Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

To Fail of the Grace of God.

Hebrews 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”

Grace is the unmerited favor of power. It is a gift from God to His children. God’s grace saves, upholds us, and strengthens us for the work.

So how can we “fail of the grace of God”…if it comes from God?

Simply, by not using it.

How many times have we asked for help; and refused it, when it came, because we did not like the way it came?

(“I will not take help from that person, they always think bad of me anyway.” Really? If God has sent that person to help you, so what if you don’t like them? Or even if they don’t like you? Wouldn’t that make the miracle of help, so much better?)

How many times has God sent a trial for us to pass through, and we have refused to do so, because we don’t think we can “handle it”?

When you do this, you are failing of the grace that God wanted to give you to go through this trial.

He sends us trials to make us stronger in His love, and faith.

1 Peter 1:5-7 “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

And how many times have we thought that we are O.K. We don’t need help with this situation. We have done this many times.

And then, because we have refused to take the fresh supply of God’s grace, we fail: either in our speech, or in our reactions to something.

(The disciples thought this, when they thought they would go back to fishing, after Jesus was crucified, and had arose.

John 21:3 “Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.”)

We fail of the grace of God, when we allow the bitterness and resentment to “spring up”.

Hebrew 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”

There are resentments which are buried in our emotions. Time has passed, and so we think that they are gone. But they are just gone underground. Someone’s actions may bring them all out again.

They are there, because we have not removed them. It is by the grace of God giving us forgiveness for the person that has hurt us, that removes them.

This is hard, impossible in some situations, without His grace enabling us to do it!

But, if we won’t remove them (and of course this is by the Lord’s enabling within us); they will “trouble you”.

They will “spring up” (This is such a good description of how they suddenly appear.)

A little thing can remind us of these. And once it is in our heads again, it needs to be taken to the Lord.

God’s grace is a gift from our Lord, for now. The grace of this day. The grace for this hour, even.

How much we need it!

Let us seek to receive all He has for us, and stop failing of the grace of God.

Let us seek to yield to the Holy Spirit within, and receive His revelations of the things which hinder our walk with Him.

(I know I mention this a lot…but “yield” in the Greek means “to stand beside, to recommend, to aid”…and this we are to do with the Holy Spirit within us.

When He gives patience, we stand beside Him and use it.

When He gives strength, even when we are so weary, we aid Him in the work we are to finish and lay hold on that strength.)

And mostly, let us receive all the “power of God through faith unto salvation” ……..kept from the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and kept close to Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:5 “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

This is the Way…walk ye in it

Isaiah 30:21 “And thine ear shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the Way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”

Have you heard that Word?

Do you know this is the Way? Then….”walk ye in it”.

Walking in the Christian Way is the real work. It is the going along, taking each step as it comes with the Lord….continually, without growing weary or faint in the steps.

Not becoming impatient, or sleepy…..but just continuing to walk along with the Lord….in His Way.

To walk sets forth the fact of everyday living. The tasks and duties of today, and tomorrow.

We often think of special occasions….of doing some great work for the Lord….when our reality before Him, is in our everyday living to His honor….in our words and in our deeds.

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

There is in our everyday paths, the means of the fulfillment of the Way.

If we are born again, we do not need to seek special arrangements, but we just have to be found faithful in what we have at hand….(His Word, the Bible…..and prayer….gathering together….or faithful ministers giving out His Word…)

1 Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

To be faithful, we need to take stock of our supplies:

Are you ready to give a word in due season to those in need?

Do you know God’s Word?

1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear (reverence to God).”

There are many who hunger for reality….for the knowledge that there is indeed God, and that He is Lord.

Do they pass from us still hungry?

Acts 16:30-32 “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

And they spake unto him the Word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.”

Are we showing them that He is our Lord?

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

There are others, shaking their fists in the face of God,…..but cross our paths.

(Can anyone win an argument with God? For God always has the last Word.)

2 Timothy 2:24-26 “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient;

In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

Philippians 2:15 “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”

(I have found that people may find away around what we say,…..but they can never get away from what God says, through us)

How many people do we meet with…..who God is dealing with….even though we may not know it?

If we wait for great days…..amazing works….or special times…..

…..we may wait….and they may never come.

The twelve disciples followed Jesus for three years. There were miracles, and healings, and many came to hear….to follow for a while…and go away…

….yet the real value of those three years……

…..where most of the twelve were concerned,…

….was their personal, growing affection and devotion to Jesus Christ, and His Word to them…..

