ARE YOU A CONTENDER?

[SW244] 08/19/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“Are You A Contender?”

The Lord says, “Put up your dukes, church!”

A contender is one who has a chance at a title match, in prizefighting. For what must Christians contend? What is the prize?

Jude 3   Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

Contending — to struggle for earnestly, as a combatant, with intensive force.

Jude exhorts you, implores you, calls you near and beseeches you to be a combatant!

You do not combat sin in yourself, because you have died to sin so you do not continue to live in it (Romans 6:2). If this is not true of you, then repent and ask God to do it.

You do not combat slavery to sin, trying to loose yourself from its ponderous chains, because Jesus has fulfilled His promise to free you from those chains if you are truly His disciples, for you continued in His Word and know the truth. (John 8:31-36).

For what are you a combatant, then?

The faith — The gospel expressed in the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is to stand up for the faith upon which the church was launched in the Book of Acts. To see how this faith was contended for, go to Acts 2 to read Peter’s sermon, and Romans 5 and 6 to read the basic tenets.

But if you do not know His Word, you are boxing as if beating the air (1Corinthians 9:26), and you are easily deceived. No sword (Ephesians 6:17), no contest against deceivers.

You are required by the Lord to fight the good fight of faith (1Timothy 6:12).

Paul writes to Timothy, not long before the Romans beheaded him for his faith in Jesus Christ —

2Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept (guarded, protected) the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Ah! That is the prize! The crown of righteousness, awarded by our Lord!

Why is it essential to contend for the faith? Look at Verse 4 in Jude —

“For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness (immorality) and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

They are pretenders. They have crept in unnoticed because there were no contenders for the faith. They are savage wolves among the flock (Acts 20:29).

These pretenders deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ, by saying the more we sin, the more God’s grace abounds (see Paul’s response in Romans 6:1-2), and by saying that we cannot help it — we will always sin. How is that a denial of Christ?

Before Satan deceived Eve, she told him what God had prohibited. Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. To eat of it would be willful disobedience of God’s command — that is the definition of sin. But Satan said, “You surely will not die.”

In the same way, these highly popular pretenders say, “You can’t help but sin. But surely you will not die, for Jesus will receive you just the same. His blood covers all the sin you have done, are doing, and will yet do.” Just as Satan said to Eve, they say, “You surely will not die.” That is the “hypergrace” message of Joesph Prince, and others. God is grieved!

The wages of sin is death, whether you are “saved” or not, whether you go to church or not!

If you say you sin every day in thought, word and deed, then repent and ask the Lord to purify your heart by filling you with His Spirit!

And if you say that you must continue to sin, Christ died for nothing, for you are just as wretched and condemned as you were before we were “saved” through the teaching of these pretenders.

Some highly popular pretenders avoid mentioning sin at all, because if they do, you might not feel good about yourself. That is the teaching of Joel Osteen and many others.

If you go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, what awaits you? Christ is no longer able to save you, because you have trampled Him underfoot, treated His blood as unclean, and insulted the Holy Spirit. A terrifying expectation of judgment awaits you. (See Hebrews 10:26-27, 29.)

Jude goes on to say that these pretenders follow their own lusts. Many of them are very, very rich. They are arrogant, and they are flatterers, so they can gain an advantage with you (Jude 16).

These highly popular pretenders dangle God’s GOODIES before their followers, and their followers chase after them, instead of chasing after the Lord and asking Him to fill us with His GOODNESS! If you follow such pretenders, you will become like them.

Some of these pretenders teach just as the gnostics taught — that all flesh is evil and as long as we are in our bodies, but our spirits are pure because we are children of God.

Others say, “Thanks be to God for the blood of Jesus that keeps washing and washing and washing us dirty sinners!” That is a Baptist teaching.

I surely still need His blood to cover sins of ignorance — I do not always realize that I have inadvertently offended someone.

But beyond that, Christ has dealt with my sin nature, so that it is crucified and I live for Christ (Galatians 2:20)!

My flesh has died so I cease from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God (1Peter 4:1-2)?

I have died to sin (Romans 6:2)! He has filled me with His Spirit, so that I have power over sin and hate sin like He does!

I have escaped the corruption that is in the world because of lust! God’s divine power has granted to me everything pertaining to life and godliness (2Peter 1:3-4)!

These pretenders teach that homosexuality is no longer an abomination to God.

And in the same way as in Sodom and Gomorrah, they give hearty approval to those who practice homosexuality (Romans 1:32).

Against such things, beloved, you must ask Christ to enable you to contend, to defend the gospel as a combatant against the Enemy’s false teachers and their doctrines of demons (1Timothy 4:1).

How? Ask Him to fill you with His Spirit so you know Him personally and with a holy intimacy and are strengthened with His strength so you may fight the good fight of faith, guarding it and watching over it!

Here is the question of the day —

Are you a contender, or a pretender? Do you contend for the faith and truth which is in Christ, earnestly struggling as a combatant against the pretenders, or are you one who teaches as they do, or a follower of them?

Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith (2Corinthians 3:5)!

If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will boldly decry and identify the pretenders. You will boldly speak the truth which is in Christ. You will be a combatant against the pretenders.

Then you will be able to say, with Paul —

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept (guarded, protected) the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

 

Amen.

ARE YOU CONTENT?

[SW243] 08/12/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“Are You Content?”

We live in troubled times. So did Paul! But in Philippians 4:11, Paul says he has learned to be content in whatever circumstances he is in. What does he mean? The answer may surprise you.

Let me explain. In Webster’s, content means “happy enough with what you have or are, not desiring something more or different, satisfied.” That is not the kind of contentment Paul has.

The Greek word for “content” means self-sufficient, needing no assistance, with the idea of adequacy.
But Paul would say of these definitions, “May it never be!” Yet he is content, even with all he suffered for Christ’s sake:

— From 1Corinthians 4:10-13

— a fool for Christ’s sake

— condemned to death

— a spectacle to the world and to angels and to men

— hungry and thirsty

— poorly clothed

— roughly treated

— homeless

— toiling, working with his own hands

— reviled

— persecuted

— slandered

— considered to be the scum of the earth, the dregs of all things

As if that is not enough to cause discontentment, let’s go on!

— From 2Corinthians 11:24-28

— Five times from the Jews receiving 39 lashes

— Three times beaten with rods

— Stoned

— Three times shipwrecked, a night and day in the deep

— Frequent journeys

— In dangers from

— robbers

— his countrymen

— the Gentiles (non-believers)

— in the city

— in the wilderness

— on the sea

— among false brethren

— In labor and hardship

— Through many sleepless nights

— In hunger and thirst

— Often without food

— In cold and exposure

— Daily pressure on him from concern for all the churches

Well! And as if that is not enough, Paul was so content that he wrote his letter to the church at Philippi while he was in a Roman prison!

