[SW322] 03/23/2018 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

Receive the Triumphant One!

Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem was not like that of some kings, but His kingdom is not of this world. He is surely the King of kings and Lord of lords, and His triumph is over much more than the things of this world! Hallelujah!

Text: Luke 19:35-44, Habakkuk 2:11

Verses 35-36 —

The city was filled with God’s people. They had come for the Passover feast, as required by the Law of Moses, from all parts of the known world. It was a great celebration in remembrance of their deliverance from death and  cruel slavery in Egypt. With the lamb’s blood on their lentils and doorposts, death passed them by on that night before they were set free!

Jesus was outside the city, approaching it from the Mount of Olives. A donkey had been brought to Him, on which He would enter into Jerusalem, fulfilling the prophecy given by the Lord to Zechariah —

Zechariah 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your king is coming to you;

He is just and endowed with salvation,

Humble, and mounted on a donkey,

Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey (the son of a female donkey).

He rode it into Jerusalem, humbly, the One who is the Savior of all who will receive Him, the One who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and removes our slavery to it, for all who will believe into Him!

Celebrate this Triumphant One, who triumphed over death and over Satan! Celebrate this Triumphant One who came to set you free!

Verses 37-38 —

And the whole crowd of the disciples around Him began to praise God joyfully, in a loud voice, fulfilling the prophecy given by the Lord to one of His psalmists —

Psalm 118:26  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord;

We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.

They praised Him for the miracles (works of power) Jesus had done — healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, casting out demons, healing the man at the pool of Bethesda, healing the man born blind, raising Lazarus who was dead four days in a tomb. Yet they did not recognize Jesus as the Savior.

Peter had said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” in Matthew 16:16. But when Jesus told his disciples He must be crucified and then raised from the dead, Peter promptly rebuked Him. Then the Lord rebuked Peter, saying his mind was set on man’s interests and not God’s (see Matthew 16:21-23). His disciples saw Him as a king like David, who would save Israel from slavery to their earthly rulers, the Romans.

It is true today. Some praise God joyfully and loudly, hailing Him as their King, because they believe Jesus will do a miracle for them. And some see Him as a King who will help them with the earthly cares, getting them out of the debt which has enslaved them.

But Jesus is the Christ! He is the One who saves the whole world — any who will receive Him as Lord and King! Do you praise Him as the Christ, the Savior of the world? Do you praise Him as the One who will establish His Kingdom literally within you?

When He was questioned about the kingdom of God by the Pharisees, He said —

Luke 17:20  “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within (inside) you.”

Ah! Receive the Triumphant One, by asking Him to set up His Kingdom inside of 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 abode with him.”

Then, the Father and the Son and the Spirit will permanently and fully dwell in you, and you will be set free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36)!

Verse 39 —

The Pharisees (and Jewish leaders) did not receive Jesus, the Triumphant One, and did not know the Father at all (John 8:42). They rejected Him as Christ! And so, when Jesus’ followers joyfully shouted, using words from Psalm 118, the Pharisees were jealous of Jesus’ popularity.

And the Pharisees immediately recognized Psalm 118 as a messianic prophecy. But this could not be the Christ! Jesus didn’t conform to their expectations.

So they were offended, and said, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!” He was a mere instructor of disciples, in their eyes. He surely was not their Messiah. They expected someone who would save them from Roman rule and re-establish the kingdom, as in the days of King David! Their minds were set on their interests, not God’s.

Verse 40 —

What Jesus said next is remarkable — “I tell you, if these become silent (involuntarily unable to speak), the stones will cry out!”

How would those who follow and loudly and joyfully praise Jesus become involuntarily unable to speak? Through the persecution we see in the Book of Acts. Christians were hunted down, rounded up, and jailed until their executions.

Then the stones would cry out! What does that mean?

Habakkuk tells us. He prophesied in the days before Judah was carried into exile by the Babylonians. It was because of the iniquity and wickedness of God’s people in Judah (Habakkuk 1:2). The Lord responded to Habakkuk —

Habakkuk 2:9 “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house

To put his nest on high,

To be delivered from the hand of calamity!

10  “You have devised a shameful thing for your house

By cutting off many peoples;

So you are sinning against yourself.

11  “Surely the stone will cry out from the wall,

And the rafter will answer it from the framework.”