…..that Word they were able to preach about the Lord Jesus, after receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

John 6:68-69 “Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go?

Thou hast the words of eternal life.

And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”

What of us? Are we following after the Lord,….and is our affection and devotion to Him and His Word growing?

Are we hearing His Word to us…..and able to give it to someone else?

Well, all we have to do is “walk” in His Way….and He has promised that we will hear His Word to us.

Preaching, Teaching. and Notes

A more excellent Way.

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

Love to God is that more excellent way. We should love Him, for He first loved us.

1 John 4:19 “We love Him, because He first loved us.”

Where serving the Lord Jesus Christ is concerned,….He looks to our hearts….do we love Him?

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

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

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

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

It would be just so much noise.

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

Soft noise; “tinkling cymbal” like the end of a orchestra piece. Empty and just noise….without love to Jesus.

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

This is the one that used to shake me up. I am a preacher; and I study a lot. I would say I know a lot…but all of that would be useless if I don’t use this knowledge,….even in preaching His Word, out of love for Him.

And faith to remove mountains; that’s something that everyone wants….but without love to Jesus as our motive; we will be nothing. (Remember Paul was writing this; and he had great knowledge, and understood many mysteries.)

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

Which is another way of saying, you are doing it for you.

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

If I give all my possessions to God’s work of feeding the poor; and if I die a martyr’s death.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is what He looks for in all our obediences…..our love to Him.

He did His work of Salvation for us, out of love for us…..and He wants us to do our work for Him….out of love to Him.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Faith and Hope

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

Faith is the substance of things hoped for….so it is reality….it is real knowledge of God, for ourselves……for faith always sees God.

Faith is the evidence of things not seen….for with faith, we prove within us that what God says….will be. (Hebrews 11:1)

If you are born again, then you have this peace with God by Christ Jesus,….and we are ready to proceed further.

Romans 5:2 ” By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

“Access”, think of the doors of heaven opening;….and help, strength, encouragement, whatever you need; coming down to you.

This is this access that faith in our Lord Jesus Christ gives us. For it opens into “grace”.

“Grace” is the unmerited favor of power.

Grace is the power of God to save, of course.

But it is also the power of God to keep, change, to do what He has called you to do in your life.

Zechariah 4:7 “Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.”

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”

This is the grace we have access to, through faith, by our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the grace that empowers us to stand.

And if you are experiencing this grace, you should also be experiencing:

“And rejoice, in hope, of the glory of God.”

This hope is from the Holy Spirit…you can’t work it up, it is given.

It is the confident expectation that God will do what He said.

He will work glory out of my life, as I yield to Him, and stand with Him.

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Paul was rejoicing in that power, even though it meant his prayer was not answered the way he wanted.

Romans 5:3 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience;”

(When you are kept–sustained is a better word. Kept is taken care of like we are still babes in Christ.

Sustained is upheld, and that is for maturing Christians.

Our Rock is Christ…and He is always strong for us.)

So when you are sustained by this faculty of hope (that confidence from the Holy Spirit that God will do what He said), you can indeed glory in tribulations–for you see that they are all to the glory of God.(though you may not see how at the time)

Tribulations work patience within us. These tribulations aren’t just those which lead to martyrdom. No, they are also the trials, which are really trials of the way.

Places so hard to overcome (they are often called mountains in Scripture) that they are seen as impossible to us.

But they work patience within us, by waiting on God to do the impossible.(and how many times He has done so for us!)

“Worketh”. That doesn’t mean we will be instantaneously patient—Oh, No.

But worketh patience.

If we are having a “fit”; or rebelling against a certain set of circumstances; you need to go back and “access” more grace.

Grace is enabling; and how much we need enabling in our work, and life.

God does do the impossible,

If not for us, the way we want…….then in us, to yield in a mighty way, to these circumstances…..and have the victory in them.

Romans 5:4 “And patience, experience; and experience, hope:”

And how much experience we will have in our walk with God!

That patience that He has worked within us, will gain us experience.

Knowing what God will do for us; because He has done it before.

You will know, as you receive from your Father’s Hand all that comes to you; His grace abundantly, and His love.

Romans 5:5 “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

This confidence that God will do what He says,….is being proved again and again;…..and the Holy Spirit within us lights up the love of God for us,…..so that we are blessed by His Presence, in all our circumstances.

We are not ashamed of our God and His working in us, though the way be rough or smooth….God’s love encourages us.

We begin to have more of His boundless joy, peace,….and Presence.

All of this is by the Holy Spirit within.

Stifle not the Holy Spirit.

