TO WALK LIKE JESUS

[SW301] 10/20/2017 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017

To Walk As Jesus Walked

When you are filled with God’s actual love, you are empowered to walk as Jesus walked. The purpose of it all? That many come to salvation because they see Jesus in you!

All my relatives, including me, have a distinct gait — we fling our feet off to the side and throw our heads back. I can identify my relatives from a mile away, just by their walk!

It is the same with Jesus. If we are His, we walk with His unique gait — His character, His love, His ways. You can see Jesus in us from a mile away!

1John 2:1-14

Here’s what the Lord wants me to point out in these verses —

#1 — There are stages in the Christian walk

— We all begin as infants in Christ, when we repent and believe into Jesus Christ. The moment we are saved, we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit gives witness that we are children of God (see Romans 8:15). We know Him as our Father, but we don’t walk like Jesus yet.

— But then, we must grow! We become young adults in Christ who have overcome the evil one (Satan).  We are strong, and the Word of God abides in us. We know it, and we know the Father better because of it. But we don’t walk like Jesus yet.

— Finally, we must become fathers and mothers in the faith, and that happens when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and the very love of God fills our hearts. It is then that we are empowered to walk as Jesus walked. We have His “gait,” His desires, His character, His selflessness — all the hallmarks of Jesus. You can see Him in us from a mile away!

#2 — The word “know” in these verses is always ginosko, a kind of “knowing” that happens when we connect with God and begin to experience Him, from our first “Abba! Father!” through our young adulthood in the faith, and finally in our maturity, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and have the full knowledge of the Son of God because He has filled us with Himself.

And even fathers and mothers continue to learn His truth more deeply, as we walk as He walks in this world.

#3 — The word “love” in these verses is always agape, the actual love of God — divine love, not human love. It is the same love that the Father has for the Son (see John 17:26)!

It is selfless love, beloved. Your motive is no longer self interest, but your life’s purpose is to be His servant and His witness so others come to Christ!

Oh, to have His love, to be empowered with His power, to see with His eyes! Then you become His witness here!

#4 — God’s charge to the leaders of the church is to equip the saints for the work of service (by being filled with the Holy Spirit) until we all attain to unity of the faith (His divine nature in us) and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, even to the stature of the fullness of Christ (being filled with Him). As a result, we are no longer to be children, but grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ. (See Ephesians 4:12-14.)

No longer children, no longer young adults, but ones who are filled with the Spirit, fully knowing Jesus, and walking with His gait, so people see Him in us from a mile away!

Text: 1John 2:1-14

Verses 1-2 — “Little children” means “infants” in the original Greek. These are saved, but they still disobey God because they are not yet filled with the Holy Spirit, His love and His power. [NOTE: In 1Corinthians 3:1, Paul addresses the Christians at Corinth as infants in Christ.]

But if these infants sin, Christ serves as their Advocate before their Father in heaven. He intercedes for them. So, if they truly repent, confessing and turning away from that sin, their Father in heaven will forgive them.

Truly, Jesus is the propitiation for every human being’s sins . . . He was the perfect Son that satisfied God’s requirement for sacrifice for our sin. And it wasn’t just our sin, but the sin of the whole world, for whoever will believe into Jesus Christ. Oh, the kindness and mercy of God is repentance!

PRAISE BREAK!

Verse 3 — How can you tell if a Christian has come to fully know Him, beyond experiencing Him in the way infants in Christ and young adults in Christ experience Him?

That one continuously keeps His commandments. It is because that one is filled with God’s Holy Spirit and now has a pure heart filled with God’s actual love.

So what are His commandments?

Jesus tells an expert in the Law of Moses, who was also a Pharisee —

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.”

Again, this is agape — God’s actual love! It is to love with His love! It is selfless love! That is what happens when you fully know Him!

And it is the maturity to which the leaders of the church are charged to bring all believers.

Verse 4 — If you say, “I have come to know Him” — that is to know Him fully — and do not keep His commands, you lie, and the truth is not in you. Why? Because those who are filled with God’s actual love do not disobey God.

How do I know that?

Verse 5 — Whoever keeps His word, in that one, the love of God has truly been perfected (completed, finished, fulfilled). Do you see it? The one who obeys God has been filled with God’s actual love.

We obey because His love has filled us! We are filled with the Father, Son and Spirit! Our hearts are purified! The sin nature is crucified and we become partakers of His nature! We have Jesus’ gait — you can see it from a mile away!

And we have no other desire but to bring others to salvation and baptism with the Holy Spirit, so they may join us as witnesses of Jesus Christ. That is His selflessness.

Verse 6 — The one who remains in Him, who stays and continually dwells in Him, walks in the same manner as Jesus walked.

When the divine nature is in us, and His love has filled us, everything that we do is powered by His love and nature. You can see it from a mile away! Is that Jesus? No, it’s one who walks like Him, though!

Go to the gospels, and see how Jesus walked on the earth — the compassion for sheep without a shepherd, boldly calling out the false shepherds, healing, casting out demons, cleansing, raising from the dead, and most of all — selflessly dying on a cross for you and for me.

Verse 7 — John is not writing a new commandment. The first one was the one I read just now, from Matthew 22:37-40. That commandment has always been God’s commandment. It is the word you have heard, even from the beginning. It is to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. It is to love with His actual love!

Verse 8 — But there is a new commandment, which Jesus asks the Father to do in human hearts, in John 17:26 — that Your love be in them, Father, and I in them! He wouldn’t have prayed it if we already had it!

Jesus speaks this new commandment in John 13:34 and 15:12. “Love with My love!” This commandment is truth, to Jesus Christ, to the disciples at Pentecost, and also to you when you have your own personal Pentecost. His Light has come, His Spirit has been poured out so we may be filled with His Spirit and His love.

Verses 9-11 — If you say you are in the light and yet hate (detest) your brother, you are still in the darkness of sin. You hate because you have your self interest in mind, and when someone doesn’t meet your needs, you hate them. That is evidence of the sin nature, not of God’s nature. You don’t walk like Jesus.

If you love your brother with God’s actual love, you dwell in God’s Light — it is in you, because God is in you! There is no hate in you anymore! You walk like Jesus! You have His gait, and you can see it from a mile away!

But if you hate (detest) your brother, you walk in the darkness, and you are blinded by that darkness and have no idea where you are going. Jesus says it best —

Matthew 6:22   “ The eye (sight) is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is  clear (single, fixed on God alone), your whole body will be full of light. 23 “But if  your eye is bad (evil), your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

Verses 12-14 — Infants in Christ have their sins forgiven because they belong to Christ. They disobey God. They are yet slaves to sin. They do not yet have His actual love in them. Their sin nature has yet to be crucified.

