THE FULFILLMENT

[SW384] 6/29/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“The Fulfillment”

 Text: Matthew 5:17,  Matthew 22:34-40, Luke 24:44-49, etc.

The Lord has asked me to show you what He means by fulfillment, so you may understand why He requires what He requires of you. Why did He ask me to “connect the dots” so you could understand the fulfillment? It is not taught in most churches, because teachers cannot teach what they have not experienced. 

Here are the words of Jesus Christ that I will use to connect the dots for you, so you may see the whole picture of the fulfillment —

Matthew 5:17   “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”

Matthew 22:37 And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Luke 24:44   Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 “You are witnesses of these things. 49 “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

I will teach these to you, one by one. First, He did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. He did not come to say, “None of that applies to you, now that I have come.” He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. There are 113 prophecies of His coming, in the Law and the Prophets, and He fulfilled every one, per Holman’s Book of Charts, Maps, and Reconstructions, and I also find others not listed in that reference book, from time to time.

But what do I mean, when I say He also came to make believers the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets? I will show you!

Fulfillment of the Law, By Believers

Jesus summarized the Law of Moses in this way, from Deuteronomy 6:5, when an expert in the Law tried to entrap Him into saying something contrary to the Law by asking what is the great commandment in the Law   

Matthew 22:37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

If you love the Lord completely and perfectly, with His perfect love, then you fulfill the greatest and foremost commandment — that is, you fulfill the commandment that makes you able to gladly obey all His commandments. 

If you love Jesus Christ with His perfect love, you obey Him. If you do not love Him with His perfect love, you do not obey Him (John 14:15, 23-24).

If you love Him with His perfect love, then you will also fulfill the second commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself, with that same perfect love.

Who is your neighbor? Everyone! How do you love them? By being Christ to them, walking as He walked, and being as He is in this world (1John 2:5, 4:17).

On these two commandments, said the Lord, depend the whole Law and the Prophets. Loving the Lord with His divine love, and your neighbor with His divine love, is the foundation for the whole of the Law and Prophets. 

So, when you are filled with His divine love, you fulfill the whole Law and the Prophets. How are you filled with His divine love? By obeying Jesus Christ command to be filled with His Holy Spirit, just as I have read in Luke 24:49. And He repeats His command in Acts 1:4-5.

Jesus Christ gives this command to all believers —

Matthew 5:48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

But you will say, “No one is perfect. How can Jesus Christ expect me to be perfect? It is impossible!” It will be for you, until you believe what He commands.

Beloved, the Lord is speaking of His perfect, divine love! When you are filled with His love, you will also unfailingly obey Him. Hallelujah!

Paul writes 

Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

In Luke 24:44-49, Jesus speaks of Himself as the fulfillment, and also gives you a command. If you obey Him, He will make you the fulfillment, by filling you with His Spirit and His perfect love, and it will overflow and flow from you!

Continuing in Luke 24:44-49, He said that while He was still with them, He had told them all things that are written about Him in the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms (particularly Psalms 22 and 118, but in many other places as well), and that He had come to fulfill them.

Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures (the Old Testament), and said, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead on the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations beginning from Jerusalem.” 

He said,”You are witnesses of these things.” And indeed, they were! They had seen the risen Christ. He was with them, speaking to them!

But there was only one way for them to become the fulfillment. In Luke 24:49,  He gave them this command — “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you, but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

He spoke this to those who already believed in Him and were following Him. It is the same today. Jesus Christ commands you in the same way. He commands you to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so you fulfill the promise of His Father, given in the Law and the Prophets. 

Peter speaks of what happened to him, and what happens to all believers when they stay and wait for His promises from the Law and the Prophets —

2Peter 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Ah! When you are filled with the Spirit, you become partakers of God’s divine nature! Then you are His witness here (Acts 1:8), because then you are filled with His perfect love Then you fulfill the Law and the Prophets, because you are filled with the Law-Giver and His divine love!

Fulfillment of the Prophets, by Believers

When you are filled, these prophecies are fulfilled within you and through you —

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.”

He purifies you when you are filled with the Spirit. He removes your heart of stone that sinned against Him, and gives you a heart of flesh that responds to His every whisper! Then you become the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy!

And the LORD promises, through Jeremiah —

Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

He writes His law on your heart! And then He is your God, and there is no other. It is just as I spoke in my last message. Then you become the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy!

Malachi proclaims that the LORD will purify hearts, refining them with fire —

Malachi 3:2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi (priests) and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.”

Peter confirms that after Cornelius and all his household were saved, they experienced another event, receiving exactly what he and the rest of the 120 received in the upper room in Acts 2 —

Acts 15:8 “And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing (purifying) their hearts by faith.”

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you become the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy. Therefore, the Lord, Jesus Christ commands this to His church —

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.”

And indeed they were, ten days later, per Acts 2:1-4. Then they became the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, with, through, and by Christ!

As I said at the beginning of this message, the Lord asked me to speak these truths because they are not taught in the majority of churches today. But these are the truths of God! How can they leave them out? How can they proclaim that you cannot be purified? How can they claim that He cannot fill you with  divine love, even to overflowing, and crucify the sin nature (Galatians 5:240 that was the root of your disobedience?

The Lord has been showing me an awful truth, beloved In today’s church, many who teach and preach and lead do not know Him. They have no intimate relationship with Him. They do not love Him, and do not obey Him. He is just a theological idea.

How can those who do not know the Lord at all (true of many seminary professors, per Drs. John Oswalt and Dennis Kinlaw), teach others to be filled with the Holy Spirit so they become the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets? And how can those who have not been filled with the Spirit teach others to be filled with the Spirit? You cannot teach what you have not become.

Beloved, the Lord called me into ministry to speak the truth to you. I exhort you to repent from rejecting the Holy Spirit by saying, “I don’t need ‘it,’” and to warn you that if you do not become what Jesus Christ commands that you become, you will be judged by Him when you stand before Him (see Matthew 25:24-30).  

Therefore, repent and be filled with the Spirit, so you are able to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, as He has commanded you!

Now that you know what you are called to become, will you obey His command to stay and wait? I pray without ceasing that all believers would stay and wait!

Lord Jesus, Your Word judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. Through the words You have given me to speak, may many see their hearts and repent. Amen.

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ISAIAH SESSION 13 — HE CONQUERS THE STRONGEST ENEMIES

Text: Isaiah 10:5-34

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. And He has assigned me to speak to today’s believers.

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be “He Conquers the Strongest Enemies.” The Lord used Assyria, the most powerful enemy of Ephraim and Judah, to discipline and punish His people, so that they would repent and return to Him. 

But He knew they intended to go far beyond His purposes, and would attempt to destroy His people completely. Therefore, He will punish Assyria, after He finishes His punishment of Israel.

Verses 5-6 —

So, woe to Assyria! They are the rod of the LORD’s anger against His rebellious people. They are the ones through whom His people will be punished. He sends them against a godless nation — even His own! And He commissions them against the people with whom He is furious — even His own people! 

He sends the Assyrians to capture booty and to seize plunder, and to trample His people down like mud in the streets — that is, to take away the riches and the world’s idols and wisdom and ways that they are trusting in, and to bring them low, to humble them so they are face-down. 

Verse 7 —

But the LORD knows that Assyria intends to utterly destroy His people from the face of the earth. They do not intend to do only what the LORD has sent them to do, but to go far beyond it. Their purpose is to destroy and to cut off (completely annihilate) many nations, including Ephraim and Judah!