Yield to Him, and enjoy His gifts of faith and hope.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Not willing that any should perish

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

The Lord is not willing that any should perish….but that all should come to repentance.

But, what are we willing?

It is an interesting way of saying it: “…that all should come to repentance.”

How many times does Jesus say, “Come”……here it is come to Him for repentance!

He is so willing to save….He will help you repent….if you will come to Him!

He does not say…..you must give up this, to come to Me….but….

….He says, Come to Me…and I will help you give up this.

Our sin separates us from every good thing….from God, first….but also from true sight….true understanding….true hope and love.

And God is not willing that we perish in our sins….so He sent HIs Son to save all who will come to Him.

Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Matthew 1:21 “For she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.”

It is also interesting that God always seeks us, first.

He did in the garden with our first parents….Adam and Eve…when He came down…knowing they had sinned…

….yet giving them the opportunity to come to Him and confess it….

…”And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden….And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:8-9)

And He does with us….He sends His Spirit to wake us up, to our sin….and then calls…

Matthew 11:28 “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

So the question still remains…..will you come to repentance…..come to Jesus Christ, and give yourself to Him?

John 6:37, 40 “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.

And this is the will of Him Who sent Me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.”

Coming to Christ is believing,…that is in the heart……

….and calling out to Him to save us,…with the mouth:

Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

God is not willing that any should perish….will we hear His call to come…..to come to Him?

Revelation 22:17 “And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

Preaching, Teaching,

To hear aright

Mark 4:23-25 “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

And He (Jesus) said unto them, Take heed what ye hear. With what measure ye meet, it shall be measured to you; and unto you that hear shall more be given.

For he that hath, to him shall be given; and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.”

Do we have ears that hear our Lord Jesus Christ? In His Word? In His messages? From the Holy Spirit within?

If we can “get around” what the Lord is saying to us…..we have not heard aright.

For we are responsible for our hearing….and once we have heard His Word to us….we are responsible to act on that Word.

(Once, the Lord pointed out to me, how much I had heard…..I had read the Bible through….I had read Christian books….read devotional books….heard many messages and teachings on the Word of God.

But then He asked me…..what had I used? What was I using?

We sometimes think of God’s Word as……just good advice…..but that is not true.

When His Word is given….He means for it to guide us, help us, comfort us, awaken us, correct us, teach us.

All those things which change us from babes in Christ…..to grown up children of God.)

We have been called to walk….this is a step by step process.

And to do that, we need to concentrate on this step….get there….and step on.

We need to know the next step.

When we know the things that are required at our hand….we need to do them.

Jeremiah 10:23 “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”

When we know that things are not quite right….we need to stop and deal with them….taking them to the Lord and hearing His Word about them.

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

(This unction is an anointing for our calling. In other words, that we will know, what we need to know.)

Philippians 3:15 “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect (complete, grown up in Christ), be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”

If you would grow up into Christ (be perfect, or complete)….and attain to that which you were created for….

…..then, if there is anything in you, at cross-purposes with God, He shall reveal this to you.

For the closer we draw to Christ, the more will we discover the corruptions of our old nature….

……and the more we will want to be delivered from them…..even the smallest of them (to our way of thinking)….

….Paul, a brilliant and educated man….after his conversion, still cried out when he discovered his covetousness (Romans 7:7)….

….for he realized that he could not control it…..it was controlling his inward thoughts, even though he did not want it to….

Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

(We think of covetousness as a small sin…..but God sees it as it is: it is wanting something He has not given us…..or does not want for us.

Wanting what someone else has, because that will make us equal or better, in our sight, than they. This is against the law of love….and Paul knew it.)

And the more we see the corruptions of our old nature, the more we will want deliverance from it….which is only in Christ.

Where there is no sense of our unworthiness…..

….and where there is no sorrowing over our lack of growth in Christ…..

…..are we hearing His Word to us aright?

It is in our acknowledged weakness that we are made strong.

For the Lord told Paul, “….My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness…..”. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Paul testified of what kind of man he had been….

1 Timothy 1:13 “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”

And then he told of the “exceeding abundant” grace God gave him:

1 Timothy 1:14 “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”

That exceeding abundant grace is for us, as well…..whatever sin, or habit, or anger,….we face.

Hear the Word:….

…..for Paul said, we have an “exceeding abundantly” for all who will let Christ work it in us:

Ephesians 3:16, 19-20 “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit 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.

