“I WILL RAISE UP SHEPHERDS”

[SW415] 01/18/2020 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn

“I Will Raise Up Shepherds”

Text: Jeremiah 23:1-8, etc.

False shepherds destroy and scatter the sheep of the Lord’s pasture today, just as they did in the days of Jeremiah. But woe to them! The Lord will judge the false shepherds, and He Himself will gather His repentant ones and raise up shepherds after His own heart, who will lead them and feed them His truth! 

Verses 1-2 —

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending (feeding) My people: You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to (cared for) them; behold, I am about to attend to (judge, punish) you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the LORD. 

This warning was given by the LORD in the days of Jeremiah, and it is given to today’s false shepherds! Note that He does not exhort them to repent, but warns them of His coming judgment of them.

To today’s false shepherds, I speak His words — 

Woe to you, for you are destroying and scattering the sheep of His pasture! So, you will be judged for the evil of your deeds! 

Because of your false words, His sheep are like sheep without a shepherd, just as Jesus Christ declared of God’s people in the days when He walked the earth (Matthew 9:36). They are confused and panicked, weary and flung away from the Lord. Therefore, you will be confused and panicked, weary and flung away into hell, by the Lord. 

You were responsible to protect His flock, and feed them the truth. But you are filled with lies, so you have fed them that which fills you. Therefore, they perish for lack of holy, intimate knowledge of the Lord (Hosea 4:6). Therefore, you will perish.

You have gathered the sheep of His pasture to you, with your false words. You have led them to worship the god of self, thereby committing adultery against their Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, and denying their Lord. Therefore, He will gather you to Him in the day of judgment, and He will deny you (Matthew 7:23).

As Jude, Jesus’ half-brother, wrote —

Jude 4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness (immorality) and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

You who are false shepherds have crept in unnoticed, to teach lies.You have not led them through the narrow gate, into zoe, eternal life. Instead, you have led His sheep down the wide gate and onto the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13). Therefore, He will destroy you.

You have not gathered His sheep to Him, but to yourself. Therefore, you will be gathered by the Lord, and destroyed. You have driven them out of His pasture and into exile. Therefore, He will drive you into eternal exile, in hell.

The sheep of His pasture are driven out from His presence and His protection by encouraging His sheep to sin (Isaiah 59:1-2)! Therefore, He will drive you out from among His sheep, and cast you into hell, where you will be eternally tortured and will eternally burn (2Peter 2:17, Mark 9:43-44, 46).

You have preached rebellion against the Lord (Jeremiah 29:32). The enticing false words you have spoken have destroyed many of the sheep of His pasture. So He will destroy you. 

Instead of being shepherds who protect His sheep from wolves, you yourselves are the wolves in sheep’s clothing who have come into His congregation, and even have come up from among His congregation. You devour His sheep, and they perish. Therefore, He will send you into the gaping mouth of hell, to be endlessly devoured by fire.

Paul warned the shepherds he appointed for the church at Ephesus —

Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 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. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”

Verse 3 —

“Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply.”

He Himself will gather the repentant remnant of His flock, bring them back to Himself, and —

Jeremiah 3:15 “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding. 16 “It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the LORD, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again. 17 “At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD (see Revelation 21:2); nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart.” 

He will gather the repentant remnant of His flock. He will appoint for them shepherds after His own heart. Even now, the repentant remnant of His church and His people Israel are gathered to Him through such shepherds. 

Shepherds after His own heart are shepherds whose hearts are filled with His Holy Spirit. Their sin nature is crucified (Galatians 5:24), so they do not sin against the Lord. Therefore, they do not encourage His sheep to sin. They have pure, cleansed hearts (Acts 15:9). They are partakers of His divine nature (2Peter 1:4), and bear His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). 

Because they are His shepherds, they feed His sheep the true spiritual food they need, so they no longer spiritually starve. The Spirit teaches His shepherds all the truth (John 14:26, 16:13), so they are able to teach His sheep the truth that the Holy Spirit teaches them. His shepherds exhort His sheep to ask their Father in heaven to fill them with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), as Jesus Christ commands (Acts 1:4-5). 

His repentant sheep obey the command of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Chief Shepherd over the shepherds He gives you (1Peter 5:4). They stay and wait and are they are filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5). Therefore, they no longer speak of the ark of the covenant in which God’s presence dwelled, for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit fully and permanently dwell inside of them (John 14:23). Thus, their bodies have become His ark. 

And because His sheep’s sin nature has been crucified, they do not walk anymore according to the stubbornness of their hearts, because heir hearts are longer evil. Instead, their hearts are purified (Acts 15:9), just like the hearts of the shepherds He has given them. They are no longer deceived by the lies of the false prophets, for the Holy Spirit teaches them all things, just as He teaches the shepherds the Lord has given them.

Verse 4 — 

 “I will also raise up (establish, decree) shepherds over them and they will tend (shepherd) them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

His shepherds teach His sheep the truth that Jesus Christ will set them free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36). Therefore, when they obey His command to be filled with the Holy Spirit, His law is written on their hearts, so they obey Him always —

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.”

His sheep are filled with His perfect love, so they no longer fear judgment by the Lord (1John 4:18), for He has given them new, obedient hearts. Nor do they fear death, for it has no victory, and it has no sting for His sheep who have repented and been filled with His Spirit so they no longer sin against Him (1Corinthians 15:55)!

And none of His repentant sheep will be missing —

John 6:39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

And in His prayer to His Father, Jesus Christ said —

John 17:12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”

Verses 5-6 — 

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;  and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’”

This is a prophecy of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)! The LORD promises a righteous Branch from the lineage of David. That Branch is  Jesus Christ, who was the descendant of David, who is and eternally has been God the Son (John 1:1-12) —

Isaiah 11:1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse (the father of David), and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 

This righteous Branch will reign as king — indeed, He is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16)! He is God the Son and He rules with divine wisdom, justice and righteousness!

The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, died and rose and ascended and was glorified, returning to His Father’s right hand. Before He ascended, He commanded His apostles to wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They and the 108 who gathered with them obeyed. Thus, they became the shepherds He raised up.

Many were saved from the wrath of God and reconciled to Him when Jesus Christ walked the earth, even from among Judah and the remnant of Israel who dwelled with them. And many more have been saved over the past 2,000 years — truly saved by the good news brought on the beautiful feet of His shepherds. And continue to be saved and, in obedience to Jesus Christ’s command that His shepherds have taught them, are filled with the Holy Spirit.

All who have come to faith in Him, and have obeyed His command to filled with His Holy Spirit, will dwell securely, for His Spirit is in them and will remain in them forever —

John 14:15   “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”

Verses 7-8 —

“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when they will no longer say, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ 8 but, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will live on their own soil.”

He is a living God! He is eternal, active, present, and visible through His creation and through those whom He has filled with His Holy Spirit! They are His witnesses here (Acts 1:8), living proof of the living God!

When you are saved by and filled with the living God, beloved, you will say of Him, “He truly is the living Lord — I know it is true, because He fully and permanently indwells me! He led me into the true Promised Land of freedom from slavery to sin! And He has prepared a place for me where He is, so I will live with Him forever!” (See John 14:2-3.)

Lord Jesus, may Your wayward sheep repent! When they do, You will surely deliver them from the mouths of the false shepherds, and lead them to the shepherds whom You have raised up for them! Make it so, I pray! Amen!

ISAIAH SESSION 42 — BEHOLD MY SERVANT

Text: Isaiah 42

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be, “Behold My Servant.” In this chapter, the LORD introduces us to God the Son, Jesus Christ, His Servant. From this point forward in the Book of Isaiah, the LORD unfolds His plan for the redemption of His people, and for those who do not yet know Him, then and now!

What will His Servant do, for all who believe into Him and obey Him? Watch and listen, and I will show you!

Verse 1 —

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold,” says the LORD, “My chosen one in whom My soul delights (through whom He is pleased to satisfy a debt).” Who is His Servant? God the Son, Jesus Christ —

Matthew 20:28  “ . . .  the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

The LORD continues, “I have put My Spirit upon Him (literally, given Him my Spirit permanently). And He will bring forth justice (literally, judgment) to the nations (Gentiles).” 

He will rightly judge them, offering them the same salvation and infilling of the Spirit as His people Israel. If they refuse, He will judge against them.

John the Baptist explains the permanent giving of the Holy Spirit as a new thing, saying of Jesus Christ —

John 1:32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34 “I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

Never before had the Holy Spirit remained permanently. In the Old Testament, and even with John the Baptist, the Spirit come upon the Lord’s prophets, and then lifted after they had prophesied. 

But for Jesus Christ, the Spirit remained! John marveled at it! It was a sign that proved that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit and purifying fire (see Matthew 3:11, Malachi 3:3). 

Peter explains in his testimony about the Gentile, Cornelius, and his household, who were given the Holy Spirit (permanently filled with the Holy Spirit) —

Acts 15:8 “And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them (literally, putting in them) the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 “Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”

Verses 2-3 —

The LORD continues, saying His Servant “will not cry out or raise, nor make His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish.”

He will not cry (shriek), or lift up (so as to boast in Himself), or cause His voice to be heard in the street (as if to draw attention to Himself instead of His message). 

A bruised reed (those who are oppressed) He will not break (crush). A smoldering wick (those who have come to the end of themselves) He will not extinguish. 

He will faithfully (it is a truth that He will) bring forth judgment, both favorable and unfavorable. It is just as Jesus Christ speaks —

John 5:27 . . . and He (the Father) gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”

Verse 4 —

He Himself shall not grow dim and will not be crushed (cracked into pieces) until He has established judgment (a verdict) in the earth — favorable for those who believe, or unfavorable for those who refuse Him. 

