GOOD NEWS FOR CAPTIVES!

[SW203] 09/25/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Good News For Captives!”

Texts: Isaiah 52:7-12, Romans 10:14-15

The prophet of God joyfully declares, “I have good news for captives!” He sees into the future, sees captivity, and sees God’s good news!

But wasn’t the Bible written to God’s people, those who declare Him to be their God? And isn’t Isaiah a prophet of God, for His people?

Why are God’s people captives, in Isaiah’s vision?

Because they rejected His prophets who warned them to stop sinning against Him, or they would be captured and taken away from His presence (in this passage, Judah in Babylon, per Isaiah 48:20 and 52:1-2).

How did they sin? The people and even their priests went through the motions of worshiping God but in secret (and sometimes openly) worshiped gods who were no gods at all. So they worshiped Him but their hearts were far from Him.They worshiped what the world worshiped. And they oppressed the poor and needy, and cheated God, and one another.

But despite the fact that they are far from home, despite the fact that they have sinned against God, He now brings them this extremely good news by way of someone with lovely, beautiful feet (literally, feet that are at home):

v. 7       Reconciliation and salvation because of God’s dominion

v. 8     Jubilation because of restoration

v. 9     Celebration because of redemption

v. 10    Revelation to the world that God forgives those who sin against Him
He will rescue them to show the world that He is God, just as He rescued them from the Assyrian Pharaoh in Egypt to take them to the promised land.

But the message is also a call for:

v. 11    Separation and purification

And all of this results in God’s:

v. 12    Protection (kept by the power of God, 1Peter 1:5)!

Who will make all of this possible for Judah? God!

Who makes this all possible today, for God’s people who sin against Him despite being warned?

God’s Son, His Christ! It pleased God for Him to take the punishment we deserve (Isaiah 53:5,10) for:

—- Going through the motions of worshiping God but in secret (and sometimes brazenly) worshiping gods who are no gods at all — even ourselves, our needs, our desires, our addictions.

— Worshiping Him while our hearts were far from Him.

— Worshiping what the world worships.

— Oppressing the poor and needy, and cheating God and one another.

It pleased God to have Jesus Christ take our punishment! How beautiful are the feet of the one who brings good news to all who claim they are God’s, good news of freedom from captivity!

Again, He rescues us just as He rescued His people in Egypt and in Babylon, to show the world that He is God!

But you must come out of your captivity. You must go out from where you’ve been. You must turn from your sin and back to God and Christ. Then, come out of your captivity! You have been rescued by God, through Jesus Christ!

Romans 10:17-18

But how can you believe if you have not heard?

And how will you hear unless this good news is preached? It seems this is a secret, good news rarely preached in today’s church.

I believe it is because it is impossible to preach unless the preachers have been rescued from their own captivity. You can’t preach what you haven’t experienced.

But turn now, all of you! And you will be:

—Reconciled, saved, because God is over all things, even your sin!

—Jubilant, because you will be restored!

— Celebrating, because you are redeemed!

— Separated and purified

— Kept/protected by the power of God

— And the world will see, by your rescue, that God forgives those who sin against Him, when they turn back to Him!

He will rescue you to show the world that He is God, and there is no other!

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CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED

[SW202] 09/18/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Christ and Him Crucified”

Texts: 1Corinthians 2:2-5, Acts 20:20ff

Paul determined that he would know nothing (not a thing) but Christ and Him crucified and preach Christ crucified.

Why? So the power of God would be demonstrated through him, by the Holy Spirit. He preached in his own weakness and fear and trembling, and the power of the Spirit was made evident. He did not preach using human reasoning and persuasion, or natural charisma.

Why? So the Corinthian’s and your faith would not be in the wisdom or persuasiveness of men, but in the power of God, which is demonstrated when Christ and Him crucified is preached.

My words must be spoken in the power of the Holy Spirit, as I preach Christ and Him crucified.  If I am not preaching Christ and Him crucified, God’s power will not be demonstrated.

As Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke says, “Preach the Gospel, and the Gospel happens.”

I will answer two questions:

1. What does it mean to preach Christ and Him crucified?

2. Why did Paul write these things to the church at Corinth?

Question 1: What does it mean to preach Christ and Him crucified?

— Everyone knows John 3:16. But WHY was it necessary for God to give His only Son? The alternative was that all of mankind would perish.

