PIERCED EARS

[SW233] 05/27/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“Pierced Ears”

You want all of God. But how do you get there? By having your ears pierced!

What do I mean?

Deuteronomy 15:12-17

— The debt is paid because it is the seventh year.

— And so, the slave is offered freedom and abundant provision from his master (Deuteronomy 15:17).

—  But what if he does not want to leave?

Deuteronomy 15:16 “It shall come about if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you;”

— And his master presents him to God, and then pierces his ear to the doorpost of his master’s house, using an awl.

What is the motive for having your ears pierced?

Exodus 21:5 — love for your Master.

What happens when your ears are pierced?

You serve Him permanently.

Who pierces your ears?

Your Master.

What are the words of the pierced ones?

Psalm 40:6-8

Sacrifice, meal offering, burnt offering, sin offering You did not desire, O Lord. You wanted my heart, and I have given it to you.

You pierced my ears, so I am a bondservant who serves out of love.

I have come to You, Lord. The Bible speaks of me, of one who serves You because You have poured out Your love abundantly in my heart.

And now, because I love You with Your love, I come to serve You forever.

I delight to do Your will. By my heart’s prompting, I bend to Your will and am pleased to do Your will.

It is because You have placed Your Law in my heart. As Paul writes, it is written on tablets of the human heart (2Corinthians 3:3), by the Holy Spirit.

What is the result of having your ears pierced?

— The Lord fills you with the Holy Spirit and God’s love and power.

— You become a bondservant (doulos used 13 times in the New Testament), your debt paid, but serving out of God’s love that has filled your heart.

— Your heart continually prompts you to do God’s will

Beloved, we are in a time that is even better than the seventh year. It is the year of the Lord’s favor, the year of Jubilee, when everyone who comes to Jesus is set free. He has paid the debt of your sin, by dying on a cross and rising on the third day.

Now He offers you freedom from slavery to sin. What will you do? Will you say, “I love You, Jesus, so I want to serve You forever?” He will pierce your ears, and you will become His bondservant.

But . . .

I submit that the truth that we can serve the Lord out of His love that has been poured out in our hearts to overflowing is not taught in most of the church.

I submit that many shepherds teach that it is impossible to love God with God’s love. (If shepherds haven’t become bondservants, they cannot teach it.)

I submit that, as a result, many believers think it is impossible.

I submit that, as a result, many believers have limited themselves.

I submit that, as a result, many believers are robbed of holy intimacy with God.

I submit that, as a result, many believers are left open to sin’s influence.

I submit that, as a result, shipwreck of their faith is possible.

But today, this very moment, you can give yourself entirely to the Lord, to become His bondservant.

I submit that now is the time to put away all outward acts, and let Him act upon your heart.

Ask Him to pierce your ears, and you will delight to do His will!

COMMENTARY ON JOHN 11

The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!

John 11 describes a never-before seen miracle — a dead man raised, four days after he died. You will see how Jesus Christ responds to people’s unbelief, and you will understand that nothing is impossible, with Him. Hallelujah!

Verses 1-2 — Jesus was summoned by Mary and Martha. Their brother, Lazarus (his name means “one who God helps), is sick. Mary was a worshiper of Jesus Christ, the one who anointed Him with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair. Martha also believed in Jesus Christ.

IMPORTANT POINT: When sickness comes, call out for Jesus Christ.

Verses 3-4 — The sisters sent to Him; Lazarus, whom He loves, is sick. But Jesus did not answer by coming to them. He said this sickness would not end in death, but was for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified for it. Something was going to happen that glorified both God the Father and God the Son.

IMPORTANT POINT: It may seem that death is imminent, that the situation is impossible. But Jesus Christ glorifies Himself and the Father when He does the impossible with someone who is beyond resurrection, incurable, doomed to die. The Lord healed me of MS, an incurable disease that often leads to early death from pneumonia, because you can no longer swallow and food goes into your lungs (aspiration pneumonia). Why does He wait until it looks hopeless? So the miracle He does is so great that you and many others will glorify His Father and Him!

Verses 5-6 — You’d think that if Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus, he would immediately go to them. But when he heard Lazarus was sick, he waited two more days before going to see them.

IMPORTANT POINT:  It may seem like Jesus’ answer is delayed. But He is faithful. Wait for Him, not passively, but continually seeking Him. You will be amazed at what He does!

Verses 7-9 — When two more days had passed, Jesus announced that it was time. The disciples knew they would be re-entering enemy territory, because the Jewish elite sought to kill Jesus. But He was undeterred.

He spoke of daylight — twelve hours wasn’t exact, but that is how people spoke of  the hours of daylight in those times. Men can walk during the daylight and not stumble. They have this world’s light. And that is the only light you have, until you have Jesus Christ’s light in you.

But if you don’t have His light in you (for He is the Light of the World, and His light shines out from Him), it is as if you are walking around in darkness — spiritual darkness. You will stumble. You will reject Him, just as the Jewish elite did. Your stumbling reveals that you do not have His light in you.

IMPORTANT POINT: It is still possible for those in darkness to come into the Light of Christ, and to have His light come into them. I did, after rejecting Him for many years. And many of the Jewish elite finally saw His Light and were convinced that Jesus was the Christ, after He died and rose again.

Verses 10-16 — Once again, the disciples missed what Jesus meant by what He spoke. That would change when Pentecost came. Then they would understand His words.

Jesus told them Lazarus had “fallen asleep,” but that He was now going to awaken him. The disciples thought He meant natural sleep; therefore, Lazarus would recover (be saved and delivered) from his sickness.

But Jesus had spoken of Lazarus’ death. And so He bluntly told them that Lazarus was dead. He was glad, for the sake of the disciples, that He was not there when Lazarus died, so they may believe. Had He been there at the time Lazarus died, the miracle would not be so spectacular. But by waiting to go to Lazarus, God the Father and God the Son would be glorified as never before, and the disciples would believe.

