Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Test of Devotion/Where is the Lord God of Elijah?

2 Kings 2:1 “And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.”

Elijah was God’s Prophet. He had been called, when Israel was at one of it’s worst times.

He had proved that God was “the God”, before all Israel in a “showdown” with the four hundred priests of Baal, who were supported by Jezebel, the queen. (1 Kings 18:36-39)

His success there, thwarted the efforts of Jezebel to destroy the worship of God.

There were still those who were idol worshippers……but she could no longer kill, and torture those who believed in God, as she had before.

There had been a renewal of the worship of the Lord, because of Elijah.

But now it was time for Elijah to be taken to heaven. Years before, Elijah had been told to anoint Elisha as prophet, in his room. (1 Kings 19:16, 19-21)

And Elisha had been a servant to Elijah, as his helper, while his training had been going on. (Some say this took about ten years…for Elijah’s ministry went through Ahab’s reign into his son’s 2 Kings 1)

2 Kings 2:2 “And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Beth-el. And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el.”

So Elijah and Elisha traveled from Gilgal to Beth-el together.

Elijah had asked Elisha to stay at Gilgal, but Elisha would not leave him. Where he went, his helper would go also.

Elisha knew that God was going to take Elijah, and he wanted to hear every instruction, every prayer, and every help he could, before that happened.

He also felt that being with him till the end was his duty.

That God would show him what to do next, by it.

We have been called to follow Christ Jesus. Through His Word, He has shown us many things.

We know we are born again, but often, we are conscious of a lack of power in what we do….

How are we to do, all we have been called to do?

Of course, it is through the power of the Holy Spirit within….learning all we can from Him….letting Him manifesting Himself through us……staying with Him, everywhere He leads.

2 Kings 2:4 “And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.”

They travel on, together…they are traveling south and east…toward the starting place where Israel first came into the land of Canaan…to the River Jordan.

2 Kings 2:6 “ And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me unto Jordan. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.”

Stay here? Elijah asked, at both places…….But again came the reply, “I will not leave thee.”

I believe, Elisha knew that the ministry of Elijah was ending…..and his, as God’s prophet to Israel, was beginning.

He knew that he would need to see the work Elijah started,…..done.

Elijah had awakened the people to God’s claims on their lives…..and Elisha was to guide and instruct them into the Word and Will of God.

There were many who had come out of hiding, and now worship the Lord openly….but they needed instruction….so Elisha was to teach them.

God would part them….that was His Will……but Elisha would continue on as Elijah’s servant, and companion, till God did.

He would not leave him, till then.

2 Kings 2:7c-9 “…and they two stood by Jordan.

And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.

And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, that a double portion of thy Spirit be upon me.”

Here Elisha sees once more the power of God Elijah received, and put to use…to cross a river which was an obstacle to where they were going…

And here, Elijah asks him “what shall I do for thee?”

Without hesitation, Elisha asks for a double portion of the power of God.

Why a double portion?

He felt that he needed more of that power of the Holy Spirit, to help him finish the work Elijah had started.

It is one thing to begin following the Lord….it is another to persevere through testing and trials….so…

If Israel was to be guided according to the Word of God, then Elisha would need double the power that Elijah had been given.

It is one thing to show God, as “the God”; as Elijah had.

But to guide the believers of God, into the life which they ought to have, stay with them, or visit them, to help them again and again.

This was Elisha’s ministry.

He felt that such a work, would need great power. The enemies of God were still at work. Idolatry was always a problem.

Elisha felt, if he was to serve acceptably as God’s Prophet, he would need much of the Holy Spirit.

2 Kings 2:10 “And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.”

Now if Elijah had said this at the first, we could understand Elisha’s sticking close to him.

But that was not the reason for him staying with Elijah.

His devotion was to the man who lead him into a deeper knowledge of God.

Elijah had taught Elisha many things, shared his experiences, and manifested to Elisha the great faithfulness of God to His people.

Now it was time for Elisha to do the same with the sons of the prophets (groups of believers which met together in various cities), and with Israel.

Elijah’s ministry would now be passed on to Elisha, to be finished.

2 Kings 2:11-13 “And it came to pass, as they went on, and talked that, Behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went by a whirlwind into heaven.

And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My Father, My Father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them into two pieces.

He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;”

Going on, walking and talking, as they had done so many times; God parted them, with a chariot of fire and horses of fire.

Elijah was taken up to heaven, without seeing death, and Elisha saw him no more.

Elisha then tore his outer clothes in two pieces, to show he was no longer just Elisha…..and he picked up the mantle Elijah had dropped (which had been cast upon him when Elijah had called him. 1 Kings 19:19).

He was now Prophet in Elijah’s place.

2 Kings 2:13-14 “He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of the Jordan;

And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said,

Where is the Lord God of Elijah? And when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: And Elisha went over.”

He asked, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?”…..are you with me as You were with Elijah?

He had received a double portion of the Holy Spirit which had been on Elijah.

He was now to finish the work of leading the believers of God, in Israel, on to a more full, and joyful life with God….even in these trying times.

In his ministry, Elisha dealt with kings, captains, and those which would be kings.

But his ministry mainly centered around the circuit he walked with his servants, to preach and instruct those that believed in God and stayed true to Him.