And the coastlands (again, a reference to Gentiles, per Isaiah 49:1) shall wait expectantly for His law (His instruction), trusting in it. As for His own people, He was despised by many Jews, and rejected (Isaiah 53:3). John writes —

John 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Verse 5 —

Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and its vegetation, who gives breath (a life-giving puff) to the people on it, and spirit (a living soul) to those who walk in it! 

God the LORD is over everything and everyone. And His Son is the Creator of everything, including you and me (Hebrews 1:3). It was only by His powerful word that all that is visible and invisible was formed. Paul proclaims of Jesus Christ, God the Son —

Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Verse 6 —

What does God the LORD say? And to whom does He say it? He says it to His Servant whom He sends to the earth. For what purpose was Jesus Christ sent? To be the perfect, sinless sacrifice, taking upon Himself the punishment we deserved (Isaiah 53:5), so that all who believe into Him and obey Him are saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to God!

So, to His Servant, He says, “I am the LORD. I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand (I will strengthen You) and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, and as a light to the nations.” 

He called and sent His Son, His Servant, for this purpose — to be the Establisher of a new covenant, and a Light. 

Jeremiah prophesies —

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.

And the writer of Hebrews confirms it in in Hebrews 8:10-11 and Hebrews 10:4, 8-9!

It is a righteous act that reflects the LORD’s character. He is the embodiment of righteousness — He is righteousness!

The LORD will appoint His Servant as a Light for the peoples! He is the Light of the world (John 8:12, 9:5), the great Light that came into the midst of deepest darkness (Isaiah 9:2)! What will the Light do?

Verse 7 —

He will open blind eyes, healing spiritual and physical blindness! He will bring out prisoners from the dungeon (freeing us from slavery to our sin nature, per John 8:31-36), and bring out those who dwell in the spiritual darkness of the prison of their sin! 

Surely, He is the One who frees all who are captives of Satan, if they will believe into Him. Jesus Christ spoke this scripture, in Luke 4:18, saying He was the fulfillment of this scripture —

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners . . .

Verses 8-9 —

The LORD addresses the false prophets and gods whom His people are worshiping. He says, “I am the LORD, that is My name (there is no other god but Me)!” Therefore, He says, “I will not give My glory (honor) to another, nor My praise to graven images.” 

His people worshiped the gods of the land, and worshiped Him by rote — they went through the motions, but their hearts were far from Him (Isaiah 29:13) — just as it is today among many believers. They did not give Him honor, they did not praise Him. And He said, “I will not allow you to steal what is Mine!”

He continues, “Behold! The former things have come to pass,” (just as He had previously declared them). “Now I declare new things. Before they happen, I proclaim them to you!” 

The sending of His Servant is the new thing, the means of paying the debt for the breaking of the first covenant and establishing a new covenant with His people. Jesus Christ says to His disciples on the night before He was crucified —

Matthew 26:27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”

What must His sinning people — including sinning believers today — do to be restored and reconciled to their God? Believe in His Servant, His Son, Jesus Christ!

Verse 10 —

Therefore, Isaiah says, “Sing to the LORD a new song of praise, even to the ends of the earth!” Jesus Christ said this of His disciples who would obey His command to stay and wait to be filled with the Spirit —

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

Everyone was commanded to sing a song of praise — those who go down to the sea — and even all that is in the sea — and Gentiles, who were part of His plan for salvation from before time began! 

I tell you the truth, when you are filled with His Spirit, you are filled with a song of praise! You cannot help but praise Him!

Verses 11-12 —

Even the desert and its cities will praise Him, the settlements of Kedar and Sela —where the offspring of Ishmael dwell — will praise Him! They will shout for joy from the tops of the mountains upon which they dwell. They will give glory to the LORD, and declare His praise in the coastlands — to all peoples!

And indeed, throughout the Book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament, and even today, the Lord’s praise was and is declared by all people who come to Christ and then obey Him! They cannot stop speaking about what they have seen and heard (Acts 4:20)! They give Him all praise and honor, for only He can make a human heart obedient to Him, when believers are filled with the Holy Spirit!

Verse 13 —

The LORD will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies.

I tell you the truth, in John 2:14 and forward, when Jesus Christ cleansed the temple of all the merchants and their animals and their unjust scales, the disciples remembered the words from Psalm 69:9! Zeal for His Father’s house consumed Him! And the same zeal consumes all filled believers who see that His house is broken down and filled with sin. 

We proclaim the good news that the Lord is the cleanser and purifier of their hearts, and when He does it, the Father and the Son and the Spirit come in to permanently and fully dwell inside of them!

Verse 14 — 

The LORD has kept silent for a long time. He has kept still and restrained Himself. But like a woman in labor, now He groans for the condition of His people and His church! He gasps and pants, as if in labor. The Spirit-filled Paul says to the sinning believers at Galatia —

Galatians 4:19 My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you — 20 but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Verses 15-17 —

The LORD promises that He will completely devastate those who rebel against Him. The mountains and hills are the prideful. They do not rely upon the LORD, but upon what they themselves can grow and build with their own hands. I am speaking to today’s believers in today’s church! The LORD will dry up all the natural sources of natural replenishment upon which they rely.

And when all that they rely upon is gone, He will lead His spiritually blind people by a way they do not know, and will guide them in paths they do not know. They do not know the way because their sin has separated them from Him (Isaiah 59:1-2)! For a long time, they have not walked rightly before Him. 

He will make darkness into light before them, and rugged places into plains. His people are blinded by their spiritual darkness. But by Jesus Christ, the great Light which He will give them, His blind people will see. He will smooth the rough places in their hearts, making a highway for Him to fill them with Himself!

These are the things He will do, and He will not leave them undone. He keeps His promises, for all who will turn back to Him and obey Him!

But for those who trust in idols, who say to molten images, “You are our gods,” He promises that they will be turned back by Him, to wallow in their sin, and will be utterly put to shame! 

Verses 18-20 —

To His spiritually deaf and blind people, He says, “Hear you deaf! And look, you blind, that you may see!” They are deaf to His commands, and blind to their poverty-stricken spiritual condition.
He continues, “Who is blind but My servant, Israel?” They are far from Him, they are in darkness, they are blind. 

And He asks, “Who is so deaf as My messenger whom I send?” He commanded Israel to be His witnesses, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation (Genesis 19:6), but they did not heed His commands, but rebelled against Him.

For all who will believe into His Servant and obey Him, Peter says this, quoting from Hosea 1:10 and 2:23 —

1Peter 2:9   But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

The Jews (and today’s church) have seen many things — miracles done by the LORD, over and over again! But they do not observe them (take heed of them). Their ears are open to hear His commands, but they do not hear (obey)!

Verses 21-22 —

The LORD was pleased, because of His righteousness, to make the law great and glorious! He gave the law to Moses, so His people would know His heart and His ways. But to them, it was just a series of do’s and don’ts. They were blind to the light (understanding) that it contained. So they turned to darkness, driven by the lusts of their sin nature.

Therefore, His spiritually blind and deaf people were and are plundered (utterly stolen from) and despoiled (robbed), they are trapped in cages, they are hidden away in prisons, they are a prey for Satan. There are none to deliver them, and they are a spoil (booty taken by their enemies), with none to say, “Give them back!” 

He surely will not say, “Give them back,” for they have rebelled against Him! Therefore, He has sent their enemies against them, and has allowed Satan to sift today’s believers like wheat (Luke 22:31), for they have boasted in their own strength and works, and willfully disobey Him! 

Why does the Lord punish His people and today’s church? He does it so they will return to Him from whom they have so deeply defected (Isaiah 31:6).

Hear these words, O believer, O church! You have deeply defected from Jesus Christ and your Father in heaven, and are plundered and robbed by Satan!

Verse 23-25 —

Who will actually listen to what the LORD is about to say? Who will give heed, for the time to come? 

Listen to the LORD’s words, through Isaiah —

Who gave you up for spoil, and to plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom they have sinned, and in whose ways they were not willing to walk and whose law they did not obey?

O believer, hear this today! Then and now, this is His response to those who continue to sin and rebel against Him, after He has saved them!

He pours out on them — rebellious Israel, and today’s rebellious believers — the heat of His anger, and the fierceness of battle, and it sets them aflame all around, yet they do not recognize it, and it burns them, but they did not take it to heart!

Do you not know that you are on fire, O rebellious believer? It is not the purifying fire that Jesus baptizes with, but a fire that destroys, just as He spoke —

John 15:6 “If anyone does not abide in Me (receive my life-giving sap), he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they (the angels) gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”

And He says —

Matthew 13:49 “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Do you not recognize that you are aflame? You are burned, but you do not take it to heart! You do not see that He does it so you would repent, but you continue to sin against Him.

You do not cry out for the Lord to fill you with His Spirit, so you no longer are slaves to sin. He would gladly do it, crucifying the sin nature in you, so you no longer rebel against the Lord (Galatians 5:24)! Instead of crying out, you listen to false teachers and preachers who say the Lord cannot deliver you from your sin!

Beloved, take to heart the words of Isaiah 42, and the other words the Lord asked me to speak! You are being consumed by flames, even now!

O righteous Lord, open the deaf ears and open the blind eyes of Your rebellious people and today’s believers, I pray! Let it be so. Amen.