So Thomas spoke, saying they should go with Jesus and die with Him at the hands of the Jewish elite. Little did they know!

IMPORTANT POINT: You will understand Jesus’ words when you are filled with His Spirit in your own personal Pentecost.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus will wait until it seems absolutely impossible, and then He will spectacularly act. His goal is always the Father’s glory, and He Himself is glorified through what the Father does.

Verse 17 — Why was it important to note that Lazarus had been dead and lying in a tomb for four days? The Jews believed that until three days had passed, a man’s spirit was still in his dead body. But after that, there was no hope at all of bringing him back to life.

IMPORTANT POINT:  Does it look like there’s no hope? Don’t underestimate Jesus!

Verses 18-19 — John paints a picture. Bethany is just two miles from Jerusalem. Therefore, many of the Jewish elite in Jerusalem came to console Mary and Martha in the death of their brother. The place was filled with the unbelief of the Jewish elite, which they had shown in all their interactions with Jesus.

IMPORTANT POINT: You will see that an atmosphere of unbelief will not stop Jesus from performing miracles so that God the Father and God the Son are glorified. Nothing will stop Him.

Verses 20-22 — When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet Him, but Mary stayed at their home. Martha rebuked the Lord, saying if He had been there sooner, Lazarus would not have died. In her eyes, Lazarus was beyond hope. But she also knew that whatever Jesus asked God to do, God would do. She had faith that God could work, but the circumstances looked impossible.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus is never late. Do not accuse Him!

Verses 23-24 — Jesus plainly said Lazarus would rise again. Martha thought Jesus meant he would rise again when all things come to a close, in the last resurrection, when believers’ bodies are raised from the dead.

IMPORTANT POINT: Just as Martha’s faith wasn’t complete, so it is with all believers. Thanks be to God, He increases your faith when you ask Him to do it.

Verses 25-27 — Jesus spoke another I AM statement — I AM the resurrection and the life. He is the I AM, the always existing God the Son. Nothing is too difficult for Him. He is the resurrection. He is the One who resurrects. He is the Life. He is the One who gives eternal life, life as God has it.

But Martha says she knows He is the Christ, the Son of God who comes into the world. She knows He is from God. She knows He is God. She expresses her faith. But she still sees the situation as hopeless, even though Jesus said Lazarus’ illness would not end in death. Her brother had died. How could he be raised?

IMPORTANT POINT: You may believe up to a certain point. But Martha, like many of us, saw the hopelessness of a situation, rather than looking to the promises of God. He is true to His Word, and the Truth. He never lies, but always speaks the truth.

Verses 28-31 — Martha went home and told Mary that Jesus was asking for her, even though He had not done so. She may have thought that Mary would somehow cause Jesus to do something to help them. What, she did not know.

Verses 32— So Mary came, along with many of the Jewish elite. She was the only one who fell at Jesus’ feet and worshiped Him. But then she repeated what Martha had said. If only You had been here, Jesus, Lazarus would not have died. The situation was just as hopeless in her eyes as it was in Martha’s. She was looking at the situation and not Jesus Christ’s promise.

IMPORTANT POINT: Look at Jesus! Look at His faithfulness! Remember His promises. Don’t look at the hopelessness of your situation.

Verse 33 — Many people misinterpret this verse. You may be shocked to know what it really means.

Jesus saw Mary and Martha weeping, and the Jewish elite weeping. And He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled. Many say He was emotionally moved, saddened, grieving with them. But “deeply moved” means “snorting with anger, moved with anger!” And “troubled” means “disturbed.” He was deeply angered at their unbelief, to the point where He snorted! Snorting is an explosive sound by a sudden rush of air emitted from the nose, and indicates indignation, derision, and disgust. He was disgusted with their weeping! Look ahead to Verse 40 and you will see why. They did not believe His words.

Verses 34-35 — Jesus abruptly asked where Lazarus had been laid. They told Him to come and see. Then Jesus wept. Was He sad over the loss of Lazarus? No! He wept over their unbelief. Why would He weep over the death of Lazarus, when He had come to wake him up?

IMPORTANT POINT: Lord, convict us strongly so that we stop humanizing God the Son, trying to overlay our human responses upon Him and thus making Him into our own image! He was and is not weepy and weak and confused! As He walked the earth, He was God the Son, not merely human. He knows all, and knew exactly what was about to happen in John 11.

Verse 36 — As usual, the Jewish elite completely misinterpret his weeping, just as many in today’s church have done. Of course Jesus loved Lazarus. But He was not weeping for the loss of Lazarus. He was about to resurrect him! He wept because no one believed that a miracle was about to happen. No one believed His promise.

Verse 37 — The Jewish elite then accused Jesus. He could have healed Lazarus. But now it is too late. Lazarus is dead. Why didn’t Jesus come sooner? Unbelief spouted from their mouths.

Verse 38-39 — And again, Jesus snorted with anger, disgusted and indignant because He was surrounded by unbelief.

He then commanded, “Remove the stone.” But Martha objected. It was another expression of unbelief. The stench from Lazarus’ rotting body would be terrible, since he had been dead four days. Didn’t Jesus say that this would not end in death?

IMPORTANT POINT: Many around you may spout unbelief. Don’t listen to them. Look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2)!

Verse 40 — What didn’t Martha, Mary and the rest believe? His words. He rebuked them because they did not believe Him when He said, “If you believe, you will see the glory of God.” That statement meant that He was coming to do a miracle. But they thought it was too late and that He had failed.

IMPORTANT POINT:  It is never “too late” for Jesus to work a miracle. You must believe Him when He says He will work it, and that God will be glorified by what He does.

Verse 41-44 — So they removed the stone. Jesus then raised His eyes to heaven, and prayed aloud to the Father, so they would know that the Father hears Him and has sent Him.