Who are the young men in Christ, then? Young adults in Christ overcome Satan. They are strong, and the word of God dwells in them. They fight against the sin nature that is in them, and keep themselves from sinning by actively combatting it, through prayer and knowing God’s Word.

They are not free of sin’s power because they do not yet have God’s divine nature in them. They are not yet filled with the Holy Spirit.

Fathers and mothers are mature in the faith. They are baptized with the Holy Spirit. The Father and the Son permanently dwell in them, and their hearts have been filled with God’s actual love and power.

Their sin nature has been crucified. They have God’s divine nature in them, though they remain fully human. They do not willfully disobey God. They have the fullest and most mature experience of God that a believer can receive — God Himself is continually dwelling in them!

These have the stature of the fullness of Christ. They have stayed and waited, as Jesus commands, for every believer. These are His witnesses here. They have His gait, His character, His nature, His ways. You can see it from a mile away!

So, are mature Christians carbon copies of Christ?

They are like Him in this world (1John 4:17). They are not Him. He was fully God AND fully man. They remain fully human. But they are freed from the power of sin and filled with God’s actual love and power.

Why did John write this? Why do I speak of it today?

Because in today’s church, even in the early church, this truth is constantly diluted or denied. God help us, but we have a form of religion but deny its power, just as Paul warns Timothy in 2Timothy 3:5. They do not answer the call to bring the church to maturity, to the stature of the fullness of Christ. They will be held accountable by the Lord.

Therefore, many Christians remain infants for their whole lives. They never have Jesus’ gait, His character, His nature, His love. Jesus cannot be seen in them. They are not filled with His Spirit. They COULD learn the truth, though, if they sought the Lord on their own. So they will be held accountable by the Lord.

Today, Jesus Christ wants you to know the truth, because the truth with lead you to maturity, to the stature of His fullness. Jesus will free you from slavery to sin, and His baptism with the Holy Spirit will fill you with the actual love of God — His selfless love —  and His power. You will have His gait, and others will see it from a mile away!

It is not for you that He does this great heart work, though you will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory! But it is for the salvation of many! I pray you would see it today! Amen!

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SESSION 24 — “Being the Church,” a Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video.

A review of our sessions thus far can be found in my previous posts on my blog, fromdeathtolife.wordpress.com.

Now, Session 24 — Acts 14:21-15:12

14:21-22 — As you remember, Paul was stoned in Verse 19, but rose, and the next day, Paul and Barnabas went to Derbe, a 30-mile trip. Nothing will stop the gospel, and those who bring it, from going forth!

After Paul and Barnabas had preached the gospel in Derbe, they went back to the cities where they had preached before — Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. Why? To strengthen (steadfastly set, confirm) the souls of the disciples, and to encourage (implore) them to continue (persevere, stay in the same place) in the faith.

Why did they need to be strengthened, and how did Paul and Barnabas strengthen them?

They said, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” These disciples were being persecuted for their faith. That is a normal state for Christians, when we are being the church.

It is just as Jesus said  —

John 15:18   “ If the world hates you,  you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but  I chose you out of the world,  because of this the world hates you.

14:23 — It was also necessary for Paul and Barnabas to appoint elders (ministers to lead the church). They did this in every church. Leadership for each church was essential, and still is! Listen to Paul —

Ephesians 4:11 And He  gave  some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as  evangelists, and some as pastors and  teachers, 12  for the equipping of the  saints for the work of service, to the building up of  the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to  the unity of the faith, and of the   knowledge of the Son of God, to a  mature man, to the measure of the stature  which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Then, after praying and fasting, Paul and Barnabas commended (presented, committed) these leaders to the Lord in whom they had believed.

14:24-28 — Barnabas and Paul passed through Pisidia, came into Pamphlia, went to Perga, which was in Pamphlia, and then down to Attalia. They spoke the gospel of Jesus Christ as they went. Do you?

Then they sailed to Antioch, from which they themselves had been commended (presented, committed) to the grace of God for the work they had accomplished (made replete, crammed. as into a net).

Again, this “grace” is charis, the divine influence on the heart, and the reflection in the life. God graciously revealed that grace as they did His works!

And they shared with the church at Antioch all that had happened — all the things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles!

Notice that they did not boast in themselves, but in what God has done!

Some Christians think that it is boastful and therefore sinful to share what God has done through them. I know a leader who had to be strongly urged in order to share that, while in the mission field, the Lord ministered through him to a man who was possessed by a demon. And the man was delivered from demonic possession!

Beloved, sharing how God has worked through you should always be done, to encourage the church, and indeed, boasting in the Lord’s work is part of what it is to be the church!

And Paul and Barnabas spent a long time with the disciples at Antioch.

15:1 — Then, some men came to Antioch from Judea and were teaching the believers that they must be circumcised according to the custom of Moses, in order to be saved.

15:2 — Paul and Barnabas stood, because that was not the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Great dissension and debate (an uproar, and a dispute) ensued!

Why? Salvation is through Christ alone, and not through anyones own works, including circumcision!

Paul reproved the believers at Galatia. False teachers came among them, teaching they must be circumcised —

Galatians 2:21 “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

Galatians 3:1    You foolish  Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ  was publicly portrayed as crucified?

The believers at Antioch determined that Paul and Barnabas and some of the others should travel to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, to get a ruling concerning the issue of circumcision of Gentile believers.

15:3 — As Paul and Barnabas traveled to Jerusalem, they went through Phoenicia and Samaria, encouraging the believers by describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles. The news brought great (Greek mega: exceeding) joy. Mega joy!

That is what it is to be the church — to share what God has done, and to rejoice in it!

15:4 — They were received (welcomed) by the church, the apostles and the elders in Jerusalem. And again, they reported all that God had done with them!

15:5 — Hearing Paul and Barnabas’ report, some of the believers who were of the sect of the Pharisees stood up, in protest! They said Gentiles must be circumcised AND they must observe the Law of Moses. They did not rejoice, like the believers in Phoenicia and Samaria! Focusing on their traditions, they blinded themselves to all that God was doing!
I know these men were not filled with the Holy Spirit. How do I know that?  Because those filled with the Holy Spirit would never say works were required in order to be saved!

Salvation is God’s work, done BY Him FOR you, through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection! And they would have rejoiced with Paul and Barnabas. How is it with you, beloved?

Yes, the Law of Moses was given by God to Moses. But what did Paul say?

Acts 13:39 and  through Him  everyone who believes is  freed  from all things, from which you could not be  freed  through the Law of Moses.

