Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Offerings of Sweet Savor

There were three “Sweet savor” offerings….and two offerings for sin and trespass….five offerings in all.

The sweet savor offerings are called a savor of rest. These were all burnt on the altar….showing that the sweetness would not be shown without the fire of trial, or suffering.

They are all “to God”, but one is also shared with the priests (and we are a holy priesthood, 1 Peter 2:5); and one is shared in fellowship with God and the priests and the people who sacrifice, (Hebrews 10:24-25)

The offerings under the Law….all looked forward to the completeness of Christ’s offering….both to God, and for us.

They were like a shadow….Showing a form of the real…..but Christ’s sacrifice was real….for it was effectual for us….forever.

Hebrews 10:1 “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices, which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect.”

Hebrews 10:12, 14 “But this Man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, set down on the right hand of God;

For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.”

Let us look at the “sweet savor” offerings:

The whole burnt offering:

Leviticus 1:3, 9 “If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will….

….and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord.”

Christ was the whole burnt offering….for He kept back nothing of the full price of redemption, for His own.

He paid every suffering for our sins.

But there is more to this sacrifice,…..

…….This sacrifice, speaks of the Lord Jesus fully giving to God, that glory and subjection, that He deserves.

He did it voluntarily….for the whole burnt offering was….

……”If any man of you….”. It was not a “must”, but a “If you will”.

Hebrews 10:7 “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me) to do Thy will, O God.”

Christ’s was in complete subjection to God,…..

…..and by HIs sacrifice, He made us a way, that we might submit ourselves to God as well.

There was the Meat (Meal) offering….

……which was another “offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord:”(Leviticus 2:2)

It was to be brought with frankincense (the spice of kings)…..and oil.

Leviticus 6:14-16 “And this is the law of the meat (meal) offering…

And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savor, even the memorial of it, unto the Lord.

And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat:….”

This sacrifice was first to be sacrificed to God….a handful, taken and placed upon the altar, with the frankincense and oil….

…..the rest to be given to the priests.

It was to be fine flour…..not the corse grind of regular bread, but finely ground….extra effort was to be made for this sacrifice.

This fine flour represented the beauty of the Lord Jesus to His Father……Jesus was God’s beloved Son.

Matthew 3:17 “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased.”

All the character and actions of Christ….pleased God, the Father.

He is well beloved in the eyes of His believers (“priests” 1 Peter 2:9) and we are to “feed” on Him, as our bread of life. (John 6:35)

The frankincense and the oil were given in this sacrifice……in recognition of Christ’s Kingship, and the fullness of the Holy Spirit (oil) on Him.

This was the only bloodless sacrifice, for it spoke of Christ’s Person—not His Work.

The peace offering…..

Leviticus 3:3-5 “And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering….the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,

And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them,…

And Aaron’s sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice….”

This is an amazing offering…..for it includes God, the priests, and the people bringing it.

The offering they were to bring,….they were to identify with it……placing their hand on the head of it. (Leviticus 3:2)

Then they were to burn part to God,…..

….give part of the sacrifice to the priest that was administering,……

…..and have a party with family and friends for vows, thanksgiving for birth’s, weddings, etc.

Christ has brought peace, by HIs sacrifice…..to those who believe on Him:

Ephesians 2:13, 17 “But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”

We can now come, by that peace with God, having fellowship with Him…..and with our fellow believers. We are to rejoice in His Presence….”coming boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help” (Hebrews 4:16)

By the peace His sacrifice wins…..you may come before God in praise to Him, and the joyfulness of your heart…..for His wonderful gifts, to you.

These were all the “offerings of sweet savor unto the Lord”.

All of them showing that glory, that the trials and suffering of Christ, brought to God.

God is Holy….and without the sacrifices of Christ; He would have nothing to do with us….except judgement.

But Christ’s perfect sacrifice changed that….in several ways:

His coming to earth as Son of Man/Son of God, for us…….for we could do nothing to bring us near to God.

His life in subjection as a servant;….for we were rebels, fighting against God and His authority.

His prayers, and example of character and service;…..for we had only laws before….no living example of the beauty of those laws, lived out in life.

