PREPARE THE WAY FOR HIS COMING

[SW356] 12/08/2018 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

“Prepare the Way for His Coming”

Text: Isaiah 40:1-5, etc.

Jesus Christ has a word for you who believe in Him — “Prepare the way, and I will come into you.” If He must say, “Prepare the way,” then you have not yet prepared it. So, I will speak of how to prepare the way, the outcome in you, and God’s purpose in it.

How to Prepare the Way

What is the first step for the preparation He requires? The Lord showed Isaiah —

Verse 1 —

Comfort (repent, comfort), O comfort (repent, comfort) My people, says your God. Ah! The LORD speaks this to His people, including you! 

He intends us to use both meanings for “comfort.” The first step is to repent for your sin, your rebellion against Him, Then He will indeed give you comfort! He will give you the Comforter, the Holy Spirit —

John 14:16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter), that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”

Verse 2 —

The LORD tells Isaiah, speak kindly to (speak to the heart of) Jerusalem. Speak to the heart of even you! I have disciplined and punished and exiled you. Now, I speak once again to your heart, O believer, so you turn away from your sin and turn back to Me! Heed My words!

And call out to her (even you)! Tell her that her warfare (hardship) has ended, that her iniquity (moral perversity) has been pardoned. Tell her that she has received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. 

Just as it was with me, before I repented and turned to Him, the LORD has disciplined you for your rebellion. He has allowed hardship and ruin to overwhelm you. But now, listen! He offers peace to you!

Verse 3 —

But what must you do, in order to have peace with Him? It is a heart work, beloved, because it is from hardened hearts that rebellion comes! 

Isaiah repeats the first step — repent! A voice is calling, the LORD’s voice, through Isaiah! A voice has since called, the LORD’s voice, through John the Baptist. John also called God’s people to repent, with the same words the LORD gave Isaiah, saying —

Matthew 3:2  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3  For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’”

Repent! Turn back to the LORD! Confess your rebellion to Him! 

Why? The kingdom of heaven is at hand. A day of judgment is coming. Humble yourself and make Jesus Christ your King! 

Ruling yourself has led you into hardship and ruin! Make Him your King, once and for all, and you will not fear in the day of judgment. When He fills you with His Spirit, He will purify your heart and fill it with His holiness and His love (see 1John 4:17-18)! He will be your King!

Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness. Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God – yours and mine. Because of your rebellion, your heart has been like a wilderness, like a desert. I know, because my heart used to be that way.

Prepare the way in your heart! Make a straight way, with no crookedness in it. Make a highway in your heart, and you will be prepared for His coming!

Verse 4 — 

But how do you make a way, a straight way, a highway in your heart, after you have repented? How can you straighten its crookedness, so it will be ready for the Lord to come in?

Every valley shall be lifted up. A valley is low. To make yourself a valley, you must humble yourself, and your heart must become contrite, crouched down —

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Such a heart He will not despise (Psalm 51:17)! Such a heart He will lift up, such a heart He will exalt, by coming in and fully dwelling in it!

After you have repented, you must further humble yourself before the Lord! Confess your rebellion before Him. Confess that you have no power to change your heart. 

He loves a heart that is desperate to be changed, one that sees its brokenness! I know, because I was desperate to know Him intimately, so desperate that for two months, I cried out to Him, stretched out, face-down, on the living room floor.

But what will happen, then, to every mountain and hill, to those who do not have broken and contrite spirits? They are proud and lofty, and think they know better than God. They refuse to repent. They refuse to listen. They believe God has treated them unfairly by exiling them from His presence. They complain against Him for their hard labor.

All mountains and hills will be made low, they will be bowed down and humiliated because they have refused to bow their hearts to Him. He will not come in to such a heart!

And what of the rugged terrain, the rough ground in your heart, which is like the terrain of a mountain and its foothills? That rough ground must be made a plain — a wide, level valley. 

When you humble yourself before the Lord, you become like a valley, a smooth place, a straight highway. Do not be deceived, beloved. He will not come into a heart that has not been softened and smoothed and straightened by repentance. 

The Outcome, in You

Verse 5 — 
When you repent, when you humble yourself, when you crouch down before Him, oh my! Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together. 

His glory will seen by all, in the end time. But even now, His glory will be seen in you, for He will put His glory in those who crouch down and humble themselves. He will put His glory into all who ask Him to fill them with His Spirit! Then, everyone will see His glory shining out from inside of such ones!

Is it really possible for His presence to fill you? The mouth of the LORD has spoken it. If He has spoken, He will do it, if you prepare the way!

God’s Purpose In It

The purpose for preparing the way is that you be filled with His Holy Spirit, thereby becoming a partaker of the divine nature. Every believer who prepares the way will be filled with His divine nature, and their sin nature, the source of their rebellion, will be crucified (Galatians 5:24)! 

The purpose for preparing the way is that the world will know that the Father sent His Son. When you are filled with His divine nature, they will know the gospel is true, for you will bear His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23)!

Jesus Christ prayed to His Father, the night before He was crucified, speaking of the glory of His presence, His Holy Spirit, in all who would prepare the way for their own personal Pentecost   

John 17:20-21 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” 

And what is the Source of this unity that will make the world believe that the Father sent His Son?

John 17:22The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”

The Source is the glory, the Holy Spirit, Who fills you when you have your own personal Pentecost. Then you have the same unity as the Father and the Son, unity of nature.

The purpose of preparing the way is, “I in them and You in me.” He and His Father will come into you and permanently, fully dwell in you (John 14:23)! 

John 17:26 “And I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” 

The purpose for preparing the way is so that you are filled with, “The love with which You loved Me.” The purpose is that you be filled with the divine love of the Father, the same love He has for His Son (Romans 5:5)! The purpose is “And I in them,” Christ in you, fully possessing you! 

The purpose for preparing the way is that the world will see the glory, the light, the love, the entire nature of God, shining from you. Then and only then will you be Jesus Christ’s witnesses, wherever you go, even to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8)!

O believer, He is calling you to prepare the way. He calls you because you have not yet prepared the way for Him.

Repent and humble yourself before Him. Turn away from your sin and back to Him. Confess to Him your crookedness and rebellion, confess to Him the rough places and mountains that are in your heart. Then the Lord will come into you and fill you! His glory will be revealed in you!

When His glory comes in, it will be just as the LORD spoke through Isaiah, in Isaiah 60:1-3 —

1Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen (is radiating from) you. 