From Gilgal, to Mt. Carmel, to Samaria, to Beth-el, and around, Elisha went delivering the message of God; saving such as came to seek God’s help, and leading others to a fuller knowledge of God.

Elisha died an old man….ministering till the last to those who came to him. (2 Kings 13:13-21)

We, too, have a ministry for which we should seek the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

He is in us, if we are born again; but to have His power in our lives, we need to submit to Him.

The condition of Elisha receiving the double portion, was that he stay with Elijah to the end, and see him go.

Elisha’s obedience gave him that blessing.

So we, too, need to “stay with” the Holy Spirit, by obeying what we have been given to do, removing all that hinders His influence within us, and standing in the place Christ Jesus won for us in His Victory on the Cross.

Where is the Lord God of Elijah? He is the same, yesterday, and today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8-9b “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace;…”

He is ever ready to “give power to the faint, and to them that have not might, He increases strength”. (Isaiah 40:29)

But it is as we “stay with”, yield to, and obey the Holy Spirit within.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Let us

Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works:”

“Provoke” here, means to stir up…..to incite…to nudge someone….to come along….into the things God has for us.

All through the book of Hebrews….and I think this is wonderful….the writer says, “let us”….

It is not: you guys need to do this, or that……but “let us”.

(“Let” is an interesting word…..I did a message once on how many “Let” there were in the Bible….a lot, beginning when God, by Christ, speaks……”Let there be light” Genesis 1:3….

…..to the end of the Bible, when God by His Spirit says…..”And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

When God says “Let”,….it is a beseeching imperative….

As God, when He speaks, He commands obedience.(Period)

He is not asking our approval.

But,….”let” is also beseeching us to yield, to go along with Him, to submit to His plan for us….and be blessed.

When we say “let us”…..we are acknowledging that we, as well as those we are speaking to….need to keep these truths before us.)

The first “let us” is….

Hebrews 4:1, 11 “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Simply, we should be “afraid” of losing out on a promise that God wants to give us…..

…..like the Israelites did when they refused to go into Canaan the first time.(Numbers 14:28-31).

That whole generation lost the Promised Land…..their part in it….because of unbelief….

….and we, too, should “fear”…be afraid of losing those promises God has given us in His Word….

….and that usually means a battle with our unbelief.

The term “let us” suggests that we, as Christians, have one goal….to follow on till the end.

The writer does not say he has been made so spiritual, that he does not need to be encouraged to “hold fast”….but he includes himself in all of these exhortations…..he is saying, so “let us”.

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.”

This is a promise we may all have…..Let us….come boldly….not in fear that our prayer will not be heard…..but boldly, because we have access to His throne, as His beloved children.

We can come into His presence any….and all times, for our needs…..some we do not even know….till that moment….but at that moment we may come.

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 hope of the glory of God.”

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

“Let us go on unto perfection”. We have begun in Christ….by the gospel preached to us….

….let us go on….not going back to “wallow” around in those dead works you did when you were lost…..but yielding to the faith that you have….take a onward step into….

“…those things that accompany salvation…” (Hebrews 6:9), which are the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)….

….and the promises of God to us (“…those exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers…” of God’s character….escaping the world’s corruption. 2 Peter 1:4-8)

Hebrews 10:22-24 “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;)

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:”

How hard it is, sometimes, to persevere till the end! That is what we are being reminded of here…..”hang on, God is with us”.

The writer is stressing the only means of doing this:…..drawing near with our hearts to God in faith,…

…and holding fast to the gospel of God….”For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;…” Romans 1:16.

Our salvation encompasses being saved from the love of sin, guilt of sin, the power of sin, and one day the presence of sin. God’s salvation is complete and powerful,….let us draw near Him.

Then he exhorts that we should help others hang on, by encouraging others to love the Lord, and do good to others.

(I had the Lord show me, once, a lot of batteries….all connected together, so they were putting out a steady power.

When one battery in the connection started to grow weak….although there were lots of other batteries there,…..they all started to grow weak….for the one battery started to draw off from the others.

The Lord said, we are like this….either keeping each other strong….or drawing off from each other.)

Hebrews 12:1, 28-29 “Wherefore, seeing we are also compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

For our God is a consuming fire.”

Now the writer points down the road….to the place where we will be in heaven….the end of the race, and asks….

….can you see all the saints of the Old Testament….and the New Testament, that have gone before us….

….they are standing in their places….in heaven.

They stood here with the Lord God,….and now they are waiting for us to complete the race set before us….to finish our work, which is a part of the Great Purpose of God.

Scared? Afflicted?….then remember Who we serve:

We serve a King….Who has taken us into His kingdom…..a kingdom which can not….and will not be moved….no matter what enemies come against it.

And our God…..our King is a consuming fire…..

….fire that will purify for Himself a people without spot or wrinkle….He will see to us….whatever the fear, trouble, or sickness….if we will….

….”let us have grace”.

You must use the grace given….by the Holy Spirit within….use it….you can not spend more than He is willing to give….use it….like you were a citizen of the Great King Jesus….for you are.

Hebrews 13:13, 15 “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.

By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.”

Jesus was crucified outside of the city…”suffered without the gate”. (Hebrews 13:12)

If you read the gospel accounts….the women that follow and ministered to Him with their substance were at the cross…..John was there….Mary, Jesus mother was there (John 19:25-26)….