His sacrificial death….for by it, He gave us the privilege of becoming the children of God,….

….and. gave us the Holy Spirit whereby we are empowered to live for God,…

….and it gave us peace.

How full was Christ’s sacrifice….to God,…..and for us…

…no wonder they are called the “sweet savor” sacrifices!

Let us praise His beauty of Plan, Purpose, and Perseverance….till all was perfected….both for God, the Father….and us.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Isaiah’s Call

Isaiah 6:1-2 “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.

Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings, with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.”

This was some sight! But it was not Isaiah’s call.

Isaiah was, most believe, a nephew of king Uzziah. He was often at court, and prophesied during the reign of four kings.

The royal family was allowed to go into the Holy Place, although they could not officiate at the golden altar.

(Isaiah writes of Christ Jesus as a suffering Savior, as well as the exalted Lord; and is quoted more often than any other prophet, in the New Testament.

He preached about a hundred years before Judah was taken into captivity for their sins;…….although he preached that it would happen, if they would not change their ways, and do as the Lord commanded them.)

Before this vision of God, Isaiah had preached against the sins of Judah.

Though they had the Temple and they were still performing the outward duties…some with great show (Isaiah 1:11-13);

…..yet it was just that…an elaborate show. (“The multitude of your sacrifices”)

The Lord had spoken to him about all of this. God wanted the people to do what the law set forth:

“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings….Learn to do well; relieve the oppressed,…

(And the most important…) Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:…” (Isaiah 1:16-18)

Isaiah saw the people ruined by twisting the Word of God.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness….that are wise in their own eyes,…that are mighty to drink wine,…which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!….

….because the have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 5:20-24)

Yet, Isaiah had not much success in his preaching. Some believe he was dejected by the indifference to God’s message.

(And perhaps there are some who are saddened by the lack of seeming success in their ministry….go to God, talk to Him about it, honestly….and let Him speak to you.)

Going into the temple, he sees the Lord, high and lifted up on a throne.

(This is actually a vision of Christ Jesus on the throne, as John 12:41 tells us)

He saw the seraphims, in their proper place of reverence….and he heard their cry:

Isaiah 6:3-4 “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.

And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.”

You might think that he would have been rejoicing to see such a vision.

But…

When this happens, Isaiah,….a spiritual man….one which wanted to honor the Lord….

…gets a good look at his own heart.

Perhaps, Isaiah saw that he too, was not without selfishness or pride….

And he cries, “Woe is me! For I am undone;”.

“I have been brought to silence….before our Holy God.

All my words, which I spoke…which were right and good…nevertheless they have brought me into judgement. I am guilty, for I am not worthy to speak for the Lord.”

And the reason he knows this? Because Isaiah was spiritual. “For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

All he has done……is nothing in front of such a King!

He saw the Lord upon a throne—a throne of glory: think of the light that was shown Isaiah….

……before which Isaiah bowed his heart.

A throne of government: kings come and go,…….but The Lord is always in charge.

A throne of grace: And Isaiah is about to find that out (remember this is the Lord Jesus, Isaiah is seeing).

Isaiah 6:6-7 “Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touch thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.”

( It was said of Jesus, Matthew 3:11 “…He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”)

Depressed and discouraged, Isaiah came to the Temple, and met The Lord….and repented of his own sins.

(This is what the Lord Jesus requires of all of us…..repentance and faith…for ourselves. Getting right with God ourselves….then giving His Word…faithfully.)

He had heard God’s message to Israel,……and spoke it faithfully.

But now…under convictions from his own sins….

…..he is given the opportunity to know the Lord of Glory’s mercy and grace….for himself.

And then is empowered by that grace….to show this for his people.

Isaiah 6:8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

Here is the call of Isaiah. “Who will go for us?”

And he answers. “Here, I give You myself; do as You will;…..send me.”

Then, and only then, the Lord gives Isaiah the general message of his preaching. There might be specifics which would be added, but the general message was:

Isaiah 6:9-10 “And He said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see indeed, but perceive not.

And make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and convert, and be healed.”

The Lord warned Isaiah what would happen when he spoke to them…..