So, when Jesus said the stones would cry out, He referred to the destruction of Jerusalem, because they rejected Him as their Lord and King, the Christ of God!

The whole city would be reduced to rubble by the Romans, so the stone would cry out from the wall, “Why am I being destroyed!!?” And the rafter would answer from the framework, “It is because you rejected Jesus Christ.”

So you see that this passage means much more than you might first think, or what you may have heard somewhere. It is much more than an exhortation to praise more loudly and joyfully, or the stones will do so because SOMEONE or SOMETHING has to praise God the Father and God the Son. The truth of this passage is that it is a warning to those who reject Jesus Christ!

Verses 41-42 —

As Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem, He wept. Why? He doesn’t desire that any perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9).

Jesus said to the city and all who rejected Him, If only you had known (fully known, having holy intimacy with God) . . .

If only you had known, in this day, the things which make for peace (that is, peace with God). He was referring to the fulfillment of the prophecy regarding the exact day He was to enter the city as triumphant King, given to Daniel in Daniel 9:24-26.

Jesus continued, But now they have been hidden from your eyes (because you have rejected Me)! You have shut your eyes, and so you cannot see. You have blinded yourselves! Jesus said of the priests and rulers and Pharisees and Sadducees who rejected Him —

Matthew 15:14 “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

Verses 43-44 —

Jesus continued, saying the days will come when your enemies will come and throw up a barricade (siege ramp of dirt) around you! And they will surround you and hem you in on every side (see Isaiah 29:3). And they will level you to the ground. Even your children will perish, and there will not be one stone left upon another.

Why? Because you did not recognize (you did not have a holy, intimate knowledge of God so as to understand) that this is the time of your visitation (the time when the Christ has come, fulfilling Daniel’s prophecy to the very day)!

Do you know that for you, this is the day of your visitation? Do you know that today is the day of salvation? Do you know that Jesus Christ calls to you to turn from your sin, and turn toward Him, to repent and believe into Him? Do you know that He will triumphantly enter you, if you do?

Do you know that if you then ask your Father in Heaven, He will establish His kingdom within you, so your Father and Jesus Christ and the Spirit fully dwell in you, and you will no longer be a slave to sin?

Do you know that if you reject Him, you will perish? Your feet will call out to your head, “Why am I being destroyed?” and your head will answer, “Because you rejected Jesus Christ!”

He extends His mercy to you today! Receive the Triumphant One! Amen!


SESSION 5 — “To a Church in Crisis, With Love,” a Bible Study of 1 & 2 Corinthians

Text: 1Corinthians 4

Paul, who loves the church with God’s own love, has expressed much to the believers in Corinth, in the first three chapters. He has reminded them of their calling, and exhorted them regarding their behavior toward those who have been sent by the Lord to them. He has frankly called them to spiritual maturity.

Now, Paul directly reprimands them for judging him — that is, measuring and evaluating him. Why? They question his apostleship and his trustworthiness, and consider themselves superior to him.

If I were going to give this a title, it would be, “Do Not Judge the True Servants of Christ.”

Verses 1-2 — Paul reminds the Corinthians that he and his fellow workers are servants of Christ (His subordinates, ministers). But how are the believers at Corinth regarding them?

Going back to 1:12, we know that they are looking at each of the apostles as men from whom they could choose “the best.” But Paul, Apollos, Cephas (Peter) and the rest are equal before Christ, and their responsibility is to be stewards (overseers, managers) employed by Christ.

Of what are they stewards? The mysteries of God –– that is, the gospel of Jesus Christ and the mystery of the church, which was hidden in the Old Testament (OT) but is now revealed. Remember, God’s plan is no longer an unknown “mystery,” since Christ came. He is the fulfillment of the Word of God and of the promise of Abraham, all praise be to God!

So they are stewards of the mysteries of God (as are all ministers). What single most important quality must a steward possess? He or she must be trustworthy (faithful and reliable). To whom? They must be trustworthy in the eyes of Jesus Christ and the Father, and also to the message of the gospel, not deviating from it in any way.

Verses 3-4 — Here is another inference from Paul that his qualifications as an apostle are being questioned by the Corinthians. They are examining (krino) him. In 1Corinthians 2:14-15, the same Greek word, krino, appears, but is translated “appraised.” Again, it is “to put on trial, to examine, to investigate.”