Verses 8-11 —

The Enemy, Satan, boasts, as do those who are his children. So Assyria boasts that its princes are altogether kings. After all, they rule over the known world! And as for the cities of Israel, such cities are no different from any of the other cities they have conquered! 

Assyria’s king says, no gods have been able to defeat me! I have beaten the kingdoms of the idols, and their graven images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria. 

Jerusalem and Samaria worship all the gods of the lands whom I have already defeated, but they also claim a God who has no graven image of Himself! He will be easy to defeat, just as easily as I defeated Marduk and Hadad, Baal and El! 

So I shall do to Jerusalem and her images just as I have done to Samaria and her idols. Assyria’s arrogant words are heard by the LORD! And what will the LORD do?

Verse 12 —

Here is the LORD’s answer! So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion, to humble them before Himself, He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness.” 

The fruit of his heart are his words, for out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). It is the same today!

The king of Assyria is like the lofty bough of a tree. His pride and haughtiness (arrogance) will be brought low, and he will suffer at the hands of another nation. What nation? Babylon, with whom the Medes joined hands to overthrow the Assyrian empire in 616 B.C. — 100 years in the future. His empire will be obliterated!

Verse 13-14 —

What are  the king of Assyria’s boasts? By the power of my hand and by my wisdom I did this, for I have understanding, and I removed the boundaries of the peoples and plundered their treasures, and like a mighty man I brought down (subdued) their inhabitants. I, I, I! 

The reality was that nothing was accomplished the king of Assyria’s hand. He only succeeded because the Lord wanted to use him as His instrument for disciplining and punishing His wayward people, so they would repent.

And the king of Assyria’s boasts continued. My hand reached to the riches like a nest, and as one gathers abandoned eggs, I gathered all the earth, and there was not one that flapped its wing or opened its beak or chirped. 

I have taken the riches of the earth, and no one has even protested! Of course, that was because many were dead, and the rest carried off into exile. But again, he was only successful because the Lord had chosen to use him to discipline His own wayward people. 
It is the same today. Satan and his children boast. But nothing happens without the Lord’s permission, and nothing happens outside of His plan. He has created the blacksmith, Satan —

Isaiah 54:16  “Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and brings out a weapon for its work; and I have created the destroyer to ruin.”

BUT if you serve Him and Him only, here is His promise —

Isaiah 54:17  “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;  and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.

Verse 15 —

So the Lord’s response continues. Assyria is the axe, but it is the Lord who chops down. The axe can do nothing unless someone wields it. 

It is as if the king of Assyria says, I am the club, and I will wield the Lord! I am the rod and I will wield the Lord! It is the Lord who wields, and Assyria is just His tool. 

Verses 16-19 —

Therefore, the Lord, the GOD of hosts, will send a wasting disease among the king of Assyria’s stout warriors, and under the king’s glory, a fire will be kindled like a burning flame. Fire destroys! The king will be destroyed! By whom?

He will be destroyed by the light of Israel, which will become a fire and His Holy One a flame — the angel of the Lord will come like a flame! 

The angel of the Lord will burn and devour the king of Assyria’s thorns and briars, which are of no value and useless except to be burned in the fire. All the Assyrians are of no value, in the Lord’s eyes, for they went far beyond what He commissioned them to do.

The angel of the LORD will do it in a single day, as I  have already shown you —

Isaiah 37:36   Then the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, all of these were dead.

The flame of the angel of the Lord will destroy the glory of the king of Assyria’s forest and the fruitful garden! Though he and his army have won many battles, he and they would fall at the Lord’s hand —

Isaiah 37:37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh. 38 It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place.

Soul and body, like a sick man wastes away. Then Babylon and the Medes will come upon them, and they will be obliterated. The remainder of his vast army will be so small in number that a child would be able to write them down. 

Verses 20-23 —

The Lord now speaks through Isaiah to the remnant left in Ephraim, and to those of the house of Jacob (again, a reference to northern Israel) who escaped capture by Assyria. They will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. 
A remnant now in hiding will return, the remnant of Jacob, but the Lord is not referring to a return to a geographic location. The Lord means that they will return to Him. That has been His desire, all along, and that is why He sent Assyria to punish them. 

Have you been brought low? Are you a mere remnant of what you were, because of your sin? Are you in ruins? Then return to the LORD! Truly rely on Him and Him alone!

Israel’s people were like the sand of the sea, but now, only a remnant will be there. But they will return to Him. Why will there be only a remnant? Because He has determined destruction — overflowing (inundated) with righteousness. 

He is a righteous God whose people have refused Him again and again. So no one can say He is not right to punish His people (or even to destroy them, if they still refuse Him). But He will leave a remnant!

It will be a complete destruction of Ephraim as a nation, however. It is one that He has decreed, for only He can declare and decree! The Lord GOD of hosts will execute this destruction in the midst of the whole land of Ephraim.

Verses 24-25 —

The Lord GOD of hosts tells those who dwell in Zion, do not fear the Assyrian who strikes you with the rod and lifts up his staff against you, the way Egypt did (and that Pharaoh, in Exodus, was also an Assyrian). 

Why should Jerusalem not fear the king of Assyria? Because in a very little while, the Lord’s indignation against His people will be spent and His anger will be directed to the destruction of the Assyrians. 

Again, this is just according to Isaiah 37:36 and forward! Do not doubt that Satan, along with the false prophet and all those who follow after him and trust in him, will ultimately be punished in the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20, 20:10)!

Verses 26-27 —

The LORD of hosts will arouse a scourge (stir up a whip, even Babylon and the Medes) against the king of Assyria, just as with the slaughter at Midian at the rock of Oreb (Judges 7:25). The LORD’s staff will be over the sea and He will lift it up just as He did through Moses, when the LORD brought the plagues against Egypt, recorded in the Book of Exodus.

Verses 28-32 —

Thanks to John Oswalt for the history around this series of verses. They record the route taken by the king of Assyria to come southward to Jerusalem. He began in the north, following the Jordan Rift to avoid Gibeon, Ramah, and Gibeah, which were strong cities. 

He was not slowed by the deep wadi between Michmash and Geba, because he left his baggage train in Michmash. Then, he and his army were able to leap across the wadi before nightfall. He stopped at Nob, where he could  overlook the city of Jerusalem. And he shook his fist at the mountain of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. NOTE: Today, Hebrew University is at Nob. 

Verses 33-34 —

Ah! Then the Lord, the GOD of hosts will lop off the boughs — the boasting and pride and arrogance of Assyria. They will fall with a terrible crash! Those who are tall in stature and lofty will be abased. He will humble the king of Assyria, and his vast army, in one night! 

He will cut down the tickets of the forest — even the army of Assyria. He will do it with an iron axe. He will wield His own axe, and His angel will strike them down. The Mighty One will cause them to fall!

Today, many boast against the Lord. And today, many of His people rebel against Him. So, He will use Satan to discipline and punish them, so that they will return to Him. 

Many of His people will still refuse Him and rebel, and they will perish. But a remnant will remain. Such ones will return to Him and trust in Him and Him alone., for they will obey Jesus Christ’s command to stay and wait, and will be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire — purified inwardly, and set free from slavery to sin! 

Then, just as I have spoken earlier, this promise will be theirs —

Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage (inheritance) of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication (righteousness) is from Me,” declares the LORD.