That’s not all! Paul and his colleague Silas were so content that even having been struck with many blows from wooden rods, thrown into the dungeon, and their feet placed in stocks, they gladly sang praises and prayed to the Lord from within that dungeon (Acts 16:22ff).

What is this contentment? What had Paul and Silas learned? What is their definition of contentment? And how was the kingdom of God advanced by their contentment? (That is, after all, the purpose of that kind of contentment!)

This contentment surely is not “happy enough with what you have or are, not desiring something more or different, satisfied.” Nor is it “self-sufficient, needing no assistance, with the idea of adequacy.”

Beloved, if you are like Paul and Silas, filled with the Holy Spirit, you have learned (you fully know by experience) —

— that you are Christ-sufficient (His grace — the divine influence on the heart, and its reflection in the life — is sufficient, for power is perfected in (your) weakness, per 2Corinthians 12:9),

— that your adequacy is in and from Christ (2 Corinthians 3:5ff),

— that you must seek Christ’s assistance, because you fully know by experience that apart from Him, you can do nothing (John 15:5)!

And what happened when Paul and Silas sang praises and prayed from within that dungeon?

— The prisoners listened to Paul and Silas as they sang praises and prayed from the dungeon!  O Church, O Christian, if you are content the way Paul was, you will sing praises and pray in the midst of persecution! And the captives will be listening!

— There was an earthquake, a shaking that caused prison doors to fly open! It was the miracle-working power of God. O Church, O Christian, there will be a shaking wrought by God among you, one that frees captives!!

But the prisoners didn’t flee. They remained. They were drawn by these men who understood they could do nothing apart from Christ! They saw that Paul and Silas possessed something they did not have. O Church, O Christian, if you repent of your self-sufficiency and ask the Lord to change you, the captives will stay with you after they are freed. They will be drawn by you. They will see that you possess something they do not have.

The jailer saw the prison doors were open, and was ready to commit suicide rather than be killed by his superiors because the prisoners had escaped. But Paul said no one had left! Then the jailer called for lights and rushed in and fell down before Paul,  trembling with fear, crying, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul told him, and he and his whole household were saved! O Church, O Christian, when the captives are freed, your persecutors will call for lights and rush in and fall down before you, trembling with fear, crying “What must I do to be saved?”

I tell you that bounce houses and carnivals won’t work. I tell you that seeker-friendliness won’t work. I tell you that fantastic music won’t work. I tell you that programs designed by men won’t work. Here’s what will work — become discontent until God gives you HIS kind of contentment!

Paul and Silas were filled with God’s Holy Spirit. They were fully God’s. And the power that goes with that, beloved, is God’s dunamis, God’s miracle-working power!

What will happen if you, O Church, and you, O Christian, are transformed from complacent to content?

What will happen if you are transformed from passive to possessed by God’s Holy Spirit?

You will no longer be self-sufficient and self-reliant, or satisfied, seeking nothing more than what you have.

When you ask your Father in heaven to fill you with His Holy Spirit, His dunamis, His miracle-working power, His righteousness, His love, His fruit, His divine nature, then you will be free from sin, even from the sin of self-reliance and self-sufficiency and complacency that so easily entangles you!

Then your circumstances will not matter. In every circumstance, even thrown into dungeons by your persecutors (and be assured, persecution is coming and is already here), you will sing praises to God and pray, and He will work miracles that cause many captives to be set free!

You see, He frees you so that you free others! But you must freely receive to freely give.

So repent! Ask the Lord to fill you, so you are content in the same way Paul was — Christ sufficient, knowing your adequacy comes from Him, and seeking His assistance, because apart from Him, you can do nothing!

COMMENTARY ON JOHN 21

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!

In John 21, Jesus shows Himself to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He shows them (and you) that until they are filled with His Spirit, they will be drawn back to their old ways. He shows them (and you) that they are to be fishers of men, not natural fish, and they can do nothing apart from Him. He gives them (and you) a lesson on agape, God’s actual love, which is far more excellent than human love. And He shows you Peter’s (and your) heart, prior to Pentecost. A powerful chapter!

Verses 1-3 — Jesus reveals Himself to some of His disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. Why are they there? Because they are not yet filled with the Holy Spirit, they only know how to fish naturally, and so they return to that which they know how to do.

But their all-night fishing expedition produced nothing.

IMPORTANT POINT: Until you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will go back to natural ways. But you can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5).The modern church tries to draw people by natural means — carnivals, bounce houses, great musicians and singers, using business practices like motivational speaking and Peter Drucker’s management by objectives, and last but not least, the “me gospel,” which is me-centered instead of Christ-centered.

Oh, how I pray for the church to be filled, because these things produce nothing for the kingdom! They draw people, but what do they draw them to? I have heard the teaching of many who have huge congregations, and the Jesus they teach is not the Jesus of the Word of God. There is no call to repentance from sin. There is no mention of sin. There is no mention that we are under the wrath of God until we come to Christ (John 3:36). What, then, are we saved from, if all these things are not mentioned?

Verses 4-6 — Along comes Jesus, at the break of dawn. Ah, light to the still-darkened minds and hearts of His disciples! His disciples do not understand that the Man standing on the beach is Jesus. So He says, “Children,” for that is what they still were. And they were children of God because they believed Jesus is the Christ. “You do not have any fish, do you?” Ummm . . . no.

“Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find a catch,” says Jesus. The disciples are reminded of the same words that He spoke to them earlier (see Luke 5:4-9).

So they obey Him, and cannot haul the catch in, because it is so great!

IMPORTANT POINT: If the church, and you, O Christian, will obey Christ and seek His assistance and depend on Him to make you adequate and know that only He can give you what you need to catch men, He will give you a very great catch, so much you cannot haul it in! Throw all the rest to the moles and the bats, for all the rest are forms of idolatry (Isaiah 2:20)!

Verses 7-8 — John, who always calls himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” realizes it is Jesus, and tells Peter, “It is the Lord.” So Simon Peter, who had denied Christ three times on the night Jesus was tried and convicted and sentenced to death on a cross, puts on his outer garments and swims for the shore. But the rest come via the boat, since they are only about a hundred yards from the shore.

IMPORTANT POINT: Many who have denied Jesus will jump at the opportunity to come to Him, pushing through crowds, jumping into the sea, with great natural passion. But they are yet powerless and loveless until they are filled with His Spirit. You will soon see it.

Verses 9-11 — The disciples find the fire laid, and fish already on it, and bread. You see, Jesus is the One who multiplies loaves and fishes (Matthew 14:17ff and elsewhere). But He is here to teach His disciples one more time. That’s why He sends them back out, that’s why they have a miraculous catch, and that’s why He says the next thing.

“Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” Now that He has helped them, they have fish to present to Him. They cannot catch a thing without Him. He wants them to see this truth. He wants you to see it, too.

And even though the catch was huge, the net was not torn. What happens when a net tears? You lose some of the catch. But when the Lord orders them to cast out the net for His catch, none will be lost (John 17:12).

IMPORTANT POINT: Again, you cannot catch men without His assistance. And you will lose none that He gives to you.

Verses 12-14 — This is the third time Jesus shows Himself to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead. He invites them to breakfast, and none questions who He is, because they knew it was the Lord. He looked somewhat different to them, in His resurrected body.

I discussed this in my commentary on John 20. He bore the marks of His crucifixion. And He did what only God could do, before AND after He was resurrected.

Jesus feed His disciples the breakfast He has made for them.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus is the living Bread, the Bread of Life. You must receive from Him. He must feed you. That means you must humble yourself and accept His invitation. Do not be like the church at Laodicea, thinking you are rich and in need of nothing, when you are wretched and poor and blind and naked. Church and Christian, He knocks on the door to your heart. Open, and He will sup with you, and you with Him (Revelation 3:17, 20). Those whom He loves, He reproves and disciplines (Revelation 3:19).

Verses 15-17 — Now you will see that the disciples, including Peter, are yet loveless — that is, they do no not have God’s actual love in their hearts.

Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, do you love Me more than these?” In the original Greek, it is “Do you agapeo Me?” Jesus asks Peter if he loves Jesus with the same love the Father has for the Son, God’s actual love.

Peter says, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love You.” In the original Greek, it is, “You know I phileo you.” Peter says he is very fond of Jesus, that Jesus is his friend.

“Tend my lambs.” Peter, I will make you a shepherd of My flock. Feed them and keep them for Me. The Lord reconciles Peter, who had denied Him three times.

Jesus says again, “Simon, do you love Me?” Again, it is agapeo.

Peter answers again, “Yes Lord, you know that I love You.” Again, it is phileo.

Jesus says, “Shepherd My sheep.” Supervise them and lead them. They are Mine, but I command you to take care of them for Me.

Jesus says a third time, “Simon, do you love Me?” This time, it is phileo. Why? Jesus knows that Peter can only love Him in that way, for now. But at Pentecost, things will change.

Peter is grieved because Jesus asked the third time. It is an echo of his three denials. He says, “Lord, You know all things. You know that I love You.” Again, it is phileo.

Jesus says, “Tend my sheep.” Peter will soon be made able to do what Christ commands him to do. Pentecost is coming!

IMPORTANT POINT: You cannot love Jesus with God’s actual love until you experience your own personal Pentecost. Until then, you see Him as  your friend, and you are fond of Him. But then — you find out what His love is all about!

The actual love of God was called agape by the newly born church because none of the common Greek words for “love” properly described it. God’s actual love filled their hearts! It was like nothing any human could muster! What would they call it? They took an unused Greek word for love — agape — and used that to define what God had done in their hearts!

Oh, I tell you , it is the more excellent way (1Corinthians 12:31)! There is nothing that can compare with it! It is His love, not human love. And He will fill your heart with it (Romans 5:5), if you ask Him!

Verses 18-19 — Jesus tells Peter how he will die. He will be crucified. His hands stretched out. It will be when Peter has grown old. He will be led where he does not want to go — crucifixion, as I have described, is an extreme form of torture and a slow death. Then He exclaimed and commanded Peter, “Follow Me!”

IMPORTANT POINT #1: I tell you that this is what Jesus meant in Matthew 16:24 and elsewhere. You will not have to be crucified in the natural, but your “self” will be crucified, so you no longer live, but Christ lives in you (Galatians 2:20)!

Church tradition records that Peter, when led to the cross, asked to be crucified upside down, because he did not feel worthy to be crucified in the same way as the Christ whom he then loved with God’s actual love.

IMPORTANT POINT #2: Jesus knows everything in advance. He will share much with you, through the Holy Spirit, when you are filled with His Spirit and He and the Father dwell in you, large and in charge. And before that, He will share with you what you need to know, in order to see your need to be filled.

Verses 20-22 — Peter’s competitive spirit is seen. He looks at John, who rested his head on the Lord’s bosom at the Last Supper. “What about this man?” If I am to shepherd Your sheep, what will this one’s role be? Will it be higher or better than mine? Will he die, too, like me?

Jesus says, “If I want John to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” Why do you care, Peter? Why is that important to you? Do you not know that I will do with John exactly according to My plan for his service to Me and to My gospel?

IMPORTANT POINT: Get your eyes off others. Do what the Lord has commanded you to do. Do not compare yourself with others. You will only be able to obey when you experience your own personal Pentecost and ask the Lord to put your selfish nature on the cross and crucify it. Then you will look to Him only. Then you will only be concerned with how He wants you to serve Him.

Verse 23 — Well, the disciples still didn’t understand. Pentecost had not yet come. So they assumed Jesus meant John would not die, even though that is not what Jesus said.

IMPORTANT POINT: You, too, will misunderstand many of Jesus’ words, but then you experience your own personal Pentecost, and you will understand.

Verse 24-25 — John testifies to these things (1John 1:1-2), he is the writer of this gospel account, and his testimony is true.

And there are many things that Jesus did that John did not record, because if he had detailed all of them, there wouldn’t be enough room in the world to contain the books and books that would have to be written. But as he wrote in John 20:30-31, the Holy Spirit led him to choose specific miracles and words from Jesus that would lead people to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that you may have eternal life, in Him.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus did many things beyond what John recorded. There were so many, it would not be possible for the world to hold all the books that would have to be written!

He is God the Son, the eternally existent One, sent to the earth that you may believe in Him and be saved from God’s wrath. Praise His holy name!

IMPORTANT POINT: Who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed (see Isaiah 53:1)? To the one who believes the message.

John’s gospel account is used more than any other to lead people to believe in Jesus Christ.

All scripture is Spirit-inspired (2Timothy 3:16), and not cleverly devised tales (2Peter 1:16), but is the result of men being moved (bringing, carrying, being driven, being led) to speak by the Holy Spirit.

JOHN 20 COMMENTARY

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!

In John 20, you will see Jesus Christ declared the Son of God with power (Romans 1:4), by His resurrection from the dead. If He had died and not been resurrected, He would not be the Christ. But He WAS resurrected, and there were many eyewitnesses — more than 500 (1Corinthians 15:6). The first was Mary Magdalene, and then the eleven disciples. Watch!

Verses 1-2 — Mary went early to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark. She immediately saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and reported it to Peter and John (“the other disciple whom Jesus loved”). Her report? Not, “He is risen,” but “They have taken Him, and we don’t know where they have laid Him.”