Then He commanded, in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And Lazarus came out of the tomb, still bound in his grave clothes. Hallelujah! Nothing like that had ever been done in history! It was a God-glorifying miracle!

Jesus commanded them to loose him and let him go. And they did.

IMPORTANT POINT: Just as hopeless, dead Lazarus was raised from the dead, hopeless Sue was raised from spiritual death. And Jesus will do the same for you, and for His church that no longer believes His words. And just as resurrected Lazarus was loosed from his deadness, so was I, and Jesus will do the same for you, and for His church that no longer believes His words.

Verse 45-46 — What was the response of those who saw it? Many of the Jewish elite believed. But some reported what had happened to the Pharisees.

Verse 47-48 — So the chief priests and Pharisees, hearing this report, met. “What are we doing? What can we do? Jesus is performing signs that attest that He is who He says He is! If we don’t do something to stop Him, all men will believe in Him.” And now they revealed their motive for rejecting Jesus. The Romans would remove the chief priests and Pharisees from their place of honor, and as a result, the Jewish nation would crumble.

Verse 49-52 — But Caiaphus, whose turn it was to be high priest that year, suddenly began to prophesy. He told them they knew nothing. He said they did not consider that it was better for one man to die for the people, rather than to have all of the people perish. He didn’t say it of his own initiative. God prophesied through Caiaphas because he was high priest. Jesus would die not only for the nation, but that all men be made children of God and gathered from all across the earth, and not perish.

IMPORTANT POINT #1 — God will prophesy through those who hold offices in His church, even though they are working against Him. He will later remind them of it, so they might turn back to Him.

IMPORTANT POINT #2 — Indeed, Jesus Christ died for you. If you believe in Him, you will be made a child of God, and not perish. If you do not receive the salvation that God the Father offers you through His Son, you will perish.

Verses 53-54 — The Jewish elite then planned to kill Jesus. And Jesus knew it, even though they did not tell Him. He knows everything. So Jesus did not walk with the Jewish elite anymore. He and the disciples went to Ephraim.

Verses 55-57 — Passover was near. Jews came from all across the known earth because this was a feast they were required to attend. They went up early, so they would have time to be ceremonially purified.

So they began to ask where Jesus was. He had to attend, as a Jew. He had to be purified in advance. Where was He? Was He planning to disregard God’s requirement to attend?

And the foolish Jewish elite gave orders that if anyone knew where Jesus was, they were to report it so they could seize Him.

IMPORTANT POINT: Many plan to kill Jesus. They discredit Him. They reject Him. They accuse Him. They seize Him. They do all these things to His followers, so they do them to Him.

FISHING

[SW232] 05/20/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“Fishing”

I know I am supposed to share the wonderful things the Lord showed me as I ministered to my mother in Maine these past two weeks. Here’s the first “installment.”

Text:  John 21:10

I could talk with you about how we can’t catch a thing except through Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ promises to make us fishers of men, when we follow (obey) Him (Matthew 4:19). But He provides the catch.

But that’s really not what the Lord wants me to talk about today. He wants to talk about a profound truth He showed me over the last two weeks. If you catch it, it will change your walk with your fellow believers just as it has changed mine.

Mom had two strokes within minutes of one another, while she was in her room in an assisted living community. She was completely unresponsive when the staff found her.

I rushed up to Maine on 4/30/16, not sure she would survive this most recent onslaught. She was in the hospital, unable to speak anything, and then just, “yes,” “no,” and “thank you.”

My brother, Steve, told me he felt Mom would recognize me, and that she was now able to recognize Steve, and her surroundings, and say her name. I really had no idea what to expect, but I knew the Lord wanted me to see her. I had no idea what He was going to work in her heart and mine!

I saw Mom the day I arrived, in the afternoon. She said she thought she had missed me and I had gone back home. I assured her she was stuck with me for the next two weeks, and then sang, “The Lord is My Shepherd” to her, “a capella.” She closed her eyes, listened, and smiled.

The next morning, I went before the Lord, asking Him for a word for Mom. I opened my Bible, and my eyes fell on John 21:10, in which Jesus says, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.”

I thought about the people the Lord had put in my path, already prepared by Him to hear the gospel. It has been and continues to be a joy beyond measure to have a front-row seat to watch Him work!

“Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” He kept repeating it to me.

Then the Lord said something that surprised me. “Tell Jane that you are one of her fish.”

I had never given Mom credit for bringing me to the Lord. I was not sure of her faith. And yet Jesus said: 1) He knows her name; and 2) I am her fish! Surely, she prayed for me. And He answered. So I became her fish!

It was a rebuke from the Lord to me. I had judged Mom’s degree of faith.

Certainly, sin must be judged, but not a Christian’s level of faith! Per Romans 14:4. He is able to make them stand, whether their faith is weak or strong.

Whether faith is weak or strong, it is still faith!

And I have judged the degree of faith of other Christians.

So I repented before Him, knowing that He showed it to me not to condemn me but to change me. That is always His purpose in His rebukes. I  am now assured and thankful that He has changed me.

Then I went to Mom, and I told her the Lord had given me a word for her. She looked at me expectantly.

When I told her that I was one of her fish, she laughed in the Spirit, and so did I! Never had I heard her laugh in the Spirit, a gentle, low soft, joyous laugh!

It was a holy, lovely, powerful moment! Our relationship was transformed, her heart was freed from the heaviness she had carried, and she began to rally physically.

Again, this is only the first installment of things the Lord showed me. I will continue to share with you what He showed me.

Mom is now in rehab. When she first arrived, her caregivers did not think she would leave the nursing home. Now, they agree that she has two more weeks before she goes back to assisted living.

She is my hero, working very hard to regain as much as she can from the effects of the double stroke, and her sweetness blesses everyone on the rehab ward. Jesus is truly glorified through her!