And in the end, just as with the king of Assyria, Satan and the false prophet and all who follow them will receive the punishment they are due, in the lake of fire (again, Revelation 19:20, 20:10)!

Lord Jesus, may Your people hear and understand that the difficulties they are enduring are because of their rebellion against You. May they return to You, so they are not destroyed! May they be part of the remnant who turn back to You with their whole hearts. Let it be so, I pray! Amen!

HIS FINGER

[SW383] 6/22/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“His Finger”

 Text: Jeremiah 17:1-13 & 31:31-34, 2Cor 2:1-3, etc.

Since Adam’s sin, every human has a sin nature that is deeply ingrained in their heart. What is the solution? The finger of God! 

I love what the commentator for Jeremiah wrote, in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Only when His finger writes His law in our hearts can obedience replace rebellion.

With His finger, the Lord wrote the Ten Commandments, on tablets of stone — 

Exodus 31:18   When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.

His commandments revealed His character and nature to His people. And His commandments were His instructions to them, teaching them how they must live, as His people.

But just as it is today, His people rejected His law. They were obstinate, unwilling to obey the Lord’s commands. 

Their hearts were uncircumcised, hardened with a thick covering upon which they had engraved their sin, so their hearts were not responsive to Him — 

Jeremiah 17:1 The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus;  with a diamond point it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart and on the horns of their altars (to false gods). 

They had deeply engraved their sin on their own hardened hearts! So the Lord exhorted them   

Jeremiah 4:4 “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of your heart, men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or else My wrath will go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.”

In the beginning of this message, I said that only when His finger writes His law on our hearts can obedience replace rebellion. 

But the Lord also promised that He would someday make a new covenant with His people —

Jeremiah 31:31   “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. 33“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

A new covenant, not like the first one that His finger wrote on stone tablets! At some future time, He would put His Law within them and write it upon their hearts! 

What would He use for His writing instrument? His finger, just as He did with the first covenant. Paul describes it to the believers at Corinth —

2Corinthians 3:3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

When is your heart circumcised? When does He write His law on your heart, with His finger? You have heard it from these passages — it is when you are filled with the Holy Spirit! 

You may say, “I believed in Jesus Christ and received all of the Spirit, at the moment I was baptized in water.”  Beloved, you received a measure, but you were not filled with the Spirit. 

In John 20:22, the Lord gave His disciples a measure when He blew on them. But they still had to wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). Then, with His finger, He wrote His law on their hearts!

I tell you the truth, I believed and received a measure of the Spirit, but I still sinned against the Lord. I had to wait for the promise of the Father, just like the 120 in that upper room in Acts 1 and 2. Only then was my sin-engraved heart circumcised! Only then did the Lord write the Law on my heart, with His finger! Only then did I no longer sin against Him! 

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will have an obedient heart like Christ’s heart. David describes Christ’s heart —

Psalms 40:8 I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.” 

Today’s Church

Why has today’s church erased this truth from the Word of God — the truth that when a believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, their sin nature is crucified and they become free, indeed, from slavery to sin, just as Christ promised — 

John 8:34   Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Why do they call Jesus Christ a liar? Why do they love the world, trusting in man’s ways and man’s wisdom? Why do they defy His commands to stay (Luke 24:49) and wait (Acts 1:4-5), after having believed into Him?

John tells us why —

1John 2:15  Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in (within) him.

The love of the Father is not within those who have erased such truths. The love of the Father cannot be in them or they would not say and do what they say and do!

The love of the Father is only within those upon whose hearts He has written His Law. It is only when He writes His law on your heart that obedience replaces rebellion. It is only then that the sin nature is crucified. It is only then that you are able to be His witnesses here (Acts 1:8).

For those who erase the biblical truth of baptism with the Holy Spirit after obeying His commands to stay wait, His finger is a finger of judgment. Where do I see that He has a finger of judgment? Jeremiah 17:13b. Jesus wrote down the names of the sinning Pharisees who condemned the adulterous woman (John 8:6-8). 

For those who say, “You receive everything when you are baptized in water,” His finger is a finger of judgment. 

His finger is a finger of judgment for those who teach, “Keep at it and you will gradually overcome your sin nature,” instead of exhorting believers, saying, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit, and your sin nature will be crucified (Galatians 5:24)!”

He calls those who teach such things hypocrites, play-actors who are the same as the Pharisees who teach outward obedience, not heart change 

Matthew 23:13  “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”

Those who erase the biblical truth keep people from entering the kingdom of heaven. They have not entered, so they do not allow entry to those who try to enter the kingdom of heaven. 

They drive off those who are entering, calling them heretics and demon-possessed! The Lord’s finger is a finger of judgment for them!

Do not be surprised if they attempt to do the same to you, when you have caught a glimpse of the truth. The hypocritical, play-acting Jews called Jesus Christ demon-possessed —

John 8:48   The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.”

Those who accuse you of having a demon because you speak the truth surely make it evident that the love of the Father is not within them. And by their actions, they dishonor both the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son. For them, His finger is a finger of judgment.

His finger is a finger of judgment for those who have only a form of godliness, in the fierce times in which we live today. Paul prophesies to Timothy 

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

Oh, beloved! The answer to your sin-engraved, hardened heart is His finger, with which He will gladly write His law on the tablet of your heart, when He fills you with His Holy Spirit!

I tell you the truth, many in today’s church will remain spiritually wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked (Revelation 3:17) because so very few have asked the Lord to write His law with His finger on the tablet of their heart! 

They do not know Him at all, but only know about Him. Therefore, their hearts are unchanged. Worst of all, because they do not know Him, He will not know them, when they stand before Him on the day of judgment. How tragic!

Do you see the poverty-stricken condition of your sin-engraved, hardened heart, O sinning believer? Will you repent and cry out to your Father in heaven to fill you with His Spirit (Luke 11:13), thereby writing His Law on your heart and making you His letter! If you ask, He will sanctify you entirely (1Thessalonians 5:23)! 

Those who have a form of godliness but deny its power will recoil at those words, just as the Church of England did when John Wesley told them the truth which is in Christ. So Wesley went out into the fields, and many were saved, and those already saved were sanctified entirely! In the same way, I have gone out into the fields, for the same purpose.

I tell you the truth, when those who do not know the Lord see a believer upon whose heart the Lord has used His finger to write His law, they will take note that that believer has been with God. They will see Jesus Christ in that one, for that one is His letter!

Touched by the finger of God! Think of it! A divine touch, a merciful touch, a transforming touch, a touch that frees, a touch of entire sanctification, a touch by which you will know Him, and He will know you!

He wrote with His finger on tablets of stone in order to show humans the poverty-stricken condition of their hearts. He writes with His finger on human hearts to cure that condition! 

Has the Lord written with His finger on your heart? Then you have rejoiced at this message, for you say, “Yes! He did that in me!” You will be glad to hear someone who speaks of this awesome work of the Lord, on human hearts! 

But if you have not asked the Lord to write on your heart with His finger, then you are offended by the words He has given me to speak. You will resist these words. 

You will say it is impossible. It will be impossible for you, as long as your sin-engraved heart is hard. It will be impossible for you, until you obey Jesus Christ’s commands to all believers, to stay (Luke 24:49) and wait (Acts 1:4-5).