“I DID NOT SEND THESE”

[SW414] 01/11/2020 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn

“I Did Not Send These”

Text: Jeremiah 23:16-27, etc.

You must know the Sender — the Lord — in order to discern whether or not the one you follow is sent by the Sender! I do not say, “you must know about the Sender,” but “you must know the Sender, in a holy, intimate way.” But many do not know the Sender in that way, so they are easily deceived by those that the Lord has not sent.

As I said last week, those who are deceived by these polluters love their words. But they do not like the words of the prophets sent by the Lord, for they speak what the Lord tells them to speak! The ones He sends exhort believers regarding their sin and warn them of the consequences of it. But they are mocked by those who follow the polluters. They do not see that in mocking those He sent, they mock Him!

Therefore, the Lord and those who He sends lament, saying —

Hosea 4:6  My people are destroyed (perish) for lack of knowledge (yada, intimacy as in a marriage).

Beloved, you will quickly shun the polluters if you know the Lord in a holy, intimate way! His Holy Spirit teaches you all things (John 14:26, 16:13), and you love and know His Word (and I am not speaking of simply memorizing verses). The Holy Spirit opens it to you, so you see it more and more deeply. So you easily detect the lies of the polluters. 

But those who only know about Him are the ones who follow polluters. I tell you the truth, they will perish if they do not return to the Lord, beloved! Therefore, the Lord asked me to warn you, through Jeremiah 23.

Verse 16 —

Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; they speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the LORD.”

Do not listen! Beloved, false prophets have not changed. These polluters who prophesy to you today are the same as in Jeremiah’s day! They do not hear from the Lord. He has not sent them. They are leading you into futility (literally, leading you astray into emptiness), with their empty words. They speak from their own imagination.

They do not speak the LORD’s words! Instead, they speak the words of their master. Infants in Christ will follow them, for they are not yet spiritual — they are not yet filled with the Holy Spirit (see 1Corinthians 3:1-2).

Paul warned the infants at Corinth, for many had begun to follow false leaders and prophets —

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.

Beloved, whoever sins — including those who say they believe in Jesus Christ — will perish, if they do not repent! Paul exhorted the infant believers at Rome, warning them that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). They had been told by polluted false apostles and prophets that as they continued to sin, God’s grace would simply increase, and cover their sin. Paul responded —

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?

But the very good news is that Jesus Christ will set you free from slavery to sin, when you obey His command to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). He will crucify your sin nature (Galatians 5:24), so you die to sin — it is no longer in you! And He will purify your heart and make you a sharer in His divine nature (Acts 15:9, 2Peter 1:4)!

The polluters say, “No worries,” regarding your sin. But their words are contrary to Jesus Christ’s words. If He says to His disciples that He will set them free from slavery to sin, then they must be slaves to sin (see John 8:31-36)! He would not need to set you free, O believer, if you were not in chains. 

Do you see it? Those who are not sent by the Lord speak things that are contrary to the Word of God, thus they call the Lord a liar. And so do those who listen to them and love their words!

Verses 17-18 —

The LORD of hosts continues, “They keep saying to those who despise Me (literally, provoke, anger Me), ‘The LORD has said, “You will have peace”’; and as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’18 But who has stood in the council of (literally, stood in the presence of) the LORD, that he should see and hear His word? Who has given heed to His word and listened?”

The polluted ones declare and decree, “Peace, peace,” to those who anger the Lord by sinning against Him (Jeremiah 8:11)! I tell you the truth, infant believers who walk in the stubbornness of their own hearts sometimes find their conscience has been pricked. They have heard somewhere that believers will be judged for continuing to sin against the Lord. But the polluters say, “God loves you,” calmly assuring those who are provoking the Lord! 

But who has stood in the council of the LORD? Who stands before Him, in His very presence? Who has listened to Him? Who has obeyed Him? Certainly not those who calmly assure you, saying you will have peace though you rebel against the Lord, thereby making Him angry!

All of today’s true prophets of the Lord stand before Him. They are not Christ, but they are like Him (1John 2:6, 4:17), because God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit indwell them permanently and fully (John 14:23). 

They see and hear Him, for they stand in His presence. So, they say what they hear Him say and do what they see Him do (John 5:19, 7:16). They do not leave out a word of what He says to them.

Not so with the polluters! They lie, but accuse His true prophets of lying (Jeremiah 43:2), but they are sons of the devil, who is the father of lies. Jesus tells the outwardly religious Jewish priests, scribes and leaders who reject Him and lead His people astray —

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

 

With their lies, they sin against the Lord, leading many of His sheep down the broad path that they themselves are on — the path that leads to destruction (see Matthew 7:13). 

Listen to the soon-to-be-beheaded Paul’s appointment of Timothy to continue the ministry that he had begun —

2Timothy 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of (literally, standing before) God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 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 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Many infant believers today are walking in the stubbornness of their own hearts! Many reject sound teaching! Many have turned their ears from the truth and turned aside to ear-pleasing myths! Therefore, many provoke and anger the Lord!

Beloved, if you are among them, calamity surely will come upon you! The Lord will do it so you awake from your slumber, see your foolishness and return to Him. I make no apologies and give no calm assurances, for I must say what the Lord 

says! And He says —

Lamentations 2:14 “Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions; 

and they have not exposed your iniquity (perversity, sin) so as to restore you from captivity, but they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.”

The polluters’ visions are not of God, because they are not sent by the Sender! The Lord says, “I did not send these!” They receive their lies and false visions from the father!

Verses 19-20 —

Jeremiah warns, “Behold, the storm of the LORD has gone forth in wrath, even a whirling tempest; it will swirl (twisting, like a tornado) down on the head of the wicked. 20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; in the last days you will clearly understand it.”

Where will the Lord’s tornado of wrath painfully descend? Upon the heads of all who are wicked (evil) among His people —  both the spiritual polluters and the spiritually polluted. As I said in my last message, believers choose to be spiritually polluted when they take in polluted teaching even though they are warned again and again by the Lord’s prophets!

The anger of the LORD will not cease until He has carried out the purposes of His heart — to judge His people by letting their enemies overrun them, and to thereby sift them like wheat (Luke 22:31) until they repent! When they are judged, they will clearly (perfectly, completely) understand the condition of their hearts, and their need for Him to change them.

I do not believe this applies to His people who will be exiled in Babylon. Why? 

According to the Word of God, during their captivity in Babylon, some Jewish captives repented. But many Jewish captives listened to the false prophets who went into captivity with them (see Jeremiah 29:24-28)! 

But when you see the condition of your heart, beloved, you surely will repent and ask the Lord to change it. You will fully understand where there is a great distance between Him and you, and will fully understand that your sin has separated you from the Lord (Isaiah 59:1-2).

In the day of the Lord, both believers and unbelievers will be judged by Jesus Christ (John 5:22, Romans 14:10, 2Corinthians 5:10). Are you ready?

Verses 21-22 —

The LORD says, “I did not send these prophets, but they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied. 22 “But if they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds.”

He did not send these polluted prophets. To stand in His council is to stand before Him, as I have taught from Verse 18. If they had stood in His council, they would have spoken His words to His people, so His people would hear His words. And they would have turned His people back from their evil ways and evil deeds!

Beloved, what a leader or prophet speaks determines where their words are coming from. If they exhort you to turn from your sin and warn you of the consequences of it, they are from the Lord. If they deliberately omit any mention of sin or repentance, and deliberately omit Jesus Christ’s command to be filled with the Holy Spirit so your sin nature is crucified and your heart is purified (Acts 15:9), they are not from the Lord.

Verses 23-24 —

“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off? 24  “Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?” declares the LORD. 

“Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD. 

Can anything be hidden from the Lord? The writer of Hebrews answers —

Hebrews 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open (laid bare) to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (NKJV)

He is a God who is near. He does not stand far off. And your heart is not hidden from His sight, as the Lord spoke through Jeremiah —

Jeremiah 17:9  “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; 

who can understand (discern, know) it? 10 I, the LORD, search (examine) the heart, I test (examine) the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”

Verses 25-26 —

The LORD says, “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’ 26 “How long? Is there anything in the hearts (literally, how long is this in the hearts) of the prophets who prophesy falsehood (lies), even these prophets of the deception (fraud) of their own heart, 27 who intend to make My people forget My name by their dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal?

The LORD knows exactly what the polluting false prophets are doing. They announce that they have dreams and visions. It sounds impressive to God’s people! But the LORD asks rhetorically, “How long will the pollution remain in the hearts of the polluters?” He knows they will not repent!

Certainly, the LORD is not in their hearts! If He was, they would not say what they say and do what they do! 

Their hearts are polluted, full of fraud and lies which they share with one another, encouraging each other to continue lying. And their hearts will remain polluted until they repent from the depths of their hearts. But I cannot recall from God’s Word that any polluter ever repented. They were, after all, sons of their father, as Jesus said. And I do not recall that any polluters have repented, in today’s wayward mainline, in today’s non-denominational churches, and in today’s so-called prophetic ministries.

What is the purpose of their lies and fraud? To try to make God’s people forget the nature and character of the LORD, by the dreams they related to one another. They hide His true nature! 

The Lord is holy and righteous, and He commands believers to be perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48), and holy as He is holy (1Peter 1:15). By the polluted words of the polluters, they make His people forget that He will judge them for their sin against Him!

The Lord has not changed, beloved! He knows your heart! Do not try to hide its contents from Him. 