As Isaiah would tell the people what God said,…….their eyes would glaze over,…….their ears would feel like they were going drop off,

…..their minds would quote the promises God has given…..

…..but refuse His threatenings….

The people would refuse the message, and be hardened in heart.

And if they chose this, God would let them be blind. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

(It was a picture of what happened when the Lord of Glory came to earth as man. Matt 13:14-15, Mark 4:12, Luke 8:10, John 12:38-41)

How sad that we forget that God is as faithful to His threatenings, as He is His promises.

Isaiah 6:11 “Then said I, Lord, how long?…”.

“How long will Your message be rejected before You act?”

In fact Isaiah was to die before it happened. For over fifty years he was to preach and prophesy tirelessly to Judah.

Most believe that Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, had him killed because of his preaching against the wickedness and idolatry that Manasseh set up.

He had seen the King, the Lord of Glory, high and lifted up,….

…..yet spoke of Him in His most humble state (Isaiah 53), in poetic beauty.

He was the one to tell of the Lord being born of a virgin.

He followed the Lord’s calling to the end; and manifested Christ’s coming again and again….both in humility, and in power.

Isaiah 9:6-7 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called….

Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgement and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall perform this.”

Isaiah 40:10, 25, 28 “Behold, the Lord will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His Work before Him.

To whom then will ye liken Me, or I shall I be equal? Saith the Holy One.

Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding.”

Yet he also spoke a word to the remnant of true believers; encouraging them in to hang on and obey their God.

Isaiah 41:9-10 “Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art My servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.

Fear thou not; I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.”

This has been a long message, and how many of us would say, “If only we could hear the Lord, as he did….then I could do anything for the Lord…”

But He is the King, the Lord of Glory…High and lifted up.

He is speaking today, not in the same way as He did to Isaiah….

…but He is still calling, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”

If you have heard His call? What is your answer?

He has a message for me, He has one for you….but are we hearing it?

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

To Know the Love of Jesus

Song of Solomon 1:2 “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth: for Thy love is better than wine.”

I have often wondered how we , as Christians, who say we know Jesus loves us; can be so indifferent to His love, and to the fellowship of believers.

I have come to the conclusion that it is not “knowing” His love in our minds; but it is receiving it in our lives, that is the problem. Because to truly receive His love, we need to receive Him….and to love Him in return.

(Most of us like the idea of love, who would not? But to receive Jesus’s love truly, is to receive Him into our lives.

There used to be a illustration of a husband and wife, just married, and the wife says to her husband: “OK, dear, I will see you Wednesday night and Sunday. Bye for now.”

So is our relationship with Christ Jesus, if it is not everyday.)

And what hinders us from opening our lives and receiving His personal love to us?

You know how a child has a fit about something, and is corrected.

Then the parent tries to gently explain why they were scolded; the child wiggles and turns away, not wanting to receive the parent just then.

The child rejecting the love shown them, to “hurt” them as they were seemingly hurt.

We are the same, as children of our Heavenly Father.

We wiggle, and turn away from the very love we want, because we did not get what we wanted;…..or because we did not want to be “wrong”.

To kiss someone on the mouth is a most intimate form of affection. You can only kiss one person at a time, this way.

This is the affection that the believer has, who is longing to receive a closer relationship with Christ Jesus.

They want more of Him. They want Him for themselves. They want to “kiss”. and “to be kissed”, by no other, but Him.

This sort of love has gone beyond, “I know I am saved, and that is enough.”

It is: “I know I am saved, and I want what the Lord has next for me:….I want to know Him as much as I can;…..to come as close to Him as is possible, here on earth.”

As Jesus said about Mary, who sat at His feet, wanting to catch every word He said:

“But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”(Luke 10:42)

This is to know Him, as He truly is…..for to know Him a little in this way,……is to want to know Him more.

This is personality to personality.

This kiss is not the kiss of repentance on the feet of Jesus, though lovely to the Lord:

Luke 7:38 “And stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”

Or,

This is not the kiss of the Father for the Prodigal; though the beginning of a renewed life:

Luke 15:20 “And he arose and came unto his father, but when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”

Or,

This is not the kiss of the traitor Judas, which was only a sign for betrayal:

Mark 14:44-45 “And he that betrayed Him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I will kiss, the same is He; take Him, and lead Him away safely.