For you who say it is impossible, I pray most heartily, beloved! May you know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, by being filled up to all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19)!  For those in whose hearts He has written His law with His finger, I need not pray. You delight to do His will!

Lord Jesus, may believers heed these words You have given me, and see their need!  Let it be so, I pray! Amen!

ISAIAH SESSION 12 — HIS HAND IS STILL STRETCHED OUT

Text: Isaiah 9:8-10:4

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. And He has assigned me to speak to today’s believers.

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be “His Hand Is Still Stretched Out.” “Hand” means strength, power, and it is stretched out against His people in Ephraim (northern Israel) who defy Him and continue to rebel against Him. But it is also stretched out today, against His people who defy Him and rebel against Him. His anger does not turn away from those who refuse to repent. 

Isaiah 9:8-21

Verses 8-10 —

The Lord (the LORD of Hosts, the Captain of the armies of the LORD) sends a message (a word — that is, a prophecy) against Jacob, and it falls (lights upon) on Israel. Again, when His people Israel are backslidden, he calls them Jacob, the supplanter and deceiver who wrestled with Him and was changed by Him, and his name was changed to Israel.  

And all the people know (declare) — Ephraim and the inhabitants of its capitol, Samaria. In pride and arrogance, they speak, because they think they are wiser than the LORD!

What do they say? The bricks have fallen down. We are being conquered! But WE will rebuild! The sycamores (fig-bearing trees) have been cut down, but WE will replace them with cedars, a symbol of tenacity — that is, firmly gripping. 

Assyria had already overrun some of the northernmost parts of Ephraim. But the rest of northern Israel, especially the capital, Samaria, think they cannot be conquered.

 So they pay no attention to Assyria, nor to the LORD’s prophets. No matter what our enemies do, we can and will rebuild! They exalt themselves against their God! Their arrogance flies in the face of the Lord, who has warned them again and again, through His prophets! 

How often do believers do that today? The LORD has allowed Satan to attack them, but they say,  I will build myself back up, better than ever! I will firmly grip my future, and make it happen! 

They do not stop to ask the Lord if they are broken down because He is disciplining them for their sin. I pray they would see it, and repent! 

Verses 11-12 — 

Because of the arrogance and rebellion of all of Ephraim, the LORD raises against them adversaries from Rezin (Syria) and spurs them on! The Syrians on their east, and the Philistines on their west, devour Israel with the whole mouth. They greedily gobble them up! 
No matter where northern Israel turns, they will find that their neighboring countries have joined forces with Assyria. And their enemies arise at the LORD’s orders. He is in charge, not His people Israel!

In spite of all that the LORD has just described to them, His anger does not turn away. It is not yet quenched. And His hand (power, strength) is still stretched out against them.

Verse 13 —

Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts. They see their enemies invading them, but rely on their own strength and spurn Him! They do not cry out in repentance and say, Forgive us! They say, we can take care of ourselves! Thus, they act foolishly!

Verses 14-15 —

Therefore, the LORD cuts off (destroys) both the head and the tail from Israel, palm branch (the most honored) and bulrush (the most humble in circumstance but not in heart) in a single day. The head is the elder and honorable man (exalted of face), and the false prophets are the tail. 

They will be cut off, they will be killed, in a single day! It is just as with Assyria, when they came against Jerusalem. The angel of the LORD struck 185,000 in one night! 

Verses 16-17 —

There is a lesson here for all of us! And the lesson continues. Those who guide this people and lead them astray will be brought to confusion (destroyed). The Lord shall not rejoice over their young men (He has no regard for their natural strength), nor will He have pity on their orphans or their widows. 

What? Aren’t orphans and widows innocent and living in humble circumstances? 

Hear the LORD, beloved. Widows and orphans who follow falsehood are as guilty as those who lead them in that way! 

For every one of them leaders, false prophets, young warriors, orphans and widows — is godless (soiled with sin) and an evildoer. They are all rebelling against the LORD. Even the orphans and widows listen to those who speak lies to them. Every mouth is speaking foolishness (wickedness). 

Verses 18-19 —

Their wickedness is like a forest fire, consuming everything in its path. A huge column of smoke rises, as His rebellious people are consumed. Sin will consume you, O believer!

Assyria may appear to be the source of Ephraim’s destruction, but it is by (because of) the fury of the LORD of Hosts that all of the land is consumed by fire. It happens because He is stretching out His power and strength against His own people, so they may turn and repent. 

His outstretched arm, His outstretched power and strength. For thirty years, Assyria will invade and consume the land, laying siege on it, as the instrument of the LORD, for the punishment of His people. Then their work will be complete. 

But remember, His goal in judging them and punishing them is that they would hear and heed His words, and repent and return to Him! It is the same today.

Verses 20-21 —

These verses illustrate the long-held hatred between Manasseh and Ephraim, tribes of northern Israel, and their combined hatred of their brethren, Judah. 

They devour one another’s strength (right hand), but that is not enough to quench their hatred. They eat both the right hand and the left, but still they hate each other. And their mutual hatred devours both Manasseh and Ephraim. 

Is there hatred in your heart? You will surely devour yourself with it. Repent and cry out for the Lord to give you a new heart! Cry out for Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit!

In all of this, the LORD’s anger does not turn away, and His hand — His power and strength — is still stretched out. He will send them all into exile, far away from His presence!

Isaiah 10:1-4

Verses 1-2 —

The LORD’s judgment continues. Woe to those who enact evil statutes — ones that are contrary to Him! And woe to those who constantly record unjust decisions — ones who rule against those who are faithful to Him!

Why do they do such things? In order to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of His people of their rights! Unjust rulings abound against those who are least able to defend themselves.

Verse 3 —

So, what will Ephraim do in the day of punishment and in the devastation the LORD has ordered from afar? To whom will Ephraim flee for help? Where will they hide the wealth they prize, so it is not taken from them? 

There will be nowhere for the people of Ephraim to hide, and no help from the Lord. He will send them into captivity, that they may turn and repent. 

Verse 4 —

In the day of punishment, there will be only two choices for His rebellious people can do — crouch among the captives, or fall among the slain. Go into captivity, or try to fight, and die at the hands of the Assyrian army.

In all of this, His anger does not turn away, nor does He withdraw His hand (his strength, His power). There is more to come, not only for Ephraim, but for Assyria and Jerusalem. The LORD has promised, per 8:8,  that Assyria will even come up to Jerusalem’s neck! Yet Assyria will flee, when the angel of the LORD destroys 185,000 of their soldiers in one night!

O Lord, the arrogance of northern Israel is seen in today’s church. May believers and church leaders see that boasting about man’s strength, the cleverness of man’s ways, and man’s intellect is as repugnant to the Lord as Ephraim’s reliance on their riches and their own military strength. May they understand that You are furious with them, Lord, and repent. Let it be so, I pray. Amen.

THE WHITEWASHED CHURCH

[SW383] 6/15/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“The Whitewashed Church”

 Text: Ezekiel 13:1-16, etc.

I want you to picture a wall, thickly covered with plaster to conceal what lies beneath. This wall is made of evil that desolates, and the thick plaster is made of witchcraft (the practice of magic). 

Who builds such a wall, and where is this wall? False prophets, teachers and leaders build it! Where is it? In Judah in the days of Ezekiel, and in the church, today! The Lord’s great desire is that you see this truth and repent, for  surely, He will forgive you, if you repent from the depths of your heart. 