When Jesus Christ came and died and rose and ascended and was glorified, a new and better covenant was made, and the first covenant, given to Moses, became obsolete (see Hebrews 8: 8-13).

15:6 — Because of this dispute, the apostles and elders came together to discern the issue clearly. This part of Acts 15 is an example of a council, a group of Spirit-filled leaders who meet to review the scriptures and seek the Lord, in order to determine whether a teaching is true, or erroneous.

15:7 — After much debate, Peter stood up. Hallelujah! Stand up against false doctrine in the church!

Peter spoke of the earliest days of the church, and how God chose Peter to speak the gospel to the Gentiles (before Paul) so they, too, may believe. He was referring to Cornelius and his household, per his testimony in Acts 11:17-18.

15:8 — He reminded them that God knows the heart, and because He knew the hearts of Cornelius and his household, God gave them (that is, filled them with) the Holy Spirit, just as He did the Jewish believers at Pentecost —

Acts 11:15 “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning.”

Acts 11:17 “Therefore if  God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ,  who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”

15:9 — God treated the Gentiles the same way as He did the Jewish believers. What did He do for both? Cleansed (purified) their hearts, by faith! First, they believed into Jesus Christ, and then they were baptized in the Holy Spirit and their hearts were purified! Paul calls that entire sanctification —

1Thessalonians 5:23   Now  may the God of peace  Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your  spirit and soul and body be preserved complete,  without blame at  the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24  Faithful is He who  calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

That is why Jesus gave these commands (authoritative prescriptions) to His disciples, and to you: Stay (Luke 24:49)! Wait (Acts 1:4-5)! He knows what we need, in order to be the church!

PRAISE BREAK!

15:10 — So, in Acts 11:17, the objections of the Jewish believers were quelled by Peter asking, “Who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” Now, he again challenged them. Why did they test (scrutinize and examine) God?

How were they proposing to test God? By placing a yoke (the Law of Moses) on the necks of the Gentiles! Peter said neither our ancestors or we have been able to bear it. None was righteous, not even one (Romans 3:18).

God removed that yoke, when He sent His Son! So why would these men remain in it, and place it on the Gentiles?

Acts 15:11 — Peter continued, But we believe we are saved through the grace (charis) of the Lord Jesus — it is His gracious and divine work in our hearts! It is a heart work, done by Jesus! And He does it for both Jews AND Gentiles!

When we believe into Jesus, we become right with God. Belief in Him reconciles us to God. Again, salvation is God’s work which HE does FOR us. And entire sanctification is what He does IN us!

Acts 15:12 — Everyone remained silent as they heard Peter’s words. They listened to Paul and Barnabas as they related the signs and wonders God had done through them, among the Gentiles.

Just as Jesus promised, He will give you a mouth and wisdom none can resist or refute (Luke 21:15) — even within the church, beloved!

In Session 25, we will look at the decision made by the Jerusalem Council.

So how is it with you? Has the Holy Spirit filled you and purified your heart, just like at Pentecost in Acts 2? Then stay and wait! Ask your Father in heaven (Luke 11:13)!

Do you rejoice when you hear that God has worked in ways you didn’t think He could?

Do you eagerly report to the church what God has done in and through you?

Do you expect to be persecuted for your faith? It is part of being the church!

Is there legalism in your church, or in you? Legalism is when we say you must do good works to get to heaven, and those works may even include dress and behavior codes.

Salvation and sanctification are God’s works. Do not be deceived by those who focus on outward appearances! Listen to Paul —

Romans 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not [rules about] eating and drinking, but righteousness and  peace and  joy in the Holy Spirit.

Amen!

DO YOU WALK IN THE LIGHT?

[SW300] 10/13/2017 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017

Do You Walk in the Light?

The Lord asks you today, “Do you walk in the Light of Me?”

As Hebrews 4:12 says, the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, able to penetrate even to dividing soul and spirit, joint and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts.

Lord, like Paul, may I be bold (frank and blunt) in my speech, as I am required to be (see Ephesians 6:20).

Text: 1John 1:5-10

Remember that the Gnostics taught the lie that the body is matter and the spirit is spirit, so it doesn’t matter what you do in your body. They claim your spirit is always pure. The Apostle John teaches us the truth.

What is God’s nature?

Verse 5 — This is the message we have heard from Jesus Christ and announce to you. God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

Sin (willful disobedience against God) is darkness, in John’s metaphor. And Light is righteousness and purity.

God is righteous and pure. To be in His presence is to be literally located within the glow of His character and nature and presence and truth. And when He dwells in you (John 14:23), His character and nature and presence and truth are in you!

And hear the words of Jesus —

John 8:12   Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “ I am the Light of the world;  he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

In the natural, light and darkness cannot dwell in the same place. When the light is switched on, the darkness has to flee. It is the same with Jesus Christ. When He is literally in you, there cannot be any darkness in you anymore.

PRAISE BREAK!

What, then, if a believer says they have fellowship (koinonia, holy intimacy) with God and yet they still willfully disobey Him?

Verse 6 — If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet still walk in sin — that is, our sin nature is alive and well and willfully disobey God— we lie and do not practice (do) the truth.

Anyone who says that, though they willfully disobey God, they have an intimate relationship with Him, is lying. It is impossible for them to have the Light of eternal life within them and yet have the darkness of the sin nature in them.

What happens when His Light is in us?

Verse 7 — But if we walk in the Light as He (Christ) Himself is in the Light — that is, God’s light, God’s presence, God’s righteousness and purity — then we have a holy, intimate relationship with one another. We have holy intimacy not only with God, but with each believer who has His Light in them.

And when we walk (live) in the Light, the blood of Jesus has cleansed us (purified us) from all (the whole of it) sin — there is no more darkness in us. Our sin nature (darkness) dies and is replaced by His divine nature (Light).

Now, it is still possible to have situations like these (this is from a daily devotion by Aletha Hinthorn) —

If we’ve done something with a clear conscience and later see we did the wrong thing, we can trust God to protect us from ill effects . . . Any of us can make a mistake and miss God’s will in some decision or action, but our God is loving, merciful, and understanding! If we have missed the Holy Spirit’s leading, His correction will be gentle.

What? Aren’t you making the same claim of “sinlessness” as the Gnostics?

Verse 8 — Again, if we say we have no sin (as the false teachers are saying) we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Remember, false teachers claim to be free of sin in their spirits, so they have no sin. They are sinless. So, they say, since their bodies are matter, and their spirit is sinless, it doesn’t matter what they do in their bodies. Their spirits are pure.