IMPORTANT POINT: Mary did not immediately believe He had risen, though He had told them many times that He would rise on the third day (Matthew 16:21, 17:23, and 20:19, among other passages). She and the disciples did not understand yet.

Verses 3-7 — So Peter and John went to the tomb. They ran together, but John was the first to arrive. He stooped down to see the linen wrappings lying there. To go in would have made him ceremonially unclean, unable to enter the Temple to worship. So he stood at the entrance. Peter entered, and saw the linen wrappings and the face-cloth that had covered Jesus’ head, lying separately, rolled up in a place by itself.

IMPORTANT POINT: If Jesus’ body had been stolen and taken elsewhere, why would the grave clothes be removed? Wouldn’t it be harder to keep his arms and legs from dangling, without the wrappings? And why would one particular garment — the face-cloth — be carefully placed separately? It was as if someone was trying to make a point, that these things were no longer needed by the wearer. But they didn’t understand that He had risen.

Verses 8-10 — So John entered the tomb and believed. What did he believe? Did he have divine revelation that Jesus was risen? No. He believed Mary’s report — they had taken Jesus’ body and no one knew where they had laid Him.

IMPORTANT POINT: Why do I say that? Because Verse 9 says they still didn’t understand that the Word of God specifically said  He must rise again from the dead [see Hosea 6:2 for the “third day” reference, and Isaiah 53:11, “He will see (life) and be satisfied” and Psalm 16:10 “He will not suffer His Holy One to see decay,” and Psalm 49:9, again “will not see decay,” which according to Jewish thought, happened on the third day.]

So, they did not believe that He had risen. They believed Mary’s report that someone had taken His body. So they went home.

Verse 11-12 — Mary Magdalene must have returned after them, because she stood outside the tomb, weeping, and looked into the tomb. Two angels sat where Jesus’ body had been laid. They asked why she was weeping. She said they had taken Jesus’ body away, and she did not know where they had laid Him.

Verses 12-16 — Then she turned around and saw a figure at the door of the tomb, just outside. It was Jesus, but she did not recognize Him. Why? The tomb was dark and the light shone in. She would have seen only His silhouette.

IMPORTANT POINT:  Please note that you will also see evidence in the gospels that Jesus’ resurrected body looks somewhat different from before He was resurrected. He bears the marks of His crucifixion, though — nail-pierced hands and feet and a wound in His side, where He was pierced with a spear by the Roman solders. It is Him!

Jesus asked why she was weeping, and whom she was seeking. She thought He was the gardener, and asked if he had taken the Lord away.

But then He spoke her name. And she knew it was Him, and cried, “Rabboni,” which means Teacher, for she had sat at His feet (Luke 10:39), the position of a disciple.

IMPORTANT POINT: When Jesus speaks your name, you will know it is Him. And you, too, will see His nail-pierced hands and feet, and the wound in His side.

He will bear those forever, in His resurrected body. He is still the Lamb that looks as if it has been slain, per Revelation 5:6,  and in Revelation 13:8, in the original Greek —“. . . the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain from the foundation of the world,” that is, before the world was formed. Long before He created Adam, God knew mankind would need a Savior. He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).

Verses 17-18 — In the original Greek, Jesus said, “Do not cling to Me,” not “stop clinging to Me.” Why? He has not yet ascended into heaven. He must ascend, at the end of 40 days, to be glorified at the Father’s right hand, and to pour out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

His command to Mary? Go and tell His brethren —- the disciples. And say to them, I go to My Father and Your Father, My God and Your God. Why did Jesus say it that way?

IMPORTANT POINT: Because He died and rose, we have the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but (born) of God.” Now they would be able to be born from above, and God would be come their Father and their God, just as He is Jesus Christ’s Father and His God. We do not have the exact position of the always existent God the Son, but we are children of God, even now seated with Him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).

As Jesus commanded, Mary went to tell the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and repeating what He said to her.

Verses 19-20 — You will see a big contrast here in the disciples, between the time following Jesus’ resurrection and the time following Pentecost. It was evening. The doors were locked because the disciples feared the Jews.

IMPORTANT POINT: Compare that with their boldness in Acts 2:14, and the rest of the Book of Acts! Their boldness happened when they experienced their own personal Pentecost, and so will yours.

And Jesus came in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” That means He was able to go through a locked door. His resurrected body WAS different.

IMPORTANT POINT: “Peace be with you.” Don’t you remember that I said you would have My peace (John 14:27)? It will happen soon — when you are filled with My Spirit!

And to make sure they knew it was Him, He showed them His hands and His side. Then they rejoiced, because they knew it was the Lord — Jesus Christ!

Verses 21-22 — Again, He said, “Peace be with you,” and, “As the Father sent Me, I send you.” It was their commission to go forth, just as He did.

Then He breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” But it was not Pentecost yet. They were not yet filled. How do I know that?

IMPORTANT POINT: In the original Greek, the word “receive” in this passage is “lambano.” That is, receive a portion, not receive in full.  But if He had said, “apolambano,” or “paralambano,” it would have been receive in full. He gave them a portion of His Spirit when He breathed on them. They would need that portion for the moment, but the promise of the Father was yet to come (see Acts 1:8).

IMPORTANT POINT: For further evidence that they were not filled with the Spirit when He breathed on them, remember that the Holy Spirit was not to be poured out until Jesus was glorified. In this passage, that had not happened yet.  He had not ascended and been seated at the Father’s right hand, 50 days after He rose from the dead. THEN He would pour out His Spirit (John 7:39, Acts 2).

Verse 23 — What does this mean? Some say He gives them authority to forgive sin or not to forgive sin, but only God the Father and God the Son can forgive sin, not man. Some say it refers to the preaching of the gospel, that Jesus died so our sins could be forgiven. But I believe Jesus refers back to Matthew 6:14. He reminds them that they must forgive sins. If they do, they have forgiven the one who wronged them. But if one of the disciples do not forgive someone who wronged him, does that mean that person cannot come to Christ for forgiveness? No way!

IMPORTANT POINT: But if one of the disciples does not forgive (or you do not forgive), the sin of the one who wronged them remains on that disciple (or you), for God will not forgive that disciple (or you) if he does not forgive. I can see this passage no other way.

The Greek-to-English reads this way: Of whomever you forgive the sins, they are forgiven to them. Of whomever you retain, they are retained. To retain is to hold onto. That is, you are holding onto the wrong committed by them, rather than forgiving them, dear disciple. The Father cannot forgive you until you forgive (Matthew 6:15).