Her roommate in assisted living, Dot, called her and said Mom was the best roommate she’d ever had, and she could hardly wait for Mom to be back “home.”

Mom was blessed and encouraged, and so was I!

So, what would the Lord have me say to you?

First, that the judging of “weakness of faith” is always wrong. The Lord is able to make those who are weak stand.

If you see yourself in what the Lord showed me with Mom, do as I did and repent immediately. He will forgive you and change your heart.

I submit to you that it is easy to slip into judging degree of faith in a fellow believer. I submit to you that it is contagious, and it is destructive.

I submit to you that the Lord wants to stop the spread of this “disease” in the church.

If you will receive what He is saying today, and repent, you will see walls come down between you and others, just as I did with Mom.

Certainly, sin must be judged before the whole congregation, per 1Corinthians 5 and 2Timothy 5:20 , but none should judge the degree of another’s faith.

Certainly, we must exhort and encourage each other to press on, to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, so the divine influence on the heart is reflected in the life more and more!

And I will encourage everyone to ask the Lord to increase their faith, just as I constantly do!

Second, the Lord would say that evangelism is not done just with your feet, but on your knees.

He would remind you not to think less of “knee evangelists.” Their work is equally powerful. They call on the same Lord, and He is pleased to answer them in power!

And He would remind you that prayer must precede any evangelistic attempts. You must first go to Him, get His instructions, and then act. He cannot bless what you try to do without Him.

And I know the Lord would want me to tell you that the Lord ministered to me through Mom just as much as He ministered to Mom through me. That will happen with you, too, if you see yourself in this word the Lord gave me, and repent.

Mom and I had holy times, and we have a great closeness unlike anything we ever had before. It was a gift from the Lord to us. Agree with Him, and He will give you the same gift.

COMMENTARY ON JOHN 10

The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!

John 10 continues the words Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in John 9:40-41. He does it so we can discern the Good Shepherd from false shepherds (ones who are like the Jewish elite). His obedience to the Father and their disobedience is again emphasized. And Jesus, as always, is the winner when they debate with Him.

Verses 1-2 — Truly, truly. It is another very important truth from the Lord. There were thieves (stealers) and robbers (plunderers) among God’s flock. They climbed over the fences of the sheep pens that protected the sheep. They refused to use the door because they wanted to steal and rob without being discovered.

IMPORTANT POINT: Just as this was true of the Jewish elite, it is true today. There are thieves and robbers among the Lord’s flock. I will say more about this later in this commentary.

But the one who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. He cares for the sheep, he knows the sheep. He is not trying to steal and rob. He is there to protect and lead and feed them.

IMPORTANT POINT: True shepherds (pastors) are not interested in material gain. They are there to protect and lead and feed you

Verses 3-4 — And the one guarding the door lets the true shepherd in, because he is not trying to steal and rob.

IMPORTANT POINT: There is a doorkeeper, a guard, at the door to the Lord’s sheep pen. And He will let true shepherds come in. I believe this Doorkeeper is the Holy Spirit.

The shepherd calls his own sheep by name — that’s how it works with shepherds in Israel. The shepherd knows and can identify each sheep individually.

IMPORTANT POINT: If you have repented from your sin and received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, He knows your name, and can identify you.

And the shepherd leads the sheep out of the pen, so he can take them to pastures and water.

IMPORTANT POINT: Rejoice that Jesus Christ is your Shepherd, and He will do just what David says of Him in Psalm 23!

The shepherd has his own flock. Sheep pens, though, can contain many shepherds’ flocks. But the shepherd knows his own flock, AND his flock knows him. It makes no difference that they are mixed in with other sheep.

IMPORTANT POINT: If you repent (turn away from sin) and believe in Jesus Christ, He will know you, and you will know Him.

Verse 5-6 — In the natural, some men have tried to trick sheep into following them by wearing their shepherd’s clothing.  But the false shepherd has to call to the flock. And the flock simply won’t follow a stranger. They can tell that it is a stranger’s voice, and not their shepherd’s voice.

IMPORTANT POINT: If you know the Word of God (the Bible) you will know your Shepherd’s voice. And you will not follow the voices of false shepherds who disguised themselves as Jesus in order to lead you astray.

But the disciples could not understand Jesus’ metaphor. They would understand later, after they were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

What do the false shepherds steal and plunder? They steal your money, they steal the truth of God’s Word from you as they twist and pervert it, and they plunder your faith, so when you finally discover what they are doing and leave, you are broken and disillusioned. If only you had opened your Bible, so you knew the voice of the Good Shepherd! You never would have been led astray. Repent and learn His voice!
Verse 7 — Because the disciples didn’t understand, Jesus made the metaphor plain. Truly, truly. This is another especially important truth. Jesus Christ is the Door for the sheep. There is no other legitimate way into the sheep pen.

This is one of the seven I AM statements of the Book of John. The I AM, the always-existing God the Son, is the only means to enter the sheep pen, which is the kingdom of God.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus Christ is the door through which you must pass in order to enter the kingdom of God.

Verse 8 — All who came before Jesus Christ were thieves and robbers. Does that mean the prophets, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, were thieves and robbers? No. At the Lord’s command, they called out the leaders, the Jewish elite who were thieves and robbers and told them to repent.

But the sheep did not heed these thieves and robbers. Why? They knew the voice of the Good Shepherd, and would not listen to (heed or obey) the voice of strangers.

Verse 9 — Again, Jesus repeats that He is the Door. By Him and only by Him can you be saved from the wrath of God that you deserve.

Anyone can enter. No one is excluded. And when you do enter, you will go in and out and be fed and led.

Verse 10 — The thief comes to steal (rob), kill (slay, burn) and destroy (fully and continuously, eternal perishing in hell). So Jesus says the intent of these thieves and robbers is the same intent as their father, the devil (John 8:44). He intends to rob you of your faith, slay you, and condemn you to the same hell where he will perish forever.