And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to Him, and saith, Master, Master, and kissed Him.”

But this is the kiss of a heart that wants to show Jesus all her love,……and also, to receive all His love to her.

Again, the kisses of the mouth are intimate,….one to one.

A relationship like that keeps growing, from here to heaven.

Are there hinderances to remove? Or obstacles to overcome?

Of course,……but continuing to grow in fellowship,…..we continue to receive the power and personal authority of His Name, and move into a more intimate fellowship with Him, as King, Who orders all things for His own.

Song of Solomon 1:3-4 “Because of the savor of Thy good ointments Thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love Thee.

Draw me, we will run after Thee: the King hath brought me into His chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in Thee, we will remember Thy love more than wine: the upright love Thee.”

Continuing to receive His love in this more personal relationship, there is joy, and rejoicing.

We begin to understand what His Name signifies for me. (His name given in any circumstance, shows what He will be there,….for us.)

It is our recognition of His loveliness,…..both in person and His name;…..but it is “the King”….our King, who brings us into joy and rejoicing.

For, in this fellowship, we come to honor the Lord, not just as our Savior, and our Friend, but as our King. Praise God that He is for us!

Do we want this?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Forgiveness

Matthew 6:11-12 “Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,”

As Christians we are in need of so much help from God. And God is more than willing to give it.

But He has said that our sins block His blessings to us.

Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”

So when we ask for God to “give us”, we should also pray “forgive us”.

We are kept day by day, in Christ. And we need to keep the channel of blessing open.

“Forgive us our debts”. God created us as responsible creatures. Therefore, as Christians, we are to use our faculties of mind (we are to think what God wants us to), our heart (we are to love God above all else), and our wills (we are to will to do God’s Will).

Our sins here, are seen as debts: unpaid duties or failures to do God’s Will.

◦ Christ Jesus made full payment of our debts at Calvary: on the Cross our sins and guilt was canceled.

But in the practical working of the Holy Spirit within us, we can stifle the Spirit, by our sins, which we do not take to Jesus and confess.

This causes us to feel far from the Lord, for with every sin, unconfessed, a little of the light of God is overcast.

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.”

When we confess our sins, He forgives us in practical cleansing. We do not feel them, or the darkness from them. We feel as though light has been given to our souls.

We are cleansed. The burden removed, and a settled peace comes within us.

We can draw near Him again with joy and a clear conscience; because He has forgiven us.

Hebrews 10:22 “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.”

His Word to us is always: “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

If we are ever feeling burdened by coming to Christ, sin has come between us.

Confess it, and get the peace that He has for you. Continual cleansing by His blood, as we walk in the light He shines for our path.

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Moses and the mountains

In scripture, mountains represent two things….impossible difficulties, which only God can surmount (and we all have those in our lives)….

….and places of close, personal dealing with God; where we grow intimately closer to Him.

Moses had several such experiences in the mountains.

Exodus 3:1-3 “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.”

Here Moses “turns aside” from his everyday routine……and meets God.

He hears His Voice in a bush which burned, without burning up….on a mountain.

This was his calling….”come close to Me, and go for Me…..and deliver My people from the bondage of Pharaoh”.

Moses is given God’s Word….and told…”return unto thy people”.

(Our calling is often among the people around us…whether in our own home or church, or town…..though it may lead elsewhere.)

Moses did that….bringing them by God’s Word, out of Egypt….and across the Red Sea, on dry ground.

Three months later:

Exodus 19:1-3 “In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.

….and there Israel camped before the mount.

And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying….”

Again Moses hears God’s Voice,….this time with a promise for His people….

Exodus 19:5-6 “Now therefore , if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine:

And ye shall be unto a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. Those are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”

Sinai was where God entered into a covenant relationship with Israel….there they became a nation, not just a family.

Four times Moses went up into the mountain:

(Exodus 19:19-20) When God came down on Mt. Sinai, Moses was called up in the mountain for instruction to the people.