None of us are sinless. That would mean we never, ever sinned! I WAS a sinner! But thanks be to God through Christ Jesus, I became a “formerly” (Ephesians 2:2-3, 1Corinthians 6:11)!

All HAVE sinned and fall short (lack, suffer need of, are in want of) the glory of God (Romans 3:23). That’s past tense, praise God! You don’t have to stay that way! Ask the Father for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), and He will purify your heart and fill you with His love (Acts 15:9, Romans 5:5)!

PRAISE BREAK!

In today’s church, there are many who say you can’t help sinning because your body is flesh. So you may sin in your body, and God won’t mind, as long as you keep on repenting, even for the same sin, over and over.

They are sure, citing this Scripture, that God understands we can’t help but sin, and they are sure their sin is actually a good thing because it will make God’s grace increase —

Romans 5:20   The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased,  grace abounded all the more . . .

But Paul says this —

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

Paul says if we are of Christ (the literal Greek-to-English), we have crucified the flesh with its lusts and desires (Galatians 5:24).

So there is a crucifixion we must seek, when we believe into Jesus and are forgiven of our past sins, so we may live in the Light of the One who was crucified for us.

It is the death of the sin nature. And when it is crucified, it is dead.

Those who say you can’t help but sin are still walking in darkness, rather than in God’s light. They do not have the Light of God in them. It is impossible for both sin and God’s righteousness and purity to be in you.

From my own experience, I believed in Jesus Christ, took the membership pledge at church, and the Lord began working on me. I fought with sin and lost many battles to sin, after I believed in Jesus. I had not yet come to the place Paul describes above. Sin — that is, my sin nature — was still alive and well.

But when I was filled with the Holy Spirit, sin left me. It truly did! No more was I a slave to sin. And it is still true today. The Son set me free, indeed, from slavery to sin.

Again, sin is willful disobedience against God. It is possible for me to miss His will in a situation, or to do something with a clear conscience and later see that I did the wrong thing.

Jesus speaks of what He is able to do in a human heart —

John 8:31   So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “ If you continue in My word, then you are truly  disciples of Mine; 32 and  you will know the truth, and  the truth will make you free.”

So, disciples are those who believe in Jesus and follow Him. And if they continue in His Word, and believe His words in John 14:23 and all the other Scriptures in which He describes the work of the Holy Spirit, the result will be freedom. From what?

John 8:34   Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you,  everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.”

The freedom He speaks of is freedom from slavery to sin. We are no longer bound by sin. We no longer sin because sin is no longer in us. Satan will tempt — he tempted Christ — but He sets us free from sin so we don’t take Satan’s bait.

You may say I’m crazy. But Jesus says the slave to sin does not remain (dwell, stay) in the house forever. He is preparing a place, but it is not for slaves to sin. Those who are walking in the darkness of sin cannot be in the same place as the Light of God.

The place He is preparing is for those whom He has freed — those who have died to sin and are no longer slaves to it. Paul writes that we are freed from sin, no longer slaves to sin. How? By Jesus’ baptism into death of our sin nature, which is baptism in the Holy Spirit —

Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been  baptized into  Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?

It is His blood that cleanses us of all sin. Had He not died on a cross, risen, ascended, and been glorified, we could not be saved and then purified by the Light of God coming into us, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old self was  crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin (that is, the sinful nature) might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin . . .

Had He not died on a cross, we would not be able to crucify the sinful nature. We would still be slaves to sin, who do not dwell and stay in the house He is preparing.

Let us not be deceived nor deceive ourselves. Christ came to set us free from the sin nature that resides in every human born on the planet, if we will believe into Him, become His disciples, and learn this truth.

Didn’t Christ die to forgive our sins?

Verse 9 — If we confess our sins (to Him), He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins. Hallelujah! That’s what happens when you are saved. But there is an AND here!

AND He ALSO is faithful and righteous to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. That’s because His righteousness fills us when He fills us! The darkness flees when His Light comes in!

2Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who  knew no sin to be  sin on our behalf, so that we might become the  righteousness of God in Him.

There is no “might” in the original Greek here. We become, because He is in us!

If you say, That’s impossible, then you must repent, for God says not only is it possible, but Jesus commands us to stay (Luke 24:49) and wait (Acts 1:4-5)until it is done!

What about those who say they are sinless, that is, that they never sinned?

Verse 10 — If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Again, the Gnostics said they were sinless because their spirits remained pure even while they sinned in their bodies.

And if I said I had not sinned, I would be a liar! I surely did!

But I do not willfully disobey God now, because the Son has set me free from slavery to sin, I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ — and His divine nature which is Light — lives in me (Galatians 2:20). The darkness had to flee, because His Light filled me!

All things are open and  laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13). Therefore, let this word reveal to you the things He already knows.

Do not be like the one who sees himself in a mirror and then walks away, forgetting what he looks like (James 1:23-24).

He shows you, in the light of this word, so you humble yourself, ask His forgiveness, and ask Him to cleanse your heart, entirely sanctifying you. He who called you is faithful, and He will do it (1Thessalonians 5:24)!

SESSION 23 — “Being the Church,” a Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video.

A review of our sessions thus far can be found in my previous posts on my blog, fromdeathtolife.wordpress.com.

Now, Session 23 — Acts 14:1-20

NOTE: I’m teaching Acts 14 in two sessions, and will include the first four verses of Acts 15 in Session 24.

In Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas had departed from Pisidian Antioch, where their ministry was extremely fruitful, the unbelieving Jews became jealous, and persecution ensued. They shook the dust off their feet in protest of their rejection by these Jews, and continued on to Iconium, let by the Holy Spirit, filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. They were being the church! Hallelujah!

Now, Acts 14 —

Verse 1 — As with each place to which the Spirit led them, Paul and Barnabas entered the synagogue at Iconium. Their words were powerful, and a large number of people believed, both Jew and Gentile (again, converts to Judaism).

Do you know that when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the power and words of God will come from you, and people will respond? That’s what it is to be the church!

Verse 2 — Once again, the unbelieving among the Jews began persecuting Paul and Barnabas, to the point where the Gentiles were stirred up (incited) and their minds (souls) were embittered (causing injury). The words of the unbelieving Jews poisoned the minds of the Gentiles, so they turned against those who believed.

Verse 3 — So, did Paul and Barnabas leave? No! Therefore (because the unbelieving Jews had poisoned the souls of some of the Gentiles), they remained there for a long time! And what did they do? They spoke boldly IN the Lord. Boldness comes when you are filled with the Spirit!

And what was the Lord doing as they spoke boldly? He was testifying to the word of His grace (charis, the divine influence on the heart and its reflection in the life). How? By granting that signs and wonders be done by Paul and Barnabas’ hands!