….some of His disciples came after the three days, to see about an empty tomb……

……but these followed Jesus in His reproach……to the foot of the cross.

Now, another invitation comes to us……”let us” follow Him in this time of His reproach by the world in which we live……wherever we are….how ever it comes against Him now……..we can stand with Him, in it.

1 Peter 4:14 “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye, for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.”

And “let us” give thanks to God…..giving thanks to His name, for all that has, and will come to us. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

“Let us” is a call to “come on”…..I will wait and help you….I am a brother or sister in Christ….and what I know, I will share…..and we will all work toward Christ’ goal and purpose, for us.

“Let us go on…”

Preaching , Teaching, and Notes

What will you give in exchange for your soul?

Matthew 16:26 “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

We know this is the summary of Christ’s call to follow Him. (Matthew 16:24-26)

It is a call He gave all…(Luke 9:23-25)

Here, the Lord Jesus puts into perspective the choice we truly make….Him or the world.

If you had everything, and lost your soul, of what value could it be?

Let us speak for a moment of losing our soul: it is not just going to Hell and then the Lake of Fire….although that is the end result.

No. We are in subjection, as mankind,……..to something.

We do not rule our destiny….we can not…..for circumstances, people, times and seasons, and places are all factors we can not rule.

In fact, we can not rule ourselves…..our souls, our personalities.

We can be phony….pretending to like or love things we do not….for “profit” or advantage in the world.

We can “learn” to like things….making ourselves over in the image of someone we want to be like….but we can never be them….but just us—like them.

We can not, at times, subdue our anger, or our affections….both fly away where they want.

But we can, as Jesus Christ said, come and let Him rule in us.

If you refuse this…..as many people mistakenly think this liberty is bondage….then the simple answer is:

You will be ruled by the world, the flesh or the devil.

The world’s thoughts will be yours.

You will always be frustrated, because your way is not being done.

The devil will trick you into real bondage of some sort.

You have lost your soul…..and you are not in Hell, yet.

There is still hope…..you can come to Christ Jesus, and let Him bring you into His kingdom.)

Jesus asked, “Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Many things in this world, say, “Don’t worry about your soul’s well being….after all your young….or after all your intelligent….or after all you go to church.”

Matthew Henry said in his commentary on the Bible: “If your religion is worth anything, It is worth everything.”

Christ says we must lose….to gain Him.

We must “Come”……leave where you are…….and then, “Follow”.

Colossians 1:10-13 “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful unto every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness;

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”

This is what is promised all who come to Christ….who are born again:

Being fruitful…..increasing in the knowledge of God….strengthened with all might….with joyfulness….partakers of the inheritance….delivered from the power of darkness….translated into the kingdom of His dear Son.

It is in the walk we have with Christ….bringing all that we are and have, step by step, and placing it under His control.

By a deliberate act of the will….placing all things at His disposal.

Here, Lord is my anger….I am mad and feeling it worsen….But it not just the anger….it is my resentment toward these people,…..my frustration at the lack of appreciation,….my frustration to You, even.

(By this time, when I pray, I am usually agreeing with the Lord, and giving up the feelings….they are not worth having anything come between me and Jesus.)

Now, Lord, I am sick….I am full of grief….I am weary, so weary….

What ever it is, it is….

…..and must be dealt with by bringing it all….Yes, bringing it all to Christ….to be delivered from this darkness….and no longer under the influence of the Adversary……into Light.

As Christians, we have the ability to bring ourselves into subjection, by the Holy Spirit’s power within us….by our deliberate act of our will.

(I remember talking to a man who was having some difficulties,….and he said:

“I just need more of God in my life.”

Now, I thought that sounded good….and praying for him, the Lord said to me, “What that man needs is a whole lot less of himself.”

God showed me, that He was there for that man….and His power was there for that man….but the man was not letting Him rule……

….pray for that.

And how many times the Lord has reminded me about this….for myself.)

Matthew 16:26 “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Jesus tells all who will follow Him…..it will be the world….or Me.

Which will it be?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Forgive me, O Lord, and Restore a Right Spirit within Me.

In Psalm 51, David pours out his heart to God for forgiveness.

He had sinned terribly, by adultery; and then, the fixed murder of the woman’s husband.

Worse, he had refused to seek forgiveness for it, trying to hide it; until God sent someone to show him that God knew, and was very displeased.

Sin is rebellion against God. It is seeking my will over His Will; seeking to have me as ruler of my life, even in just this one thing.

This is what happened to David. It started innocently enough. He had been home from the war with the Ammonites.

And he wanted to stay home; to have a little more rest and relaxation than God wanted. It was the time for kings to go out to war, and he should have been at the head of his army.

2 Samuel 11:1 “And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.”

But instead, he stayed in Jerusalem, and “took time off”. He was sleeping all day, and got up; and went on top of the roof of his house, when he saw Bathsheba.

If he had been at the battle, all the other things would not have happened.

He first lusted after a little more rest. (Was his army “resting”? Did he think because he was king, he could skip his duty?)

Then he lusted after a woman. And when lust was conceived: sin.

Instead of setting it right, he continued in it for months; for Bathsheba told him she was “with child”.