The base of the word krino is the same word used for the Great White Throne judgment. The believers at Corinth are sitting in the judgment seat of God, putting Paul and the rest on trial!

But Paul doesn’t take their examination, or that of any human court, seriously. He does not examine himself, and is conscious of nothing against himself —

2Corinthians 1:12   For our proud confidence (the reason for our rejoicing) is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

But even his own sense of a clear conscience and of being fully in the will of God does not acquit him –– that is, he cannot declare himself righteous simply because he is not conscious of anything against him. It is the Lord who examines him — continually — and declares him righteous.

Again, the Corinthians are under the false impression that they are entitled to be Paul’s examiners. But they are not entitled, at all. Paul’s judge is the Lord!

Verse 5 — Some Christians use this as a “proof text” that we should not judge one another. But Christ directed us to judge false teachers and to determine whether or not a listener is an impostor —

Matthew 7:6   “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

Matthew 7:15   “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.

Do not go on judging “before the time” refers to the day of judgment, when believers stand before the judgment (bema) seat of Christ. In that day, Jesus will judge the heart motive of each of us who believe. If the motive for our work is God’s actual love in our hearts, God will praise us. So, only Christ can judge, and only God rewards with praise.

2Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

But the Corinthians are examining and evaluating Paul’s work for the Lord, as if THEY were sitting on Christ’s bema seat.

What will Christ judge when we appear before Him at His bema seat? In 1Corinthians 4:5, Paul lists two things He will do:

—bring to light the things hidden in the darkness; and

— disclose the motives of men’s hearts.

Are we hiding anything from the Lord? We deceive ourselves, for it is not hidden from Him at all (Hebrews 4:13). He sees it now, and will shine His light upon it at His bema seat.

What are your motives for serving Christ? Now is the time to examine yourselves, so that you are certain you are serving Him out of His love that has filled your hearts –– no other motive will be accepted by Him.

In 1Corinthians 13, Paul teaches that God’s actual love in our hearts is absolutely essential. If we do not have it, we are sounding gongs and clanging cymbals, and we and our works amount to nothing. We will be looking at that chapter in detail, in a few weeks.

Verses 6-7 — Paul has used Apollos and himself as examples, to teach the Corinthians. What is he teaching them? Not to exceed what is written. They have “stepped over the line” of the teachings of Christ because they are judging Paul’s faithfulness and even his apostleship. They have become arrogant (inflated and haughty), thinking themselves “better” and judging one apostle versus another.

Who has regarded the Corinthians as superior (diakrino, able to judge)? They have nothing from their own efforts, but they received something — the gospel of Jesus Christ, and a measure of the Holy Spirit.

From whom did they receive the gospel? They knew nothing of it until Paul came, so they did not receive the gospel from themselves. Rather, it was received by them from God the Father and His Son, through the preaching of Paul and the rest.

But did they really receive the gospel, and the fullness of the Holy Spirit? They are boasting, which indicates they are not filled with the Holy Spirit, and have not become doers of the gospel, for they have not taken upon themselves Christ’s yoke so they could learn from Him, for He meek and humble in heart (see Matthew 11:28-30).

Verse 8 — Again, Paul frankly questions the spiritual state of the believers at Corinth. They are already filled? They have already become rich? They have become kings?

Remember Paul’s appraisal of them in 1 Corinthians 3:1! Paul has just told them that their arrogant behavior makes him question whether they received the gospel and the even a measure of — let alone the fullness of — the Holy Spirit.

Their behavior most certainly indicates they are not filled with the Spirit. Paul/s words, “You are already,” means they are not yet!

I will tell you that my interpretation puts me in the minority, along with a few commentators. The majority of commentators claim the Corinthians are filled with the Holy Spirit.

But the believers at Corinth are infants in Christ. They are yet carnal, not surrendered or submissive to God and His servants. They are boastful, prideful, and judgmental.

And they are not exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit: God’s love, His joy, His peace, His patience, His kindness, His goodness, His faithfulness, His gentleness, and the leading of His Spirit. So how can they be deemed filled, by some commentators?

Paul wishes they had become kings (wishes is “oh, that they were!”), because then the Corinthians would reign with Paul, Apollos, Cephas (Peter), and the rest.

Some commentators see this as reference to our eschatological (end time) reign with Christ. But Peter says this to believers, that they might attain to it — we who belong to Christ and have been filled are right now priests and kings, a royal priesthood, a holy nation!