— Every human being on the earth has a fatal condition that no human can cure. But God sent His Son, Jesus Christ as the remedy. This was His plan from before time began (Revelation 13:8).

Until you believe into Jesus Christ:

— You are separated from God by your sinful state. All have sinned and lack the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Sinners face God’s judgment, when He draws all things to a close (Matthew 25:31ff, Revelation 20:11-15).

— On His cross, Jesus Christ bore the punishment that you deserved for your sin, so that you may be reconciled to God, and He rose on the third day so that you may have eternal life (1Corinthians 15:3-8).

— If you repent (turn from your sin) and believe that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, on your behalf, your past sins will be forgiven and you will be reconciled to God (Romans 10:9-10).

But you will find that you are still disobedient in your heart (Romans 7:14ff). The root cause of your fatal condition has not yet been eliminated. You were born that way, a child of Adam (Romans 5:12). But God — hallelujah — has the ultimate cure!

— When Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day, ascended, sat with the Father on His throne, and poured out His Holy Spirit, the purpose was to CLEANSE your heart of its inbred sin nature (Romans 7:14, 20).

— Therefore, when you ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), Jesus Christ will free you from slavery to sin. You will die to sin  — that is, the sin nature in you will die (1Peter 2:24, Galatians 2:20).

— This is the will of God, that you be filled with the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:2, 11, 16-18, 22; Ephesians 5:17-18). It is the only way you can be freed from slavery to sin, so you are able to become a witness that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 1:8).

That is what it is to preach Christ and Him crucified. And when that is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Gospel happens — God manifests His power.

I have this ministry of reconciliation, to proclaim to you that you will be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ. If you have been filled with the Holy Spirit, this will be your ministry, too.

How serious is this ministry of reconciliation? It is a matter of life or death.

Acts 20:20 ff

Because Paul was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, he did not shrink from (cower, withhold, conceal, shun) preaching Christ and Him crucified, even though it was foolishness to the world, and despite the persecution he suffered because of his message.

Because he fully preaches Christ and Him crucified — including deliverance from slavery to sin —  considering his previous great knowledge as a Pharisee to be dung (Philippians 3:8), Paul says he is innocent of the blood of those to whom he has delivered the message.

Innocent of the blood?

Ezekiel 33:8 “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand.”

Question 2: Why was he writing this to the church at Corinth?

They were listening to false teachers who spoke of “secret wisdom,” and taught that you could continue to sin with your body, without losing your salvation as the consequence.

Then there were the Judaizers, who taught legalism — that is, that even if you were not born a Jew, the Law given to Moses must be followed in order for you to be saved.

Why did the Lord put it on my heart to speak this today? Many preachers:

— Preach only faith or

— Preach only grace, and even hyper-grace or

— Preach only healing or

— Preach only prosperity,

— But not Christ and Him crucified.

There is no mention of mankind’s fatal condition. And the faith of those who follow such preachers is in the wisdom of men, and not in the power of God. The power of God and wisdom of God is not demonstrated, but simply the human wisdom and persuasiveness and natural charisma of the preacher.

Why are these things taught? Paul says it is for personal gain — money (1Timothy 6:3-5).

And Jesus says, “My people love it so.” (See 2Timothy 4:3, Jeremiah 5:31.)

The blood of those to whom they preach is on their hands, because they leave people in their fatal and incurable condition.
But turn now, O preachers, and preach Christ and Him crucified, for your listeners are not exhorted to repent, to believe that Christ carried their sins on a cross, and that it is the will of God that you be filled with the Holy Spirit so you are no longer a slave to sin!

And turn now, O sinner, and O sinning Christian, for you have heard the truth of the Gospel, the whole gospel — salvation form past sins and freedom from slavery to sin. Turn and be healed, reconciled to God and made a witness that Jesus is the Christ!

And you will be a citizen of the kingdom of God, full of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17), and joy inexpressible and full of glory (1Peter 1:8)!

STRENGTH FOR YOUR ASSIGNMENT

[SW201] 09/11/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Strength For Your Assignment”

You and I need His power for this hour!

He has an assignment for you and me. What is it?

— To walk as Jesus walked in this world (entirely obedient) (1Jn 2:6)

— To baptize and make disciples, teaching them to obey all He commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20)

— To be His witness (Acts 1:8)

— To love even our enemies with His love (Matthew 5:44)

— To set captives free (Isaiah 61:1ff, Matthew 10:8)

That assignment is absolutely impossible in our own strength. We need His!