2 For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you (radiate from you) and His glory will appear upon (be seen from) you. 

3 Nations (all peoples) will come to your light (luminescence) , and kings to the brightness (brilliant shining) of your rising (light like the rising of the sun).

Prepare the way in the wilderness of your heart! Make a smooth highway for our God — yours and mine, O believer! 

Repent while it is still today, beloved, for He is coming yet again on the day of judgment. Who will be judged first? All who believe into Jesus —

1Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Beloved, if He did not love you, He would not discipline you. If He says, “Prepare the way,” then you have not yet prepared the way. This is the day to prepare it by humbling yourself and repenting! Prepare the way in your heart, and He surely will come in! Amen!

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2Corinthians 10 — To a Church in Crisis, With Love

Text: 2Corinthians 10

With love, even God’s own divine love in our hearts, Paul and I speak to you from 2Corinthians 10 today. We want you to join us in being the Amen to God’s promises of reconciliation, of salvation, and of the infilling of the Holy Spirit! Yes! Truth! He has done it in me! You will say the same thing, when you are filled!

If I were to give this a title, it would be, “Commended By the Lord.” Paul receives Jesus Christ’s commendation (approval), per Verse 18 of this chapter. But who is the one who approves of the false teachers who are leading many believers in Corinth, and many in today’s church, astray?

Verses 1-2 —

Paul urges (beseeches, implores, exhorts) all of the believers at Corinth — be they his detractors, or the false teachers who have infiltrated the church at Corinth, or those who listen to such teachers! He urges them that when he is present with them on his third visit, he will not need to be as bold (courageous) as he has been in his painful letter. 

He beseeches them by the meekness (humility) and gentleness (clemency, mercy) of Christ. Because Paul is filled with the Holy Spirit and the divine nature, he is humble as Christ is humble, and has been humble while among them. 

Yet Paul was very bold (courageous) while absent from them. He held back nothing, even the hardest words of rebuke, in the painful letter sent to them. It was for their own good, to bring them back to Christ!

But Paul will propose against (take an inventory against) some who regard Timothy and Paul as if they walked according to the flesh, that is, according to the sin nature which still afflicts and affects the believers at Corinth.

Verses 3-4 —

For though Paul and Timothy walk in the flesh (in natural bodies), they do not do according to the flesh (the sin nature). Their sin nature is crucified (Galatians 5:24)! Paul and Timothy cannot conduct spiritual warfare against the false teachers and detractors, if their sin natures are alive and well. 

But Paul’s and Timothy’s hearts are pure, they are partakers of the divine nature, they are are filled with the Spirit. So, they have power to do such warfare. At stake is the very salvation of the believers at Corinth!

The weapons of their spiritual warfare are not of the flesh (natural weapons), but are God-powered, able to destroy (pull down) fortresses — spiritual strongholds, like the teaching of the false prophets, and the belief of some at Corinth who have decided Paul is not sent by the Lord. I have seen many such strongholds in many churches today, beloved!

Verses 5-6 —

Paul and Timothy are destroying (pulling down) speculations (imaginations) and every lofty thing (barrier) raised up against the knowledge (holy, intimate knowing) of God, and they will take captive (lead away to captivity) every thought that results from false teaching or the sin nature. By their spiritual warfare, Paul and Timothy will bring the believers at Corinth back to the obedience of Christ.

And Paul and Timothy are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever the obedience of the believers at Corinth is complete (perfect, that is, when they are filled with the Spirit). Paul and Timothy will punish (retaliate against) the false teachers among them and from outside, who have led the Corinthian church astray. Paul’s first concern is to bring the Corinthians to the fullness of Christ so they are no longer misled. Then, he will deal with those who misled them.

Verse 7 —

The believers at Corinth are looking at what is before their faces — they are seeing only in the natural. Many infants in Christ there are saying they belong to Christ, but they do not know whether Paul belongs to Christ. 

But Paul asserts that they should reassess themselves to see if they are in Christ. If they find they are in Christ (in this case, “in Christ” a reference to being filled with the Spirit), then they surely will recognize that Paul and Timothy are also in Christ. If they are not in Christ in this way, they have no spiritual discernment.

So, by their questions regarding Paul and Timothy, they reveal that they are not Christ’s! They have gone away from the Lord, led by false teachers, both within the church and outside the church! Many of today’s believers should also examine themselves, for they seem unable to determine who is Christ’s and who is not Christ’s!

Verse 8 —

Paul boasts further about the authority Christ has given them for building them up to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). The false teachers, and some among the believers at Corinth, claim authority, but their assertions of “Thus says the Lord” will lead to the destruction (perishing) of the believers at Corinth who take their bait. Paul will not share the shame that these false ones deserve!

Verses 9-10 —

For in his painful letter, Paul does not mean to terrify (frighten) the Corinthians. but to bring them to repentance. Many in Corinth say that his letters are weighty (burdensome, grave) and strong (mighty, powerful), but his bodily presence is weak and unimpressive. 

Many of the believers at Corinth compare him with those who speak contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The false ones seem impressive to many of the infants at Corinth! 

It is the same today! Who are you listening to, beloved?

Verses 11-12 — 

Paul addresses those who say the false ones are impressive and powerful, but Paul is weak and unimpressive. He says, Let such a person consider this, that when we are in word by letters when absent — that is burdensome, grave, mighty and powerful — we will also be in deed, when we are there in person. 

Paul is humble, knowing that it is the Lord who is working through him. But the false ones boast in themselves.

Paul and Timothy do not commend (approve) themselves (again, see Verse 18). Why? Those who approve themselves measure themselves against themselves. 

The false teachers do not use the plumb line of the Word of God (Amos 7:8), nor do they use the standard of measure God uses for those who are filled with the Spirit. Those who put their own seal of approval upon themselves are not approved by God, and are not partakers of His divine nature. 

So, they are entirely and completely without (the extreme negative), they possess absolutely no understanding whatsoever! None! They have no comprehension of the Lord and His wisdom, nor did they ever comprehend Him! 

Verses 13-14 —

Paul and Timothy will not boast beyond what they have accomplished in the sphere (area, boundary) which God apportioned to them as a measure — as their portion of the fields white for harvest — even as far as Corinth.

For they are not overextending themselves — that is, they are not stretching beyond the area God has apportioned for them to work in. But the false teachers are! 