Verses 24-25 — Now we come to Doubting Thomas. He was not there when Jesus passed through a locked door and stood among the disciples. So they told him, “We have seen the Lord.” And Thomas said he would have to see the imprint of the nails in Jesus’ hands, and put his finger in those holes, and put his hand into Jesus’ pierced side. THEN he would believe.

Verse 26-27 — So eight days later, the disciples were hiding behind a locked door, and Thomas was with them. And He came and stood in their midst and once again said, “Peace be with you.” And because Jesus knew and saw Thomas as he spoke earlier, even though He was not physically with Thomas, He was able to repeat to Thomas exactly Thomas’ requirements to believe. It was a rebuke from the Lord. “Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus and the Father see and know all that you do and say. They will rebuke you if you are unbelieving. But They will forgive you if you ask Them to forgive you and to increase your faith.

Verse 28-29 — Then Thomas believed, without ever having touched the holes in Jesus’ body. He said, “My Lord and my God!” And Jesus said, it’s only because you have seen Me. But blessed are those who did not see, and yet believed. Huh?

IMPORTANT POINT#1: Think about it! I was not with the disciples. I have not seen Jesus risen. But I know He is real! How? I believed His promise that if I believed in Him, I would be born from above. God the Father gave me the gift of faith to believe. It was not of myself or as a result of works I could do, so I could not boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). That believe caused me to receive from Jesus a portion of His Spirit. Then I believed He would fill me with His Holy Spirit, and the Father and He would dwell literally inside of me (John 14:23).

IMPORTANT POINT #2: So how do I know Jesus is real? The Father and Jesus are literally in Me, because I am filled with the Holy Spirit! Do you now see what Jesus means? I am blessed because God gave me the gift of faith. And then I believed for all of God’s promises, and was filled with His Holy Spirit! He (the Holy Spirit) was a blessing from God, given to me, so God the Father and God the Son are now in me, permanently, large and in charge! Glory to God!

So, blessed am I, because I am one who never physically saw the risen Christ, but yet I believed —

1Peter 1:8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory . . .

I do rejoice with joy that can’t be described, a joy that comes when anyone is filled with the Holy Spirit, the very glory of God!

Verse 30-31 — So what was John’s purpose in writing his gospel? Here it is —

Jesus performed many signs beyond what was in John’s gospel, but the purpose of sharing these particular miracles was so that you — YOU — may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, that He is God the Son, and that by believing, you would have His eternal life and His nature literally located inside of you, here and now!

WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU?

[SW242] 07/29/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“What Do You Want Me to Do for You?”

Text: Luke 18:35-43

Jesus Christ asks you today, “What do you want Me to do for you?” What will you ask Him to do for you? How will You respond when He does it?

I’m just going to take this one apart, a few verses at a time, to show you what the Lord showed me. I will speak of the blind man, Bartimaeus, in the first person, because I was just like him.

Verses 35-37 — Jesus was approaching Jericho. I am blind, and am sitting beside the road, begging. It is all I can do. I cannot work because I cannot see. I am hopeless and helpless. I am as low as I can go. (I have MS. I am hopeless and helpless, as low as I can go. My disease is paralyzing my whole body and turning my mind to mush.)

But then I hear a crowd going by.

So I ask, what is going on? And the crowd tells me Jesus of Nazareth is passing by!

Everyone is talking about His great miracles! I need Jesus to do a miracle, so I can see! I cannot let Him just pass me by. (Once Pastor Doc showed me Jesus, first in Tommy Tenney’s The God Chasers, and then in the gospels, I was stirred, I wanted to know Him that way. I began to see that He was able to heal me.)

Verse 38 — I can’t see Him to go to Him. How will He know I need Him?

I will cry out! Jesus, Son of David! Have mercy on me! Pity me!

(And so I cried out to Jesus, on the night of September 1, 2001, when all my faith was washed away in a wave of doubt, and all that was left was a tiny mustard seed and cried, Jesus, help me!)

Verse 39 — Naysayers sternly tell me to be quiet. They don’t think Jesus wants anything to do with me. They think He can’t help me.

But I can’t be quiet! I need Jesus! (When I cried out to Jesus after Pastor Doc’s vision, some Christians told me to go away from Pastor Doc, that he was trying to give me “false hope.” But I couldn’t be quiet! I wanted to know God the Father and God the Son, not just know about them. And Jesus was the only One who could help me!)

I will cry out all the more, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! I know what I am doing isn’t proper. It isn’t acceptable behavior. But I’m crying out! (And I did the same — I cried out all the more, even though it wasn’t proper according to the naysayers in my church.)

Verse 40a — What is it? I hear Jesus. It is His voice. He hears me! He’s saying, “Bring him to me.” (I hear Jesus, through Pastor Doc! He is going to bring me to Jesus! O Lord, Pastor Doc brought me to You! Have mercy on me, for I am a mess from MS!)

Verse 40b-41 — Jesus is questioning me. “What do you want Me to do for you?” I know He can see I am blind, said Bartimaeus. I had to be led to Him. (Jesus could see my tremors, my forearm crutches, my cervical collar, my eyes going blind, my myoclonus that is a precursor to paralysis.)

But He asks, so I will tell Him what I need Him to do for me.

Verse 41 — I want to see again! I once had my natural eyesight, but now I am blind!

(I want to know You, Lord! I once saw You, and knew about You, but then I went away from You in every way! I want to know You intimately. And Lord, I want to be healed of MS!)

(Pastor Doc says I need to tell You what I need you to do. Lord, close up the hole in my blood-brain barrier. Remove my immune system components (the Little Helpers who respond to the commands of MS) from my brain and put them back where they belong, so they can help me fight disease in the rest of my body. Then reconnect the nerve cells they chewed in two, and heal all of the lesions on those what are not yet eaten through. And that includes my brain, and spinal cord, and optic nerves. In Jesus’ name I pray.)

Verse 42 — Jesus says, “See again! Your faith has made  you well.” Glory to God! That’s a command — see again! When He says it, then it must happen! I believe Jesus can make me see again, and then He shows me that it is true!

(Sue, walk again! Lift up your head, with no tremors! Think clearly again! Have normal body functions again! Feel your paralyzed feet again! Walk without the myoclonus that means your legs are paralyzing.)

(Bend over without bouncing with the myoclonus that means your back muscles are paralyzing. Feel the knots in your shoulders and back release forever! See your arms that no longer spasm and flail around uncontrollably! Throw away your crutches! Throw away your cervical collar that you used when the tremors were so bad, it was like whiplash! Feel My life in you! Feel My power coursing through you!)

Verse 43 — What do you want Me to do for you? I would not have told Him if I didn’t believe that He heard me and that He was able to heal me. My quick answer showed that I had received a mustard seed of faith, because I believed the reports about Him!