Then, came the choice of a lifetime. David comes up with the plan to dupe her husband into thinking the child was his.

This did not work, so he plans it, that the husband would be killed by the enemy.

2 Samuel 11:15 “And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.”

David, even now was not repentant.

You wonder how a man so close to God, could be so overcome with sin!

But, the truth is, we underestimate the power sin has on our life. It’s power grows as we refuse to deal with it.

Had David stopped, and sought forgiveness after the first sin with Bathsheba; God’s power would have easily overcome the power of the lust; and saved him from continuing on to deceit, and murder. (2 Samuel 12:9)

He went on, till God had to send someone to him. First the rebuke, then the chastening.

David was forgiven; but suffered by illness, and rebellion in his children because of his sin.

He was not paying for his sins; but reaping what he had sown.

Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Though David sinned terribly, yet he repented greatly. True repentance comes, as we come to God,……without merit of any kind from ourselves, to get an answer from God, Himself.

Not to just be satisfied with the seeking of forgiveness; but the word of forgiveness from God, personally,…..and the cleansing of the heart and conscience.

Psalm 51:1-2 “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”

David calls upon God for mercy.

Mercy presupposes sin. And David had sinned. And he knew it. He had known within his heart for months, and he had known it by the word of the Lord through His servant.

The rebuke brought about the right results. He sought for spiritual mercy.

It is the benevolence and kindness of God to a sinner, who seeks forgiveness, and salvation from their sins.

In God’s mercy, was his only hope, and so David’s faith reached out to that character of God, and cries for God’s mercy.

It is only in God himself that the wiping away of sin could be found. (For the promise of the coming Messiah, who would bring victory over sin, and sin’s consequences, was known. And all who trusted in God, looked forward to Him.)

David could do nothing. There was no sacrifice for the sin he had committed, “else he would give it”

Psalm 51:16 “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offerings.”

The mercy he asks of God was “according to his loving kindness”; according to the character of God.

He did not know whether God would hear his cry; for David had turned a deaf ear to God.

He wasn’t asking because he had earned it,…..even with the repentance.

He was asking God to do according as His character was.

And David spoke plainly concerning his sin.

“Blot out my transgressions”, or “revoltings”. These acts he had committed were not “slips”, or just defective obedience. No, they were acts of rebellion against God.

David had revolted against God’s rule in his life, and wanted to do his own will.

His actions were great perversity; the twisting of God’s grace into sin.

God had given David the kingdom, and great help in all that he had done; and with God looking on, David had misused the grace, and despised His goodness.

What would God do with him?

He wanted forgiveness; he would not be able to come before God without it; but he wanted complete removal of all this defilement within.

To be throughly washed from his the mass of his filthiness, and iniquity!

Here is a way we can all test ourselves and “our repentance”.

Are we content if we just ask for forgiveness, and not to seek cleansing?

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.”

It is forgiveness and cleansing.

God had sent a man to rebuke him. This was a great grace, not to let him continue in his rebellion.

God had made David willing to confess, so he asks God to finish the work of grace within him. To forgive and cleanse him.

Psalm 51:9-10 “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

God’s “hiding” His face from our sins, is putting them away. (Psalm 103:12)

So David prays for a new life.

“Create in me a clean heart” cries out for a new heart within him. David realizes that he will revolt again, if God does not give him clean affections. And God needs to create them within him.

Give me a submissive heart, and make me steadfast to You.

Psalm 51:11-12 “Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and up hold me with thy free spirit.”

Do not leave me to my own way.

Do not throw me away; or take away Your Holy Spirit from me.

David had know the joy of God in His life, and he prayed that it would be restored.

And that he would be kept (“lead me not into temptation, and deliver me from evil”, as the Lord Jesus taught us to pray. Matthew 6:13) from falling into evil again.

To be free from sin is true freedom indeed.

Sin is the worst bondage.

Though some call it “freedom”; it enslaves, by a constant growing desire for “more, more, more”.

With each step forward, the slave is “unknowingly” sinking.

As quicksand does not suck the victim in immediately, but slowly brings him down, till the mire covers his head in death; so sin does the same.

Only God can free us from sin.

First, He brings us to repentance: a “repentance not to be repented of”.

2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”

Do we want to be free from our sin, or just the consequences of it?

Second, He leads us to Christ.

John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

Third, He leads us in the desire for true liberty of Spirit, which is the freeing us from the power of sin over us.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

David’s faith in God, led him to cry to God, for this forgiveness and cleansing.

For he desired to be able to worship, and come near God again.

Is this what we want, as well?

Christ’s Sacrifice is able to cleanse us from all sin.

Will we seek it from Him?

This is the Way….so walk into 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, or when ye turn to the left.”

I quote this verse often, for the Lord gave it to me years ago when I was asking concerning His Will for my life.

He was telling me, that He would not let me get “bewildered”, or “lost” along His Way….but would guide me….by His Holy Spirit and His Word….to the right direction.

“Walk ye in it”. To walk sets for the fact of….one step at a time. Our everyday living.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thy heart; and lean not to thy own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

There is in our everyday paths the means of fulfilling of His Purpose for us.

We need seek no special arrangement,…..but just to be found faithful in what we have at hand.