The false teachers have infiltrated Corinth, and some have even risen up from among them. Their false words have caused the believers to fall into error! Paul and Timothy have obediently reached Corinth with the gospel, just according to the Lord’s direction. 

Paul reminds the Corinthians that Paul and Timothy were the first to come to them with the gospel of Christ. Now, though, others come in with a different Jesus (2Corinthians 11:4), and lead them astray. Oh, beloved, it is the same today. Many wolves have come among the church, from inside and from outside the church (Acts 20:29-30)!

Verse 15 —

Paul and Timothy have not boasted (praising themselves) beyond what was given to them as their portion of the harvest fields. They have not worked as foreigners and strangers who interfere with other mens’ labors, as the false teachers are doing. 

Instead, they have gone where the Lord has given them to go, with the hope that as the faith of the Corinthians grows, Paul and Timothy will be — within the sphere the Lord has allotted to them — enlarged (magnified) even more by the believers at Corinth, rather than questioned, doubted, and dismissed by them because of the influence of the false teachers upon them.

Verses 16-18 —

Paul and Timothy are compelled by the very love of God, in all that they do. They are compelled to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond Corinth, where no one has heard the gospel. They do not boast and commend themselves in what others have done in regions that have already heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. But the false teachers have done such things.

But to boast in oneself and to commend oneself reveals the heart of the boaster. He who boasts is to boast in the Lord, and Him alone, Paul says. He quotes from this scripture —

Jeremiah 9:23   Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.

And Paul writes this to the church at Galatia (France) —

Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

It is only by His salvation, it is only because of His physical healing of my body from MS, an incurable disease, it is only by His Holy Spirit, that I can do any work at all in the fields. It is only because He has equipped me that I am able to go out! 

For the one who approves himself is not approved. But the one whom the Lord approves is approved, indeed! Who are you listening to? Examine your hearts, beloved. If you are in Christ, you will see that we, also are in Christ. Amen. 

THE COMING ONE

[SW355] 12/01/2018 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

“The Coming One”

Text: Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:1-7, etc.

The Coming One, Jesus Christ, God With Us, came to the world He created, to save all who would believe into Him! The Coming One, Jesus Christ, becomes God Within Us when He fills us with His Holy Spirit! And the Coming One will come again, to judge the earth!

Why did the Coming One have to come? It would have been easier if He had stayed at God the Father’s right hand, and saved and reconciled us. But He had to come, He had to be With Us, He had to bear our sin on Himself, on a cross, He was the only perfect sacrifice to pay for our sin. Are you able to grab the magnitude of the price He paid? Isaiah saw it, 700 years before Jesus Christ died on a cross —

Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being (peace with God) fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.

The Coming One came to us as a child, born of a virgin. From the beginning, God broke all the barriers and boundaries and rules of science erected by mankind. He always will! Do not limit Him as I did for 42 years!

Isaiah 7:14

Isaiah prophesied of the Coming One to King Ahaz, the idolatrous king of Judah.  There were many idols that His people worshiped then, just as there are today, for even the church has her idols.

Isaiah saw a vision. This Coming One would be born to a woman who had never been with a man. It happened in a manger, the humblest beginning imaginable for God the Son! The Spirit-inspired Matthew wrote —

Matthew 1:18   Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 1:22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

Isaiah saw that this Immanuel (God With Us) would be a “with us” God. He saw that God was going to come down, to reach His people, and all mankind!

In all other religions, people strive to find their god, or even strive to become gods/ But the one true God, who is God the Father, reaches down from heaven to connect us with Himself, if we will receive God the Son, Jesus Christ, the Immanuel born of a virgin. Those who receive Him are born from above and become children of God (John 1:12). What a miracle! 

But there is more! Jesus Christ promises that when you obey His command to be filled with His Spirit, He will be within you, not just with you — not just outside of you, as when He first reached down to you. He will dwell within you, with His Father, and with His Spirit (John 14:23)! He told His disciples that this “dwelling within” would be better than having them physically with them —

John 16:7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”

God within us! Immanuel! The Coming One, coming into you to dwell forever! It is miraculous and glorious! And it is His command, beloved (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5).

And to all those who are in the darkness that comes from separation from their Creator, this Immanuel would be a great Light! Hallelujah! I have seen His light, and I proclaim the excellencies of Him who brought me out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1Peter 2:9)!

Isaiah 9:1-7

Verse 1 —

God’s people who were and are in anguish, disciplined and punished by God for their sin, will have no more gloom (distress, darkness), when the Coming One appears. Their darkness was not natural darkness, but the inward darkness that comes with separation from God. It is the same today. 

Why did He punish them for their sin? His purpose and His heart is to restore His people, if they return to Him. 

If His people repent, they will be made glorious! They will be honored. The Coming One would be born in the place despised by Jews — a place where Gentiles (non-Jews) live amongst Jews! And His glory will be in believers, when they are filled with Hs Spirit! Made glorious, indeed!

The Coming One was born in David’s birthplace, Bethlehem, but returned to Nazareth in Galilee with His Jewish parents, after the census. Thus, Galilee of the Gentiles was honored, for it was the first place where people saw that God With Us had come. Thus, Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled.

Verse 2 —

The Coming One would be a great (never-before-seen) Light. God’s people who walked (lived) in darkness, and the Gentiles who lived in darkness, would see His Light. He would shine upon all who lived in darkness, separated from God’s presence. The Spirit-inspired John writes —

John 1:5, 9 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overcome) it. 9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens (shines upon) every man. 

Verse 3 —

The light of the Coming One would result in the multiplication (enlargement) of the nation. The nation is His nation, people who believe in God. 

The nations would increase because even non-Jews would come to His light. The gladness of all who believed in the Coming One, God With Us, gladness would be great, for they would rejoice, knowing that by His death and resurrection, they were saved and reconciled to God! 

And their joy would be made full, even joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Peter 1:8), after He died for their sin, rose on the third day, ascended to heaven, and poured out the Holy Spirit so He would be God Within Us 

John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

Surely, all who are filled are glad (rejoice) in His presence, because His presence is within them! His joy — divine joy, not human joy — has filled them! 

Isaiah sees that this gladness is like the rejoicing that happens at harvest time. But the harvest of the Spirit-filled is spiritual, for they work in His fields, and by His work through them, they gather souls to Him! It is gladness, indeed! 

Lift up your eyes, beloved! The fields are white for harvest (John 4:35)! Are you working in them?