Texts: Psalm 84:5-7, 11-12, Isaiah 40:29-31

Psalm 84

How blessed is the one whose strength is in God — literally, to him, strength is in the Lord.

God is the source of strength for him. He knows that apart from Christ, he can do nothing (John 15:5)!

Strength — boldness and power and might! HIS!

Psalm 84:5 Blessed (literally, straight/upright, happy) are you, because this is a revelation from God, just as Simon/Peter received when God the Father gave him the revelation that Jesus is the Christ (Matthew 16:17)!

In your heart is the highway to His presence!

Blessed are you! A way was prepared in your heart when you repented and confessed your sin, just as with those baptized by John in advance of Jesus’ ministry on earth. It is the highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8)! You are filled with the Holy Spirit!

Psalm 84:6 And what happens because His presence is in you? As you walk about in the valley of weeping, you make it a spring, a place of fountains of living water. And that valley, now flowing with an endless supply of living water, also sees showers of blessing (Ezekiel 34:26).

Psalm 84:7 Everyone who seeks and receives God’s strength appears before God (NASB “in Zion”). That is, they stand before Him, in His presence!

Blessed are you if you seek His strength, for surely you will receive it!

Psalm 84:11 He is a sun and a shield — light and protection — He gives such ones grace and His presence within them, and He does not withhold any good thing from you, because they walk with integrity (without blemish, complete, full and perfect before Him)!

Psalm 84:12 O Lord of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You, who is confident, sure and bold because it is Your strength that is in him!

How blessed will YOU be if you seek His strength, His power, His might! Then you have the strength to do your assignment!

Isaiah 40:29-31

To the one who understands that he LACKS the might to do God’s works, the Lord increases power —  and that Hebrew word is only used of God’s power, with just a couple of exceptions.

His power comes to those who wait on Him, who entwine themselves with Him. They gain new strength, which literally means they CHANGE ABILITY.

So they exchange their strength for His, and in His power, they fly high, they run and walk without tiredness or weariness!

Those whose strength is the Lord also exchange their faith to His faith (Romans 1:17), their sin nature for His divine nature, their glory for His glory, ever-increasing, from one degree of glory to the next (2Corinthians 3:18)!

When you confess your weakness, your inability to do your assignment and ask Him for His power) —  the world will see Christ’s strength, His power, in you. (2Corinthians 12:9). And I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)!

As you go about on your assignment from Him, rivers of living water will flow from your belly (John 7:37-39), and the valley of weeping will become like a valley of fountains, showers of blessing (Ezekiel 34:26)!

And  you will not hesitate to go, but will go forth immediately and joyfully because you know you are going in His strength, not yours.

But I have some admonitions for the church. Many of you are not going, and thus, not doing your assignment. You are silent. You are afraid. You know you don’t have power nor boldness to testify of Christ. Ask your Father in heaven to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and He will gladly do it!

Many of you are working in your own strength. Some of you have been quite successful in building large churches, in you own strength. But if you are not working in His strength, they will worship you and look to you, and not Him.

Also, you and I have seen that many who work in their own strength have burned out, and many who work in their own strength have had their secret sins uncovered publicly, giving the world more fodder to make a mockery of Christ.

Repent and turn, and He will yet receive you and give you His strength. When you ask Him for His strength, by being filled with the Holy Spirit, He will oblige, and you will begin to work for the glory of the Father and the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

BECOMING THE PROOF

[SW200] 09/04/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Becoming the Proof”

I could tell you the truth about humanity’s condition and their need for a Savior, and with great passion, I could show you why it is true, but it will have no power to change hearts if I myself am not the living proof of it.

I could reason with you, I could show that there is archeological evidence that the Bible is true, I could argue with you endlessly about such things.

But I become living proof when God so changes me inwardly that it is impossible to deny the truth. That’s when the church becomes the church, beloved. When Christians claim the Bible is true but do not live out what it says, the world laughs.

If I am not like Jesus, I can tell you about Him all day long, and you will look at how I live, and scoff at me.

That’s why Jesus told His disciples to wait in the city to be clothed with power from on high. They already had authority to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons, and they had done so.

But this is a different kind of power. It is the power to live as Christ lived when He was on the earth. It is the power of the Holy Spirit, no longer beside them but IN them. He makes us new on the inside, giving us a new heart, a new nature, and the fruit of Him — His love, His joy, His peace, His patience, His kindness, His goodness, His faithfulness, His gentleness, and His Spirit controlling us.