Ezekiel prophesied from Babylon, where he was taken during the first of several waves of exile of the Jews in Judah. His words from the LORD were for those in exile, and those in Judah who had not yet been carried into exile. And they are for you, today.

The LORD was long gone from them — His glory (His weighty presence) had left the temple, then the outer court, and finally, Jerusalem itself (Ezekiel 11:23), because of the idolatry His people were committing. 

It is the same in today’s church. In many places, Jesus left the building long ago. 

What idolatry is being committed in today’s church? Idolatry of self, with millions, and even billions, of believers across the globe flocking to the “me-centered” gospel that is carried by false prophets, teachers and leaders in the church. 

This misleading, seductive gospel is fueled by the inborn sin nature. And those who speak it have no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:18). 

I tell you the truth — though by speaking this truth, I am mocked in much of today’s church — the Lord will gladly crucify your sin nature and fill you with His Holy Spirit, O believer, if you will believe Him. 

Verses 1-2 —

The Lord commands Ezekiel to prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy. He was to say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, “Listen to the Word of the Lord.” 

If the LORD has to say, “Listen to Me,” then these prophets are certainly not listening. They do not hear from the Lord, or know Him at all, for if they did, they would never say what they say, and do what they do.

The false prophets in Ezekiel’s day did what all false prophets do — they prophesied from their own imagination. I tell you the truth, is the same today. Remember that the mark of true prophets is this — they exhort God’s people to repent, and warn them of the consequences of their sin.

Verses 3-5 —

Thus says the LORD, then and now! Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing. Their end will be destruction!

Ah, but the people have no discernment that they are lying, because the people themselves are sinning and love their sin! By gleefully following false prophets, teachers, and leaders, they reveal that they are spiritually blind, and are still infants in Christ (1Corinthians 3:1). And by their gleeful following of such ones, they reveal that they do not know the voice of the Lord, or they would never follow the voice of strangers (John 10:4-5).

Because they are spiritually blind, they are happy when a false prophet says, “God’s grace will keep increasing, though you keep sinning,” and “You can’t help but sin.” Paul and I exclaim to them —

Romans 6:1   What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

O Israel, O church, your prophets have been like foxes (literally, jackals) among ruins, scavengers among what is left of Judah, and what is left of the church — they are carnivores who devour meat. They devour you, O believer!

Paul warns the Ephesian church of what was to come —

Acts 20:29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

False prophets stroke and stoke the sin of infants in Christ. True prophets climb up into the breaches — the places of sin and thus, spiritual weakness in the hearts of infants in Christ  — and repair the breaches by exhorting believers to repent and ask the Lord to crucify their sin nature and fill them with His Holy Spirit. But it is up to the infants in Christ, to heed or mock the true prophets the Lord sends them.

If the words of true prophets are heeded by infants in Christ, the Lord will build a strong and impenetrable wall around them, one that stands and refuses Satan’s temptations, just as Christ did in Matthew 4:1-7)! And they will stand in the day of the Lord, at the end of things, and Jesus says they will hear from His mouth, Well done, good and faithful slave.” 

But false prophets, teachers and leaders do not speak the truth. Instead, advocate and bless behaviors that are an abomination to the Lord, and elevate those who sin — even to pulpits and even to leadership of entire denominations!

“The day of the LORD” is an end-time reference. What will you do then, O Judah, O church, O infants in Christ? You certainly will not stand, but will be judged, if you have flocked to the sweet-sounding lies of false prophets, teachers and leaders who devour you and whose words destroy you. Hear Hosea’s words about false prophets —

Hosea 4:8 They eat up (feed on) the sin of My people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.

They feed on you, beloved. Their only desire is to continue to lie and to have you continue to believe their lies and continue to sin against the Lord.

Verses 6-7 —

False prophets, then and now, see falsehood and speak lying divination. I will say this in the original Hebrew-to-English — False prophets see evil that desolates, and speak witchcraft.

They say, “The LORD declares,” when the LORD has not spoken to them at all! He has not sent them!

They manipulate their hearers, stoking and stroking them with their evil words. That is witchcraft! Therefore, by their actions and words, they make it evident that the Lord does not know them at all, nor do they know Him!

And yet these prophets hope for the fulfillment of their words. They hope their words will succeed in what they want their words to do. But their words will not be confirmed, because their words do not come from the Lord. 

In the day of judgment, when they stand before Him, He will say —

Matthew 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice (do) lawlessness (sin).”

The LORD says to the false prophets in Ezekiel’s day, “Did you not see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, ‘The LORD declares,’ but it was not the LORD who has spoken?” I ask the same, of today’s false prophets, teachers, and leaders!

Verses 8-9 —

Therefore, the LORD tells all false prophets, then and now, that He is against them. Why? They speak vanity (again, evil that makes desolate) and see a lie (deceit)!

Therefore, His hand is against the false prophets, then and now. They will not be in the council of His people. That means they will not be in the holy, intimate place where those who obey Him will be. They will not be part of His heavenly kingdom.

In addition, their names will not be written down in Israel’s registry. They will not be counted as citizens. They will not enter the promised land called Israel. And for today’s false prophets, their names are not written in the book of life. Only those who obey the Lord will enter His kingdom. Therefore, these false ones and their followers will not enter His kingdom. Instead, they will perish in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). 

Verse 10 —

Why will these things come upon the false prophets in Judah, and the false prophets in today’s church? It is definitely because they have misled (seduced) His people with their sweet-sounding words. What words? They say, ‘peace’ to sinning believers — today’s infants in Christ — when there is no peace between sinning believers and their Lord. 

Then and now, false prophets build walls of deceit, and plaster them over with witchcraft in order to conceal their deceit! 

The scribes of Jesus’ day were experts in the Law of Moses, but did not know the Lord. The Pharisees were the same, obeying the letter of the Law, but sinning in their hearts. Here is what Jesus says of such ones —

Matthew 23:27   “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites (actors under an assumed character)! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

There are many actors under an assumed character in today’s church — even at the highest level of denominations today! They look good on the outside, because they have smeared whitewash over their witchcraft, so you cannot see them! But they are full of dead men’s bones and all impurity.

O blind believer! You do not look to the Word of God to see if what they say is truth. The Lord says then and now, My people perish for lack of intimate knowledge of Me,” and false prophets, leaders and teachers stand judged by Him already —

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed (perish) for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest . . .”

Today’s false prophets, teachers, and leaders are rejected by the Lord, but loved by blind believers who listen to those who do not know the Lord at all. And the blind ones who follow after the false ones do not know Him, either!

Verses 11-12 —

Therefore, the LORD says, Tell those who build a wall of deceit and thickly plaster it over with witchcraft , “Their wall will fall!” Their rickety wall made of lies will not stand! He will bring it down! 

He will send a flooding rain, and He will command the hailstones to fall, and a violent wind will break out. Jeremiah warns of that wind of judgment —

Jeremiah 4:11   In that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A scorching wind from the bare heights in the wilderness in the direction of the daughter of My people — not to winnow and not to cleanse, 12 a wind too strong for this — will come at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them.

When the Lord has blown His wind and rained His hail, the plaster of witchcraft that has concealed the false prophets’ wall of evil that desolates will fall! Then they will be asked, “Where is the plaster with which you have plastered it?” Suddenly, the deceit they have so carefully concealed will be exposed! He will do the same to today’s false prophets, teachers and leaders!