But remember the good news that I spoke last week, and spoke at the beginning of today’s message! If you have become polluted by the polluters, there is a cure that will make you completely clean on the inside, with no spiritual scar. Be filled with His Holy Spirit, as He commands! Then you will have a clean heart and a crucified sin nature. Then you will no longer sin against Him. And you will be able to immediately detect the polluters, and warn others about them!

Lord Jesus, may infant believers be awakened and may these words prick their hearts, so they would return to You! Make it so, I pray! Amen.

ISAIAH SESSION 41 — LET US COME TOGETHER FOR JUDGMENT

Text: Isaiah 41

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be, “Let Us Come Together For Judgment.” In this chapter, the LORD encourages His people who have repented in this passage, and judges the false prophets and false gods among His people.

Why do I say His encouragement is for the repentant? Because of Isaiah 40:27-31, a picture of His people who rebel, and His people who repent. So, if you are rebelling against the LORD, O believer, do not claim any of the promises of God for yourself, but repent!

Verse 1 —

Through Isaiah, the LORD commands the coastlands (islands, a reference to the Gentiles/non-Jews) to be silent. And He commands not only His people (in Isaiah 40:31), but Gentiles to gain new strength. If they repent and believe into Him, they will become His adopted sons and daughters.

This is a clear picture of the ingathering of non-Jews, which happened in the Book of Acts and is still happening today. Jesus Christ came to save from God’s wrath whoever will believe into and obey Him, be they Jew or Gentile, and to reconcile them to the one true God.

There is no “let” in these next lines of Verse 1. He commands them to come forward, to speak, and to come together with Him for judgment. He judges those who do good, with a positive judgment that results in eternal life, and those who do evil with a negative judgment that results in condemnation (see John 5:27-29). 

Verses 2-3 —

The LORD now speaks through Isaiah concerning Cyrus, king of Persia, who has not yet been born, but 150 years from the date of this prophecy will issue a decree. In it, all Jews who want to return from captivity in Babylon to Jerusalem will be free to go. It is a matter of history, and is recorded on the cylinder of Cyrus, and in the Word of God —

2Chronicles 36:22   Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia — in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah — the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 23 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!’”

Remember that the Medo-Persians overthrew Babylon. So, the people of Judah who were in captivity were now under Persian rule — thus, the reference to the east.

The LORD (not Cyrus’ god, Marduk) stirred Cyrus to let the captives return to Jerusalem. He called Him in righteousness, to fulfill His promise to His people that they would return after 70 years of captivity (Jeremiah 25:11-12, 29:10). The LORD called Cyrus to His feet, a position of servanthood.

NOTE: This prophecy was fulfilled by Cyrus, and is also a prophecy fulfilled when the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as the promised Messiah, the faithful Servant we will see in coming chapters. For all who believe into Him and obey Him, Jesus Christ will bring them into the true Promised Land of the kingdom of heaven! 

Here and now, He will establish His kingdom in believers’ hearts, when they cry out to their Father in heaven to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). And when they go to be with Him, they will forever dwell with God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in the kingdom of heaven.

So just according to the LORD’s plan and promise Cyrus delivered up nations before him, and subdued kings. He made them like dust with his sword, as the wind-driven chaff with his bow. He pursued them, passing on in safety, by a way he had not been traversing with his feet. It was the same with Jesus Christ, who defeated Satan by way of the cross (Colossians 2:15)! And in the end, He will judge all people (John 5:28-29, Revelation 19:1 and forward).

Hallelujah!  We serve a God who knows everything, plans everything, and keeps His promises, if we repent and believe and obey His commands. And do not be deceived. It is impossible to obey until you are filled with His Spirit, as He commands (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5).

Verse 4 —

The LORD asks, “Who has performed and accomplished it, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last. I am He.”

Indeed, Jesus Christ is the First and the Last —

Revelation 1:17   When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,” 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”

And —

Revelation 22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Jesus Christ and God the Father have eternally existed. So, before anything was, God had already planned to call forth Cyrus’ generation for the fulfillment of His promise to return His repentant people to the land. Do you see it? The LORD knew Cyrus’ name, 220 years before Cyrus was to release His people!

He called forth the generations that led to the natural birth of Jesus Christ. He called forth you! He called forth me, for such a time as this! He already knew that, though I was far from Him and mocked Him for over forty years, I would turn to Him and repent, be saved and be filled, and become His messenger! 

Who is in charge of history? The Lord, who sits above time and knows the end, from the beginning! I stand in awe of Him!

Verses 5-7 —

As for the Gentiles who reject Him, they have seen and are afraid. They have seen the work of the LORD, to restore His people. Even to the ends of the earth, everyone trembles at what they have seen. 

They draw near and come for judgment, per Verse 1. They have no choice.

Each one encourages his neighbor, saying, “Be strong!” How do they strengthen themselves? By making more idols, and worshiping them! It is just as true today, except that in today’s church and among today’s believers, the idol they make and worship is the idol of self.

How foolish to trust in something made by man, how foolish to trust in man’s wisdom and man’s ways, and how foolish to trust in the world system that defies God! But believers do so, and their false leaders, false teachers, false preachers and false prophets encourage them to worship themselves! 

I tell you the truth, just as I did in the last teaching of Isaiah 40:19-20, nothing made by man is built on a solid foundation. It will totter and fall, no matter how carefully it is built by man, and no matter how strong their structure. It was not built by the Lord, so it will surely fall!

Verses 8-10 —

But for His repentant people, He will save them! He chose them, by way of Abraham, who He still calls His friend, for Abraham is now with Him —

James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

And you, too, O believer, are the offspring of Abraham, by faith in Jesus Christ —

Romans 4:16   For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham (that is, those who have faith in the Lord) . . .

Verses 11-14 —

 

When believers repent, and when Israel no longer rejects their Messiah, Jesus Christ, all who are angered at us will be shamed and dishonored. Those who contend with us will be as nothing and will perish. We will seek but not find those who quarrel with us. Those who war with us will be as nothing and non-existent. 

Why? Because He is the God of the repentant — the LORD your God who upholds your right hand, who says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you. Do not fear, you worm (in comparison to His majesty), you men (humankind), I will help you, and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.”

Verses 15-16 —

When believers repent, and when Israel no longer rejects their Messiah, the LORD makes us new, sharp threshing sledges, with double edges. We will thresh those who are prideful and boast of their greatness (mountains and hills). We will pulverize the mountains, and make the hills like chaff. 

We will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, for they are chaff, which is useless. It is not in our power that we will do this, but in His power. His wind — His breath — will carry them away. The storm — His storm  — will scatter them. But we who have repented will rejoice in the LORD, and will glory in the Holy One of Israel! We will boast in Him, and shine for Him!

Verse 17 —

Afflicted and needy believers (those who hunger and thirst for righteousness) are seeking water, for they know they have none. Their tongue is parched with thirst for the living water with which Jesus Christ will fill them —

John 4:14 “ . . . but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well (literally, gushing fountain) of water springing up to eternal life.”

John 7:37   Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The LORD Himself will answer those who believe in Him. Because HE is their God, He will not forsake them (leave them destitute)!

Verses 18-20 —

The LORD will open rivers of living water on the bare heights, and springs in the midst of those who have humbly thirsted and hungered. Those whose hearts were a wilderness will be like a pool of water, and those who were spiritually dry will be like fountains of water, just as He promised in John 4:14 above!

The LORD will put trees that must be well-watered— cedars, acacias, myrtles, olive trees, junipers, box trees, and cypress — in the wilderness. He will place you, O believer who hungered and thirsted and were filled with His Holy Spirit, in the wilderness of this world, and you will thrive. 

The Lord will make you thrive, even under the most difficult circumstances. He will do it so that everyone around you will see and recognize and consider and gain insight as well! What does He mean by insight? They will fully understand that the hand of the LORD has done it, and the Holy One of Israel has created something miraculous — a human being filled with His living water, to the point where it gushes forth from them, and to the point that they remain well-watered even in the midst of the utter dryness of much of today’s church, and of the world!

Verses 21-24 —

Now the LORD turns to the false leaders, priests, and prophets who led Israel astray into idolatry. The scene is a courtroom, and they are on trial. The LORD mocks them and those who follow them, for they do not speak the truth, and know nothing.

The King of Jacob (Israel) says, Present your case, bring forward your strong (arguments, Hebrew-to-English). Let them (the false prophets) bring forth and declare to Us (the Father, the Son and the Spirit) what is going to take place. 

As for the first things, the beginning, declare what they were, that We may consider them and know their outcome, or announce to Us what is coming. They cannot, for only the one true God declares the end from the beginning —

Isaiah 46:9  “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure . . .’”

Again, He mocks their false gods, “Declare the things that are going to come afterward, that We may know that you are gods. Indeed, do good or evil, that We may anxiously look about Us and fear together.”

And He says, “Behold, you are of no account, and your work amounts to nothing. He who chooses you is an abomination.” Have you chosen the false god of self? Then repent, for it is a false god, it is nothing, and by worshiping it, you have become an abomination to the Lord!

Verse 25 —

The LORD says, “I have aroused one (Cyrus) from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun he will call on My name . . .” The sun rises in the east, but here he says Cyrus will from the north. 

The Expositors Bible Commentary explains that north and east are combined in Verse 25. Why? From Israel’s location and their point of view, Cyrus originated in the east, in Persia, and carried out major conquests to the north of Israel.

The LORD will cause Cyrus to be victorious. King Cyrus will come upon rulers as upon mortar, even as the potter treads clay. He will, 220 years hence, overrun and trample Israel’s enemy, Babylon. And it is true of Jesus Christ, who has conquered Satan! And at the end of things, He will return as a warrior and a judge, as I have shown you from Revelation 19:1 and forward!