Verses 4-5 —

The gloom of those living in darkness would be overcome by His light, and the nation would be enlarged. There would be more and more who believe in the one true God and His Son, Jesus Christ! But that is not all! 

In the natural, the yoke of Babylon would be broken off His people. They would return to the land after 70 years in exile in Babylon. But when the Coming One, God Within Us, comes into believers, the yoke of the burden Satan placed on them is broken. And Satan’s staff, which he used to beat them, is broken. All of Satan’s weapons of warfare are burned in the fire. 

Jesus Christ, God Within Us, was, is, and always will be the Yoke Breaker —

John 8:31-32, 34, 36  So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Verse 6 — 

Isaiah sees a child born to us, just as he prophesied in Isaiah 7:14. This child is the supernaturally born Coming One, the never-before-seen Light in the darkness, the One who breaks the yoke of Satan and will break off the sin of all who believe into Him and ask Him to fill them with HIs Spirit!

And He will rule — that is the meaning of “the government will be on His shoulders.” Think of the epaulets that are worn by the military, indicating their authority. The Coming One, God Within Us, has authority over all things (see Colossians 1:16-18)! And He has full authority and rules and reigns in all believers who are filled with His Spirit! 

Verse 6 —

What would this Coming One, this God With Us and then God Within Us, be called? What would be His character, His reputation? Oh, beloved, when He saves you and reconciles you to God you will know it. And when He fills you with His Holy Spirit, when His Light is in you so that He shines forth from you, then you will know by experience that He is —

Wonderful — The Miracle-Worker, for you know a change has begun in your heart when you are saved! And you will know without a doubt that the Coming One has worked a miracle in you, by dwelling in you fully, God within you! 

Counselor — When you are saved, you hear, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or the left (Isaiah 30:21). But when you are filled with His Spirit, the Father and the Son come to fully dwell within you. Then You no longer turn to the right or the left, but walk as Jesus walked (1John 2:6)!

Mighty God — When you believe, you will begin to know that the Coming One is your Excellent Warrior, your Champion, your Valiant One. He will defend you and will command you to be filled with His Spirit. And when you obey that command, He gives you victory over Satan, over the powers and principalities of this world, over the present darkness which we all observe today, over all who persecute you. You become a super-conqueror (Romans 8:37), for this Mighty God is within You!

Eternal father — When you are saved, you know that God With You, has given you eternal life. You sense that He is with you. You are His child, so to speak, because it was through faith in Him that you were born from above (John 1:13 , 3:3). 

Then, when you obey His command to be filled with His Spirit, there is no more no doubt in your heart that your Jesus Christ and your Father fully dwell in you! His Spirit fills you with His perfect love (Romans 5:5), so you no longer willfully disobey Him (1John 4:17). He is in you, flowing from you to others (John 7:37-39)!

Prince of Peace — When you are saved, you are reconciled to God. In that way, you are at peace with God. But you find, just as I did when I was saved, that you are still wrestling with sin. You do not want to sin, but you find that you still sin. So you have no peace. Then you see that Jesus Christ our Lord will rescue you from your wretchedness (Romans 7:21, 24)! 

When you obey His command to be filled with His Spirit, He does just as He promised! “My peace I will give to you,” He says (John 14:27). The peace He gives is not like the world’s peace — a fleeting, temporary peace. When the Prince of Peace fills you, your sin nature is crucified (Galatians 5:24)! 

You no longer willfully disobey Him (1John 2:5-7). Your wrestling days are over! You are filled with His peace, His divine peace, the peace that is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)!

Verse 7 — 

There will be no end of His government and of His peace in you, when you have been filled with His Spirit. The sin nature that ruled you will be crucified, and His nature will be in you because He is now God Within You!

His throne will be established within You. He will uphold it with justice and righteousness (Isaiah 11:4-5), from the moment He fills you, and forever! 

How will this be accomplished? By the zeal (intense fervor, passion and emotion) of the LORD of hosts, of God the Father and God the Son —

Isaiah 37:32 “For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

 

Has the Coming One come to you? Is God With You? If so, praise God, because you have begun to hear and see!

But have you been freed from slavery to sin, or do you still struggle? Do you have His divine peace? Is the Holy Spirit teaching you all things? Have you been set free by His truth, freed from the power of sin? 

If not, then you must obey His command to be filled with His Spirit, so you are able to say He is God within you! Indeed, you will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, as He and you go to work in His fields!

O Coming One who has come, may many hear Your words, and heed them. May they come to You to be saved, so you become God With Them, and then be filled with Your Spirit so You are God Within Them. So be it. Amen.

2Corinthians 9 — To a Church in Crisis, With Love

Text: 2Corinthians 9

With love, even God’s own divine love in our hearts, Paul and I speak to you from 2Corinthians 9 today. We want you to join us in being the Amen to God’s promises of reconciliation, of salvation, and of the infilling of the Holy Spirit! Yes! Truth! He has done it in me! You will say the same thing, when you are filled!

If I were to give this a title, it would be, “His Indescribable Gift.” What is His indescribable gift which cannot adequately be described in words? Life in the Son, eternal life, and then, the Father and the Son and the Spirit fully indwelling you, so your sin nature dies and you are freed from slavery to sin! 

Words fail me! All I can do is shout, “Hallelujah!”

Verses 1-2 —

Paul says it is superfluous (excessive, abundant beyond need) for him to write to the church at Corinth about the ministry of giving to the saints — the collection he has spoken of throughout Chapter 8. 

Why? He tells them he knows their readiness (willingness of mind). But they have not given and have not been willing! The intent of Paul’s words is to shame them into giving. He has confidence that they will obey, he tells them! So, if they don’t give as they ought, they will embarrass Paul AND they themselves will be embarrassed when they face Paul, and when they face all of the churches who freely and abundantly give.

He boasts about them to the Macedonians, saying that Achaia, the region where Corinth is located, has been prepared (was ready to give) since last year, and that their zeal (desire to give as the Macedonians do) has stirred up most of the Macedonians to expect Corinth to comply. Paul has told everyone that the believers at Corinth have an abundance of funds. The question is, will their greed override their desire not to be embarrassed and shamed before others?

If they do not send their collection, the Macedonians will know that they did not do as Paul requested, though they have had and have held the funds to do it for a year. Thus, the believers at Corinth will be embarrassed by their lack of giving. Paul is “painting them into a corner,” so they will have no choice but to give.