Who has believed Our report, says the Lord, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? The one who has believed Your report, Lord! You reveal Your miracle-working power to those who believe the reports about You!

For some in the church, it is like Mark 6, when Jesus went to His “hometown.” The few that came, He healed. But many didn’t come, so they were not healed.

So what is my response? What do I do, when He has done what only He can do?

I do the same as Bartimaeus. He followed Him. He became His disciple. He obeyed Him. Bartimaeus did not say, “Thanks, Lord. See You around!” and go on about his life. He followed. Me, too, Lord! Me, too!

Following means this — I say, “What do YOU want me to do for YOU, Lord?” No conditions. Not, “If You will heal me, I will do thus and so.”

I’m the one out of ten lepers, who came back to fall at your feet and worship You (Luke 17:12ff)! I will thank You forever!

And Bartimaeus glorified God as he walked. He told what Jesus had done! He praised God the Father and God the Son! O Lord, be glorified even through my testimony of Your mercy and power and love! I will shout from the rooftops!

Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute shall sing for joy!

When? When I come to You, when I actively seek You, when I hold Your Word in my lap all day, when I surround myself with worship music, when I begin a conversation with You, for the first time in my life! And then I see Your arm, because I believe Your message!

And what if the church, what if the individual believer, drops the “ifs” that I hear? “If it is Your will . . .”

What if they say, “Do what only You can do, Lord!” He will surely do it. No “ifs.”

And surely, they will then will say, “What do YOU want me to do for YOU, Lord?” Amen.

JOHN 19 COMMENTARY

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!

In John 19, we see the continued persecution of Jesus, even to His death and burial. He is hung on a cross, and there, He says, “It is finished!” What is finished? Come along with me, and I’ll show you!

Verse 1 — You need to know what scourging is. A whip with many thongs was used by the Roman soldiers. At the tip of each one was a sharp object, made of rock or glass. When such a whip connected with human flesh, the damage was immense.

But when the whip was pulled back so the victim could be struck again, it was even worse. Because the sharp objects grabbed onto whatever they struck, flesh and muscle were ripped away from the body, causing tremendous damage, blood loss and pain.

When Psalm 22 says Jesus could count His bones, it wasn’t because He was emaciated. It was because they were visible. The flesh and muscle covering them had been ripped off. Some Christian historians believe Jesus was scourged on both sides.

What was the purpose of scourging someone? To weaken them for a quick death on a cross.

IMPORTANT POINT #1:  Psalm 22 was written by King David 1,000 years before Christ was crucified. God showed him the crucifixion, and it is described in this Psalm. How much does God know? Everything. How much can you hide from Him? Nothing!

IMPORTANT POINT #2: This was just one part of the punishment WE deserved, for our sin against God.

Verses 2-3 — But that wasn’t all Jesus endured. The soldiers who had scourged Him weren’t through. They beat Him, slapped Him in the face, and pulled out His beard (Isaiah 50:6). They also mocked Him, dressing Him as a king, with a crown of long thorns and a purple robe. They made sure the thorns dug into His scalp and forehead. Through all of it, Jesus was silent, as a lamb being led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7).

IMPORTANT POINT #1: Again, this was the punishment YOU deserved for your sin, dear reader (Isaiah 53:5).

IMPORTANT POINT #2:  Jesus fulfilled every prophecy about Him, in His life on this earth, and when He returned to His Father. These prophecies were written a very long time before He came. How much does God know? Everything that ever was, is, and will be.

Verses 4-5 — Pilate came out of the Praetorium again, to tell the Jews, for the second time (see 18:38), that he found no guilt in Jesus. Behold! It was an emphatic statement.

Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. “Behold the

Man,” exclaimed Pilate.

IMPORTANT POINT: Pilate, a notoriously evil ruler, did not want to crucify Christ. Wasn’t the scourging and beating enough?

Verse 6 — The Jewish elite saw Him and said, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate said, you do it, for I find no guilt in Him. That was the third time Pilate expressed Jesus’ innocence.

IMPORTANT POINT: To this very day, Jesus’ followers are persecuted and killed, though they are innocent.

Verse 7 — But, as Pilate well knew, the Jewish elite could not crucify Jesus because they were under Roman rule. The Jewish elite considered Jesus to be a blasphemer because He made Himself out to be (appointed Himself as) the Son of God. The punishment for such blasphemy was death, under Mosaic law. But it would have to be done by the Romans, because the Jews had no authority to condemn a man to death.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus did not appoint Himself anything. God the Father sent Him to die in our stead. But even today, many people accuse Jesus and His followers.

Verse 8 — Pilate was more afraid than ever . . . Jesus was innocent, and he knew it. But the Jewish elite was hell-bent on crucifying Him. What if He was the Son of God? What would happen to Rome, if Pilate killed God?

IMPORTANT POINT: Even a ruthless pagan governor was afraid of killing God, but the Jewish elite were not. How ironic!

Verses 9-10 — He entered into the Praetorium again, and asked Jesus where He was from. But Jesus did not answer. Pilate was irritated because Jesus did not respond. So Pilate told Jesus that His life was in his hands. He has authority to release Jesus and authority to crucify Him.

Verses 11-13 — Jesus said the only reason Pilate had authority to crucify Him was because it was given to Pilate from above (from God the Father). Pilate was simply fulfilling God the Father’s plan for our reconciliation to Himself. It was necessary for Jesus to be crucified, so we may be saved. Therefore, the chief priest who made the ruling that Jesus was guilty sinned more greatly than Pilate sinned by ordering Christ to be crucified. The Jewish elite committed premeditated murder, a greater sin.

IMPORTANT POINT: Sin is sin to God, and all sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). but there are some sins that He singles out as being more serious, and classifies some even as abominations, things that repulse Him because they are completely contrary to His nature.

So Pilate was more alarmed than ever, and sought to release Jesus. But the Jewish elite would not relent. They said Pilate would be guilty of treason if he released a Man who made Himself out to be (appointed Himself as) a King, thus speaking against Caesar, who was king over the Roman Empire and claimed to be a god.

Treason would have meant death for Pilate. So he brought Jesus out again and sat in the judgment seat at Gabbatha.

IMPORTANT POINT: Some will deny Jesus when they are threatened with death. But if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before His Father (Matthew 10:33).

Verses 14-15 — The Passover Lamb was about to be sacrificed. The Jews were thinking of natural lambs, but God the Son was the true Passover Lamb whose blood would atone for our sin, and let us live eternally with Him, if we believe in Him. It was 6 a.m. All of Jesus’ trials were illegally conducted at night.

Pilate exclaimed, “Behold your King!” He mocked the Jewish elite, who certainly did not want Jesus to be their King. And their response was, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Mocking them again, Pilate said, “Shall I crucify your King?” And the next statement of the Jewish elite is the ultimate in irony.