Do you see it? Through signs and wonders, the Lord was demonstrating His influence on Paul and Barnabas’ hearts and its reflection in their lives. These were attesting signs that proved they were sent by God and were speaking the truth of God.

Verse 4 — These signs and Paul and Barnabas’ words resulted in division in the city.

Jesus said He would cause division —

Matthew 10:34   “ Do not think that I came to  bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 “For I came to  set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and  a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

You may say, But Jesus, what about peace on earth, goodwill toward men? Ah, the angels in Luke 2:14 were announcing peace with God, reconciliation with Him. Peace on earth will not come unless everyone on the earth receives Jesus Christ as Savior and is then filled with His Spirit and His love!

Some sided with the unbelieving Jews, and some with the apostles (that is Paul and Barnabas). The word “apostle” means “sent out one” and they were surely sent out!

Verses 5-7 — The poisoned Gentiles, the unbelieving Jews, and their rulers then attempted (a violent impulse) to mistreat (abuse) and then stone Paul and Barnabas.

You must understand that when a person is stoned, they are stoned to death with large stones hurled so as to crush them to pieces!

But Paul and Barnabas became aware of (they saw and comprehended) their plan, and fled to Lyaconia, Lystra, Derbe, and the surrounding region. Again, this was at the Holy Spirit’s direction, not from fear. The Lord had much more for Paul and Barnabas to do!

And when they arrived in those cities, they continued to preach the gospel. They could not stop speaking of what they had seen and heard and experienced!

Verses 8-9 — So at Lystra, Paul saw a man sitting. This man had never walked, born lame in both feet from his mother’s womb.

As the man listened to Paul as he spoke, Paul fixed his gaze on him. And Paul saw that he had faith to be made well in every way!

Verse 10 — So Paul said with a loud voice, Stand upright on your feet! And the man LEAPED up and began to walk! Paul was being the church!

Hallelujah!

It is just like the man at Gate Beautiful in Acts 3:8! That one also got up with a LEAP!

I tell you, when you are touched by the Lord, you will LEAP, too! I know I did, when He healed me of MS that night, and I’m still leaping!

PRAISE BREAK!

Verses 11-12 — What was the crowd’s reaction to this miracle of God? They said, the gods have become like men and have come down to us!

They thought Paul and Barnabas were pagan gods. In that region, they worshiped Zeus. So they began calling Barnabas Zeus Latin: Jupiter, the chief pagan god) and Paul Hermes (Latin: Mercury, considered the spokesman of the pagan gods of Greece and Rome), because he was the chief speaker.

Verse 13 — So they fetched the priest of Zeus from Zeus’ temple just outside of the city. And he brought oxen and garlands to the gates, so he and the crowds could offer sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul!

Verses 14-15 — Paul and Barnabas heard of it, tore their robes and rushed (LEAPED!) into the crowd. They tore their robes so their human flesh could be seen. And they cried out, Why are you doing these things? We are also men, just like you.

AND we have come to preach the gospel to you, to tell you that you turn (no “should” in the original Greek) from these vain (empty) things — their false gods and idols —  to a LIVING God who made heaven and earth and all that is in them!

NOTE: That is the message of the church to the world! Like Paul and Barnabas, we do not say, We love you, so you can go on believing what you believe until you examine the facts and decide to follow Jesus. No! We call them to repent and believe in the LIVING God and turn from their dead gods —

Psalms 115:4  Their  idols are silver and gold,

The  work of man’s hands.

5  They have mouths, but they  cannot speak;

They have eyes, but they cannot see;

6  They have ears, but they cannot hear;

They have noses, but they cannot smell;

7   They have hands, but they cannot feel;

They have feet, but they cannot walk;

They cannot make a sound with their throat.

8  Those who make them  will become like them,

Everyone who trusts in them.

Verse 16 — Paul continued to say that in the generations gone by, God permitted the nations to go their own ways. But Paul says, God did not leave Himself without witness. He is the One who did good for you, giving you rains from heaven and fruitful harvests. He is the One who satisfied your hearts with food and made you glad.

Why? So they might recognize His works and believe in Him!

The people of Lystra had attributed their blessings to their false gods, but it was the hand of the LIVING God that had provided for them.

David writes —

Psalm 19:1   The  heavens are telling of the glory of God;

And their  expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

And Jesus says —

Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you,  love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may  be  sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

How do we love those who follow after false gods, or no god at all? The same way Paul and Barnabas did! Turn from your false gods and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ! He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and there is no other way to God the Father except through Him (John 14:6)!

Verse 18 — Even after all Paul and Barnabas said, it was difficult to restrain the crowds from offering sacrifices to them! Many in the crowds still didn’t receive the truth they had just spoken in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 19 — Now the unbelieving Jews came down from Antioch AND from Iconium. They spoke to the crowds and won them over (convinced them by false argument).

Then they stoned Paul! I have described stoning to you. Large stones were hurled upon him, breaking his body apart. Then they dragged him out of the city, supposing he was dead.

Verse 20 — But it was not time for Paul to be dead! The Lord still had God works for him to do! Therefore, as the disciples encircled his broken body, he got up and entered the city. And the next day, Paul traveled with Barnabas to Derbe, a distance of about 30 miles!

WHAT happened? He was stoned to death, as far as his attackers were concerned. His body was broken and bloodied!

I believe that Paul was raised from the dead and instantly healed of his extreme injuries through the power of God.

Think about it. How else could Paul have gotten up without help? He got up! He rose again (Greek: anistemi), the same Greek word that is used for Jesus’ resurrection! And then he entered the city where he had just been stoned.

NOTE: Some commentators will say that this “had the flavor of a miracle.” I believe it surely WAS a miracle!

And think about it. Paul had been stoned and left for dead, and yet, the very next day, he traveled with Barnabas 30 miles!

There is no earthly way that he could have possibly done this unless God had at least miraculously healed him. I tell you, I serve a miracle-working God who will keep and protect those who speak His gospel, just according to His plan.

And when I die, I know that death has no victory or sting, for I will go to be with my Lord and my God forever!

Do not short-change God by way of short-sightedness and unbelief. Many commentators do that, with this passage. I pray for them, for they are held to a stricter judgment because they teach (see James 3:1).

May their own theologies cease to cloud their view of our spectacular God!

FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

[SW299] 10/6/2017 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017

Fellowship With God

What is Christianity? How does belief into Jesus Christ change believers? Oh, my! What a change! We walk like Jesus in this world, and have fellowship with God!

Text: 1John 1:1-4

Before I speak on these four verses, it is essential for you to know why John wrote this letter. His purpose was to teach the truth in order to expose a heretical (false) teaching that had arisen, one that eventually became known as Gnosticism.