Verse 26 —

The LORD now taunts the false prophets to prophesy to the Godhead. Therefore, I capitalize “We” and “Us” in the next few verses. 

He asks the false prophets, “Who has declared this from the beginning, that We might know or from former times, that We may say, “He is right!” Surely there was no one who declared, or proclaimed or heard your words, O false prophets of Isaiah’s time, and false prophets of today!

Verse 27 —

The LORD formerly said, “Behold, here they are.” This is a poor translation, from my NAS Bible. The KJV translates more accurately, “The First (Verse 4b) shall say to Zion, Behold! Behold them!” And the First said to Jerusalem, “I will give a messenger of good news.” 

He spoke of John the Baptist, and of Jesus Christ, and of those who are filled with His Spirit and working in His fields which are ready for harvest today!

Verses 28-29 —

The LORD says, “But when I look, there is no one, and there is no counselor among them who, if I ask, can give an answer. Behold, all of them are false; their works are worthless, their molten images are wind and emptiness.” 

None of the false prophets can answer His questions, nor can those who are their followers. No one prophesies truth, and those who follow false prophets are following lies. Who are you following, beloved?

It was the same when Jesus Christ walked the earth. The Jewish leaders, priests, rabbis, and even the Sanhedrin, who should have recognized their Messiah, rejected Him. It was not a surprise to the LORD. He later says of His Christ, through His prophet Isaiah —

Isaiah 53:2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, 

nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3 He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

The Jews, during Jesus’ earthly ministry were false teachers. And Jesus Christ exposed their hypocrisy and falsehood before the crowds in Jerusalem —

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.”

Matthew 23:15   “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”

And He says —

Matthew 23:27   “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! 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. 28 “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

They were false ones, and there are many such false ones in today’s church. But sadly, most believers have no discernment to see that they are false. That is why, in today’s church, many are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, like the believers at Laodicea (see Revelation 3:17). 

But beloved, if you will repent, if you will return to the LORD, He will receive you back, and you will live in His victory over Satan, delivered from your sin nature, and made a super-conqueror (John 8:31-36, Galatians 5:24, and Romans 8:37)!

Hear and heed these words that the Lord has given me to speak today. Lord Jesus, let it be so, I pray. Amen.

SPIRITUAL POLLUTION

[SW413] 01/04/2020 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn

“Spiritual Pollution”

Text: Jeremiah 23:9-15, etc.

In the days of Jeremiah, the land abounded with spiritually polluted false leaders and false prophets. It is the same today, beloved. This is the first of three messages on Jeremiah 23. Through them, I will show you: 1) the source of spiritual pollution; 2) who becomes polluted, and why; and 3) the cure for it.

Natural pollution always begins at a hidden source, and then spreads, contaminating everything in its path. It comes without warning. It is undetected until someone is sickened by it, or it causes a sudden change in the environment. Once it has happened, it cannot be totally cleansed, but leaves a poisonous scar.

But spiritual pollution is not like natural pollution. The Lord’s prophets detect spiritual pollution and the source of it, in advance of its coming! The Lord shows it to them. So they warn, in advance! And spiritual pollution can only contaminate those who refuse to heed the Lord’s warnings and deliberately take it into themselves. 

But the Lord! What glorious words! But the Lord will do this, if you are spiritually polluted and repent and cry out to Him — He will completely and permanently cleanse you of your spiritual pollution, and remove even its poisonous scar! I know it is true, because He did it in me, eighteen years ago!

So, I will warn you today,  and over the next two sermons, through the truths in Jeremiah 23.

In the days of Jeremiah, God’s people loved what the spiritually polluted religious leaders and prophets said. I will call these leaders and prophets “the polluters.” The people listened to their words, taking them into themselves, so they became spiritually polluted. 

But they had been warned in advance, and the Lord continued to warn them after the pollution  came! For 42 years, Jeremiah warned God’s people to repent! 

Verse 9 —

Jeremiah lamented, “As for the prophets, my heart is broken (crushed) within me, all my bones tremble. I have become like a drunken man, even a man overcome with wine, because of the LORD and because of His holy words.”

Jeremiah saw in advance what the LORD would do. All his bones shook. He had spoken the LORD’s holy words to a vastly polluted, unholy people and their polluted priests and prophets. But they had not listened.

He spoke the LORD’s holy words, as a true prophet of the Lord is compelled to do. But it broke his heart to have to speak these words to his rebellious brothers and sisters. He inwardly reeled and staggered like a drunkard.

Worst of all, Jeremiah knew no one would listen to the LORD’s warnings, spoken through him. He knew they would not repent. He knew the LORD would judge and exile them. He knew he would see it happen! 

I tell you the truth, His prophets who warn the church today see what will happen to the spiritually polluted church and its churchgoers, beloved! We do not rejoice! We mourn!

Some of today’s polluters have foolishly diagnosed Jeremiah with clinical depression. Those who have been polluted by them heave a sigh of relief and say, “Jeremiah was just like us! He was depressed, too! Now the Bible is more ‘relatable’ to us!”

But that was not the case, at all! Jeremiah wept because He saw what was going to happen to his people — famine, the sword, exile! A siege that lasted so long that people resorted to cannibalism, to try to survive! Jerusalem overrun and burned to the ground! Beloved, do not listen to today’s polluters who psychoanalyze and eviscerate (remove the truth from) the Word of God! 

Verse 10 —

The LORD said, through Jeremiah, “For the land is full of adulterers, for the land mourns because of the curse. The pastures of the wilderness have dried up. Their course also is evil, and their might (power) is not right (true).”

The spiritual state of the people of God in those days was dire because pollution had infected nearly all of God’s people. Many committed spiritual adultery against the LORD, following the polluters and becoming polluted by their words. Disaster loomed, and Jeremiah saw it, in advance!

The one true God had brought His people into the land. He had supplied their every need on the journey. He had prospered them in the land. But now, many of His people had chosen to become spiritually polluted by the polluters! Beloved, you cannot be polluted unless you choose to be polluted!

They had chosen to accept it into themselves, for they loved the polluted words that they spoke (Jeremiah 5:31). But the power and words of the polluters were twisted and polluted, for they themselves were spiritually polluted. 

So, God’s people were on an evil path. The LORD had judged them by withholding rain from them, removing His blessing from them, and removing His protection from them. So the pastures of the wilderness had dried up. A great drought came, followed by famine. They were overrun by their enemies. Yet they did not repent!

God’s people loved the teaching of the polluters. Why? Because they taught whatever pleased the sin nature. The polluters told them to worship false gods. The people loved the sexual acts those gods required them to do. They even willingly offered their children in the fire, as burnt offerings, to the false gods, to earn favor from them so they would be rich and wealthy and in need of nothing!

They loved to do what they wanted, and were told by the polluters that they could do what they wanted, without consequences. But they knew there were consequences! They knew that their deeds were evil, for the LORD had sent His prophets to them again and again, to warn them, per Jeremiah 25:3, 26:5, 29:19, 32:33, 35:15 and finally —

Jeremiah 44:2 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘You yourselves have seen all the calamity that I have brought on Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are in ruins and no one lives in them, 3 because of their wickedness which they committed so as to provoke Me to anger by continuing to burn sacrifices and to serve other gods whom they had not known, neither they, you, nor your fathers. 4 ‘Yet I sent you all My servants the prophets, again and again, saying, “Oh, do not do this abominable thing which I hate.”

Verse 11 —

The LORD specifically identified the polluters, saying, “For both prophet and priest are polluted. Even in My house, I have found their wickedness (evil),” declares the LORD.

It was not just the prophets of Baal that His people listened to, as in the days of Elijah. Even in His house, those who were supposed to be His prophets and His priests were polluting His people!

The polluters called evil good, and good evil (see Isaiah 5:20). They encouraged His people to defy Him, saying that these false gods would give them what they lusted after — prosperity, success, happiness and peace! They said that these gods would satisfy every desire of their hearts.

And when the LORD’s judgment upon the land loomed, the polluted religious leaders and prophets spoke words that sounded right. Polluters always do, beloved! They spoke of some aspects of the LORD’s character — His goodness, His mercy, His faithfulness. But they deliberately avoided any reference to repentance. 

But they deliberately omitted His requirement for His people to be righteous and holy, and deliberately omitted any warning about their sin and the consequences of it. So, the polluters did not repent, nor did those who loved their words, took them into themselves, and became polluted. 

Again, all of the time that the polluters spoke, the LORD’s prophets were warning His people. Yet they did not listen!

Verse 12 —

The LORD described His punishment of all who were polluted — the polluters and the polluted — saying, “Therefore their way will be like slippery paths to them. They will be driven away into the gloom and fall down in it, for I will bring calamity upon them, the year of their punishment,” declares the LORD.

Both the polluters and God’s people were responsible to truly know the LORD and the truth of His Word. But all of them rejected, swept aside, and mocked the warnings of the LORD’s prophets, spoken to them again and again. The truth was not hidden from the polluted leaders and prophets, and was not hidden from God’s people!

Therefore, all who were spiritually polluted would be unable to stand. They would slip and slide and not be able to walk, but would be sprawled out on their faces in the mud and would be trampled by their enemies. 

They would be driven into darkness and fall down in it. His people would fall because they had blinded themselves by accepting into themselves the darkness of those whose polluted words they loved! And the polluted ones who spoke such things to them were already in darkness and had completely blinded themselves!