Verse 3 —

To ensure that the believers at Corinth do their part in giving, he again says that he is sending the brethren (Titus, Apollos, and one other) in order that Paul’s boasting in them would not be made empty (of no effect) in this case. So the brethren are being sent to help the Corinthians prepare their collection. 

Verse 4 —

Again, Paul paints them into a corner. If the Corinthians are not ready with their gift when Paul and some of the Macedonians come, they will be shamed. Paul says, we — not to speak of you — will be put to shame (disgraced, dishonored) by my boasting which has been made void and of no effect.

Verse 5 —

So, to ensure that no one is shamed, Paul thought it necessary to call for and exhort the brethren (again, Titus and the rest) to go on ahead to Corinth to arrange beforehand the Corinthians’ previously promised (more pressure, since they said they would give) bountiful (commendable) gift, so that the same (that is, the believers at Corinth) would be ready for even themselves to be considered a commendable gift by the other churches, instead of being considered covetous (greedy). 

Paul has been with the believers at Corinth. He has seen their actions, and has written and visited them, even with a painful visit. He knows their hearts! They are not yet filled with the Holy Spirit, but are infants in Christ. Their sin nature is alive and well, and fuels their greed. Satan rubs his hands together with glee, when greediness is on display in the church! It grieves me to say that in today’s church,  entire ministries are fueled by the greed of both the preachers and their followers! 

Verse 6 —

Now we come to verses that are terribly misinterpreted by the greed-masters who say, Give bountifully to me and God will give you back a hundredfold! Shame on them! As the commentator for The Expositors Bible Commentary says that the  enrichment spoken of here is metaphorical and does not, in any way, pertain to personal gain and self-interest.

Why? In a Spirit-filled believer, self-interest and greed no longer exist. It is a gift to give, a delight and a blessing. It is never done out of greed!

That said, Paul says, he who sows sparingly (is too greedy to give appropriately for the work of the true gospel of Jesus Christ), will reap sparingly. If you are greedy and withhold what you should give, know that God knows your heart and sees your greed. He cannot bless it! 

But you will say, the prosperity preachers are rich! Their riches are not from God, but from those whom they have deceived!

Verse 7 — 

Each one must do just as he has purposed (brought forth) in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful (prompt, willing) giver. Each one is responsible first to decide “in his heart” what he should give —

Acts 11:29 And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. 

Each one should give what the Lord has prompted his heart to give.  Again, the Macedonians gave not just what was required, but far beyond, because they had first given their hearts to the Lord. As I have said, if you are filled with the Spirit, you will give liberally!

Then, the gift must be given cheerfully (promptly and willingly). The one who receives God’s approval (agapeo, His love) is the one who gives willingly and not reluctantly, as if all giving was painful because pressure has been exerted to give. 

If you are reluctant to give and consider it to be painful, God does not love you, for your actions reveal that you are covetous, wanting to keep your money for yourself. The cure for your covetousness is to give your heart to the Lord, crying out for Him to change it by filling you with His Spirit! 

Verses 8-9 —

And God is able to make all grace (spiritual blessing) abound to you! Hallelujah! 

If you passionately seek His kingdom and His righteousness, that is the great grace that He gives (Matthew 6:33). When you give your heart fully to the Lord, you become a giver of grace (blessing others abundantly), for you have been abundantly blessed with the infilling of the Holy Spirit and the establishment of His kingdom in your heart! Beloved, do not miss the spiritual aspect of the riches Paul speaks about.

Paul quotes from Psalm 112:9 —  The righteous scatter abroad (disperse), they give to the poor, and as a result, their righteousness endures forever. Beloved, when you are filled with the Spirit, you are filled with the eternal righteousness of God. You will thank God for His indescribable gift, and you will give toward the work, considering it a gift to give!

Verses 10-11 —

The wording of the NAS Bible misses the quality of a doxology in these verses. Paul is pronouncing a blessing over the believers at Corinth, if they obey and contribute. The King James Version (KJV) captures it best —

Corinthians 9:10 Now (may) He that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; 11 being (so you are) enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 
God is your supply for a harvest of food and for a harvest of righteousness. When you ask Him to fill you with His Spirit, you will find that your greatest need has been met, and that you now bear a harvest — the fruit of the Holy Spirit. You will find that you are filled with His righteousness! And everyone who sees the change in you will give thanks to God! What an enrichment, to be filled with God, and rid forever of the greedy sin nature, never to rear its greedy head again! Surely, it will cause Paul and all of us and YOU thanksgiving to God!

Verse 12 —

Again I will use the King James — For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want (lack) of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God. 

As I have said, many churches, including the church at Jerusalem, are poor because they are shunned. But by the gathering of this collection, their lack is met, which results in abundant thanksgiving to God!

Verse 13 — 

For clarity, I will use the 1984 New International Version (NIV) Bible for this verse. Paul speaks as if the abundant gift has already been given by the believers at Corinth — 

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves (by being trustworthy in fulfilling your promise, O church at Corinth), men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 

If  you love Jesus, you will obey Him. If you do not love Him, you will not obey Him (John 14:23-24). You may confess that He is Lord, but if you disobey Him, your confession is empty.

But if you love Jesus, you will first obey His command to be filled with the Spirit, and then you will no longer be greedy, but generous, sharing copiously, without any self-seeking motives. You will gladly share both spiritual and natural riches with the rest of the true church, so the true gospel may continue to be spread across the earth.

Verses 14-15 —

Again, I will use the 1984 NIV — And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you (their hearts will long for you), because of the surpassing (exceeding) grace God has given you. 

Exceeding grace! It is God who will give the believers at Corinth the heart to give, by cleansing their hearts of the greedy sin nature, and filling them with His Spirit and His love and His nature and His righteousness!

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! What gift? The grace given to Corinth to do what is right? No. They were shamed into it.

The indescribable gift of God is His Son, Jesus Christ, from whom we have received salvation, reconciliation! What a gift! And if we obey Jesus’ command to stay and wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the other gift is given — entire sanctification, the infilling of the Holy Spirit! I cannot express the richness of this gift! I am full of thanksgiving to God!

It was a great blessing to note, from The Expositors Bible Commentary, that Paul’s exhortations were effective. He made the promised third visit to Corinth, and while there, he wrote the letter to the Romans, which contains this passage —

Romans 15:26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.