Verses 13-14 —

Again, the LORD repeats that He will make a violent wind break out, in His wrath (fury) toward the false prophets, then and now! Remember that when He repeats His words twice in a row, what He says will happen suddenly! 

And in His anger (breathing rapidly through His nostrils because of His great passion against them), there will also come a flooding rain to consume it, in wrath!

So, He will tear down the false walls of deceit that are plastered over with witchcraft. He will bring those walls down to the ground, so that even the bottom is laid bare! And the false prophets will be consumed in the midst of what they have built! 

Nothing is hidden from the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13)! He is revealing the hidden today, for the sake of His people — including you, O infant in Christ (1Corinthians 3:1)!

I tell you the truth, even now, the Lord is exposing false prophets, teachers and leaders. But many infants in Christ continue to follow them, because they love their words and do not know and fear the one they call “Lord.”

O infant in Christ, at the end of things, on the day of judgment, you will know that He is the Lord, and there is no other. You who have had no fear of Him will suddenly fear Him, but it will be too late. You and the false ones you have loved will be destroyed.

Verses 15-16 —

The LORD has described how He will spend (accomplish) His wrath toward all false prophets, then and now. The LORD will say to His people, “The wall is gone and the plasterers are gone.” 

The plasterers who plastered with witchcraft will be gone, and the wall they built of destructive deceit will be gone. The Lord will spend His wrath on the false prophets, teachers and leaders because they have seen false visions of peace for Judah, and for the church today. The false ones who plastered, and the walls of destructive deceit that they built, will never again be seen! The LORD God declares it. Therefore, it will come to pass!

What is His purpose for exposing false prophets, then and now? That His spiritually blind people will finally see that they have believed words that will destroy them, and have been manipulated with lies, and repent from their hearts. 

He does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). Peter wrote that letter to believers!

Some will say to me, “Once saved, always saved.” But those words are not in the Word of God. If they were, Jesus Christ would not have written to the believers at Sardis that, unless they repented, their names would be erased from the book of life (Revelation 3:5). 

When you believed into Jesus Christ, you were saved from being under God’s wrath, and reconciled to God. But if you continue to rebel by sinning against Him, you will become the Lord’s adversary and lose your salvation —

Hebrews 10:26  For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries (of the Lord).

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says, “Then there remains no sacrifice for sins. Such people have rejected the sacrifice of Christ.”

Beloved, true prophets build strong walls of truth and speak the life-giving Word of God. Those who heed true prophets will stand in the day of the Lord, at the end of things.

But you will only stand if you heed the exhortations of the true prophets the Lord has sent! You must repent, and obey the commands of Jesus Christ to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high, and wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. 

Heed my exhortation today, that you ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit (see Luke 11:13), and crucify your sin nature —

Galatians 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh (the sin nature) with its passions and desires.

Then today’s false prophets, teachers and leaders will no longer have power over you, to draw you into sin, for you will be dead to sin (again, Romans 6:1-2). Therefore, you will no longer sin against the Lord. 

So, die to sin, and you will surely live! Die to sin, and you will surely stand! 

Lord Jesus, may these words open blind eyes to see the deceit and lies they have believed. I pray it in Your name. Amen.

ISAIAH SESSION 11 — HOPE FOR THOSE HE HAS HUMBLED

Text: Isaiah 9:1-7

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. And He has assigned me to speak to today’s believers.

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be “Hope for Those He Has Humbled.” The LORD gives a very encouraging word through Isaiah to those He has humbled, and a warning to the arrogant in northern Israel. And what He says is extremely relevant to all believers today!

First, I need to reiterate Assyria’s custom, when they invaded a country. They would carry the exiles of that nation away, and scatter them across their empire. 

Therefore, it would be impossible for that nation to form again — their people were too far from one another to reorganize. Therefore, they were unable to become a threat to Assyria. And the land they had invaded would be salted with people from other nations that Assyria had conquered.

Just according to Assyria’s custom, then, those exiled from Ephraim were scattered in other lands. Those exiled from other lands were scattered in Ephraim. It was part of the LORD’s punishment of His people, for their rejection of Him. 

Remember, He is sovereign, and chose Assyria as His instrument to humble them, so they would repent and return to Him. That is always His desire!

I also want to be sure to note that, in the Assyrian exile, and later the Babylonian exile, the LORD always ensured that there was a small remnant of the Jews who remained in the land.

Verse 1 —

As I said last time, Isaiah 8:22 spoke of the gloom and anguish that would come in the end times. But that prophecy was also for the days after Ephraim went into exile. Because of its meaning to you as a believer today, I will speak primarily from that perspective, though I will include its meaning for Ephraim.

That remnant of the Jews in Ephraim lived in gloom and anguish. They lived in spiritual darkness and distress, separated from the LORD by their sin. 

Ephraim was no longer a nation. They were under Assyrian rule. And the people of Zebulun and Naphtali were forced to live among Gentiles who worshiped other gods. 

Though the remnant was in the land, they were not free. They were slaves to the Assyrians. In the same way, many today have been saved, but they are still under the rule of their sin nature, so they are not free, but slaves to sin.

But Isaiah prophesies a time when there will be no more darkness for her who was in anguish. Which of the tribes of northern Israel were the most anguished? 

The LORD treated  Zebulun and Naphtali with particular contempt (that is, He despised them for their sin), by making them the first to go into Assyrian exile. As their countrymen looked on, they were disgraced and shamed.

But in a time coming, they will be glorious! He will honor them. How? By appointing one of their cities — Nazareth of Galilee — as the place where the Messiah, Jesus Christ, grew up and worked until His ministry began! But He was not born there.

Joseph and Mary were of the house of David; that is, King David of Bethlehem was their ancestor. So the Roman census required that they journey to Bethlehem, though she was big with child. So, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, just according to Micah’s prophecy (Micah 5:2) After Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph returned with Jesus to Nazareth, in Galilee. Thus, Galilee of the Gentiles was honored greatly, as the place where the Messiah lived.

Verse 2 —

The people who walk in spiritual darkness, will see a great (never-before-seen) light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them! Galilee and city of Nazareth were part of Zebulun and Nephtali, the first to go into exile. 

Now they will be the first to see this light! And for those in today’s church who are still in spiritual darkness, that same light shines on you today! O believer, your sin has separated you from the Lord (Isaiah 59:2). Come into His light and repent!

Who is this light? Jesus Christ!  Even today, He shines upon all who live 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 Christ will result in the multiplication (enlargement) of the nation. What nation? The LORD’s nation — the people of His kingdom!

How will His kingdom be enlarged? He chose Israel to be His people, but both Jews and Gentiles will come to the light of Jesus Christ!

The gladness of all who believe in Him will be great, for they will rejoice, knowing that by His death and resurrection, they are saved and reconciled to God! 

And their joy will be made full, even joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Peter 1:8), because after He ascended to heaven, He poured out His Holy Spirit 

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.”

Beloved, if you see His light and repent and ask Him to change your heart by filling you with His Holy Spirit, you will be glad (rejoice) in His presence, because His presence has filled you! If you are filled with Him, you are filled with His divine joy — not human joy! 

Isaiah sees that this gladness will be like the rejoicing that happens at harvest time. It will be like that of those who divide the spoil. What harvest? What spoil?

First, what is the harvest? When you are filled with His Holy Spirit, the Lord sends you out to work in His harvest fields. And by His power in you, souls are harvested for His kingdom! Lift up your eyes, beloved! The fields are white for harvest (John 4:35)! Are you working in them?