But Jesus Christ has come that you may have life, and have it abundantly. That is life super-abundantly. That is life as God has it, not the existence which you led before you knew Jesus Christ. That is His life in you.

IMPORTANT POINT: Some false shepherds say that this verse means Jesus Christ came so you can be wealthy in this life. There is no mention of material wealth in this passage. I pray you recognize these false shepherds as the thieves and robbers that they are! I pray you do not heed or obey their words because they do not sound like Jesus.

Verse 11 — Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. This is another I AM statement from the always-existent God the Son. He laid down His life for you on the cross, just as in the natural, a shepherd will risk his own life to fight wild beasts, in order to protect his flock.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus Christ laid down His life once, for all of mankind, so that whoever enters through Him is saved, and has the life of Christ in them, abundantly, so it overflows to others.

Verses 12-13— Hired hands are not shepherds. They are false shepherds who are thieves and robbers. They will flee when the wolf (Satan) comes, because they only care about their own lives. They do not care about you. They will leave you defenseless, so Satan comes in, catches you by force, and scatters you.

IMPORTANT POINT: If you do not know the voice of Jesus, and you follow a hired hand, you will be plundered by Satan.

Verse 14-15 — But Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. He knows His sheep personally and individually. and they know Him. They know Him in the same way as the Father knows the Son and the Son knows the Father. It is a deep, intimate, holy kind of knowing. They do not just “know about” Jesus. They know Jesus and the Father intimately and personally. There is a 24/7 connection.

And Jesus Christ repeats that He lays down His life for them. He did!

Verse 16 — The sheep Jesus addresses are Jewish. But He speaks now of other sheep who are not Jewish. He must bring them, too. They will hear His voice just like the Jews who believe in Him. The Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Jesus will be made into one flock, because they believe. And He will be their shepherd.

Verses 17-18 — The Father loves the Son because He lays down His life. He must lay down His life to take it up again. No one is able to take His life away from Him, but He lays it down freely, on His own initiative. The Father has given Him authority to lay it down and take it up again. It is a commandment from the Father. He is an obedient Son.

Verses 19-21 — As always, Jesus’ words cause division among the Jews. Some say He has a demon. Some say that these are not the words of a demon-possessed man. And one who is demon-possessed cannot open the eyes of a man born blind, which was done by Jesus in John 9.

Verse 22-23 — The Feast of the Dedication is called Hanukkah, a celebration of when the Jewish Maccabees regained possession of the Temple in Jerusalem from the Selucids (Syrian-Greeks) in 167 BC.

The feast marks the rededication of the Temple after it was repossessed by the Jews. It was winter. Jesus was walking in the Temple, on Solomon’s portico (porch).

Verses 24-25 — Again the Jewish elite challenge Jesus. They want Him to tell them plainly that He is the Christ. He said He did tell them, and they do not believe, event though the works He did were from the Father and done according to His name and character, for His glory.

IMPORTANT POINT:  It is the same today. Many still challenge Jesus and ask Him to prove He is God the Son, even though He is still working His works through His church.

Verses 26-27 — Why do they not believe? Because they are not of His sheep. How does Jesus know that they are not of His sheep? They do not hear His voice. They do not know Him. They do not follow Him.

IMPORTANT POINT: Those who do not believe are not His sheep. They will only become His sheep if they turn from their sin and come to Him.

Verses 28-29 — He gives eternal life to His flock. They will never eternally perish with Satan, but will experience His eternal life filling them here and now, and will live eternally with God, once their bodies fall away in death.

No one will snatch His flock out of His hand. And no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father has given Jesus Christ His flock. He doesn’t take back when He gives. And the Father is greater than all.

IMPORTANT POINT: After you are saved, you are still able to turn away from the Lord (Hebrews 10:26). He never removes or limits your free will. But no one can steal you from Him. You have to turn away. You have to drift away (Hebrews 2:1, you have to neglect (make light of, be careless about) your salvation (Hebrews 2:3).

Verses 30-31 — Jesus speaks another “blasphemy” to the Jewish elite. He and the Father are one. This “oneness” is unity of nature and essence. They are of the same nature. They are both God — God the Father and God the Son. The Jewish elite pick up stones to stone Him to death, which is the punishment for blasphemy.

Verses 32-33  — Jesus responds to their actions. He has shown them many good works that only the Father could do. Which one are they stoning Him for? The Jews said it wasn’t because of His good works, but because Jesus is just a man, but claims to be God. That is blasphemy.

Verses 34-38— Jesus counters with the Word of God, from Psalm 82:7. Did  God not say of His people, “They are gods?” His intent was that the Jews would be like Him. And yet the Lord accused the Jews in that Psalm. They had rebelled against the Lord. So they were not gods at all.

Therefore, Jesus asked why it is such an offense that He says He is the Son of God? He is like God. He does God’s works. If He isn’t doing God’s works, then they can say He is blaspheming. But if He does them, then they should believe that, because of what Jesus does, the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father. They are one. They are of the same essence, the same nature.

Verse 39 — Their response was to seek to seize Him. But He eluded them and went back to the place beyond the Jordan, where John the Baptist first baptized. And He stayed there.

Verse 40-41 — Many came to Him there. They said John the Baptist performed no sign. He was sent to baptize, to make the way in people’s hearts for Jesus to enter. But everything John the Baptist said about Jesus was true. Therefore, many believed in Him there.

ASK AND RECEIVE

[SW230] 04/22//2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“Ask and Receive”

Whatever we ask, we receive! Whatever! Oh, the people on whose behalf you can ask the Lord! And even ask when you yourself need His touch!

Text: 1John 3:21-24

Whatever we ask, we receive. Whatever!

What does it mean to to ask?