Verses 13-14 — 

The LORD says, “Moreover, among the prophets of Samaria (northern Israel) I saw an offensive thing. They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray. Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing; the committing of adultery and walking in falsehood, so that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to me like Sodom, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah.”

The LORD completely destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with brimstone and fire, because everyone there was committing the sin of homosexuality (Genesis 13:13, Genesis 19:4). Nothing remained of the cities after the LORD judged them, and the land became filled with tar pits. It was so poisoned that those cities were never rebuilt.

I must warn you, beloved! God has not changed! Do not be deceived by the polluters who tell you He has! The polluters say that such things are no longer sin in the Lord’s eyes! Such ones will be doubly condemned by the LORD (Jude 12).  He will judge all who commit sin, just as the Apostle Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 6:9-10. 

But the LORD will make homosexuals and all sinners “such were’s” if they will repent and believe into Jesus Christ (1Corinthians 6:11) and then ask Him to cleanse and fill them! I tell you the truth, I was a sinner, but now I am a “such were!” 

Verse 15 —

Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the polluters, “Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood (poison) and make them drink poisonous water, for from the prophets at Jerusalem pollution has gone forth into all the land.”

What will be their punishment? The LORD of hosts will make the polluters drink poison, and the water of a poisonous plant. Why? Because they have fed His people poison. Therefore, He will feed them poison.

Out of their spiritually polluted hearts, their pollution spread across all of the land. It spread like a spiritual cancer, extending its tendrils until all but a few of God’s people were polluted and separated from the LORD by their sin (Isaiah 59:1-2)

A Warning to Today’s Believers

Many of today’s infants in Christ (1Corinthians 3:1) have taken in the words of today’s spiritual polluters and have chosen to become spiritually polluted. Despite the warnings of the Lord’s prophets, who see what will happen to them, they have loved the polluters’ words. 

It was just as Paul warned the infants at the church at Corinth — 

2Corinthians 11:4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

And Paul boldly speaks and writes —

2Corinthians 11:19 For you, being so wise, tolerate the foolish gladly. 20 For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you, anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself, anyone hits you in the face.

Beloved, it is the same today! Spiritual polluters are encouraging you to worship the god of self. You do not see that their words pollute you. You do not see that they are foolish. You do not see that they are being enslaved and polluted by the polluters’ words. 

They will say whatever they think will please your ears — things that will make you feel temporary, natural happiness, things that please the sin nature you were born with — it is the god of self you worship, when you take such pollution into yourself. You do not see that by choosing to accept them and take them in, you have become spiritually polluted! 

Their words sound right to those who do not know the Word of God and intimately know the Lord. But if you have been filled with the Holy Spirit, He will teach you all the truth (John 14:26, 16:13), so you are able to readily detect the polluters! And because your sin nature was crucified and your heart was purified when you were filled with the Spirit (Galatians 5:27, Acts 15:9), you will not take their polluted teaching into yourself, and will warn your brothers and sisters in Christ, just as I do!

Beloved, do you see why Jesus Christ commands all believers to be filled with the Spirit (Acts 1:4-5)? Jesus exhorts you today —

Matthew 6:22   “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Are your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, and no other? Is His light in you? Then you have obeyed His command to be filled with His Holy Spirit, and you are therefore full of His light. You are the light of the world, holding out the word of life to a crooked and perverse generation (Philippians 2:15-16).

But if your eyes are not fixed on Jesus, then they are fixed on polluted leaders and prophets. You have ignored Jesus Christ’s warnings about them, given through His prophets. The polluted ones have polluted you with their darkness, and now you are as full of darkness as they are. 

Oh, beloved! How great is your darkness, for you have chosen to be filled with it and it has blinded you so you do not even see that you are full of darkness!

So, I warn you to repent! You have been deceived by the polluters because you are yet an infant in Christ. You have taken their words into yourself and have become polluted! You are still of the world, for you listen to those from the world. You reveal that you are still of the world because you do not listen to the Lord’s leaders and prophets. 

Infants in Christ in the Apostle John’s day were being spiritually polluted by polluters who taught Gnosticism, so he warned them —

1John 4:5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (literally, delusion).

I tell you the truth, a day of judgment is coming. The Lord Jesus Christ will judge today’s polluters and His polluted people who have chosen to take in their polluted words and have refused to repent, though they have been warned again and again. 

Oh, beloved! I see what will happen if you do not repent and return to the Lord! I weep over you! Heed His words that He is speaking to you today! Ask Him to forgive you and fill you with His Holy Spirit, and He will completely, permanently cleanse you from your spiritual pollution, and remove even its poisonous scar!

Lord Jesus, may these words open the eyes and prick the hearts of Your people. Let it be so, I pray. Amen.

ISAIAH SESSION 40 — THE LORD’S CHARACTER AND POWER

Text: Isaiah 40

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be, “The Lord’s Character and Power.” Both are seen in this passage. He punishes His sinning people, but He calls out that He will restore the repentant. He pricks their consciences, and even mocks the so-called power of the world system that defies Him. He exhorts His people, who think He does not see the sin they are doing. He promises that those who repent will entwine themselves with Him and will be empowered with His power!

So, this chapter is not only a prophecy for Judah and Jerusalem, given by the LORD to Isaiah to speak to God’s people, but it is also what John the Baptist prophesied to God’s people —

Matthew 3:1   Now in those days John the Baptist  came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3  For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the LORD, make His paths straight!’”

From beginning to end, this passage describes the content of John the Baptist’s prophesying, though not all of his words are recorded in the gospels. 

And because this Bible study is for New Testament believers, I will speak from that perspective, for the Lord’s words spoken by Isaiah and John the Baptist are also for today’s church and today’s believers.

Verses 1-2 —

The Lord said, first through Isaiah and then through John the Baptist, “Comfort (repent), O comfort (repent), My people!” The first step must be taken by believers. They must repent, turning away from their sin and back to the Lord.

If Judah and today’s believers repent, then the LORD directs Isaiah and John the Baptist to do this — “Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and call out to her that her warfare (the war between her and the LORD, caused by her rebellion) is at an end, that her iniquity (sin) has been removed (she has been reconciled to the LORD), and that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”

Surely, the LORD punished idolatrous Judah when He sent Babylon to overrun her and take her inhabitants into captivity in Babylon. And yet, after 70 years, when that whole rebellious generation had died out, He allowed a repentant remnant of Judah to return. 

And surely, He is punishing and will yet punish believers who worship the idol of self, encouraged by many false teachers who have infiltrated the church’s ranks. Such ones do not realize that they are already in exile, separated from His presence by their sin. But there will be a repentant remnant that He will bring into His fullness, when they ask their Father in heaven to do it (see Luke 11:13)!

Verse 3 —

The LORD instructed Isaiah and John the Baptist to call out, saying, “A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way (prepare the way) for the LORD in the wilderness, make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.’” To clear the way is the responsibility of the believer, and when they do so, they show that they have repented. Repentant believers prepare the way in the wilderness that is in their hearts, making a highway for their God in the spiritual desert they are wandering in, so the LORD will come in.

Beloved, when you repent, you will prepare the way for Him to come into your heart, preparing it like a highway! Thus it will be evident that your have repented, and are now clearing the way for Him to come in and fill your heart with Himself! 

Verse 4 —

Why should believers repent? Because every valley (humble one) will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill (prideful one) will be made low. If you remain prideful, thinking you are good even though you are still sinning, you will surely be humbled. Pride is the evidence of the sinful nature. If there is pride in your heart, you have not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit.

So repent, and you will be lifted up! Ask the Lord to cleanse your heart by filling you with His Holy Spirit! Then the rough ground (crookedness) in your heart will become a plain (will be made straight) and the rugged terrain in your heart will become a valley (smooth, broad).

Verse 5 —

When you repent, and prepare the way, and He fills you, the glory of the LORD will be revealed in you and will fill you and His glory will shine out from you! Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness (shining) of your rising (radiance)! (See Isaiah 60:3.) 

Why am I sure this will happen? For the mouth of the LORD has spoken it. What He says, he does. And He did it in me, so He would be glorified!

And one day, at the end of things, all flesh — all the inhabitants of the earth who have defied the LORD, and those who love and obey Him — will see the LORD’s glory together. Why am I sure this will happen? For the mouth of the LORD has spoken it. What He says, he does.

For those who have not repented, they will suddenly see that He is who He says He is, but they will be judged and sentenced by Jesus Christ (John 5:27-29). They chose to rebel against the Lord, and will face the consequences — a resurrection of judgment, and then, hell.

Verses 6-8 —

A voice said to Isaiah and to Isaiah, and to John the Baptist, “Call out!” So they answered, “What shall I call out?” The LORD said, “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it. Surely, the people are like grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of the LORD stands forever.”  

The grass withers (is ashamed and dries up), the flower fades (is disgraced). The LORD says it twice, which means it will happen suddenly. What will make the grass and the flowers suddenly wither and fade? The breath of the LORD, when He blows on them. 

All humans are like grass and flowers. When the Lord blows on those who rebel against Him and those who reject Him, they will be ashamed and dry up, and they will be disgraced.

But the Word of the LORD does not wither and fade! Hear and see the truth about the power and the steadfastness of His breath and His word —

Psalms 33:6  By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host.

Psalms 138:2 I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for thou hast magnified (made great) thy word above (according to) all thy name.

He stands by His word. His word represents all of His character. He says what He means, and means what He says. Be it a word of warning, or a promise, He will surely do it.