It is the power to be His witnesses here, to be people who actually have Jesus inside of them, living through them, showing Himself to the world here and now.

When you are His witness (the original Greek word is the source of our word, “martyr”) because you have died and He lives in you, people will sense Him in you.

It isn’t that you do the Law, dotting i’s and crossing t’s to be sure you act right, but it’s being made right by God dwelling in you.

Then you don’t have to prove anything. He is obviously in you. So when you speak, your hearers  know it is God and they either receive or reject Him and His Christ.

You see, Ephesians 5:8-10 means much more than trying and failing and trying and failing to do what pleases God. When you are filled with God’s Spirit, you BECOME that which pleases God — obedient, and filled with His power and love.

It is great news, but millions in the church have not heard of it. We are happy to be saved, and rightly believe it is instantly done when we repent and believe. But we have a hard time believing that God can change our hearts permanently and totally, in an instant.
There’s plenty of evidence against it — all you have to do is look at how many of us live.
Our actions belie our claim that we are full of God. We act no different than we did before. We still sin, we still willfully disobey God, we still lust, we still covet, we are yet hypocrites.

And so we conclude that it is impossible to do what Christ clearly teaches. We see no evidence of it. There are no witnesses, we say, so it must not be true.

But there are witnesses! Some have offered the Lord their hearts in flames of holy love!

Some have testified, “Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast-bound in sin and nature’s night. Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light. My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee!” That was John and Charles Wesley’s testimony, and they were His witnesses.

And even today, some of us have totally abandoned ourselves to God, have received the fullness of His wonderful Spirit, and we are no longer slaves to sin! The chains have fallen off! And we rise and are able to follow, to obey, to live like Christ in this world. Our faces shine with His presence, and we leap and shout and praise His holy name!
We were beggars at Gate Beautiful who had never walked as God walks. We were born lame. And now we can walk!

Now, He works His wonders among us and through us, just as He did when He was on the earth. And just like He promises, we do greater, because now that His Spirit is poured out, those who are filled with Him can be used to fill others!

Will you believe it? If you know you are not living like Jesus, then I am here to tell you that even today, God is still ready and waiting to fill you with His Spirit and change you so profoundly that people will know God is real and He is in you!

Jesus says that he who rejects Him, rejects the One who sent Him. Jesus was rejected by many who wanted to retain their traditions and political power. He came against all of it, simply by speaking the truth and being the Truth.

And it is the same today. We expect the world to reject Him. But it grieves God that much of the church of today rejects His Spirit and His truth. It is not unexpected, for Paul spoke of it in 2Timothy 3, writing that in the last days, all the lawlessness we see today would come, and that many would have a form of religion while denying its power. That means its power to change human hearts.

God and God alone profoundly changes human hearts. He is still at work. Jesus has not changed. God’s promises are still offered to you. Believe and receive.

THE GOD OF MORE THAN ENOUGH

The God of More Than Enough
 
Jesus Christ multiplied the loaves and the fish to feed thousands. Today, I praise God and celebrate the fact that 14 years ago, on the evening of September 1 into the wee hours of September 2, I had an encounter with Jesus Christ in which He healed me of multiple sclerosis, an incurable disease. Glory to His name!
 
He had already reconciled me to God, back in 1998.
He had already instantly delivered me from drug addiction, in a moment in time, back in 1975, when I didn’t even know Him yet.
But He is the God of more than enough, so He put a hunger in me to know Him. That was all I wanted. I wasn’t even seeking healing. Just Him. But He is the God of more than enough, so He showed me He is my Healer.
 
Well, I wanted His power to proclaim this wonderful thing, so I began to pray to be filled with His Holy Spirit. And because He is the God of more than enough, He filled me, and He gave me much more than power to proclaim — He gave me Himself, and now He lives and rules and reigns in me, His love has filled my heart and I am a partaker of His divine nature.
 
I tell you, He is a Fountain inside of me, ever bubbling up and flowing from me to others! That’s right, to others!! You see, although I was the beneficiary of His more-than-enoughness, the purpose was so I would be His witness here. I am the proof He is who He says He is. I am the proof, glory to God, and I will forever shout from the rooftops what He has whispered in my ear. What did He whisper? “With Me, all things are possible!”