Now, what is the spoil? Those who were Satan’s captives. When you are filled with His Holy Spirit, your sin nature is crucified and you become a super-conqueror (Romans 8:37) over Satan and sin, and you are set free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36). You are no longer Satan’s captive!

Then you exhort others to be filled with His Holy Spirit, so they also become super-conquerors over Satan and sin, and are set free from slavery to sin. So they are no longer Satan’s captives. 

So, by the Lord’s power in Spirit-filled believers, we take Satan’s spoil! And we surely rejoice greatly, with gladness, indeed, as we see the Lord work through us to set captives free from Satan and sin!

Verses 4-5 —

When Judah comes back to the land after the 70-year-exile, she will still be under the rule — the yoke and burden — of the Persians, and then under the rule — the yoke and burden — of Rome. 

So the yoke of their burden of Babylonian captivity will be broken, but they will still be captives. They will still be subject to the staff (an implement for beating prisoners) of their rulers. Therefore, this part of the prophecy must pertain to a later time.

Judah and Jerusalem will continue to be ruled by other nations, but there will be no more wars and no more exiles. The boots and cloaks of the soldiers of the enemy armies will be burned in the fire, in celebration.

But then, at a later time, there will be Jews and Gentiles who will see the light of Jesus Christ and will be saved. Then they will obey Christ’s command to stay and wait to be filled with His Spirit (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5), and the yoke and burden of the sin nature will be broken off of them. 

Then, those who are filled will become burden lifters and yoke-breakers for others! They will exhort others to be filled with the Spirit, and the yoke and burden of the sin nature will be broken off of those believers, too!

Verse 6 —

Who will this light be? A “He,” a child born to us, just as Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 7:14. That child is Jesus Christ, as I have already taught you. And Jesus Christ 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. Jesus Christ has authority over all things (see Colossians 1:16-18)!

Isaiah prophesies about His name — that is, His character, His nature, His reputation. Oh, beloved, when He saves you and reconciles you to God, you will know His character. You will know He is who He says He is!

But even more, when He fills you with His Holy Spirit, you will become a partaker of His divine nature  and character (2Peter 1:4), the Father and the Son will come to permanently dwell in you (John 14:23), and His Light will fill you so that He shines forth from you! You will become a container for His great light!

Then you fully know by personal experience that He is —

Wonderful — The Miracle-Worker! Jesus worked the works that only God can do. He told the unbelieving Jewish leaders —

John 10:25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.”

John 10:38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

And He is still healing and delivering! He is still a Miracle-Worker! He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). 

But the greatest healing He does is spiritual. You will know a change has begun in your heart when you are saved. And you will know without a doubt that Jesus Christ has given you a new, pure heart, when you are filled (Acts 15:9)! 

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). That is the voice of the Holy Spirit. But when you are filled with His Spirit, He and the Father and the Son come to fully dwell within you. So, you no longer turn to the right or the left. You travel on the highway of holiness —

Isaiah 35:8 A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean (sinners) will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it.

Mighty God — When you believe, you begin to see that Jesus Christ is your Mighty God (Excellent Warrior, Champion, Valiant One). He fights for you, until you are filled with His Spirit. Then, you know that this Mighty God is in you, and you are victorious over Satan and sin, and more —

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God (be filled with Him), so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle (grappling with an opponent) is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Eternal Father — When you are saved, you know that Jesus Christ 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). And when you are filled, you know that Jesus Christ and God the Father dwell in you, fully and permanently!

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. So you are yet wretched. Then you see that Jesus Christ our Lord will rescue you from your wretchedness (Romans 7:21, 23-24)! 

When will He rescue you? When you obey His command to be filled with His Spirit! “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 with His Spirit, He fills you with His peace, and His peace emanates from you (Galatians 5:22-23)!

Verse 7 — 

There will be no end of His government and of His peace in the end times, when He comes to judge the world. And when you have seen that you have the world in you (that is, the sin nature) and ask Him to crucify it and fill you with His Spirit, there is no end of His government in you, and no end of His peace, for His peace fills you!

His throne will then 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.”

 

Oh, beloved! There is hope for those who He has humbled! The zeal of the LORD will accomplish a most amazing transformation in you, if you will believe! Do you see that this prophecy pertains to you personally? Then repent and ask Him to do it!

Lord Jesus, may your people see the truth in this passage, and respond by asking you to fill them with Your Spirit. Amen, Lord. So be it.

ARROGANCE LEADS TO CAPTIVITY

[SW382] 6/8/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“Arrogance Leads To Captivity”

 Text: Jeremiah 36, etc. 

There are two reactions when God’s people are exhorted regarding their sin and warned of the consequences of their sin. They will either become afraid and turn back, or arrogantly ignore the LORD’s words.

What is the result of arrogance against the LORD? Exile and captivity, which happened just 25 years after this chapter of scripture. What is the result of repentance, turning back to the LORD? Forgiveness and restoration! 

I will show you both, because it is the same today, with many church leaders and believers. May you have ears to hear!

Background

Jeremiah was a Levite, a priest of the LORD. He was born and had lived in the Levitical city of Anathoth. 

 When King Josiah, who cleansed the land of false gods, had been king for 13 years, Jeremiah was called by the LORD to begin to warn Judah of the LORD’s coming judgment. 

The LORD showed him that Judah would fall away, after King Josiah. Jeremiah continued to prophesy for a total of 40-1/2 years.

Just as the LORD had shown Jeremiah, all the kings after Josiah, and the priests and prophets in the temple, arrogantly returned to worshipping false gods. The people then arrogantly worshiped gods that the kings and religious leaders worshiped.

Verses 1-3 —

King Jehoiakim was a vassal king of Judah, appointed by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt. Four years into Jehoiakim’s 11-year reign, the LORD directed Jeremiah to write down all the words that He had spoken to Jeremiah from the first day he began to prophesy until the day the LORD spoke to Jeremiah in this passage.

The LORD commanded Jeremiah to write down “all these words” the LORD had given him over the 25 years he had prophesied at that time, and then read them in the house of the LORD, and to the people in Jerusalem. Why? To prompt fear and repentance in them, when they heard of the calamity He was about to bring upon them. 

If they turned back to Him, He would forgive them and restore them. If they arrogantly continued to sin, they would be exiled from His presence and carried into captivity in Babylon.

Verses 4-8 —

But how would Jeremiah deliver the scroll? The religious leaders and priests were enraged by Jeremiah’s prophecies from the LORD (see 7:1-15 for the words Jeremiah spoke, and 26:7-11 for the leaders’ and priests’ reaction to them), and he could not longer go into the house of the LORD. He was banned.

So, Jeremiah called his scribe, Baruch, and dictated all the LORD’s words to Baruch, who then wrote them on a scroll. When the scroll was complete, Jeremiah instructed Baruch to publicly read the scroll on a fast day, to all the LORD’s people in the temple, and also to all the people from the cities who had gathered in Jerusalem on that fast day.

Repeating the LORD’s words, Jeremiah told Baruch that the LORD was giving Judah one more chance to repent for their idolatry, when the people and the leaders heard the entirety of the calamity.  Jeremiah added, “Great is His anger, and the wrath that the LORD has pronounced against this people.”

The scroll was completed after several months of dictation. So Baruch went to the LORD’s house, as Jeremiah had commanded him, and read from the scroll the words of the LORD in the LORD’s house.