Some from John’s flock had been drawn away into this heresy.

Even in today’s church, some have also been drawn into heresies that conflict with the Word of God, like the Theology of Success, Prosperity Theology, the Faith Movement, and the Theology of Self-Esteem. All of these are self-centered, which is contrary to the Word of God.

It is as Paul prophesied —

2Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires . . .

It happened then. Here’s what this early form of Gnosticism denied (I am paraphrasing from the Expositor’s Bible Commentary)

— that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God

— that the Christ had come in the flesh

— that Christians must obey Jesus’ commands, including His command to love one another with God’s actual love (agape), upon which the Law and the Prophets hinge

— that they are born with a sinful nature

— that salvation comes only through the work of Christ

— that believers must be righteous on the inside, in order to have fellowship with God

—  that all believers are to live as Jesus had lived on this earth

— that all believers need fellowship, the way God defines it

— that John was an apostle

John was grieved at this teaching, but he did not come against it with anger. Rather, he came against it by teaching us all what Christianity is and is not, and teaching us how Jesus Christ saves us and then entirely changes our hearts, when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Oh, it is lovely!

He speaks of what he has seen and heard, for he cannot stop speaking about it (Acts 4:20)! Neither can I, beloved!

John first teaches us what it is to have fellowship, the way God defines it. John will give us God’s definition in Verses 3-4. I’ll give you a hint — intimacy with God.

Verse 1 — John begins by writing that he and the rest of the apostles proclaim the following —

— what was from the beginning (that is, Jesus Christ the Son of God, per John 1:1-2)

— what we have heard (heard and understood), in person

— what we have seen with our eyes (stared at), in person

— what we have looked at (again, stared at), reinforcing that they literally saw Him, not only when He walked the earth, but when He rose from the dead

— and touched with our hands (verified by literal contact), reinforcing that they literally touched Jesus while He was in His earthly body

— concerning (about) the Word of Life

— Jesus Christ, the Word, per John 1:1 & 14, and the Giver of eternal life (John 3:16)

John 1:1     In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:4  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men (it draws men and lights up all who have it!)

John 1:14   And  the Word  became flesh, and  dwelt among us, and  we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and  truth.

Verse 2 — John repeats what he has just said, for emphasis —

— This life was manifested (this eternal Life, this Jesus, showed Himself to us, not only when He walked the earth but when He rose from the dead)

— and we have literally seen Him (they all had been with him for 3-1/2 years, John, James and Peter saw His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration per Matthew 17:1-8, AND they all saw Him risen, as did 500 others, per Paul in 1Corinthians 15:6)

— and we testify and proclaim to you (to John’s flock, to those who have left to follow the false teachers, and to you and me)

— the Eternal Life which was with the Father and was manifested to us (that is, Jesus Christ)

Verse 3 — Again,

— What we have seen

— And heard

We proclaim to you also. Even you, this very day!

Why do they proclaim this?

— So that you, too, may have fellowship with us (some do not now have it)

This fellowship is koinonia, a fellowship that is much deeper than what happens when we attend a church service and say hello to one another, or go on an outing, or participate in an outreach activity, or share a meal.

Well, you will ask, what is this koinonia? John will answer.

— And indeed, our koinonia (communion, communication, participation) is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
This fellowship is not human, earthy fellowship. It is divine fellowship! What do I mean?

This fellowship is intimate, holy, one-on-one koinonia with God the Father and God the Son.

This fellowship is about communing with our Father and with Jesus Christ, His Son. The Holy Spirit in us connects with the Holy Spirit in others, and we encourage one another. We sup together with Jesus, and Jesus with us. It is God’s spiritual banquet of joy unspeakable and full of glory!

This fellowship comes when the Father and the Son are in you. So when Christians gather, our fellowship with God and Christ will encourage others who have this fellowship with God and Christ, and create hunger for it, in those who do not yet have it!

Why does John write these first four verses?

— So the joy of you (literal Greek-to-English) may be made complete (literally, made full, crammed full, perfectly fulfilled).

He is speaking of being filled with the Holy Spirit, just as the Father and the Son promised —

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

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.”

And in His prayer to His Father —

John 17:13 “But now I come to You; and  these things I speak in the world so that they may have My  joy made full in themselves.”

And after Pentecost —

Acts 13:52 And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Beloved, if you are filled with His Spirit, you are enabled to easily discern heresy and not only reject it, but speak the truth to those who are false teachers, and their followers, just as John is doing in this letter.

And filled with His Spirit, the Father and the Son will continually and fully dwell in you (John 14:23), and you will find that the sin nature you were born with is replaced by His divine nature (2Peter 1:8).

And you will be able to walk as Jesus walked on this earth (1John 2:6),

And you will be able to speak His truth in the power of the Holy Spirit.

And you will be filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Peter 1:8)!

And because He is in you, the world will believe that His Father sent Him (John 17:21) and that His Father loves them with the same love He has for His Son, Jesus Christ (John 17:23).

And many will be saved, and many will be filled, through Him who is in you!

How is it with you? Are you following heresy? Then repent, and return to the Word of God!

Do you find that you do not have koinonia, intimate fellowship with God the Father and God the Son? Then you who have been saved, ask your Father in heaven for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).

And you who do not yet know Jesus, confess your sin to Him, ask Him to forgive you, turn AWAY from what you have been doing and TO the Lord, and He will save you!

Do you see that your church does not have this fellowship? Then pray for those in your church, that the Lord would come and bring revival — not some scheduled event, but a surprise visit from Jesus Himself!

I had a prophetic word from the Lord for a church, not long ago. The Lord said, “I will bring My light and they will say, ‘What is this Light? We have not seen it?’ And then they will fall down and worship Me.”  Amen. Let it be so, Lord Jesus!

SESSION 22 — “Being the Church,” a Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video.

A review of our sessions thus far can be found in my previous posts on my blog, fromdeathtolife.wordpress.com.

Now, Session 22 — Acts 13:1-52

Like Acts 7, this is a long chapter that is hard to split up into two sessions! So, I will give you scripture references for much of what Paul says in Verses 17-41, and you will look the scriptures up on your own.

Verse 1 — Paul and Barnabas have returned from Jerusalem to Antioch. In that church, Luke names some of the prophets and teachers — Barnabas, Simeon/Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up in the pagan household of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul/Paul.

The gifts of Spirit (1Corinthians 12:4-11) and the offices of ministry (Ephesians 4:11), were evident in the church, among all the brethren!

Are they evident in your church? In you? That is part of “being the church,” beloved!