So, beloved, give your heart to the Lord, and you will give in every way. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It is not only heaven one day, but heaven in the soul, here and now! It is indescribable!

Lord, I pray Your church give their hearts to You! Amen. So be it!

THE OUTCOME OF SEEKING HIM

[SW354] 11/24/2018 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

“The Outcome of Seeking Him”

Text: 1John, Ezekiel 36, etc.

Two weeks ago, I showed you that to seek Jesus Christ, you must sit at His feet, listening to His word. That is the entrance point, the required position for seeking Him. Last week, I showed you that the purpose of seeking Him is so that you enter His sabbath rest, and what it is like to enter His rest. I spoke of what He will do through you, when you enter His rest.

Today, I will deeply explore the outcome of seeking Him, so you may learn what He will work within you, when you seek Him. I will use the prophecy of Ezekiel and some of the Spirit-inspired writings of the Apostle John to help you see it.

The outcome of seeking Him fulfills in you the prophecy the Lord gave Ezekiel—

Ezekiel 36:25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

A heart of flesh, one what gladly responds to His every whisper! His Spirit within you, filling you! It is Jesus Christ’s command —

Acts 1:4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

That is the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy! And it is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s —

Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.2 For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you.

Nations will come to your light (luminousness) , and kings to the brightness (radiance) of your rising (shining).”

Nations will come to your light, for you will be filled with His light! And His light will pierce the darkness of the peoples. He will rise in you, and His glory will appear in you!

Now, to 1John, to further explore the outcome of seeking Him!

Verses 1:3-4 — 

This heart change brings you into fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. John writes to the church, exhorting them to seek this fellowship, so his joy and theirs will be full! 

I tell you the truth, there is nothing on earth that can compare with dining with the Lord, and He with you! It is the greatest possible degree of holy intimacy! You are His dinner companion, sharing in a conversation between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. It is a great privilege, but remember, it is one that requires you to see your need for a new heart, and ask Him to fill you with His Spirit.

He promised such intimacy to believers from the church at Laodicea, if they would return to Him —

Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”

 It is through this fellowship that you come to know His plans, His heart, and your assignment. Beloved, it is so much more than doing a spiritual gift assessment to determine your gifts (impossible!), or by using the Myers-Briggs psychological test to determine whether or not you are leadership material! God help the church, for she does those things! 

When you enter His fellowship by being filled with the Spirit, He will make His gifts evident in you, for He is the One who determines who receives what gift. You offend Him if you attempt choose out of your own human reasoning! 

And Jesus determines who will be an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher (Ephesians 4:11). You offend Him if you try to use a man-made instrument to make such determinations! 

This is a fellowship where He and you are one, just as the Father and the Son are One. In His prayer to His Father, Jesus said —

John 17:22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”

Verse 1:9 — 

And you have this fellowship because when you are filled with His Spirit, He cleanses (purifies, purges) you from all unrighteousness. That is the crucifixion of the sin nature, beloved (Galatians 5:24)!

Verses 2:5-6 —

And when you are purified, He fills you with His love — not human love, but His divine love! It is perfected in you — completed. You are completely filled with His love (Romans 5:5)! And you are able to walk as Jesus walked, because He has filled you with His perfect, divine love.

Verse 2:27 — 

His anointing (the Holy Spirit) teaches you all things, just as Jesus Christ promised to all who would seek to be filled with His Spirit —

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

And later in His conversation with His disciples, He said —

John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

Verses 3:9, 24 

You no longer sin, for it is a joy to obey the Lord. No one who is born of God practices (does) sin, because His seed (His Holy Spirit) abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 

The one who keeps His commandments (obeys Him and does not sin) abides in Him, and He in him. When you have His Spirit whom He has given you, when you are filled, Jesus abides (makes His abode) in you, with the Father and the Spirit (John 14:23).

Verses 4:1,4 —

You overcome false prophets and the world because He who is in you is greater than they are. You do not believe every spirit, but discern whether someone is from God. Thus, you are not deceived by false prophets. You overcome them (you are victorious over them), because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world, that is, Satan. All false prophets are Satan’s workmen —

2Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

But Jesus Christ is greater (exceedingly mightier) than Satan and his workmen. Praise His holy name!

Verse 4:17 —

You do not fear judgment because you are as He is in this world —

1John 4:17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

Beloved, all of these things will be true in you, if you obey His commands to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49), and wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). 

Do you see that you lack victory over Satan? Do you see that you do not have holy, intimate fellowship with the Father and the Son? Do you see that you are still impure in your heart, and that you are not inwardly righteous? Do you still sin? 

Have you believed that you are spiritually rich and in need of nothing, but now have heard these words and see your poverty? Then praise God, for He has shown it to you!

Jesus said to the church at Laodicea —

Revelation 3:15   “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

17 ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”

He loves you. He reproves you and disciplines you today, that you may seek Him by sitting at His feet, listening to His word. 

He reproves you and disciplines you today, that you may seek Him so you may enter His rest and stop working apart from Him. 

He reproves you and disciplines you today, for He knows that you do not have fellowship with Him. Therefore, be zealous and repent!

Lord, may those who believe in you have ears to hear your words. Amen. So be it.

2Corinthians 8 — To a Church in Crisis, With Love

Text: 2Corinthians 8

With love, even God’s own divine love in our hearts, Paul and I speak to you from 2Corinthians 8 today. We want you to join us in being the Amen to God’s promises of reconciliation, of salvation, and of the infilling of the Holy Spirit! Yes! Truth! He has done it in me! You will say the same thing, when you are filled!

If I were to give this a title, it would be, “Give Yourself to the Lord.” I always pray that there will be a great revival in the church Why? Many believers have never heard of, and do not believe, the truth that they are commanded by Jesus Christ give themselves fully to Him, asking Him to fill them with His Spirit and God’s divine love.

The believers at Corinth have been unwilling to give out of their abundance — out of their church’s weekly collection. Certainly, the local church must be supported. But others are in dire straits and experiencing extreme persecution — including the church at Jerusalem. 

The Corinthians have been given much by the Lord. Now, Paul asks them to gather a long-overdue collection to be delivered to the church at Jerusalem and distributed according to need, among all the churches.

Verses 1-2 —

Paul tells the believers at Corinth of the grace of God which has been extended by the churches of Macedonia. They have given liberally to Paul so he can do his ministry full-time, and to the church at Jerusalem. 