(Exodus 24:12-13) God called Moses the first time to receive instruction for the Tabernacle and to get the Ten Commandments written on stone….these tablets he threw down and broke, when the people sinned, worshipping the golden calf…Exodus32:19.

(Exodus 32:30-33) Moses went up to God in the mountain to intercede for Israel, because of their sin with the golden calf.

(Exodus 34:1, 4) God called Moses up to the mountain to receive a new tablet containing the Ten Commandments….and saw His glory.

Each time God spoke to him, giving Moses His pattern for access to Him.

(And often our mountain experience is when we have new insight from God for our lives….which brings us into a closer relationship with Him.

Like Moses we have often prayed…..”I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory.”

But we notice, Moses had to leave the people at the bottom of the mountain….and even Joshua, his minister….was left at a low level.

He had to travel up….alone. Most of the time, we too, need to leave the crowd, to gain closer union with God.)

The next mountain Moses climbed was about thirty nine years later….that mountain was mount Hor, for it was time for Aaron, the high priest (Moses brother)…..to die.

Numbers 20:25-26 “Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor:

And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there.”

All three went up the mountain, but only two: Moses and Eleazar, now as high priest, came down, to continue to minister.

It was time for Aaron to die….and that shows that there is a time for all of us…whether sickness, or accident….death will come to those we love. He was not alone….Moses and Aaron’s son were there….and God, of course….to take his hand.

And they mourned for Aaron for thirty days.

(Sometimes our mountain experience is grief…..grief is one of those things that is very hard to deal with…for often we do not know how it will affect us.

I have seen solid people fall apart….in grief.

I have seen the faithful….question God for a time.

I have seen children, bewildered….because parents lack the courage to speak about these things [instead of giving hope and confidence in God to these little ones, they give vague answers….which are not answers.]

Some cry and mourn out loud….and others silently.

Some grow angry that there was not more time….thinking of things unsaid, or things undone.

But grief….is our heart’s feeling, when a loved one goes away [in the Hebrew it means “to carve”….and their loss will “carve a place for them that is empty…unfilled in us”.]

It hurts us, for we will miss them, and their voice….speaking to us.

But, like all “hurts”….there is our Beloved Physician, Jesus Christ…..who fills their loss with good: good memories, good courage, good peace….

…..and it is good, if we like Moses and Israel here….take time to mourn.

“Mourn” means to pour out your hurt (that means the hurt is gone, but not the memories)…and for us Christians….we should pour it out to God.)

The next mountain that Moses climbed was Pisgah.

It was on the far side of Jordon….for he could not go into the land because in his anger he disobeyed God, the second time he brought water from the Rock.

(The Rock symbolized Christ….giving life giving water to His people. Moses struck it once in Horeb (Exodus 17:6)….this showed that all the blessings we receive, are because Jesus was smitten for us.

…..the next time he was to bring water from the Rock, Moses was to speak to it…showing Christ Jesus in ascension glory, giving blessing to His people, from heaven, when we ask.

But Moses, in anger struck the Rock again….having a fit, and disobeying God.

After all God had showed Moses, his temper-tantrum barred him from Canaan. Deuteronomy 32:51)

On Pisgah, God showed Moses the land:

Deuteronomy 3:27 “Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.”

Deuteronomy 34:1, 5 “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho: and the Lord showed him all the land…

So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.”

This time the mountain brought him, not just to see the Lord’s glory….but to the Lord Himself in heaven.

His work was done….now his ministry he had accomplished by shepherding the second generation, would be blessed….but under Joshua (who was Moses helper. Exodus 24:13) all Israel went in to possess the Land.

(This is a great mountain….for when we die, as Christians, we are in the hands of God….our spirits and souls go with Him….but our body stays here(Deuteronomy 34:6) for a while….one day it will be raised to a glorified body, as well.

Moses work was done….and he had prepared others to go on…..are we preparing for our final journey….and for others to go on without us?)

But there is one more mountain for Moses: and this is a Hallelujah one!

Luke 9:28-31 “And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, He (Jesus) took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.

And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistening

And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elijah:

Who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.”