Verse 2 — Fasting is an integral part of church life, especially when ministering to the Lord. That is part of “being the church.”

What did they do, in their ministry to Him? They ministered to others, surely, but to minister to the Lord is to sit before Him, praising and adoring Him, in holy intimacy and the very love of God. And their ministry to Him included prayer, fasting, and seeking His direction continually.

Do you do that? Does your church?

While all of that was happening, the Holy Spirit indeed gave them a very specific direction — “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Beloved, that is how everyone should be chosen to go out on behalf of the gospel!

Verses 3-4 — When they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on Barnabas and Saul, they sent them on their first missionary journey, led by the Holy Spirit.

Luke emphasizes that they were not sent out by men, but by the Holy Spirit. So, the Spirit led them first to the port city of Selucia, just west of Antioch, and then they sailed to the island of Cyprus, across part of the Mediterranean Sea, a trip of about 130 miles.

Verse 5 — After arriving, at Salamis, a port city on the northeastern coast of Cyprus, Barnabas and Paul began to proclaim the word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in the synagogues there, and John Mark was their helper at that time. We will see that not only were there Jews in these synagogues, but God-fearing Gentiles.

Why go to the synagogues? To offer the same gospel to the Jews as to the Gentiles!

Romans 1:16   For I am not  ashamed of the gospel, for  it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the  Jew first and also to  the Greek.

Verses 6-7 — When they had traveled the whole island of Cyprus, they came to Paphos, a port city of Cyprus on its western tip.

There they found a Jewish false prophet, a magician, named Bar Jesus. He was with Sergius Paulus, a proconsul for the Roman empire. Sergius called for Paul and Barnabas, because he SOUGHT to hear the word of God, the gospel!

Verse 8 — Satan always opposes the gospel, and this was no exception. Bar Jesus was also known as Elymas, which means wizard.

He opposed Barnabas and Paul, trying to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Elymas was about to encounter a power far greater than his!

Verse 9 — From this point onward, Luke calls Saul by his Roman name, Paul. So, “Saul who was also Paul,” filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on Elymas.

So, are there many fillings with the Holy Spirit, as is often taught in the church are these days? No!

Again, this “filled with the Holy Spirit” meant a moment of divine inspiration. Paul was already filled with the Holy Spirit when Ananias laid hands on him in Acts 9:17! And you know what? He doesn’t leak out, for He is like a fountain, and He doesn’t leave!

Verses 10-11 — And what did Paul say to Elymas?

— You are full of ALL deceit and fraud

— You are a son of the devil

— You are an enemy of all righteousness

— You seek to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord

— Now, behold, the hand (power and authority) of the Lord is on you, and      you will be blind and not see for a time.

There was no delay in the Lord’s action. Immediately a mist and a darkness fell on Elymas, and he went about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand!

Verse 12 — From all that happened, Sergius Paulus was prompted to believe, not only from God’s power exhibited against Elymas, but from the teaching of the Lord through Paul and Barnabas! He was amazed, which means “struck with astonishment!”

Verse 13— Afterwards, Paul and his companions sailed northward from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia (modern-day Turkey). It was very strategically located, bordered by several seas, for easy passage from one country to the next — perfect for the spread of the gospel!

But John Mark left them! His decision to leave will come up as a concern for Paul, in Acts 15:37-39.

Verses 14-15— They then traveled on to Pisidian Antioch, and on the sabbath, they entered a synagogue and sat down. After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue officials sent to them, asking them to speak, if they had any word of exhortation for the people.

Verse 16 — So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand for them to listen, he began a sermon of epic proportions, entirely fueled by the Holy Spirit’s power!

Have you ever heard someone preaching by the power of the Holy Spirit? You may not identify the Spirit at first, but you will know there’s something different about the speaker, just as Jeff and I did with Pastor David “Doc” Uber, who ultimately led me to be healed of MS and filled with the Holy Spirit!

Why did Paul speak as he did, in this synagogue? Because the whole history of Israel points to the coming Messiah, who is Jesus Christ. All that happened to Israel was a foreshadowing of Jesus.

He addressed them in this way, “Men of Israel, and those who fear God (that is, Gentiles who had converted to Judaism)” —

So, God is the God of Israel, whom He chose for Himself.

Verses 17-18 — God also chose the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), made the Jews great in Egypt, and with uplifted arm (His power), led them out from it.

For a period of about 40 years in the wilderness, God put up with them — He endured them and was subjected to their continual unbelief and rebellion against Him.

Verse 19 — He destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, and distributed those nations’ land as an inheritance for His people. The period of time from Israel’s time in Egypt to God’s people entering the Promised Land covered a span of about 450 years.

Verse 20-22 — Then God gave them judges (leaders). Samuel was the last judge, because the people then asked for a king.  So, King Saul was chosen by the people, not God. Saul ruled for 40 years, rebelling against God on several occasions.

Therefore, God removed Saul and raised up for Himself David as King of Israel (1Samuel 13:14, 15:28, 16:1). God said David was a man after His own heart and would do all His will —

1Samuel 13:14 “But  now your kingdom shall not endure.  The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

David would not rebel against the Lord, for men did not choose Him — God did!

Verses 23-24 — From David’s descendants, according to God’s promise sung by Zechariah in Luke 1:67-79, Jesus, their Savior and Messiah, came!

Verse 25 — Zechariah’s son, John the Baptist, proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel, before Jesus began His ministry (Malachi 3:1). He spoke of One who was coming, whose sandals John was not worthy to untie so as to remove them!

Verses 26-29 — Now Paul says, to us the message of this salvation by Jesus Christ had been sent.

But the Jews and their rulers in Jerusalem refused to recognize Him, and that He was the fulfillment of the prophets that are read every sabbath!

And though He was innocent of the charges they drummed up, they asked Pilate to execute Him!

So they did so, just as was written by the prophets (see Isaiah 53), and took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb.

Verses 30-31 — BUT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD! After He was resurrected, He appeared to many, over the course of many days (see 1Corinthians 15:6-8).

Verses 32-37  — And this is the gospel Paul and those with him preach — it is the Good News of the promise made to the fathers, now fulfilled in Jesus Christ! This promise is fulfilled to the children of the fathers, that He raised up Jesus. Then Paul quotes Psalm 2:7, 1Chronicles 17:11, and Psalm 16:10.

King David surely underwent decay, so the promise of Psalm 16:10 was not for him, but the Messiah — Jesus Christ whom God raised from the dead, His Holy One — did not undergo decay!

Verses 38-39 – Therefore, through Jesus, forgiveness (and reconciliation with God) is proclaimed by Paul and his companions to the Jews and Gentiles at the synagogue.