“Ask” means this — The humble petition to one in higher authority, from one lesser in position. We are subjects who are petitioning our King.

What are the conditions, in order for the askers to receive what they ask for?

— Their hearts do not find fault in them, because . . .

—  They keep His commandments. Period. And His commandments are not burdensome, because His love has been perfected in them (1John 2:5). Their hearts are completely filled with His love.

— And they do what is pleasing in His sight, for the same reason!

What are His commandments?

— To believe in His Son’s name. That is, to believe that Jesus is all that He says He is, and does what He says He does. With Peter, we say, “You are the Christ, the Holy One of God.” (See Mark 8:29, John 6:69).

— To love one another (with His love, John 15:12)

What about the Ten Commandments?

Jesus said He is the fulfillment of the Law (Matthew 5:17). He means this:

— Through faith in Him, you are saved from God’s wrath. He took it for us, on the cross.

— He then rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and was glorified, returned to the glory He had before anything was made.

— He then poured out His Holy Spirit, the promise of the Father, when believers prayed and asked Him.

— When you are filled with the Holy Spirit,  your heart is cleansed and purified, and you are filled with God’s love. Again, His love is perfected in you. Then you have power over sin because God’s love has filled your heart, and you love with His love.

— Therefore, you do the first four of the Ten Commandments because you love GOD with God’s love, and you do the last six because you love OTHERS with His love.

— His commandments are no longer burdensome, because His love has been perfected in you (1John 2:5, 5:3)

— You do the things that are pleasing in His sight (He sees what you do and rejoices to see it, and you sense His pleasure and are overwhelmed with joy unspeakable/indescribable and full of glory!).

What are the things that are pleasing in His sight?

There is just one thing from which all else flows — to love Him with His love. Then you will:

— Pray without ceasing

— Worship and praise in Spirit and truth

— Proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and testify about Him

— Grow in grace (the divine influence upon the heart, and the reflection in the life) and in the knowledge of our Lord (2Peter 3:18)

What is the result?

— You are continually in His presence

— His presence is continually in you

— Your heart does not condemn you (find fault) and you have confidence (assurance) as you stand before the Lord, that whatever you ask, you receive. Whatever!

How does this happen?

By the Spirit whom He has given us!

How do you know He has given you His Spirit?

— Abba! Father! The Spirit testifies (Romans 8:15-16). That is the first thing. Then . . .

— You cry out to be filled with the Holy Spirit

How do you know you are filled with His Spirit?

— You exhibit the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:23-24).

— You walk as Jesus Christ walked, in this world (1John 2:6).

— You hate sin like He does

— You love those who hate you

And so, whatever you ask, you receive! Whatever!

What do you yourself receive?

— Continuous, holy intimacy with God

— Unity with the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit

— Spiritual gifts, for the common good of the church

— The wisdom and counsel of God, to aid others and ourselves in our walk

with the Lord

— Healing and deliverance for others because we see their needs through His eyes, and for ourselves, when we are in need or are being attacked.

Do you obey His commandments? Do you do what is pleasing in His sight, so He rejoices over you? Then ask, and you will receive! Whatever!

But what if your heart condemns you today?

Do you sin? Do you see that you do not do the things that are pleasing to God? Do you know that you are not as Christ was in this world?

— John says that no one born of God sins (1John 3:6), and he cannot sin (1John 5:9). Literally, “cannot” means it is impossible. That is only possible when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with God’s love and power over sin.

What is sin?

Paul tells you in 1Corinthians 6:9, and Jesus expands upon that list in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, and 7).

Is your situation hopeless?

God forbid! Here is what you must do:

— You must be born from above, by the Holy Spirit, so you can see and enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5), and then,

— Your heart must be cleansed/purified, by being filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:9), so you are set free from slavery to sin (John 8:36) and filled with God’s actual love and power.

Jesus Christ is here today to save you, purify your heart, and fill you with God’s love and power which will set you free from the power of sin, if you will agree with Him that you are not keeping His commandments and doing what is pleasing in His sight!

That is the greatest healing and the greatest deliverance of all!

Then, whatever you ask, you will receive! Whatever!

God will be glorified through your life.

Now, my heart does not condemn me. So I am able pray for you, that you may receive this word, and healing in every way, in your body, and in your walk with the Lord.

I have asked, and so you will receive, if you believe!

Hallelujah!

COMMENTARY ON JOHN 9

The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!

John 9 is about blindness — natural and spiritual. When Jesus walked the earth, natural blindness was even more devastating than it is now. There was no Braille, no white canes, no training on how to get around in a seeing world, no guide dogs, no financial provision. A blind person was led by the hand to a place where he or she would sit and beg for money from passersby.

But spiritual blindness has a far greater consequence. For the Jewish elite, and for everyone who rejects Christ, the consequence is hell. But in John 9, you will learn that Jesus Christ is the Healer of both, if you will believe Him. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see!

Verse 1-2 — Jesus saw a man blind from birth. The disciples asked him who sinned, the man, or his parents. It seems like a strange question. But in Jewish thought, if someone was born blind, he either sinned while still a fetus in the womb, or his parents sinned.
IMPORTANT POINT: The disciples were focused on determining who sinned, so they missed what Jesus saw — a man in need of healing, and an opportunity to glorify God the Father. I wonder how often the church does that today?

Verse 3 — Jesus corrected His disciples. This man’s blindness was not caused by his sin or his parents’ sin. This man was born blind so that the works of God could be displayed in him. He was born blind so that God would be glorified for doing something miraculous. God would get the credit, the honor and the praise for it. In all of history, healing a person born blind had never been done. You will see that God’s works are about to be seen.

IMPORTANT POINT: Is it possible that a birth defect happens so that the person can be healed by God, and God can be glorified? Do you believe Jesus can heal birth defects? That was the case here. Just something to chew on.