1 Peter 3:15 (Williams Version)

“But in your hearts be consecrated to Christ as Lord, and always be ready to make your defense to anyone who asks a reason for the hope you have. But you must do it in gentleness and reverence.”

This is the Way….and Peter walked right out of prison….

Acts 12:7, 9-10 “And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

And he went out, and followed him: and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.

When they were past the first and second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.”

Peter had been arrested, and put in prison after Herod had killed James. He was asleep when God sent His angel to lead him out…..thinking that soon he would see the Lord Jesus face to face again.

(Peter, by this time had preached at Pentecost…and saw three thousand saved. Acts 2:41

He had healed the lame man, and preached before the counsel, when they commanded them to stop preaching in Jesus’s name….”We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29

And he had been sent to Cornelius house….a Roman centurion…to preach the gospel to them….and the Holy Ghost had been given to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews…….through his preaching. Acts 10:44-45

He had been busy for the Lord….and, laying in the prison cell….he was ready to go to see Him again.)

But God’s Way for James was to be martyred,…..to show the devotion to Christ, in front of the people…

…while God’s Way for Peter was something more,….here on earth….for some time to come…

….so He brought Peter out of prison….for His Way.

This is the Way…

…..and Paul and Silas walked right into a prison.

Paul had wanted to go into Asia to preach the gospel….but was “forbidden of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 16:6).

Then they thought to go into Bithynia (the upper part of Turkey)….but “the Spirit suffered them not.”

Then Paul had a vision in the night of a Macedonian saying, “Come over and help us”

So they immediately went to Phillippi, one of the chief cities of Macedonia….and a Roman colony.

At first, in the city, they were encouraged by Lydia being converted with some of her friends.

She invited them to come into her home and have that for a base while they were in the city.

But….as they continued in the city….a girl possessed with a spirit of divination kept following them, day after day….when they went anywhere…..saying, “These are the men of the Most High God….which show unto us the way of salvation.”

Paul being grieved…..knowing this was not the Way the gospel was to be given out….turned and said, “I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.”

She was free of this terrible spirit!

But her master’s were furious.

So now,….they were brought before the magistrates, and accused of “troubling our city”…..commanded to be beaten (“they laid many stripes upon them”)……and…they were thrown into the inner prison, in stocks (which meant they would have been bent, with their feet and hands in the wooden stocks).

Acts 16:25 “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”

Paul and Silas prayed,….and I think some of their first prayers were to see if they had done the Lord’s Will….or had over-stepped themselves. (Remember Paul had been grieved by it….was it right to deal with this situation, as he had?)

And when they heard that it was His Will….it was for the greater glory of God……then praise came from their hearts,….and into song.

It was from the Holy Spirit….for after the beating they had….and in the position they were sitting….it was not of their own strength…….He would have had to empower them.

That is victory….in the Way….but there is more…..for God’s Way often leads us to the people that need us to tell them of Christ Jesus….and often it is not as we think.

(Are we ready for it, when the opportunity comes?)

Acts 16:26 “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that that the foundation of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every man’s bands were loosed.”

Hallelujah! This must mean we are to go!

But Paul and Silas were checked in the spirit….they stayed….and God put a check on all the prisoners.

The guard waking up, was going to take his own life….thinking he was to blame for the prisoners escaping….he should not have been asleep…

….but Paul was listening hard to God…and cried out…

Acts 16:28 “And Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.”

Paul saves the guard’s life……and the guard comes in to see if this is true…..and then….is amazed at these men…..they must know some God, to leave themselves in His hands still.

And Paul leads him and his family, to the Lord.

Acts 16:29-33 “Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling and fell down before Paul and Silas.

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.

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.”

Paul and Silas were released the next day….

Acts 16:40 “And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.”

God has a Way for each of us…..it is not the same….except in the fact that He will guide and be with us……every step of it.

Will we hear Him….and so walk right into it?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Means of Victory: Pray, Believe and Praise

2 Chronicles 20:1 “It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.”

Now Jehoshaphat was a godly king of Judah.

And so when he heard of their coming to war with them, he feared; but sought the Lord.

2 Chronicles 20:3 “ And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”

He knew that his small country could not stand against the superior numbers and warriors of these three nations.

But He knew God could save them.

2 Chronicles 20:6, 12 “And said, O Lord God of our fathers, art thou not God in heaven? And rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? And in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?

O our God, wilt thou not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.”

As they were praying and seeking God’s help; the Holy Spirit gave them direction through one of the appointed singers, that stood seeking God.

(2Chronicles 20:15-17) “….Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Tomorrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.

Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.”

They knew they would have to go out and face the enemy; but the Lord said (twice)…..”be not afraid, nor dismayed”……and twice He reminded them that He would be with them,….and fight for them.

They all started worshipping, and thanking God for it!

2 Chronicles 20:20-21 “And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness…: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah,…; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.

And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for His mercy endureth forever.”

Notice Jehoshaphat did not stay in Jerusalem, but led his people.

Also notice, when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers. They all wanted to praise God, even before the actual victory.

And what was the battle?

It was the Lord’s. For He caused two of the armies to unite against the third army; destroying it.

Then God caused those enemies that were left, to turn on each other!

2 Chronicles 20:22-23 “And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord sent ambushments against…which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.

For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of mount Seir, everyone helped to destroy another.”