They had no king but Caesar. They rejected the kingship of God the Father when they rejected His Son. So they certainly had no king but Caesar. God was no longer their King.

IMPORTANT POINT: It wasn’t the first time Israel rejected God as their king. Check out 1Samuel 8:5 and forward. How foolish man is! What human king can compare with King Jesus? Don’t we still do that, when we decide we will be king over our lives, and that we don’t want to live under the glorious rule of the King of kings and Lord of lords?

Verses 16-17 — Pilate handed Him over to his guards to be crucified. They took Him to Golgotha, Place of the Skull. John says He carried His own cross, but the other gospels tell us that He required help, at some point, as He was led to His death.

Now, I must explain that crucifixion was the most excruciating way to kill a person. It was sheer torture The naked person was suspended by their hands on a cross, their hands nailed and sometimes bound, their feet on a tiny shelf, nailed to the cross. Tremendous blood flow resulted. Jesus had already lost a great deal of blood during the scourging and beating. He had very little left in His body by the time they nailed Him to that cross. His organs were beginning to shut down. His breathing was labored because of lack of oxygen-carrying blood. Then, hanging on the cross, it was impossible to inhale. The shoulders dislocated because of the weight of the person’s body. All His bones were out of joint (Psalm 22:4).

Between blood loss and asphyxiation, death usually came within hours.

He was crucified between two thieves. Thus Isaiah 53:9 was fulfilled. Wicked men were on either side of Him.

IMPORTANT POINT: He is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, and knows the end of things from the beginning, before time began. Long before God the Father sent Him, both the Father and the Son knew what He would need to do, to reconcile us to God. (See Revelation 13:8, from the original Greek-to-English,

“ . . . the Lamb who has been slain form the foundation of the world. Also see 1Peter 1:20.)

Verses 19-20 — Don’t miss the significance here. Pilate again mocked the Jewish elite, by putting up a sign on His cross that read, “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.” He wrote it in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. What did it look like in the Hebrew?

Yeshua — Y — Jesus

Hanaseray — H — the Nazarene

Vimilek — V (our W) — King

Hayahuda – H — of the Jews

YHWH means I AM. Pilate identified Jesus as the I AM of the burning bush in Exodus 3! No wonder the Jewish Elite were upset. The sign made it look they were killing God!

IMPORTANT POINT: Many have tried to kill God, and erase His Word. But it will not happen. His word will never pass away (Matthew 24:35), and He always has been and always will be the eternally existent, living God.

Verses 21-22 — So they said, “Do not write that.” Write “He said He was King of the Jews — that way it wouldn’t read YHWH. But Pilate said, “I’ve written it, and I’m not changing it.”

IMPORTANT POINT: This was Pilate’s final condemnation of the Jewish elite.

Verses 23-24 — Then the Roman soldiers cast lots for His garment, specifically His seamless tunic which was a symbol of His priesthood. It was considered valuable by His executioners, so they didn’t want to tear it into four pieces, as they had his other clothing. Thus, Psalm 22:18 was fulfilled. He would have been able to look down and watch them do it.

IMPORTANT POINT:  Do you see that God planned this long ago and spoke of it through His prophets? Does He know everything about you? Absolutely! Come to Him, confess your sin, and He will most assuredly heal you of it.

Verse 25 — These next verses are remarkable, because Jesus should not have had breath or strength to speak loudly enough for anyone to hear. But He saw His mother, who was with Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdelene, standing by His cross. He exclaimed to John who was also nearby, “Woman, behold your son!” and to John, “Behold, your mother!” Jesus thus made John responsible to care for His mother, and John knew that was the meaning of His words.

IMPORTANT POINT: Even in His extreme suffering, He still guided His disciples.

Verses 28-30 — Now, to fulfill Psalm 69:21, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” He was given vinegar. After He took it, He exclaimed loudly, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

What was finished? Everything God the Father sent Him to do. When some folks read that we must fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions (Colossians 1:24), they think His work was unfinished. He commands all disciples to deny ourselves and take up our crosses and follow Him (Matthew 61:24). Where? To Golgotha. Why? So we complete what is lacking in us — death of our old natures, so we become partakers of His nature (2Peter 1:4)!

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus finished His work, by which those who believe are able to be reconciled to God. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). That was the expression of God’s love to the world. He does not love sin. He loves sinners in this way only — He offered His Son, if they will believe, so they may be forgiven.

Verses 31-37 — The Jews insisted that the bodies be taken down from the cross, so they would not be on display and potentially ruin the special Sabbath of Passover. They assumed each one was still alive, and asked Pilate to have his soldiers break their legs, so they would quickly bleed to death. So the soldiers broke the legs of the two men crucified next to Jesus.

But Jesus was already dead, so they did not break His legs. It fulfilled the Passover lamb requirement — no broken bones (Exodus 12:46). And it also fulfilled Psalm 34:20.

Instead, to ensure He was dead, they pierced His side, rupturing His heart and pericardium (the fluid-filled sac around the heart). Blood and water immediately spurted out. Just as Zechariah spoke in Zechariah 12:10, the Jewish elite looked upon Him whom they pierced.

IMPORTANT POINT: The Roman soldiers knew nothing of these scriptures. Yet they did exactly what God’s prophets had spoken. How much greater is God than us? More than we can comprehend!

Verse 38-40 — Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Sanhedrin. But he was also a disciple of Jesus, secretly, because he feared the consequences. Because he was a prominent and wealthy man, he was able to approach Pilate and ask him for Christ’s body. Pilate agreed to it, and Joseph took His body.

Nicodemus, also a member of the Sanhedrin had also become His disciple. He had come to Jesus in the night, in John 3. Nicodemus brought 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes — such great amounts were only used for the burial of kings. So Joseph and he took the body of Jesus, bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, a Jewish custom.

IMPORTANT POINT: Joseph and Nicodemus knew Jesus was King of kings and Lord of lords, and treated Him accordingly, even in His death. Is Jesus your King? If so, you will treat Him accordingly.

Verse 41-42 — He was crucified on Golgotha, and nearby was a garden with a new  tomb. It belonged to Joseph of Arimethea (Matthew 27:60). Thus, Isaiah 53:9 was fulfilled — He was with a rich man in His death. Thus, He was buried, and a large stone rolled over the mouth of the tomb.

IMPORTANT POINT: Every detail of Christ’s life and death was foretold. God is all-knowing. Do not try to hide your sin from Him. Come into the Light of Christ for salvation, and then ask Your Father for your own personal Pentecost, for the infilling of His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13)!