Jesus is praying on the mountain, and His Father sends Him Moses, representing the Law….and Elijah, representing the Prophets to talk to Him….

……about “His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem”.

Moses finally got into the Land, in his glorified body,….standing on a mountain, talking to the Son of God/ the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, face to face.

And what other subject would they have?….but the great work Christ would accomplish for Salvation at Jerusalem….what a conversation that would have been!

(And this mountain show us that, in heaven, we will be able to talk to Jesus face to face….in our glorified bodies….and with other believers.)

The “mountain” experiences of our lives are there to bring us closer to the Lord…to give us a desire to grow even more closer.

What of us? Are we “turning aside” from our everyday lives, to hear God’s voice…even on the more difficult mountains of experience?

Are we seeking a closer view of God, no matter what others feel about Him?

God has mountain experiences for us….do we want them?

Moses did….and had them….do we?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Philemon

Philemon is a private letter sent by Paul to a householder and friend….a brother in Christ…one, it is suggested, that was won to Christ by Paul.

Philemon 19 “….albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.”

The subject is one of Philemon’s servants….who had run away from his work, and run far away, to Rome.

His name was Onesimus.

(It does not say, exactly, what Onesimus did or took when he left….but the letter suggests that he wronged Philemon in some way.

Philemon 18-19 “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee aught, put that on mine account. I Paul have written it with my own hand, I will repay it:…”)

There in Rome, Onesimus had heard Paul preach and had been converted. (Philemon 15-16)

After his conversion, he has become a faithful friend and servant to Paul….running errands, and giving his testimony and witness to others.

(1 Thessalonians 4:7, 9 “All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you….with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you….”)

Onesimus was changed by the new life of Christ within….becoming a “beloved brother”.

But the letter is not called Onesimus…..but Philemon; for the real meat of the letter is with this man,…..and what Paul was showing him….

Philemon is a Christian….he has a church in his house….most likely of friends and servants; meeting together to worship.

He is also one which has been a good witness of Christ Jesus…..and sent goods to the saints abroad….(Philemon 5)

But, let’s face it, it is not easy to receive one who has treated you badly…..or forgive them…which would put this “run-away” on a totally different status.

Also, now, Onesimus is beloved of Paul….and one who had done works for God.

He was being sent back to ask forgiveness of him (Philemon)….and to speak to the church in his house of Paul….that, too, puts him on a totally different status.

Paul, considering this good man, sends Onesimus back, with this letter….so that Philemon might forgive him…..in person….and grow in grace, and character.

The grace of equality.

Before God, Philemon and Onesimus were brothers in Christ. One was not more loved than the other. This is a hard lesson to learn…..for we are usually quite competitive when it comes to God’s blessing and the respect of others.

And Paul wanted Philemon to have the the character of God….rejoicing over a rebel, returned to God…

….(think the Father with the prodigal running to kiss and restore him….Luke 15:20-22…

….and not the elder brother’s attitude, which was full of anger that the Prodigal got forgiven….so much so, that he would not enter into the rejoicing….even complained of his “service”……which was ridiculous, because he was the owner of all…Luke 15:28-31)

You see, Onesimus still belonged to Philemon…..it was his right to do what he wanted…

….Paul wanted Philemon to know that Onesimus was his, legally…..but was also his brother in Christ. (Philemon 15-16)

Philemon 6 “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”

By forgiving Onesimus, Philemon might grow in faith and love, in himself….and his witness to his church will become more effectual.

(It is one thing to show mercy, or send goods or money to someone who is far away…..but have them stand in your face,….and forgive someone who wronged you….and let them take a prominent role in the church;…..is sometimes quite different.)

Philemon 8-9 “Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient,

(Paul would rather have kept Onesimus with him, for he was a help….but…he would not use his authority and seek to keep him, without Philemon’s blessing)

Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now as also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.”

Paul was writing as a friend, a fellow believer…..not in his authority to do this….but beseeching, as a fellow Christian…..for Philemon’s sake.

You see this is the meat…..Paul was not just an advocate for Onesimus…..but for Philemon, as well.