Verse 4-5 — Jesus then says we (all believers) must work the works of the Father as long as it is day. Night is coming, and no one will be able to work then. The Light of the world is here, and Jesus says believers are lights of the world (Matthew 5:14). But there will come a time when He and we are no longer here. Then it will be very dark, indeed, dark because the light of God is no longer on the earth.

IMPORTANT POINT: Are you a believer? Are you working the works of the Father — works that cannot be attributed to any natural cause or any medical treatment? If not, ask Him to fill you with His Spirit. You will do His works. He will be glorified by it. Night is coming — you have a limited time to work.

Verses 6-7 — After saying this, He spat on the ground, made clay of His spittle, and put it on the man’s eyes. I believe He used clay because the man had no eyes. They had to be created from the dust, just as when Adam was created by God.

Then He commanded the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam (which is translated “sent”). He sent the man to the pool named Sent, to wash the clay off his face.

So the man obeyed, and came back seeing. Glory to God! Can you see him at the pool, washing, washing, and suddenly, he sees his reflection for the first time ever?

Hallelujah!

IMPORTANT POINT #1:  Jesus Christ can create something from nothing, just as He did when the Father and He created everything you can now see, even to the farthest star and planet. He had to create new nerve connections in my brain in order for me to be healed of progressive MS 15 years ago. Mine had been destroyed, severed, never to be connected again. But with God, all things are possible.

IMPORTANT POINT #2: If someone is born blind, the brain does not have visual images to process. It gets used to not processing images. So when He creates eyes for someone who never had eyes, He has to correct the brain so it will process the images it is suddenly receiving! It is the same when you are filled with His Spirit. Suddenly, you are able to see truths you never saw before, to have visions you never had before, to see those in need — the ones you never saw before. He is an Eye Opener!

IMPORTANT POINT #2: Jesus just told the man to wash. He didn’t promise him healing. But the man obeyed, and came back with eyes that could see! You will be healed, if you will do what the Lord tells you to do (like me, when He told me I was sinking in a sea of doubt, and I reached my hand up to Him, just like Peter on the sea), even if He does not say you will be healed (He didn’t say anything about healing, but He healed me that very night).

Verses 8-9 — People look different after Jesus has touched them. People look different when they had no eyeballs, and suddenly have them. And people look different when they do not need to feel their way along, when they can stand up straight and see where they are going.

He was so changed, the neighbors weren’t sure he was the formerly blind man, even though they had seen him begging every day. Some said it was him, some said he just looked like him. When God’s works are done, there is always doubt on the part of some.

IMPORTANT POINT: When you are blind spiritually and can suddenly see, the change is just as dramatic, and some won’t recognize you anymore. When you can stand up straight because you are now walking in light instead of darkness, some won’t recognize you anymore. Whether He changes you by physically healing you or by opening your spiritual eyes, the change is extremely dramatic!

Verses 10-12 — The neighbors wanted to know how he was healed. He said that Jesus made clay, anointed his eyes, and told him to go and wash at the pool. So he did it, and he received sight. Simple! Then they wanted to know where Jesus went. The man didn’t know, because Jesus was not there when he returned from the pool seeing. He did not even know what Jesus looked like!

Verses 13-14 — This is the beginning of what I like to call, “The Pharisees Investigate the Healing.” The neighbors brought the man who was formerly blind to the spiritually blind Pharisees, the religious elite! Why did they bring him before them? Because the Law had been violated. He was healed on a Sabbath! Nothing is to be done, no work at all on the Sabbath, in their interpretation of God’s Law.

IMPORTANT POINT:  Not only did they never speak Jesus’ name, but the Jewish elite never rejoiced that the man was healed and could see for the first time in his life, and was now able to enter the Temple to worship! Because of his blindness, he was banned from the Temple, considered unclean. But Jesus cleaned him up, in every way! Keep on reading!

Verses 15-16 — How did you receive your sight, the Jewish elite asked. So he told them. He applied clay, he washed, and now he sees. But this man (they refused to mention his name, Jesus) could not be from God, because He did work on the Sabbath! But some of the religious elite asked how a sinner (one who broke the Sabbath law) could perform such signs (miracles that attest that He is from God, because He is doing what only God can do). Jesus caused division among the man’s neighbors, and among the men investigating the healing.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus will challenge everything you think you know.

Verse 17 — So what do you say about Him, they said, since He opened your eyes? He is a prophet, says the man formerly blind. But in the Old Testament, prophets healed, but no one ever healed anyone born blind. The man born blind will see the truth shortly.

Verses 18-23 — The Jewish elite refused to believe the man’s testimony. So they called his parents. Is this your son? Was he born blind? How now does he see? They testified that he was their son, and was born blind. But they claimed to have no idea how he was healed. Ask our son, they said.

The parents didn’t want to say how he was healed because if they did, it would be the same as confessing that Jesus was the Christ. And if anyone did that, the Jewish elite had ruled that they would be put out of the synagogue. It was much more than being asked to leave a church. It meant that they would be shunned, have no assistance, and would be made beggars, unable to buy and sell in Jerusalem. That’s why they would not answer, but told them to ask their son.

IMPORTANT POINT: Confessing Jesus as the Christ can put you in jail these days, in many countries. It can get you tortured. It can get you killed. And even here in the U.S., hatred toward believers in Christ is on the rise. Why do they hate Jesus? Because He and His followers tell the world about their evil.

Verses 24-28 — Again they called for the man formerly blind. They issued a powerful order, in their religious culture. “Give glory to God,” meaning you have lied, now tell the truth. We know this man is a sinner.

The man replied that he didn’t know if Jesus was a sinner, but he know one thing, that he was blind and now he could see. That’s my testimony, too! I was spiritually blind, but now I see. But I know Jesus never sinned, even though He was tempted in all things, as we are (Hebrews 4:15).