Only the word of the LORD stands forever. All the Lord has to do is blow on the imaginations of the hearts of mankind. He simply will blow on all of their opinions, all of their judgments about who the LORD is and who He is not, all of their false gods, all of their fortifications that they have constructed using man’s wisdom and man’s ways, and even rebellious mankind’s physical bodies. 

When He blows on all these things, they will be ashamed, dry up, and be disgraced. Know this, beloved — at the end of things, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (see Philippians 2:10-11)! Every knee, every tongue — so even all those who rebel and reject Him will do it. But they will not be saved. He will send them to hell, for they chose to reject Him.

Verse 9 —

The LORD instructs Isaiah, and also John the Baptist, and those who announce the good news of restoration today, to today’s believers, if they will repent. What does He say? “Get yourself up on a high mountain!” Go to a place where everyone can see and hear you! Youtube and Vimeo are the high mountains from which you see and hear Him, through me!

My NAS Bible changes the construction of the next few lines. In the original Hebrew, the LORD says, “Get yourself up on a high mountain, O bringer of good news to Zion,” and, “Lift up your voice mightily, bringer of good news to Jerusalem!”

What is the good news? That if you repent, O Judah, and O believer, the LORD will restore you to Himself. And for the Jews in John the Baptist’s day, the good news was also that a Deliverer had come. What would He deliver them from? John  the Baptist says —

Matthew 3:11   “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

He comes to baptize with the Holy Spirit (after He was glorified, per John 7:39), filling and cleansing hearts of the sin nature! Therefore, believers are delivered from the power of sin, for their sin nature is crucified and sin no longer dwells in them. 

How beautiful are the feet of them who bring good news to Zion, and to today’s believers (see Isaiah 52:7)! But He also comes to judge those who sin against Him, and they will go into the unquenchable fire of hell (Mark 9:44, 46, 48)! These words were for the Jews to whom John the Baptist prophesied, and also to believers today!

The LORD commands, “Lift up your voice! Do not fear! Say, ‘Behold Your God!’” Isaiah did, and John the Baptist did —

John 1:29  “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” 

John 1:34 “I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:35   Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and  said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

Why does the LORD say, “Do not fear?” It is because those who speak His words will be persecuted and rejected by many. Jesus Christ tells believers to expect it —

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. 20 . . . If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

After they were filled with the Spirit, the Apostles no longer hid behind closed doors because they feared the Jews (John 20:19), but lifted up their voices, in the temple! 

And I continue to lift up my voice! I do not fear persecution or death, but boldly speak what I have seen and heard, for when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you cannot stop speaking about what you have seen and heard (Acts 4:20)!

Verse 10 —

Behold! Pay attention! “The LORD GOD will come with might, with His arm (mighty power, also used of His Christ) ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense (work) before Him.” He is mighty and powerful, and His Christ rules and reigns as King (Psalm 2:6). He will reward those who repent, but those who do not repent will receive His work — His judgment — which they have chosen to receive.

Verse 11 —

The LORD speaks of His Christ, through Isaiah. Like a shepherd, He will tend His flock, the ones that know His voice and follow Him (John 10:27). In His arm He will gather the lambs, and carry them in His bosom — it is a picture of intimacy. They will be in Him, and He will be in them! He will gently lead them, like a natural shepherd gently leads a ewe who is still nursing her lambs.

Verses 12-14 —

The LORD now tells Isaiah and John the Baptist to speak of His omnipotence (His power over all that He has created). He stretched out the waters (i.e., seas, rivers, all waters) in the hollow of His hand, when He created all things. How large is His hand, that He can contain all the waters in the hollow of His hand! 

He marked off the heavens by the span of His hand, which He stretched out to measure them. How immeasurable is He? The heavens are the universe for which no scientist has been able to find an end. But the LORD marked them off with the span of His hand!

He measured out the dust of the earth and weighed the mountains in His balance and the hills with His scales. Who can calculate all the soil on the earth? Who can weigh all the mountains? Who can set them in place? Only the LORD!

And who has directed the spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has informed Him (taught Him)? Who directs the Spirit of the LORD? Only the LORD! Who counsels the LORD? No one! 

And with whom did He consult? Who gave Him understanding? No one! Who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge, and informed Him of the way of understanding? No one, for He is the one who is just, and He is the source of all knowledge and understanding! 

But He is glad to teach these things to you, when you submit to Him and ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit. Then, the Spirit will teach you all things (John 14:26, 16:13-15). 

Many in today’s church judge the Lord’s wisdom. Many imagine that what He says is no longer true, that times have changed, and His Word no longer applies. Many say that Jesus did not say the words that are recorded in the gospels. 

They do so at their own peril. O believers and leaders, repent and be filled with the Holy Spirit, who will teach you all things!

Verses 15-17 —

Here is what the LORD thinks of the nations — those who defy Him, who rebel against Him and reject Him! They are like a drop from a bucket. They are a speck of dust on the scales in His hand! He lifts up the coastlands like fine dust. Even Lebanon, which was part of Israel in the beginning, is not enough to offer Him, nor its beasts for a burnt offering. They are useless and empty, in His eyes.

All the nations, all who defy Him, and all of His people who rebel against Him, are as nothing before Him. They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.

What, then, can be offered to the LORD? You, O believer, are commanded to offer yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to the Lord (Romans 12:1). That is your spiritual act of worship. That is what pleases Him! It is then that your sin nature is crucified! It is then that you are filled with His Spirit! It is then that you become Jesus Christ’s witness here!

 Cry out for Him to crucify your sin nature, and fill you with His Spirit. He will be pleased, indeed, to answer your cry!

Verses 18-20 —

The LORD speaks to all who worship idols — even the idol of self, O believer! Who is like God? What can you make with your hands that could compare with Him? Idols are nothing, and those who worship them will become like them (Psalm 115:4-8). 

What are you chasing after, believer? A craftsman makes an idol of metal. A goldsmith plates it with gold. A silversmith fashions chains of silver. These are false, made by man.

O believer, today’s false teachers have fashioned their lies out of such things. And if you cannot afford what they have made, you go and make your own idol to yourself. You carefully select a tree that will not rot (but the Lord will burn it up!). You find a skillful craftsman to make from it an idol that does not totter! But the LORD will make it fall, just as He did the Philistines’ god, Dagon (see 1Samuel 5:2-5). These are false idols, made by you, to please you! They are nothing and emptiness.

What is behind the idol of self? The god of self, whose root is the sin nature you were born with, as a child of Adam! Who can crucify the sin nature and set you free from slavery to sin? The Lord (see John 8:31-36)!

Verses 21-23 —

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you, O foolish believer, from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? These things you are taught are false. The god of self is not a god at all.

It is the LORD sits above the circle of the earth (this scripture was used by Columbus to prove the earth was round). He sits above all that you now worship. He is higher! All of you are like grasshoppers! He stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in! He is above the heavens!

It is He who reduces rulers to nothing. Your false gods, even the god of self, have no power over such things! All those on the earth who judge (lead) are made meaningless by Him. 

Verses 24-26 —

They have been planted, they have been sown by His hand. He has planted their root stock. But He merely blows on them, and they wither. And the storm He sends carries them away like stubble. 

Why do you put your trust in such ones, beloved? Trust in the LORD, and Him alone! He is the Creator! He is greater than all that He has created!

Who is like Him, that they would be His equal? 

Look up, believer! He made the stars, He brought forth all of the multitude of them, and He called them all by name. All creation proclaims Him and His great power (Psalm 19:1-2, Romans 1:20).

Because of the greatness (abundance) of His might (ability and power), and the strength (mightiness) of His power, not one of them is missing! They are all placed according to His plan, and will remain in place until the day of the Lord, at the end of things!

Verse 27 —

So the LORD asks why, people of Jacob and Israel, and why, O believer, you think the LORD does not see? You say, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God.” He does not see, you say. But nothing is hidden from the eyes with whom you have to do (Hebrews 4:13)! All things are open and laid bare before Him!

He says —

Jeremiah 17:10 “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test (examine) the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”

Verse 28 —

So the LORD asks the same question He asked the nations in Verse 21. He says to His own people, “Do you not know? Have you not heard?” They have heard, but they take His words lightly. It is the same with many leaders, teachers, preachers and believers in today’s church.

When challenged by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and members of the Sanhedrin, Jesus asked 

Matthew 12:3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, 4 how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone?”

Matthew 12:5 “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent?”

Matthew 19:4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5 and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH?’”

Matthew 22:31 “But regarding the resurrection of the dead (the Sadducees did not believe in resurrection), have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32 ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

Do you not know, O church, O believer? Have you not heard? Have you not read? 

What should you know, what should you have heard of and read? This —

The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary (faint from fleeing) or tired (exhausted). He does not flee. And Jesus Christ and His Father are always working (John 5:16-17). 
His understanding (wisdom) is inscrutable (it is beyond searching out). So why do you think you are wiser than Him, O believer, O church, O Israel?

Verse 29 —

But He gives His strength (vigor, ability, strength, might) to the exhausted, the ones who admit they have come to the end of themselves, who know they are full of sin and finally see the Lord, who has held out His hand all day long —

Isaiah 65:2 “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts . . .”

He gives His strength to those who have stopped rebelling and have turned back to Him! To him who lacks His might, He increases power, giving them His divine power!

Verses 30-31 —

Though youths become weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, here is what He will do for those who wait upon Him —

Using the KJV, “But they that wait upon (entwine themselves with) the LORD shall renew their strength (exchange their strength for the LORD’s power); they shall mount up (arise) with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

What is this strength that He gives? The infilling of the Holy Spirit, beloved! Then you are entwined with Him in holy, intimate, fellowship! The Father and the Son and the Spirit come in to you, and dwell in you fully and permanently (John 14:23). 