The churches of Macedonia are greatly tried by intense persecution. But this persecution gives them great joy! Why? They have been considered worthy to suffer shame for Christ’s sake (Acts 5:41)!

They are poor, shunned by their countrymen and unable to find work. And yet, they give liberally, richly, to overflowing (superabounding, excelling), to assist Paul and all of the churches 

Acts 18:5   But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.

2Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you; 9 and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.

Verses 3-5

Paul testifies to the believers at Corinth that the believers in Macedonia have given according to their ability, and BEYOND their ability, without anyone asking them to give. They gave of their own accord, voluntarily. Why? For the sake of the furtherance of the gospel by which they had been saved and later filled with the Holy Spirit. They were superabundantly thankful, and expressed their thanksgiving by superabundant giving!

They begged (beseeched) Paul and Timothy with much urging (earnest begging), for the favor (gift) of participation in the support of the saints. They so loved their brothers and sisters, even with God’s own love, that they considered it a gift and a privilege to give toward the work that was being done by the saints in all of the church and in missionary work!

They gave not as expected — that is, what was required. Instead, they gave far beyond that! Why were they so generous? They had first given themselves to the Lord, and then to Paul and Timothy and the work of all the missionaries! 

They had fully surrendered, and offered themselves as living sacrifices to the Lord, which was their spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1). They were filled with the Spirit, beloved, and no longer infants in Christ who considered only their own interests. They had died to self, because that is God’s will and Christ’s command. 

Beloved, heed these words, see the self-centeredness in your heart which makes you miserly in giving, and cry out for the Lord to change your heart! He will do it! 

I have seen many single dollar bills in the offering plate in many churches. Such an offering will not supply the need of the local church, or of those who coordinate the rest of the work in the fields and in the churches. There is a great need for a painful letter and painful words, to exhort and call to repentance those who do not give as they ought.

Verse 6 —

So, Paul and Timothy sent Titus, urging him to continue with what he had begun among the believers at Corinth. Titus had begun to convince them of their need to give to the church at Jerusalem. He has shown them that it is a gracious work, a work that reveals the grace of God worked through the hearts of the Corinthians. I am sure he exhorted them to be filled with the Holy Spirit!

Verses 7-8 —

Paul says the believers at Corinth superabound in everything — in faith, in utterance (speech), and in knowledge (first knowledge of spiritual things), and in all earnestness (eagerness), and in the love (affection, but not agape, for they are not yet filled) inspired by Paul and Timothy.

 So Paul exhorts them that they see to it that they superabound in the gracious work displayed by the churches at Macedonia. He does not speak this as a command, but so that the believers at Corinth will see that they must prove the sincerity (genuineness) of their love (affection) for all of the church. 

He would not need to speak to them, if their hearts were filled with agape, beloved. I have heard pastors plead with their congregations to tithe to the church. And yet there are still just single dollar bills in the plate. If that is your tithe, then you make only $10 per week. Open wide your hearts, O church! Let the Lord do a work in you!

Verse 9 — 

Why should all believers liberally give? Because our Lord Jesus Christ, though rich with all the riches of heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father, gave all of Himself on your behalf. He gave up His glory, for your sake (Philippians 2:7). And by His offering of Himself on a cross, you now have the riches of eternal life! 

And by His ascension and glorification, you will have the riches of the fullness of His Spirit, if you will simply ask your Father in heaven for the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). 

Do not harden your hearts, beloved, but give yourself to the Lord, and be filled with His Spirit and His divine love! Then you will gladly and liberally give toward the work, compelled by His love that has been poured out in your heart to overflowing (Romans 5:5)!

Verses 10-11 —

Paul and I give our opinion, because it is to your advantage (profitable to you) to obey. And I add that, even more so, it is a command of Jesus to be filled with the Spirit and the love of God! 

Paul had been with them for 18 months, when he established the church at Corinth. At that time, the believers at Corinth became the first of the churches to give, and even to prefer to give. But something has happened. They have stopped giving. 

So Paul says, finish what you began! They were willing to give, in the beginning, so they now must complete (finish) their desire to give, by their ability — that is, according to what they are able to give.

Verse 12 —

If the readiness to give is present, then it will be found to be acceptable if they simply give according to their own ability, and not beyond it, though the churches in Macedonia have given beyond their ability. Paul does not ask the believers at Corinth to give what they do not have, but to give of what they do have!

Verses 13-15 —

Paul exhorts them to give not for the ease (relaxation) of others — that is, so others don’t have to give. It is not for their affliction (that is, to cause the Corinthians anguish). But it is so that the believers at Corinth give equally, in the same proportion that the other churches are asked to give.

At the present time, the church at Corinth has a superabundance of funds. These should be a supply for the need of the other saints, so that the superabundance that eventually happens in other churches may become a supply for the Corinthians in their future time of need. 

For it is written, He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack. Both were equally supplied by the Lord — 

Exodus 16:18 When they measured it with an omer (dry measure), he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat.

But also, I believe Paul refers to the spiritual need of the believers at Corinth, the need to be filled with the Spirit, which the other churches would be glad to assist them to receive!

Then there will be equality in every way!

Verses 16-17 —

But thanks be to God who puts into the heart of Titus the same earnestness (eagerness, diligence, care) Paul and Timothy have.  Titus not only accepted their appeal (urging) to go to Corinth, but being himself very earnest (diligent), Titus also has also gone to the Corinthians of his own accord. 

He is eager to help the believers at Corinth to gather together their offerings for the collection for the church at Jerusalem, who will distribute according to the needs of the other churches.

Verses 18-21 —

Paul and Timothy send another with Titus, a brother whose fame in the gospel has spread through all the churches (probably a reference to Apollos), one who has also been appointed by the churches to travel with Paul and Timothy in this gracious work (the collection) which is being overseen by Paul, Timothy and the rest. 

Why are Paul and Timothy glad to oversee the collection?  For the glory (praise) of the Lord Himself, so He is glorified. And they also are glad to do it so none can question their own motives, for the churches will see their quick and joyful willingness to serve.

And Paul and Timothy do not want to be discredited (censured) by the leaders of the church at Jerusalem by not quickly and faithfully making the collection of funds. Paul recognized that the progress of the gospel was hindered if its ministers, for any reason, acquired a reputation for dishonest dealings. In today’s church, the gospel is hindered because of dishonesty by the leaders of some churches — ones who use the collections for personal gain.