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,”

Preaching, Teachi

The Leper

Mark 1:40 “And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him, and kneeling down to Him, and saying unto Him, If Thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”

The fact that Jesus healed many, was well known. He had been preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God. (Mark 1:15). Wherever He went, He healed the sick, and crippled, as well.

As He went, a leper came asking for cleansing. “Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean”.

Jesus was moved with compassion. Leprosy is a terrible disease. How far along in the disease he was, is not said here….but in:

Luke 5:8. “And it came to pass, when He was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy; who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought Him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.”

This man was “full of leprosy”. In other words, this man’s case was hopeless. Leprosy starts as a “rising,(swelling), a scab, or bright spot” and continues till “raw flesh” appears. (Leviticus 13:2, 14)

It destroys and eats away the flesh, until fingers fall off, etc.

Leprosy is like sin. It begins small–a “swelling”. Wherever it breaks out, it puffs up the flesh.

But it is small–something you could ignore, if you chose to. Till it needs a scab.

That means there has been a open sore. It still could be small…but open, open to the contaminants of the world…..and growing.

And so it goes on, eating up our souls, destroying us; unless it is cleansed.

1 John 1:9 ” If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Yet, this man cried for mercy from the Lord Jesus;…..and received it.

Not only the Word of Healing;…….but Jesus “put forth his hand, and touched him”.

Mark 1:41-42 “And Jesus moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

And as soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.”

Isaiah 59:1 “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it can not save; neither His ear heavy, that it can not hear:”

This was compassion only the Son of Man/the Son of God, could do:

Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

Jesus touched the leper, and gave His Word, “I will”. That cleansed him.

Jesus heart reached out and touched him,…..a leper, who should never be touched. (Most would not even let them come near them.)

Jesus willed, and spoke the word,…..and he was cleansed.

I am emphasizing this, because we feel that God’s Will, and His Word have different power…..no. What God wills, His power is already sent forth to do….in us, and by us.

What God’s Word says, is certain.

He did not need to speak….but stressed His compassion, by word.

He did not need to touch….but stressed His love, by His hand.

But now the Lord wanted him to do what God required for the cleansing, for a testimony of God’s goodness:

Mark 1:43-44 “And He straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away;

And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: Go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”

We can not save ourselves from our sin. We must come to Christ for that.

But we can be obedient to what He requires us, afterward, as a testimony to His Love and Word.

The leper was cleansed:

He came to the right person, and in the right way; seeking mercy.

And he was cleansed.

Then he went and did as Jesus required, as a testimony to Jesus as Lord and Savior,….and as the One who healed him.

We, too, are in need of cleansing: from small sins or large sins. We need forgiveness and cleansing.

But we can come to Jesus for His mercy……bowing down to Him, we can be cleansed of all our iniquities….receiving His grace (the unmerited favor of power).

The Leper was no longer a leper…..that is what he sought from Jesus….and what he got, by Jesus will, word, and touch.

Christ Jesus has the same, for all who will come to Him.

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

Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Esau and Jacob

Esau is a sad character. A son of Isaac….the first born, destined to have the birth-right.

(The birth-right was not only the double portion of the possessions Isaac had……which every first born should receive……but the covenant blessing. It spoke of the fact that the Messiah would come through his line.)

Yet, he cared nothing for that part of his first-born privileges. He cared for what would show that he was above Jacob.

Esau and Jacob were twins…but were entirely different. There was a struggle with each other, for preeminence, even in the womb.

Genesis 25:22 “And the children struggled together within her;…..And she went to inquire of the Lord.”

Esau loved being over his twin brother, practically more than any thing else.

Genesis 25:24-26 “And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

And the first came out red, all over like a hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.

And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel, and his name was called Jacob:….”

But Jacob was also struggling….for preeminence….

…..so the difference was what they wanted.

Esau was a “cunning hunter”….a man of the field. (Genesis 25:27).

He cared for sport….

…..not planting….like his father.

He wanted to be out on his own….not held down by flocks and herds….like Abraham, his grandfather.

The boys divided their family…..their jealousy causing a problem between Isaac and Rebekah.

Isaac loved Esau best…..but only because of the venison he brought to him to eat….it was his favorite.

(A sad commentary of the older life of the promised son. How easy it is to let our spiritual life slide, when we are given everything, like Isaac was!)

Jacob was Rebekah’s favorite…..he was a gardener….and a herdsman. He loved the camp where his grandfather and mother lived (Hebrews 11:9)….and he usually stated close.

Though they are twins…..they are enemies…..sad, but true.

Again I say…..they both struggle for the preeminence……but the difference is in what they are struggling for….