You exchange your puny strength for His power! He purifies your heart, crucifies the sin nature to which you were a slave, and fills you with His power and love!

O believer! Then you will run in the way of His commandments. You will say — 

Psalms 119:32 I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart.

Then you will walk as Jesus walked (1John 2:6). Then you will be as He is (1John 4:17)!

O believer! Repent! Believe! Cry out! He will answer!

Lord Jesus, may believers hear these words and see You and Your Father and Your Spirit as You truly are. You will gladly receive them back to Yourself, if they will repent. Let it be so. Amen!

THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

[SW412] 12/28/2019 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn

“The Gospel of the Kingdom”

Text: Luke 17:20-21, John 18:36, etc.

It is true that even now, Jesus Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth, just as He told His disciples in Matthew 28:18. But what is the gospel of the Kingdom? I will show you what it is, and what it is not!

The gospel of the kingdom is the good news that the kingdom of God the Father and God the Son is both a heavenly kingdom and a spiritual kingdom that is established within obedient human hearts! And it is the good news that Jesus Christ came to provide the way to enter His kingdom, and for His kingdom to enter you! 

It is His command to you, beloved! Wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5), He commands. Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49), He commands. Why does He command it?

When He rules and reigns in you, then you are able to glorify Him on this earth. As I spoke two weeks ago, it is then that you become a vessel for His glory, filled with His glory and glorifying Him because He is seen and heard through you!

His Heavenly Kingdom

God’s heavenly kingdom cannot be entered by those who sin, be they believers or unbelievers (1Corinthians 6:9-10). But if they turn away from their sin and believe into Jesus Christ, the way will be opened for them to enter, if they do not continue sinning. But they cannot stop sinning, in their own strength. 

So, once they are saved, they must then ask the Lord to purify their hearts by crucifying the sin nature they were born with (Galatians 5:24) and filling them with His Holy Spirit, as He commands (Acts 1:4-5). Then they are able to enter His heavenly kingdom, and His spiritual kingdom will enter their hearts!

His Kingdom, Here and Now

Many Pharisees believed that when their Messiah came, He would re-establish the kingdom of Israel, and that their Messiah would be its king, sitting on a throne in Jerusalem. So they asked Jesus Christ to tell them when it would come. Here is how He answered them —

Luke 17:20   Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation (visual evidence); 21 nor will they say, “See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you (literally, inside of you).” (NKJV)

Do you see it? When they asked Him when He would establish an earthly kingdom, He told them that His kingdom is spiritual, not natural, and is established inside of human hearts!

During his interrogation of Jesus, Pilate asked Him if He was King of the Jews. Jesus responded in this way — 

John 18:36  Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” (NKJV)

Jesus taught all believers that we must pray to our Father in heaven, asking Him to establish His kingdom inside of us —

Matthew 6:9 “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (NKJV)

He commands you, O believer, to pray for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done just as completely and perfectly as it is in heaven. But again, the kingdom of God is not of this world, and it is not from here. His is a heavenly kingdom, and He establishes His spiritual kingdom inside of you, when you are filled with His Holy Spirit.

So, when you pray the Lord’s prayer — not just mechanically but with understanding — you are asking your Father in heaven to establish His kingdom in your heart. It is only then that you are empowered to do His will, just as it is done in heaven. And in heaven, His will is done fully and completely! Then His kingdom has come, inside of you!

Jesus made this promise to His disciples and all who believe in Him —

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

John 14:20 “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

John 14:23   Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with (literally, in) him.” (NKJV) 

NOTE: The Greek tense of “make” is to make in a prolonged way — that is, fully and permanently.

Why do I say that the kingdom is established in believers when they are filled with the Spirit, and not when they believe into Jesus? Because of the disciples’ words to the risen Christ — 

Acts 1:6   So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon (literally, arrived, come into) you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Before they were filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples who believed in Jesus Christ did not understand that the kingdom would be within them, and not a natural kingdom, so they asked when He would re-establish the kingdom to Israel. They were thinking in the natural, because they were not yet spiritual!

It is the same today, beloved. Many believers and leaders are still infants in Christ (1Corinthians 3:1). They do not understand, because they are not yet filled with the Spirit. So, false teaching about the kingdom abounds.

Beloved, you must be filled with the Spirit so as to understand what His kingdom is and is not. Only then will you have discernment so you are able to determine what is true and what is false. When you are filled with the Spirit, false teaching becomes obvious.

Jesus warns believers about what will happen as the day of the Lord approaches —

Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.

What are the false prophets teaching today’s believers? Regarding the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, they falsely teach that once you believe, there is nothing more that you need to do. 

Why? The false teachers cannot teach what they themselves have not experienced. And it would not be a popular message if they told infants in Christ that they need something they do not have. They might empty the pews, pursuing that which pleases their ears! Then the flow of money would cease. 

So, it is much more pleasing to their listeners’ ears, and much better for the false teachers’ wallets, to teach their listeners what God will do for them, rather than to teach their listeners that they must do something for God — that is, they must obey Jesus Christ’s command to be filled, so His kingdom is established in their hearts!

In a movement that is rapidly gaining popularity today, false teachers exhort believers that they must establish the kingdom of God by infiltrating the world’s culture by obtaining and occupying positions of power and influence. Then, they say, the kingdom of heaven will be established here on earth — biblical morality, harmony, peace and not war, and no poverty.

But biblical morality is not established by invading the world’s culture to establish God’s kingdom here on earth. As I have shown you, Jesus clearly teaches that His kingdom is established in individual human hearts in which the sin nature has been crucified, and then purified by being filled with His Holy Spirit. Only then are they able to be biblically moral!


The teaching that we must infiltrate today’s world culture falls apart, when you look at Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus never sought to free the Jews from slavery to the Romans who ruled Israel in the days when He walked the earth, though the Romans oppressed the Jews greatly. He never sought to infiltrate the Roman culture or the Roman government. And in the Great Commission, He never directed believers to do so. 

This is the Great Commission that Jesus Christ commanded His apostles to do, and which continues to be carried out today by Spirit-filled believers —

Matthew 28:18   And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations (peoples), baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe (hold fast, that is, obey) all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

These words are called “the Great Commission.” All Spirit-filled believers are empowered to make disciples of all peoples, baptizing them as an outward sign that they have turned away from their sin and to Jesus Christ, and teaching them to observe all Christ’s commands — including His command to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. These are things that can only be accomplished by one-on-one ministry, which is what Jesus did when He walked the earth, beloved!

Do you see that the Great Commission is all about preparing individual human hearts for the kingdom of heaven, and all about Jesus Christ’s kingdom being established in human hearts?  

Some who believe this movement’s false teaching use this text to support their claim that believers must make God’s kingdom come by overthrowing the world’s cultures —

2Peter 3:11   Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for (literally awaiting) and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!

They say, “Do you see? We must hasten the kingdom of God on earth. We must do something to make His kingdom come quickly.” 

But the word “hastening” implies “eagerly, making haste to,” according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. So, we must eagerly await the kingdom of God, and make haste to ask the Lord to make us ready for His return by establishing His kingdom in our hearts! “Be ready,” He commands (see Matthew 24:44)! 

So, this movement’s false teaching runs contrary to Jesus Christ’s own words, and are not the gospel of the Kingdom. Nowhere in the Word of God is there evidence that Christians must populate positions of power in the world culture so the kingdom of heaven is established on the earth, creating worldwide “biblical morality, harmony, peace and not war, and no poverty.”

Again, the teaching of this movement runs entirely contrary to these truths from the Word of God —

— Jesus Christ’s kingdom is not of this world; it is not here.

— Only when the sin nature is crucified will human hearts no longer sin against the Lord, so they are biblically moral.

— Only when believers are filled with the Spirit will they be transformed, thus establishing God’s kingdom inside of them.

— Only then will believers be ready for His coming.

— Only when believers are filled with the Spirit are they able to obey the Great Commission, Jesus Christ’s command regarding tranformation of human hearts, one by one.

— Only when believers are filled with the Spirit will they experience unity with God’s nature, which the false teachers call “harmony,” and only then will individuals be filled with His divine peace. Do you not know, beloved, that Jesus Christ says the world will war, even to the end of things (Matthew 24:6-7)?

— Jesus Christ says that we will always have the poor with us (Matthew 26:11). 

The Apostle Paul, in whose heart the kingdom of God was established, knew his own physical death was imminent. He was a prisoner in Rome because of his faith. He was sentenced to death because he refused to deny his faith in Jesus Christ and worship the Roman emperor Nero as “god.” So he wrote to Timothy, his longtime disciple and fellow evangelist, warning him about the falling away of believers —

2Timothy 4:1  I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 

2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 

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, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Again, it is much easier for infants in Christ to hear the myth of culture infiltration in order to establish God’s kingdom on earth, rather than to hear the truth that they must yield to His command to stay and wait to be filled with the Holy Spirit so their sin nature is crucified and their hearts are purified. But that is how the Word of God says believers are made ready to enter the kingdom of heaven, and that is how the Word of God says His kingdom is established, inside of them!

So I have reproved, rebuked, and exhorted you, beloved, with great patience and instruction. You are not yet able to discern the true from the false, for you are still an infant in Christ. So, it is time for you to ask for what you need, and to obey Jesus Christ’s commands!

O Lord, for all believers, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven! Make it so, I pray, by revealing these truths to those who hear and see this message You have commanded me to speak. Amen.