They asked him how his eyes were opened. What did He (Jesus) do? So the man said he told them already but they did not listen. So why did they want to hear his testimony again? Did they want to become His disciples, too?

Verses 28-29 — The Jewish elite then reviled the man (criticized him verbally, in an abusive and insulting manner). You are His disciple, they told him, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man (Jesus), we do not know where He is from (despite Jesus telling them many times).

Verses 30-33 — Now the man boldly spoke truth to the Jewish elite. It was amazing that the Jewish elite didn’t know where Jesus was from, and yet He opened the eyes of a man born blind. God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing (worships and honors and reveres God) and does His will, God hears him. So God heard Jesus, Jesus heard God, and Jesus is God-fearing and does His will.

Besides that, since the beginning of time, no one has been healed who was born blind. If this man (Jesus) were not from God, He couldn’t do that. He couldn’t do anything! (Jesus is from God, but you are blind and do not see it!)

IMPORTANT: God does not hear sinners, except when they repent and ask forgiveness. If anyone is God-fearing and does God’s will, God will hear him always. You can’t become those things; but you can ask Him to change your heart, when you ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Then you will revere and honor and worship God, and cry, “I have come to do Your will, O Lord!”

Verse 34 — The Jewish elite cursed the man, calling him a sinner, born entirely in sins. (You were born blind because you sinned or your parents sinned.) Who do you think you are, teaching us? And they put him out — excommunicated him, shunned him.

Verses 35-38 — Jesus heard what the Jewish elite did to the man, and found him. He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (Son of Man is a Messianic title, meaning the Christ.) The man said, “Who is He, Lord, so I amy believe in Him?” Jesus told him that he had seen Him, and He is the one talking with him. (“I am the Christ.”)

The man’s response? Lord, I believe. And he worshiped Jesus.

IMPORTANT POINT: Your response to an encounter with Jesus is this: Lord, I believe. And you worship Him. Or you reject Him, and revile those who believe in Him.

Verses 39-41— The Pharisees then heard Jesus say that He came into the world for judgement.

What is the judgment? Those who do not presently see will see Him and believe and worship Him. And those who claim they see will be blind, and will reject Him. Jesus is the catalyst, but it is their reaction to Him that judges them.

So the Pharisees said, Are you saying we’re blind? And Jesus said, if you were spiritually blind and did not claim you could spiritually see, you would have no sin. But because you say you spiritually see, your sin remains.You claim to see, yet you do not see Me, God the Son, your Messiah, your Christ!

IMPORTANT POINT:  Much of the spiritually blind world judges Jesus, and therefore brings upon itself the judgment of God.

IN HIS SHADOW

[SW229] 04/15//2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“In His Shadow”

These are difficult (fierce) times , just as Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:1. Are you afraid? Jesus Christ has the cure!

Fierce times! The same word was used of the demoniac who lived in the tombs in the Geresenes. Demonic times, more intense than any time in history.

NOTE: The Lord instructed me to preach without notes, so these are more brief than usual.

Text: Psalm 91

But He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High . . . receives His protection, deliverance, provision, and His peace in every circumstance.

The Hebrew word for “dwells” is used of marriage, it means settling down. You have settled down with Him, and so you are hidden from the Enemy of your soul.

“Sheltered” means to be secretly covered. In the Old Testament (OT) it is to be sheltered by Him, but since Jesus came and died and rose again, it is to be hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3), and that is far better!

Shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty . . . you stay permanently in intimate contact with God. To be in someone’s shadow means you have to get close to them.

Closeness — but Jesus promises far more. Christ in you, the hope of glory. Christ’s glory in you, His Spirit in you, Him in you, the Father in you (John 14:23)! Not just close to Him, but Him in you!

I submit to you that the Lord wants to check your heart today, beloved. If He has your heart, you will have His promises. But if you sin against Him (willfully disobey), you cannot claim this scripture over your life.

I submit that if,you  feel distant from Him, you have sin in your life. For some it is be porn on the Internet, for some it is homosexuality, for some it is addiction, for some it is adultery, for some it is thievery.

You feel like you are in a desert, and that you barely make it from Sunday to Sunday, when you feel His presence as you worship with other believers, when you drink of the living water coming from their bellies.

You are afraid to confess it to Him because you think He will reject you. But He already knows what is in your heart. He, the Lord, searches your heart and examines what you think (Jeremiah 17:10).

Even though He knows what is in your heart, He reaches out to you today and says, “If you will just agree that it’s there, and turn from it, I will change your heart. I will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

The Lord wants to free you today — He wants to set you free from whatever enslaves you. Then you will stand unafraid, a witness of what God can do in a human heart. Others will ask you the reason for your hope (1Peter 3:15), and you will gently tell them what the Lord has done in you.

If you ask Him, He will purify your heart, give you power over sin, and set you free from slavery to it!

To receive the promises of Psalm 91, Verse 9 says you must be one who has made the Lord your dwelling place, just as Jeff and I have done. You have settled down with Him.

Those who set their love on the Lord (Verse 14) receive His deliverance. In the OT, It is a deliberate act of focusing on the Lord, loving Him alone, crowning Him with your love!

I submit that many Christians have other loves. Turn from them, set your love on the Lord. Jesus Christ commands you to ask Him to fill you with HIS love, and He will do it. And then He will deliver you from the Enemy.

You may say, “What about all the Christians that have been martyred? They were not delivered from evil.” But they are more than conquerors, even over death. For them, death has no victory, death has no sting (Romans 8:38, 1Corinthians 15:55)! And the persecution they endure makes believers’ faith stronger because they must depend upon the Lord entirely.

Beloved, you can’t claim His promises but not keep your promises to Him. And in your own strength, you can’t do it. But if you call on Him today, He will do it in you, and you will receive His protection, deliverance, provision and peace, even in these fierce times.