the word of the beginning of Christ”; or the ceremonial law, which had in it a repentance which had to be repeated….sacrifices which were repeated.

Or even for the baptism of John to repentance….for he said “believe on Him that comes after”.

They had not let go of the fundamental doctrines, which linked their ceremonial law to the fulfillment in Christian teaching.

The one leads to the other, but you must let go of one, when the other comes….and they had not.

Instead they clung to the old, as well as trying to hold on to the new.

But Paul tells them to “go on to perfection”.

And this is what we will deal with: Going on to perfection.

Someone has said, that this verse pictures us as a sailing ship in the current of the sea, and the wind of the air…..being pushed along under their power.

For a sailing ship, there are two things which stabilize and move the ship along…..the ballast, and the sails.

The ballast is the weight in the bottom of the ship which keeps it from being knocked about by the waves.

Which holds it in the sea, which for us, is the Will of God.

We need that weight.

1 Peter 5:10 “But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”

1 Timothy 6:18-19 “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate,

Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

This ballast, then, is when we are established in the faith: we have surrendered to the Jesus as Lord of our life. It is a life open to and receptive to Him….all the time.

That gives us real weight in the storms of life…..in our troubles and in our joys. We neither ride too high, or sink too low. We are “settled” in our will….we will with God.

Then, the sails, which move the ship along,…..when they are filled with the wind.

Of course the “wind” is the Holy Spirit. He comes and blows on our sails, and we move forward….again and again.

The sails are our willingness to yield to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

The sails will get a breath of wind,….and at first they “flap about”,…not really doing anything to move forward…..but feeling the wind.

Then, as the sails open up to the wind….suddenly we are moving toward God’s goal.

And isn’t it true, that as we yield to the Holy Spirit’s guidance,….our lives open up in light!

Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

1 John 2:20 “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.”

(Unction means anointing for consecration)

So with the “ballast” of our surrender to Christ;….and the willingness to open up and yield to the Holy Spirit, in our “sails”……we move across the waters, to our Rest.

The Captain of our vessel is Christ Jesus:

Hebrews 2:10 “For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their Salvation perfect through sufferings.”

Our Captain has laid a course for us….through many waters.

But they are measured waters (Ezekiel 47:3-5).

Waters which He has passed through before, and given grace for us to pass through, now.

The Helmsman is navigating, looking to the Captain; and relaying all that He says, to us, about our course:

John 16:13 “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.”

Let us go on unto perfection!

Let us,…..as a ship under sail yields to the wind,….and is driven before it……..Yield to the Holy Spirit,……that He might bear us along to the accomplishing of Our Father’s Will….today.

Praising God for the privilege of being surrendered and settled; so that the storms of our life will not wreak us.

(Yes, they will get us wet….soaked at times; but not sink us.)

Psalm 17:5 “Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.”

Psalm 119:117 “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto Thy statues continually.”

The writer to the Hebrews called all who had first begun to follow Christ….to go on….on to perfection, or the completing of the Will of God for them.

The call is for us, as well…..Go on with Christ….to complete all the Will of God for us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Ask

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

We have spoken of these verses before…..but I wish to point out the personal pronoun….”you”. It shall be given “you”…..it shall be opened unto “you”.

So, if you would have what the Lord has for you…..”ask”

We think of “ask” as…..beceeching the Lord for something….and sometimes that is true…

….but here it means….”to petition for something due us”.

Luke 11:9-11 “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

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?”

This is why we can “ask”….petition for something that is due us…..because we have a Heavenly Father that gives us the Holy Spirit.

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?”

The Holy Spirit was given Christ Jesus without measure……His capacity was limitless.

Our capacity to “hold” the Holy Spirit is limited……but it is limited by our subjection and obedience.

In other words, we have more of Him…..and all that He gives,….as we trust and obey.

This is to ask aright.

We often petition the Lord for things……I do this, too.

We have a need…..so we begin there….instead of asking for more of the Holy Spirit….which gives us all the things of Christ to our soul.

For myself and others, I have been asking for contentment of late. And the Lord has showed me a great lesson:

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

When we think of riches…..money comes to mind.

Some might think of family first. Or the love of someone or something.

(And we should be thankful for all of the things God gives us.)

But God says:

A right relationship with me…..and contentment with what I give…..is riches indeed.

These riches,….if you would be rich in God….come through the Holy Spirit. He is within us, always giving us things…..always bestowing all we have in Christ….into us.

And contentment is one of these things.

Contentment means: “I have enough, and so I am satisfied”……it is a personal thing. A thing between you and the Holy Spirit.

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

Now we are to ask for what is “due us”…..as God’s children.

And that is more of the Holy Spirit within.

What can He not do?

Guide us? He does.

Strengthen us? He does.

Give us Light to brighten our minds and hearts? He does.

Give us peace….that peace that Christ won for us on the Cross? He does.

Give us ability? Yes, He does.

Shall He withhold contentment…..or satisfaction with His Way? No, but He will surely give….surely fill us up….to our capacity.

But do we want more of Him?

Do we want His many and manifold gifts to “me”? For it is personal.

“Ask”…..and….”how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?”