And the thing which brings their desires to the forefront……is food.

Genesis 25:29-34 “And Jacob sod pottage (lentils): and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with the same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name was called Edom.

And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”

The Words in scripture are very telling…..

Jacob is not seen in a good light here….he is sneaky, trying to get the birthright without waiting on God.

But Esau is worse:

He sells his best things….for what? A moments satisfaction!

But then (and to me this is the worst of it), he eats, drinks….and goes on his way….

….his conscience does not even seem to bother him…..that he just treated the best of gifts, with so little value…..

…..he is not seen repenting…or moaning over his sin….

(Now, I say this is the worst….for I have failed….badly….but I always feel bad….stricken in heart… troubled till I confess it)

Neither Isaac or Rebekah, like Esau’s life style. It is pretty much….what he wants, he does…without seeking God’s blessing, or theirs.

He takes a wife of the Canaanites, which grieves both of them….for they are godless and idolatrous.

Later Jacob tricks Isaac into officially blessing him, with the covenant blessing….because he dressed up like Esau…like I said, he is sneaky.

Furious, Esau says he will kill Jacob when Isaac dies….

(You would think now would be the time for Isaac to stand up and speak of God’s will (Hebrews 11:20)……but though he recognizes that Jacob was suppose to get the covenant blessing…..he only emphasizes that he could not take back his word.)

To save Jacob,….Jacob is sent on a journey, back to Rebekah’s family, for a wife.

Now, in all of this, God seems to be silent. Neither informing, or correcting.

Why?

(God is often silent when we, ourselves are not seeking Him.

Abraham was a man of altars…five times in scripture Abraham is said to build an altar……but Isaac is said to have built only one.)

Neither do they seem to inquire as how to raise the boys…or correct their faults.

Again, a sad commentary on how life can get away from us….if we are not diligently seeking God’s Word and direction day by day….for ourselves and our family.)

But now God is going to speak. And get Jacob’s attention.

Jacob, by himself, has left the camp of his youth, and set out on a hazardous journey….which would get him the wife he went for….but at a price of almost twenty years of service.

But on the way, God speaks to him…..Jacob is the schemer……but,…who wanted the birth-right….who wanted the Messiah to come from his line….the greatest blessing.

Genesis 28:12-13,15 “And he dreamed, and a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

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

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

This is a promise that Jacob will need….and will use especially when he is brought back into the land…….when he is brought face to face with Esau again.

You will notice, that it is never said that God speaks to Esau….

….Esau has chosen his way….a way which does not want God…..only the worldly blessings.

So, that is what he ends up with……wealth….but without personal knowledge of God.

A life, lived…..with lots of things…..but without true meaning in the purpose of God.

After his time of serving Laban, Rebekah’s brother for his wives……Jacob again hears God.

Genesis 31:3 “And the Lord said unto Jacob, return unto the land of thy father’s, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.”

So Jacob returns to the land given Abraham and Isaac and himself from God….but is afraid to meet Esau.

Jacob and Esau meet, but not as Jacob imagines…..for God has seen to Esau, and he does not kill him, but is glad to see him…..telling Jacob all that he owns.

Then he tries to get Jacob to follow him home…..but Jacob excuses himself….and goes another way….not trusting Esau.

Later Isaac dies, and after Esau and Jacob bury him together….they separate….never to work together, or be together…..for they have chosen separate paths….Jacob with God,…though with many failures….

…and Esau to the worldly treasures….all ending in death.

(If you read Genesis 36, you will see his offspring. Taking titles, and seeking wealth, in Mount Seir, which God gave them.

Later when the children of Israel came to claim their inheritance, the children of Esau would not let them come through their land (Numbers 20:17-21)

…..how sad that they still wanted to show superiority over Jacob’s children….which shows how jealousy and envy are easily passed to our children.

The final judgement for Esau’s children came…..hundreds of years later….with the same jealousy and strife….they joined Israel’s enemies and cut off an escape for some of the people of Judah, when Nebuchadnezzar carried Jerusalem into captivity….

Obadiah 3, 13-14, 10 “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitations is high (Mt. Seir); that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?

Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity, yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;

Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.

For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off forever.”)

Jacob (the Lord changes his name to Israel)…..goes on through many failures and losses to be the third patriarch…..adding his name to the line of the Christ….

…and at the end this is what he is looking toward.

Genesis 49:10, 18 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (Christ Jesus) come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.

I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord.”

He tells his children to bury him in the burial place Abraham bought (for at the time he was in Egypt)…..where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah lay….in the land that God gave them….looking forward to the promise of God….though it were years off.