Paul said that through Jesus, everyone who believes in Him is freed (justified) from the sins they had committed, which the Law of Moses could never do —

Hebrews 10:4 For it is impossible for the  blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Verses 40-41 — So take heed, so you are not found by God to be a scoffer, and therefore perish!

Verses 42-44 — The effect of Paul’s words was immediate! The people begged to hear more on the next sabbath, and many of the Jews and God-fearing proselytes (Gentile converts) followed Paul and Barnabas. So they urged them to continue in the grace (Greek charis, the divine influence on the heart and its reflection in the life) of God, for their hunger for the gospel was obvious!

And on the next Sabbath, THE WHOLE CITY assembled to hear the word of the Lord!

Verses 45-57 — Of course, the Jews who hated Jesus heard about it, became jealous, tried to contradict what Paul had said, and were blaspheming God!

How? By saying Jesus Christ was NOT the Messiah promised by God, despite His fulfillment of the prophecies God gave the Old Testament prophets, thus calling God as a liar!

So Paul and Barnabas boldly told them that they had come to the Jews first, but since they repudiated and judged the truth, now they would go to the Gentiles! Then they quoted Isaiah 49:6, in which God says of Jesus Christ —

Isaiah 49:6 “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant

To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;

I will also make You a light of the nations

So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Verses 48-40 — Upon hearing it, the Gentiles rejoiced and glorified the word of the Lord. Those appointed to eternal life believed!  And the word of the Lord spread through the whole region!

NOTE: Verse 48 is not an argument for predestination — that is, that God chooses, some to believe and others to perish, before they are born. May it never be! If predestination was true, there would have been no need for God the Son to come at all!

In the original Greek, the word “appointed” means, among other things, “disposed toward, willing.” The ones who believed were disposed toward and willing to heed the word of the Lord. Why would Jesus have spoken John 3:16, if salvation was only for a few chosen ones?

Verses 50-52 — The unbelieving Jews incited some who were influential in the city to oppose Paul and Barnabas, so they began to persecute them.

But Paul and Barnabas shook off the dust of their feet against them — a Jewish gesture of scorn and disassociation — and went to Iconium, which was 60 miles to the east/southeast.

And Jesus told His disciples to do the same —

Matthew 10:14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city,  shake the dust off your feet.”

And in the midst of it all, the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit! He was continually encouraging them, giving them special inspiration as they spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

WRITTEN ON YOUR HEART

[SW298] 09/29/2017 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017

Written On Your Heart

The Lord’s sole interest is your heart, and its condition. So He speaks to the heart of you today, asking, “What is written on your heart?”

Texts:  Psalms 40:6-8 & 73:25, etc.

So, what is written on your heart? Before you answer, let the Lord show you, through His Word, what He means.

What should be written on our hearts?

His law — that is, His commandments, per Psalm 40:6-8. He does not seek worshipers who do outward acts of sacrifice and offering while their hearts remain unchanged, but worshipers who have His commandments written on their hearts, and are thus able to worship Him in Spirit and in truth — that is, truly worship Him by the Holy Spirit who has changed their hearts.

What are His commandments?

A Pharisee who was an expert in the Law of Moses asked that question of Jesus. Here’s His response —

Matthew 22:37 And He said to him, “‘ You shall love [agapeo, the verb for God’s actual 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 [agapeo] your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

The command is to love with God’s actual love, a love that we are not born with, but that comes from God. it is the same love that the Father has for the Son. It is divine love, not human love. With this agape, which we must receive from Him, we are able to love Him and our neighbor in the exact way He commands.

Why must His commandments be written on our hearts?

Because we all are born with a sin nature, and sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). He does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9).

When we believe into Jesus, we are saved from the wrath of God and forgiven for our past sins. Hallelujah! But He commands us to love with His love, and that is not possible until His commands are written on our hearts, so His love fills our hearts.

When His commands are written on our hearts, we die to sin (that is, our sin nature dies). His divine nature comes in to replace it. We love Him with His love. And so, we no longer willfully disobey Him (Romans 6:2). Our hearts are purified (Acts 15:9).

Beloved, unless we obey His commands to stay and wait (Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4-5), our hearts will not have His commands written on them, and we cannot be His witnesses here (Acts 1:8). It was that way with many in the church at Corinth, and it is the same today.

Who writes His commands on our hearts?

The Holy Spirit  is the Writer of His commandments on our hearts. It is the fulfillment of the promise of the Father (Ezekiel 36:26-27) and of the prayer of Jesus (again, John 17:26).

Paul writes this to the church at Corinth, where those believers repented for their waywardness and laxity and their accusations against Paul —

2Corinthians 3:3 . . . you are a letter of Christ, cared for (ministered to) by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of  the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

The Spirit of the Living God writes His commands on our hearts — the very finger of God! Remember Exodus 31:18 and 32:16? But the tablets of stone resulted in outward obedience. And the tablets of human hearts say, “I delight to do Your will, O God; your Law is within my heart!”

What is the result of His commandments being written on our hearts?

Romans 6:1-2 — Again, we die to sin, so we no longer willfully disobey God

Psalm 73:25 — Our only desire is Him

1John 5:3 — We find that His commands are not burdensome

Matthew 11:28-30 — Indeed, we find that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light

I tell you, I just can’t stop exclaiming to Him, “My heart is Yours forever!”

When does the Holy Spirit write these commandments on our hearts?

At your own personal Pentecost! That is when the Holy Spirit fills you with God’s actual love, and Jesus and the Father permanently dwell in you, by way of His Spirit —

John 14:23 . . . “If anyone loves Me, he will  keep My word; and  My Father will love him, and We  will come to him and make Our abode with him.

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

That is when your heart is purified (Acts 15:9).

Paul prays this, for the church in Ephesus —

Ephesians 3:19 (that you would) know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

So, what is written on your heart, beloved?

Are His commands written on your heart? Do you delight in them?

Do you love God with God’s actual love, and your neighbor with that same love?

Are you able to say, “I am a letter of Christ?”

If your answer is no, then this is a divine appointment for you today! The Lord’s sole interest is your heart, and its condition. It is no accident that you have tuned into this video or are reading these notes.

Ask God the Father to write His commandments in your heart. Ask Jesus Christ to make you His witness here. Ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit, O Christian (Luke 11:13)!

When He does it, you will walk as He walked on the earth (1John 2:6).

He commands you to stay (Luke 24:49) and wait (Acts 1:4), because He knows what you need. His sole interest is your heart, and its condition.

And He asked me to speak this so you will ask Him to do it!