Verses 9-16 —

Then, in the fifth year of Jehoiakim, in the ninth month, all the people in Jerusalem, and all who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem, proclaimed a fast day. Per Verse 6, it was time for Baruch to go forth and speak the words of the scroll, to all the people assembled for the fast.

First, Baruch again read aloud the LORD’s words in the scroll, in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of one of the scribes. The scribe’s son, Micaiah, also heard all the words of the LORD, and went down to the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber there. 

All the officials were there. Micaiah declared all the words Baruch had read. They sent a messenger, Jehudi, to Baruch, telling him to bring the scroll to them. He obeyed. They asked him to read it. He did.

Their reaction was fear! They heard the words of all the calamity the LORD was going to bring upon them, if they did not repent from their idolatry and arrogance! They vowed to report the words to King Jehoiakim. But they did not repent.
Verses 17-19 —

The officials confirmed from Baruch that the scroll was written by him at the dictation of Jeremiah. Then they told Baruch and Jeremiah to hide, and to tell no one of their whereabouts.

Verses 20-21 —

The officials then went to the king, but kept the scroll in the chamber of one of the scribes. They reported all the words to the king, who then sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi then read it to the king and all his officials who stood beside him.

Verses 22-26 — 

All of this happened in winter. Therefore, the king was in the winter house, with a fire burning in the brazier before him. 

After Jehudi had read a few columns of the scroll, the king arrogantly cut it off the scroll with a scribe’s knife and threw it into the fire, until the whole scroll was consumed in the fire. Why? He did not like the words of the LORD. He did not consider the words of the LORD worthy of anything but destruction. Because of his arrogance, it was he who would be destroyed, because the word of God cannot be destroyed —

Psalms 119:89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled (stands, is established) in heaven.

Matthew 24:35 Jesus Christ declared, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”

King Jehoiakim and his officials did not fear the LORD’s words of impending calamity. They did not tear their garments in mourning, at the words of the LORD. They did not repent. 
Then King Jehoiakim ordered that Jeremiah and Baruch be seized. But the LORD hid (concealed) them. 

Verses 27-28 

 

So the LORD ordered Jeremiah to take another scroll and write on it all the former words that were on the first scroll that had been burned by Jehoiakim. The Word of God cannot be destroyed.

Verses 29-32 —

Jeremiah was to say to Jehoiakim, Thus says the LORD, “You have burned this scroll, saying, ‘Why have you written on it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and will make man and beast cease from it (that is, die)?” The words of judgment on the scroll were the LORD’s, not Jeremiah’s.

Because Jehoiakim arrogantly disregarded the LORD’s warning, the LORD swore that Jehoiakim’s offspring would not sit on the throne of David. His son, Coniah, reigned three months, surrendered to Babylon, and was exiled. Then there were no longer any kings in all of Israel, even to this day. 

And Jehoiakim would be dishonored in his death. His dead body would not be buried or entombed, but would be cast out into the heat of day and the frost of night.

All of this calamity would come upon Jehoiakim because he did not listen to the words of the LORD that He declared to them through Jeremiah. Instead, he arrogantly ignored them, cut them up, and burned them.

Then, Jeremiah dictated another scroll to Baruch, and added many words of the LORD that were like the first words on the first scroll were written down.

The Babylon invasion and exile of Judah was the LORD’s judgment of the arrogance of Jehoiakim, The last king of Judah was Coniah’s uncle, Zedekiah, who was vassal king of Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon. And all of Judah went into exile or perished.

Do you see it? Exile and captivity always results, when God’s people are arrogance toward Him — both then and now!

 

A contrast, in King Josiah 

King Josiah was Jehoiakim’s father. The book of the Law of Moses was found by Hilkiah the priest. It had been lost during the apostasy under the rein of Josiah’s father. When Josiah heard the words of the book of the LORD, he repented —

2Kings 22:10 Moreover, Shaphan the scribe told the king saying, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it in the presence of the king. 11

When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.

Huldah the prophetess then told King Josiah what the LORD would do, because he repented —  

2Kings 22:19 because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the LORD. 20 “Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place.”’” So they brought back word to the king.”

So, Josiah would be honored in his death, because he repented. 

A Word for the King Jehoiakims in today’s church

From Jeremiah 36:23, remember that after Jehudi had read a few columns of the scroll, the king arrogantly cut it with a scribe’s knife and threw it into the fire, until the whole scroll was consumed in the fire. 

I tell you the truth, beloved. Calamity awaits today’s church and believers, who have strayed far from the Lord! 

There are many false prophets who defy the LORD by twisting His words, and deleting some passages entirely, in order to feed the lusts and desires of both the leaders and believers in today’s church. They are arrogant, and have no fear of the LORD. Neither do their followers.

When they twist and delete the Word of God, the false prophets effectively cut it to pieces, and burn it. Why? They do not like the words of the LORD. They do not consider the words of the LORD worthy of anything but destruction. Their arrogance has been heard in heaven, and judgment is coming to them and the church leaders and believers who love their teaching 

Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?

Arrogance leads to captivity! The false prophets have already become captives of Satan —

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.

But both the false prophets and those who have flocked to them — from the highest leadership positions to the believers in the pews — will perish in the lake of fire (see Revelation 20:15), unless they repent.

Jesus says of the current days 

Matthew 24:11 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness (sin) is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.”

Beloved, a day of judgment is coming, and believers will be judged first —

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?

Jesus Christ says that, despite hearing the words in this passage of scripture, neither today’s false prophet nor leaders and believers will fear. They will not repent. Jesus Christ says they will all continue to burn up the Word of God in the fire of their own desires! 

Again, they are arrogant, considering His words to be unworthy to heed and deserving of burning, so nothing is left to prick their consciences!

I tell you the truth, O foolish church, nothing can change or destroy His word! Again —

Psalms 119:89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.

Matthew 24:35 Jesus Christ declared, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”

I exhort you to heed the words the LORD gave me in a prophetic song in 2008 —

My Word will never pass away. It will forever stand. It cannot ever be destroyed by vain attempts of man. 

My Word cuts through all man’s pretense, so each their heart can see. I do it as an act of love, so no one is deceived. 

The truth and power My word contains, many won’t receive, nor let it pierce their stony hearts. For them, My heart is grieved.

The last verse of the song reveals the cure —

Become a doer of My Word, and surely, you’ll be blessed. You’ll enter into My own life, and in Me, you will rest. You’ll enter into My own life, and in Me, you will rest! 

Ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit, O believer (Luke 11:13)! In a moment of time, you will become an obedient doer of His Word. In a moment of time, You will enter His own life, because His own life will enter you and fill you completely and permanently (John 14:23)! Then you will have a front row seat to watch Him work in and through you. 

But remember that, in that prophetic song the Lord gave me, He said many will not receive the truth and power of the Word of God! Many will not tremble with fear, knowing they have sinned! For them, His heart is grieved. He does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9)! Therefore, repent!

I will keep boldly writing and speaking the truth of God’s Word. Some may try to quiet me, but I will speak it to you, and the LORD will give me more to add to it. When I have done all He has set my hand to do, I will go to Him. But another will replace me and continue to declare His Word.

Lord Jesus, I have spoken as you have asked me to speak. Your Word will not come back void. Those who receive it humbly, and mourn and repent, will surely be blessed. May Your church have ears to hear. Amen.