A VIOLENT LAND

[SW241] 07/23/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“A Violent Land”

Text: Ezekiel 8 and forward

Ezekiel addresses God’s people, with a word from the Lord. The land is filled with violence. Why? I prayed to the Lord, “I will not speak this unless You show me.”

Violence — Wrong, unjust gain, cruelty, damage, falseness, injustice, oppression, unrighteousness. It is violence in deed and in our dealings with one another, and it is violence in your dealings with the Lord.

In a vision, Ezekiel is taken back to Judah, to see sin among God’s people that is visible, and that which is not visible.

8:5 — Outside, north of the altar gate, in full sight, is the idol that takes the place of the Lord. He is a jealous God. He wants all of you. Our idols that we make are dead gods (Psalm 115). They are abomination to Him — loathsome, detestable, dangerous, sinister, repulsive, contrary to God’s nature. He is the only true and living God, and the only One who deserves our worship.

What is this idol that takes the place of the Lord? Prosperity. There are many big church buildings in the U.S. There is much preaching on prosperity, on naming and claiming, on the power of positive thinking, all centered on ourselves. There is political correctness, in order to keep the seats filled, so we can keep our buildings beautiful and our pockets full.

This idol of prosperity, which is visible to the whole world, takes the place of God. They serve it rather than God the Father and God the Son. They seek His hand, but are repulsed by His truth (Isaiah 6:10, Matthew 13:15).

What is the root of the idol of prosperity? I will show you later.

Brother Yun, one of China’s house church leaders, who wrote The Heavenly Man, was invited to the U.S. He was shown all of our big churches and parachurch ministries. He said, “You do not need more church buildings. You need revival.” A top leader in one denomination said he didn’t know what I meant by “revival.” Oh, my!  I suggested he read about what happened in the Hebrides in Scotland in the mid-20th century. I was appalled that he did not know.

8:6 — But there is an even greater abomination to God, something even more loathsome, detestable, dangerous, sinister, repulsive, and contrary to His nature. It is hidden. It takes the place of God. I had to dig for it. What is it, Lord?

Sensuality and perverted sexuality. In many churches, our leaders — the elders — serve it. They think the Lord does not see them. But He does. We are to be a royal nation, a holy priesthood. But pornography is rampant, as is sexual abuse, pedophilia. Homosexuality is celebrated openly in some churches, so I can’t include that as a hidden sin any more.
What is the root of the idol of sensuality and perverted sexuality? I will show you later.

8:14 — But there is an even greater abomination to God, something even more loathsome, detestable, dangerous, sinister, repulsive, contrary to His nature.

Tammuz was a fertility and rain god who died every fall and rose again in the spring. Worship of him involved sexual promiscuity. And when he died every year, women mourned him with a particular kind of wailing, because when he died, the land became parched.

Why is that a greater abomination than elders and leaders who serve sensuality and sex? Even women of God, in whose womb He knits together His children (Psalm 139:13), worship and serve dead gods.

Among the women of the church are those who practice such things and wail at their parched spirits. Oh, that they would turn away from their sin and back to the endless fountain, Jesus Christ! With joy they would draw water from Him!  (Isaiah 12:6)

What is the root of this licentiousness? I will show you later.

8:16 — But there is an even greater abomination to God, something even more  loathsome, detestable, dangerous, sinister, repulsive, and contrary to His nature. It happens between the porch and the altar, in the inner court.

Men who are leaders/elders (see 9:6) worship natural light, with their backs to the Lord.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Light of the world, but they have turned from Him to philosophy, psychology, and business practices to fill their seats and pockets, to keep their dying denominations alive.

The Lord does not want a church with filled seats. He wants a church filled with Him! That will surely bring life to our deadness, just as in Ezekiel 37. And when the Spirit comes in, we will rise up into an army, to possess the land!

Like Sardis, they have a reputation for being alive, but they are dead (Revelation 3:1). I see dead men’s bones, lying in a boneyard (Ezekiel 37:1). Can these bones live? Lord, You know. Only by God’s Spirit coming in and filling each one heart!

What is the result of all of the practice of these abominations, these things that are loathsome, detestable, dangerous, sinister, repulsive, and contrary to God’s nature?

8:17 — First, by doing these things, God’s people and leaders repeatedly provoke (grieve, anger) the Lord.

Second, God’s people and leaders fill the land with violence — wrong, unjust gain, cruelty, damage, falseness, injustice, oppression, unrighteousness, violence in deed and in how we deal with one another, and in how we deal with the Lord.

The land is filled with violence,O wayward church, and you have no one to blame but yourselves. (See 2Kings 17:7ff.)

These are the difficult (literally, fierce) times of 2Timothy 3:5 —

2Timothy 3:1-2  But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.

2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy . . .

2Timothy 3:5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

Fierce times! That word was used of the Garesenes demoniac. These are demonic times.

What is the root of all of these abominations?

Love of self, and thereby, worship of ourselves. Christianity has become “me-centered” instead of “Christ-centered.”
Therefore, the land is filled with blood and the city with perversion (9:9).

What is the Lord’s response?

Verse 18 — Wrath, no pity, and He will not listen to those who commit all these abominations.

What will happen?

9:4 — Those who sigh and groan over all the abominations will be spared.

9:6 — As for the rest? Destruction, which will start from the Lord’s sanctuary, just as Peter warns —

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?

With whom will the destruction begin? Why?

11:2 — The elders, because they led His people into these things. They devised such things. They gave evil advice to the church, to people who have no knowledge of God and are therefore easily deceived. They have said, “Go far from the Lord. You are saved.” (See Ezekiel 11:15.)

But the Christians who follow these elders and gather them to themselves will also be destroyed because of their lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) and thereby gathered such teachers to themselves (2Timothy 4:3). As Jesus said, when the blind lead the blind, they both fall into a pit (Matthew 15:4).

Is there any hope for the church that has committed abominations, those things that are contrary to God’s nature?

11:17-18 — It will not be a complete destruction. Repentance is the only hope of those who have gone astray, as I myself have experienced when I turned away like the prodigal son (Luke 15:12).

The Lord always will have a remnant composed of those who repent and those who did not commit abominations against Him. Those who repent will confess their abominations to the Lord and ask Him to purify their hearts. He will give them one heart and put a new spirit within them — His Spirit (Ezekiel 36:27).

11:21 — But as for those whose hearts go after their detestable things and their abominations, He will bring their conduct down on their heads.

11:23 — The Lord’s glory, His presence, is on the mountain. His glory has lifted off His church.

He is standing on the mountain right now. He is waiting for you, O Christian, to repent.

Revelation 3:20 says He stands at the door of the church, and knocks. He is not inside the church, but outside, knocking. He is waiting for individuals to open to Him. Will you open? If you return to Him, He will return to you!

Beloved! I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin (2Corinthians 11:2)!