Judah did not have to fight at all!

2 Chronicles 20:24 “And when Judah came toward the watchtower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, Behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.”

Four days later, after taking the spoil of the armies that came to destroy them, they gathered in the same Valley.

They renamed it “Berachah”,….or Blessing.

2 Chronicles 20:26-28 “And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the Lord:…

Then they returned,…to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies.

And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the Lord.”

Jehoshaphat was a godly king, but even godly people have enemies.

So God was sought after for His help,…..and He was found of them.

We, too, can seek the Lord and His help when we are in fear of being overcome.

Whether by enemies, troubles, or fear itself.

We are to pray, looking to Him for the help.

We are to believe Him.

And we are to praise Him for the help He sends. Whatever way He sends it.

He is the means of Victory in our lives; and He has appointed prayer and belief and praise to go before us into the battles we fight.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

God is Nigh unto them with a Broken Heart.

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart: and saveth such that be of a contrite spirit.”

This is a promise from our God.

Often the broken heart thinks that God is far away….but not so. He is near.

This broken heart is found in all places.

We are broken in heart by our sin and many failures to such a Good God.

We are broken in heart, often, when we are in troubles and afflictions.

We are broken in heart by people’s cruelty, and circumstances which seen out of control.

We are broken in heart as we go through this weary world…..by grief, and loss.

Isaiah 32:2 “And a Man (and that man is Christ) shall be as a hiding place from the wind and a culvert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as a shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”

“Broken” here means “burst, to break in pieces.”

But we have a promise: The Lord is near us. I don’t know about you, but the greatest joy of my life, has been His Presence.

I’ve known it since being born again,…..and though I have failed and wavered (often),…….He has not.

He has loved me; and helped me.

Yes, I can say it has not been always the way I wanted.

But I can also say, it has been what I needed.

My broken heart, (by loss, by hate, by hurt feelings, by money troubles, by other troubles) was not always miraculously healed, but always mended.

(And “mended” means “to fasten upon, to strengthen, to cure, repair, make courageous”.)

Ezekiel 34:16a “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which is broken, and will strengthen that which was sick:..”

“And saveth such that be of a contrite spirit.”

When we are broken in heart by our sins, and contrite (bruised)…….when we remember that we have rebelled against our Loving Lord; then God is well pleased….and is more than ready to save us.

Our sin crucified our Lord. He died for me.

Psalm 51:14, 17 “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

Isaiah 57:15 “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Jeremiah 30:17a “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord;…”

When our hearts are broken by loss, hurt, or grief; He is not there just to comfort;……but to restore.

He supports us, so we go on through the sorrow, together; and not be overcome.

(He never dismisses our loss; but seeks to hold on to us, through it.)

David felt this way, for he knew many losses, enemies, and troubles; and turned to the Lord:

Psalm 69:2, 20, 29-30 “I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.

Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I look for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.

But I am poor and sorrowful: let Thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.

I will praise the name of God with a song, and I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”

Christ Jesus has carried our sorrows;……so we can receive His joy and peace.

His joy lifts us up out of the depths of despair.

His peace surrounds us, in His arms.

Isaiah 53:4 “Surely He had borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

He did that for us. Receive His comfort.

Jesus quoted this promise when He was here on earth:

Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor;

He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted,

to preach deliverance to the captives,

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty them that are bruised,

To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

He has promised. He will give it. Ask for it.

Look to Jesus, and He will heal your broken heart;…..no matter how it got broken.

Preaching, Teaching,

Partakers of His Holiness

Hebrews 12:10 “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.”

Let us consider “Holiness”, for there is a lot of confusion about this word.

Holiness when it speaks about God, is His sinlessness.

This attribute is the beauty and perfection of all His attributes, which are many. He is Good, Mighty, Powerful, Merciful, full of Grace, Purposeful, Wise, and much more.

But Holiness is the greatest attribute, for His purity of thought, will, and action is wonderful.

(Imagine a God who was wicked, or greedy, or impure. What a hell, created beings would be placed in, under him.)

But holiness, when it speaks about Christians, is when we are set aside to His use.

To send us where He wills. And to give us the circumstances of our lives, as He wills.

(In essence, it is the same as sanctification. Holiness is the noun; sanctification is the process of getting there.)

So when it says “that we might be partakers of His holiness”…..it means that we, by the Holy Spirit within, begin to experience God’s love of purity.

We begin to seek how to please Him, by the obedience of life and heart.

This is a process, which begins at new birth, and continues on, throughout our Spiritual lives.

When we fall down, He will correct us, and we get back up, to walk with Him.

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

It is for our profit…..that we might have the freedom of a life, lived in fellowship with Him.

Fellowship is what God wants to share with us.

(We go from the fellowship of children, knowing mostly His love and care….

to the fellowship of disciples, learning His ways and commands for “me”….

to the fellowship of friends, walking and sharing all He has for us….

and it continues on, and will forever!)

The Lord showed me this, very clearly once:

Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

I was an alcoholic. And when I became born again, He removed the desire for the drink.

Praying about the great and wonderful grace He had given me….

…He said, “I didn’t pick you up out of the gutter, so you could be….”somebody”.

I picked you up, and cleaned you up, so that I could have fellowship with you.”

This was all for His own sake: And I praises Him for it!