The way we go…..the journey we take….the people we meet…..all comes down to the choice we make.

It all comes down to what we want…..

…..do we want God in our lives…..are we “building altars” and having communion with God….the God Who will not leave us until He does all that He has spoken to us….

Or are we seeking to settle down in this world….to get our blessings here?

Jesus said, “Follow Me”……and in order to follow Him, we must “leave” everything (our jealousies, personal strife, our relationships)…..including ourselves……in His hands:

Matthew 10:37-39 “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

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

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.”

What are we choosing?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Temperance

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

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

We have talked of the fruit of the Spirit before, but I wish to speak of:

Temperance.

We have heard of moderation in all things. This is a good policy for many things; but temperance here is a fruit of the blessed Holy Spirit.

It is the ability to master everything which comes to us, in our lives. (Not let them master us.)

As Christians, we face fears, tempers, passions, and opinions on all sides.

But the Holy Spirit within gives us help with all of these. He gives us God’s love, God’s joy and peace, and yes, God’s right-thinking.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

This is temperance:

Proverbs 30:7-9 “Two things have I required of Thee; deny me them not before I die:

Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty or riches; feed me with food convenient for me:

Lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”

Proverbs are mostly Solomon’s sayings, and he is asking the Lord, that before he grows old and dies, he wants to learn two important things; so he asks God to “remove” or cast away from him vanity and lies.

Vanity is that nothingness that the world is full of.

The world would tell us that we should all look like this model, or that actress or athlete.

Or the world would get us to concentrate on physical, or intellectual pursuits.

Solomon did all of these:

Ecclesiastes 1:16-17 “I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart hath great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.”

Ecclesiastes 2:8-9, 11 “I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.”

His conclusion from all his experiences in the goods of the world?

Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

He wanted to be removed from vanity, “And lies”. The world is full of them. Try this toothpaste and your smile will brighten a whole room! (There are many lies, which are passed around each day; silly ones, and serious ones.)

“Give me neither poverty nor riches; Lest I be full, and deny Thee”:

I will begin to trust in my riches,…..and not in You.

“Lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”

I will be angry that I do not have what others have; and try and get it in unlawful means (there are many kinds of thieves),

And blame the Lord for “making me do it.” (we often blame God for what we have gotten ourselves into)

“Feed me with food convenient for me:”. This is the same prayer as:

“Give me this day my daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

Someone has said: This is not, Give me my daily cake,…..but bread.

It means, that we are asking the Lord to provide for us, what we need. To give us enough:

Enough peace, money, food, family, friends, joy,…enough to get us through our lives; with Him.

Because I must remind you, that temperance is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Temperance is to master a thing—not it mastering you.

And the Holy Spirit bears that fruit within us and through us, as we yield to Him in each situation.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Wisdom from Above

James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Wisdom is from God and of God. Man gains knowledge, and can get very smart; but wisdom is only from God.

God says that if you don’t have the wisdom for this situation; you can ask Him. He will not rebuke you for not knowing, but will give you the wisdom you need.

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

God gives light, which is knowledge, and understanding. He shines His light on a situation, and the truth is seen. The way it really is; and how it really affects us.

Wisdom is that light so we know what to do, and wisdom also empowers us to do, as we yield to Him.

(I remember a bad situation where I was getting worked up about what I thought was going to happen. I imagined all sorts of scenarios in my head about what I would say in return, and what would ultimately happen. [Not good, I can tell you that].

“Ask the Lord!” It seemed like it was shouted in my ear. When I asked, He simply told me to stop worrying; that I was to stay out of any retaliation; in word, or action! That, in fact, I was to keep my big mouth shut, no matter what the other person said.

It worked! [should I have been surprised?]. God gave me wisdom: to know, and yes, to do…..as unto Him…..and there was peace in it.)

Wisdom for that situation is what we are to do about it, and the power to do it, in peace.

This He gives liberally, or generously. He is not a miser. He wants us to know His Will, and gives us what we need to find it out, and to do it.

James 3:17 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”

Remember this comes from God, to you.

Wisdom is first, pure. There is no mixture of many opinions, but truth, plain and simple.

It is peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated. It seeks the good of all.

Full of mercy and good fruits. Forgives other people’s mistakes, and would help them set them right.

Without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Does not argue to win; or defraud another.

Proverbs 3:21-23, 26 “My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:

So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.

Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.

For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”

This is wisdom; and God gives it to any of His, who want it,…..abundantly.