Wanting,…for love’s sake,….to do the best thing for him….and that was to guide him into true forgiveness…..and joy of any circumstances which honor and glorify God….even with a former rebellious servant.

Philemon 14 “But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.”

Here is the crux of our forgiveness…..is it willingly…..for Christ’s sake?

Philemon 17, 20 “If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.

Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.”

This is what Paul wanted:

Joy, in knowing that these two Christian brothers had been reconciled in the Lord….this was more important to Paul….even in prison, needing the help….than anything else.

The Lord Jesus said:

John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

This kind of love, is always in the Lord….it goes beyond hurt, loss, boundaries of place or title….It is as Jesus loved us.

Philemon 21 “Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt do more than I say.”

Let us have this testimony, as well….that we will be obedient….and more so….we will rejoice in it.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

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….for standing with Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

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

Are we growing in grace?

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

Peter knew a lot about this; having denied the Lord three times, once even before a maid.

Yet he was restored, and became the first preacher of the gospel after Pentecost. Three thousand were saved that first day.(Acts 2:41)

He had grown some since he had bragged about his loyalty; and then failed Jesus so terribly.

He had learned his own weakness….when his courage and devotion failed…..even when he loved the Lord….

After he was filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, he learned how to preach……he learned about persecution,…and determined they must obey God rather than man…

…..about the Lord including the Gentiles into the church….

….about the importance of the Word of God….

….and he learned that we are never “too sanctified” to get tripped up.

Galatians 2:11-13 “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried with their dissimulation.”

When this happened, Paul corrected him in front of everyone there…..”when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel…”

Was this Peter,….the one who had opened the door to Gentiles….yet, tripped up? How could this be?

Because we are never out of danger, this side of heaven.

And Peter was weak before the influence of men,……for he was not yielding to the Holy Spirit….he let his emotions lead him, instead.

It says, “….fearing them which were of the circumcision.”

Fear is a terrible enemy….how many have stumbled under the “roar” of the devil, causing fear

(1 Peter 5:8-9 here Peter warns of this very thing).

Peter, corrected, though….went on to preach many places….taking with him Mark…discipling him…till he was a old man…

But he knew he was not done growing….he would continue to grow as long as he would be “in this tabernacle”…..for he (and we) should never stop learning by the Holy Spirit, in our experiences of life about Jesus, and what He will do for us.

And so when he was old, he warned others about this very thing…”that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.”(verse 1:16)

2 Peter 1:2-4, 12-13 “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle (body), to stir you up by putting you in remembrance:”

Every true Christian stands in need of growing in grace.

To do so, we must “eat” the Bread of Life which is Christ.

That involves fellowship with Him….in our everyday tasks.

(Are we spending time with our lovely Lord?)

We must “drink” the water of Life freely which is His Holy Spirit.

That involves yielding ourselves to His guidance and convictions.

If we are to become strong Christians, and not babes, we need to grow.

We need to use what He gives us and gain experience with Him.

(If Jesus were here on earth, and came and invited you to follow Him, would you?

But, though He is not here on earth,…..He is still inviting us to:

Come and Follow Me into the everyday experiences of today, tomorrow, and onward.)

Hebrews 5:14 “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

We have spiritual senses, as well as natural ones.

We are to have “hearing ears” to hear what the Lord says to us. There is no audible voice; but the internal Voice which guides us.

We are to have “seeing eyes”……eyes of faith…..enlightened by the Holy Spirit and His Word.

We are to have the sense of “smell”.

This Spiritual sense tells us if a thing is good or rotten, just like our nose does. It is discernment.

And we have “taste”. We are called to taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalms 34:8)

That means, we are to experience His sweetness in the comfort, help, and word He gives.

It is of the Holy Spirit, as all of these are:

but we are to use His enabling, and learn by the experience. This is how we grow in grace.

Peter did…..and when he was old, said….

….remember my example, both failures, and successes……and learn of Christ, by the Holy Spirit.

If we sit on the sidelines….we certainly may be Christians,…

….but we will not grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and become strong,….having those “all things that pertain to life….and godliness…” (think of it!)

Again, Peter did…..perfectly? No, but he learned.

Are we willing to learn of the Holy Spirit?

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.