Hebrews 12:12-13 “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

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

Lift up the hands which hang down. Tired? Are you weary in well doing?

Then raise up your hands in thanksgiving and praise….

Remember the many mercies He has given you, and begin there.

Ephesians 5:19-20 “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”

Then the present gifts, of grace and peace will come to mind, and thank Him for them.

And most of all remember to thank Him for Who He is to you. Savior, Friend, Comforter, and King.

(Don’t you feel your heart being lifted, even now?)

And the feeble knees. Those things which should be holding you steady, are feeling weak?

Strengthen them by determining to stand in your place…the place in your life that He has given you.

And not someone else’s place… being like someone else, never makes you strong.

Sometimes it takes great determination to overcome the fear; but if you will determine, He will give you power to overcome.

And if you do not know God’s Will…….will to know and He will show you.

John 7:17. “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

And make straight paths for your feet.

If you have been “wobbling” back and forth from the world’s plans,….to God’s will…….Stop! And give yourself to God, now…

(“A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8)

Has your experience been like the ship in a storm: up, one minute; and down the next?

He has stability and established strength for you (1 Peter 5:10). You can make straight paths for your feet.

This is to set in order before Him the purpose we were created for; and the means, or way that you should take.

Seek the Lord for just what you should do, each day.

Well, you say, I have to go to work, or school. Or today I do the laundry, or visit Aunt Mary.

What it means is that we are to bring all our plans for each day to Him, and seek guidance from Him for them….what ever they are.

It is not just where we go, but in the attitude we take with us.

I have visited many people, not because they were nice, or even because they wanted to see me….

But I went, because the Lord wanted me to.

Simple as that. And then, it was according to God’s Will. The Lord’s blessing could attend it.

I have gone to my job, with the same attitude; Because the Lord told me, I was not there as men pleasers; but “I serve the Lord Christ.”

Colossians 3:23-24 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

This is to make straight paths for your feet. You will not stumble or fall, if you follow your Master, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Where He leads, He has gone before. When He stops us; it is so we will not fall off a cliff (even if we can not see it).

Yield to the Holy Spirit’s impressions within, and Christ’s guidance in His Word to us; and be “partakers of His Holiness”.

Isaiah 30:21 “And thine ears 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.”

His Voice is in our ears, if we want to hear…

This way leads to joy,…and usefulness.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Abide in Me

John 15:1 “I am the true Vine, and My Father is the husbandman.”

I want to explain, that this illustration of the Vine and the branches….was not a parable….it was an illustration of what would be.

(Parables were like shadows…..the image was there, but unclear…..Christ gave them to the general people who came to see Him….to test whether they wanted to know more about what He was saying….or just wanted to listen to stories and see the miracles He did… Luke 8:10)

But this message was to His disciples….on the way to Gethsemane….and Calvary.

This was to explain the life they would have now,….a life…”in Him”…..not just with Him.

“Abide”. (From verses four to ten, Jesus speaks of “abide”, eight times!)

This “abiding” is to remain in constant fellowship with the Lord.

How could they do that, if He was going away?

The answer is The Vine and the branches.

Jesus is the Vine….the source of all our life, strength, joy, and fruit bearing.

We (the disciples then,….us, now) are the branches….the extension of His life, strength, joy, and fruit bearing,….here,…since He is in heaven.

This illustration, is for the individual….our abiding is personal.

It is always “first in me”…….this is where everything for our spiritual life, is tuned into the harmony of vine and branches….into the song of union with our risen Lord.

(Yes, it leads….and He requires….fruit from us….the fruit of the Spirit [Galatians 5:22-23]…..and the fruit of a Christian, which is another Christian.)

But the main stress of this illustration….is abiding.

This is an amazing term…especially when we think that Christ Jesus…the Son of God…is saying this….to me….to us.

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

Since the Holy Spirit is within us, as our Holy Guest….we would think abiding would be easy…..but….

There are many things in our lives which keep us separated from Christ….

…..many things which we often keep hidden….except from Him….

….but which have never fully been “cut off”….pruned by the Father.

(Perhaps it is because in some way, we are hanging on to them….maybe….because we wish they had just never happened…..instead of letting God deal with them.

…..we would like God to just make the whole thing go away….but unfortunately, once things happen…..and we react to them…they are part of our history….

There is only freedom from them….when we allow the Father to “purge” these.

“Purge” is to cleanse….to prune….to expiate….

Cleansing in this fashion is to be brought to the point where the pain and resentment is gone…..but the lesson remains. It is a time between you and your Lord….bringing the whole thing to Him….

and Him “cutting off”:

..from the influence of the devil in it….for a lot of the pain we feel, often, is his twisting the knife that someone stabbed us with.

…from the unforgiving part of us…that says…

….”no, I will not be treated this way! I will not forgive….I will take my revenge in my emotions and thoughts, if not in action.”

This is life-killing, by the way….been there…terrible time to get out of the imaginary pit I dug for myself and that person.

…then…taking the pain…..how beautiful this fruit is!!!!!!! And giving us freedom.

That is why He says…John 15:3 “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

For you feel clean….like the smell after a gentle rain,….it is the cleansing of the soul….you stand purified before the Lord….from guilt, anger, hurt, etc.)