Verse 22 —

Another brother will accompany Titus and Apollos, one who Paul and Timothy have often tested and found diligent (earnest) in many things, but now even more diligent because of Paul’s great confidence in the believers at Corinth, that they would send a large gift to the church at Jerusalem, to make amends for their lack of giving.

Verse 23 —

As for Titus, he is Paul’s partner and fellow worker among the believers at Corinth, and as for the two brethren who will accompany him to receive the church at Corinth’s offering, they are messengers of the churches (commissioners of Christ, who have miraculous powers), and their work is a glory (praiseworthy) to Christ. The men being sent to Corinth are well qualified for every good work, including the collection of offerings.

Verse 24 —

With all of this in mind, Paul commands the believers at Corinth to give openly, so the churches are able to see proof of their love (affection). And when Corinth gives, the rest of the churches will also see Paul and Timothy’s reason for boasting (their confidence that Corinth will give all they have promised to give).

Beloved, are you like the believers at Corinth who are reticent to give for the work of the church? Then give yourself fully to the Lord! Then you will gladly and abundantly give, because you will be filled with His divine love and His Spirit, and your selfish sin nature will be crucified!

Please know, however, that you must use discernment, for in today’s church, there are many false teachers who constantly beg for funds. Do not give to them unless you are able to observe that they walk as Jesus Christ walks, and are as He is, in this world.

Lord Jesus, I have confidence that many will heed these words, see their need for heart change, and cry out for you to do it! May it be so, I pray! Amen.

SEEK HIM FOR THIS PURPOSE

[SW353] 11/17/2018 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

“Seek Him For This Purpose”

Text: Hebrews 4:1, 9-11, Isaiah 55:6-7, etc.

NOTE: The Lord has directed me to speak three messages on seeking the Lord — the position from which you must seek Jesus Christ, the purpose of seeking Him, and the outcome of seeking Him. If He put it on my heart, then surely, there is a need for you to hear and heed.

Last time, I showed you that to seek Jesus Christ, you must sit at His feet, listening to His word. That is the entrance point, the required position for seeking Him. Mary sat at His feet and listened to His word, and that was the one work He requires. Martha was busy with natural work, as is much of today’s church.

Now you must understand the purpose for seeking Jesus Christ. It is so that you enter His rest, where you rest from your works, so He works in and through you. And He says you must seek Him now, not later! 

Hebrews 4:1   Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it (literally, lack it).

While a promise still remains . . . that is why it is necessary for you to seek to enter His rest NOW!

You must seek Him now, in order to enter His sabbath rest, for this is a “limited time offer.” The Lord speaks this to His people, through Isaiah, for their hearts go astray and they disobey Him —

Isaiah 55:6  Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, 

for He will abundantly (exceedingly) pardon.

Judgment is coming, beloved! Seek Him now, in order to enter His sabbath rest!

Hebrews 4:9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience (as Israel in the wilderness).

Israel told God what to do — we want water, we want meat. This manna is lousy! Israel did not believe or trust Him. We’ll die out here in the desert! There are giants in the land — we cannot enter! We will go back to Egypt. 

This rest is not the Sabbath of resting from natural labor on the first day of each week. That was a shadow of the true rest for God’s people, a rest so complete that a new word was coined to describe this Sabbath rest — pronounced sabbatisMOS. 

When you seek Him in order to enter His sabbath rest, you rest from your works. You stop working! Then the Lord will work in and through you. He will not work in and through you until you stop working! 

Why will he not work until you stop working? If you are the one doing the work, it does not honor God, because you are glorified instead of Jesus Christ. 

But when you stop working and He works in and through you, they will see Jesus! And this truth comes to pass in you —

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

These are not natural good works, but God works, for He works them in and through you! Do you see that if you do not prepare by resting from your works, you are unprepared to do His works?

When you seek Him in order to enter His sabbath rest, you obey His commands to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high, and to wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5). Just as you cannot save yourself, you cannot make yourself holy. Stop trying to do it! When you are filled with His Holy Spirit, you are holy. 

Beloved, do you want to honor the Lord? You honor Him when you obey His commands. But you dishonor Him when you disobey His commands. Everything that you do in your own strength dishonors Him. 

What is it like, to enter His sabbath rest? You exchange your strength for His — 

Isaiah 40:31 Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength (exchanging theirs for His); they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

What is it like, to enter His sabbath rest? The God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace, and you will abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit, just as Paul prays for the believers in Rome who have not yet entered His rest —

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What is it like, to enter His sabbath rest? It is to see Him face-to-face, because your heart is pure. Jesus says —

Matthew 5:8   “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

What is it like to enter His sabbath rest? You no longer go astray in your heart, so the Lord is no longer angry with you. You know His ways, because you intimately know Him —

Hebrews 3:10  “THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS”

What is it like to enter His sabbath rest? You know His voice, always follow Him, and run from false teaching —

John 10:4 “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

What is it like to enter His sabbath rest? Listen to the Lord speak through Isaiah —

Isaiah 55:12 “For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace. 

The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, 

and all the trees of the field will clap their hands (in jubilation). 13 Instead of the thorn bush, the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up. And it will be a memorial to the LORD, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off (will not destroyed, will not perish).”

When you enter His sabbath rest, you will go out with joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Peter 1:8)! You will be led forth with His peace, which He will give you —

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

When you enter His sabbath rest, you will have peace in every circumstance, as Paul writes to the church at Thessalonica — 

2Thessalonians 3:16   Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance . . . 

When you enter His sabbath rest, the God of peace will be with you, as Paul writes to the church at Philippi —

Philippians 4:9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (literally, in, amid you)!

When you enter His sabbath rest, the mountains and the hills will shout for joy and the trees clap their hands for joy (when the winds rustle a tree’s leaves, it sounds like applause)! You will no longer produce thorns and nettles, but cypress and myrtle. 

When you enter His sabbath rest, all that He does in and through you will be a memorial (a witness) to the LORD, an everlasting witness that will not be destroyed. You will become His witnesses here, as Jesus promises —

Acts 1:8 . . . “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). I exhort you to diligently get into the position of seeking Him! Sit at His feet and listen to His word! He will see to it that you enter His sabbath rest! 

Will you believe Him? Will you seek Him for this purpose?

Lord, I pray that by faith in You, all believers ask you to fill them with all joy and peace, so that they will superabound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, and be Your witnesses here, just as You command them to be. Amen! So be it!