Joshua said to Israel, when they refused to go in to have what God promised because of fear….”they are bread for us”. So, going through these things with our God….will make us stronger. “Let us go up at once.” (Numbers 14:8-9)

And the Lord is saying the same to the disciples….they were afraid because He was leaving them.

So He says, “…..the things that you will pass through, will make you stronger…..remember My Words….and trust….and I will send My Spirit to you, and we will be in constant communion still.”

John 15:4-6 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch can not bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the Vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.

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

If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered: and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

Abiding is the answer. To remain in constant fellowship with the Lord by the Holy Spirit…..by yielding to the Vine’s life giving flow,…

Maybe someone is saying, “I know I am born again….but hearing the Lord in the hustle and bustle of my life is….hard.”

That is where abiding is so important.

There is hiding behind Jesus….and that is good….He will allow it….

….but He invites us to “abide in Me, and I in you”……union with HIm in everything, and…

That is best…

When you have a child, and you are out in public, you are constantly aware of where they are….your eye is on them.

So is God’s eye on us….watching for the danger ahead:

Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way that thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye.”

When you, as a parent, think there is “something”….all you have to do is reach out and touch your child….or call to them.

The Holy Spirit does the same….He touches our spirit, impresses our mind with His Word, and gives us a feeling of unease,….or peace. (John 16:13)

Abide means, that during your day, you keep your eye on the Lord….knowing He is keeping His eye on you.

Praying in the Spirit….if you feel uneasy….letting Him know.

Psalm 32:6 “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.”

“Quench not the Spirit” (1Thessalonians 5:19)

We abide in Him when we no longer resist His Will in anything…being obedient to the gentle impressions of the Holy Spirit…yielding to Christ’s life through Him.

A branch of itself can do nothing,….but abiding in the Vine, it will bring forth much fruit.

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

(Notice….”unto you”…..this is all about our personal relationship with Christ Jesus….by the Holy Spirit.)

This is an amazing verse. If we are born again, and we are being obedient to His Word to us….we can ask what we will….and He will work it…in us!

He will work, by His Holy Spirit, that God honoring fruit, in our life….and it comes by yielding to His life giving flow….just yielding.

John 15:8-10 “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be My disciples.

As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love.

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.”

And herein is the choice fruit…..His love.

We will have an abiding knowledge of His Will…..for the Father Husbandman will cut off those things which hinder our knowing, and doing.

We will, by HIs Spirit, bear fruit to the Lord, in our life.

We will, know His love, personally….He in me, and I in Him….a union….abide in Me.

This is the illustration Jesus gave His disciples….and us.

It is a life….of yielding, and receiving….and of knowing His eye is upon us, and His love surrounds us.

He asks all of us, to: Abide in Me.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Way of Peace

Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

Make you perfect in every good work to do His Will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight,”

God is the God of Peace….of all peace. And we should be fully at peace with Him…..instead of at cross purposes.

Luke shows this in the announcement of Christ’s work:

Luke 1:79 “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

The Way of Peace….

That Way begins, of course, when we are born again…..there is the peace of reconciliation by salvation.

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

Which leads to the ministry of reconciliation…telling others of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not inputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”

Sometimes our ministry of reconciliation is simply a word of testimony about our Lord Jesus,….or a prayer for another,….or a conversation.

Then there is the Way of peace by sanctification…..

…..by denying ourselves, picking up our cross and becoming His followers in deed as well as word…..in obedience to His commands and calls.

(Sanctification is the setting of ourselves aside to sacred use….to be used by God in our spirit, soul, and body.

We are in fact, sanctified by all three Persons of the Trinity:

“Sanctified by God the Father”…..Jude 1 [He willed it]

“Sanctified in Christ Jesus”….1 Corinthians 1:2 [He paid the price so that we could have it]

“Through sanctification of the Spirit”…..1 Peter 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 [He works it within us on a day by day basis]

The Peace of Sanctification is a great peace….leaving the wishy-washy, fence-setting, double-minded life…..to gain the pure outlook….”I belong to Christ…everything I am and do, I want to do to the glory of God.”)

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.”

Then there is the Way of peace of repentance from backsliding….like the Prodigal.

Luke 15:17 “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, while I perish with hunger!”

“When he came to himself” means when he realized, that the pigpen of the world was not where he belonged…..

….he belonged in his Father’s house.

But how to return? He could not return and ask for a son’s place at the table which he had refused…and left….

…what could he do?

Luke 15:18-19 “I will arise and go unto my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

He could return, and confess his folly and sin,…..and ask for a servant’s place….placing himself at the Father’s disposal.

Well, we all know what the Father did for the Prodigal….

….but do we know He will do the same for us?…..if we “return, O backsliding children!”

Jeremiah 3:22 “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto Thee; for Thou art the Lord our God.”

Then there is the Way of peace in the midst of the storms of life….a peace which anchors us to Him….calming, holding us, moving us forward against the onslaught of trial and fear…

Philippians 4:7-9 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body, and be ye thankful.”

God is the God of all peace…..praise Him in all three Persons, that He is a God of peace……which covers all our separations from Him….

It is because of His Will, His precious blood, His blessed inworking….

…that we have Peace….reconciliation…..a place at His table….strength…and all these through Him.

Romans 8:31-32 “What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”