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 . . .

Yes, we will reign with Christ in His millennial reign, but Paul is talking about reigning here and now, over the sin nature!  It is obvious that the Corinthians are not reigning — their sin natures are alive and well. There is no evidence of the divine nature Peter speaks of in 2Peter 1:4.

So, try yourself up against this Word. Does your sin nature rule over you? Are you jealous? Prideful? Judgmental? Immoral? Then you are not filled with the Holy Spirit. What must you do? Obey Christ’s instructions in Luke 11:13!

There is only one thing in the church that believers are to judge — sin! Paul writes of it in the next chapter —

1Corinthians 5:11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?

So, Paul is rightfully judging sin in the church at Corinth!

Verses 9-10 —The believers at Corinth have considered themselves superior, sniffing at Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or all three. But what does Paul think?

Paul illustrates what it is to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, so that the Corinthians may compare their “super apostles” to it. Apostles (and all those who are God’s fellow workers) are exhibited last of all, in Jesus’ victorious march. They are condemned (as He was), a spectacle not only to the world (those who are mere men, unspiritual and carnal) but even to angels — not God’s, but those in the spiritual realm between here and God’s heaven. Why do I say “not God’s angels?” The angels of God long to bend down to see this great salvation unfold (1Peter 1:12)!

Paul continues the comparisons. The message of Paul and his co-laborers is foolishness to the world. So, they are glad to be fools for Christ’s sake. But the Corinthians are prudent (practically wise, thoughtful)!

Beloved, Paul’s description of apostleship, and of all of God’s fellow workers, does not match up with success theology hyper grace, or the prosperity message, spoken by rich preachers! They do not expose themselves to mistreatment, insult (as foolish), even death, for the sake of Christ.

Paul and his fellow workers are seen by the Corinthians as weaklings, but the Corinthians see themselves as strong and mighty. The Corinthians pride themselves on intellect, seeing themselves as distinguished (held in honor and glorious), while Paul and his co-laborers are seen as “without honor.”

Verses 11-13 — Paul continues the comparisons. To be an apostle, or fellow worker, of the Lord Jesus Christ is to be hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed, roughly treated, and homeless. It is to toil (are fatigued) by working with their hands, so as not to be a burden to the congregations they serve.

Again, it doesn’t match up with the messages of popular preachers in today’s church!

It is to bless those who revile us. It is to endure (bear up against) persecution (being insulted and cruelly treated).

It is to attempt to come alongside, both to exhort and to comfort, when apostles and other workers in the harvest are slandered (defamed falsely). It is to be seen as the scum (that which is cleaned off, filth) of the earth, the dregs (off-scrapings) of all things.

It doesn’t sound very attractive, does it? But what a spot-on description of the world’s reaction to Christ! Even today, those who are His find the world hostile toward Him and them, hating Him and them without cause. Jesus promises persecution! But you are blessed of God if you are seen this way by the world, for Christ is in you! Jesus says —

Matthew 5:11   “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

Verses 14-15 — Does Paul write all of this to shame (defeat or confuse) the Corinthians? No, he does it to correct them, as a loving father corrects a child. They are infants in Christ. His instruction is given in order to shock them into seeing themselves as they truly are, so they may grow up to maturity, even to the measure of stature of the fullness of Christ, per Ephesians 4:11-13!

And it is right for him to correct them, because Paul is the spiritual father of these infants in Christ. It was through him that they received the gospel and through the gospel that they were born from above. None of it was their doing!

Verses 16-17 —Paul exhorts the Corinthians now, imploring and beseeching them to be imitators of Paul. Be careful here –– we are not to mimic him, but to become followers as He has become a follower of Christ.

What has Paul done that we must do? He has denied himself, taken up his cross, followed Christ, been crucified with Him, and now Paul no longer lives but Christ lives in him (Galatians 2:20). He wants the believers at Corinth to do the same!

Paul is sending Timothy, his son in the Lord. Timothy was born from above through the gospel which Paul preached (1Timothy 1:2), and filled with the Spirit when Paul laid hands on him (2Timothy 1:6). So Timothy is full of faith and beloved, as Paul says in Verse 17!

Timothy imitated Paul by being crucified with Christ and filled with His Spirit, and will remind the Corinthians what it is to follow the same path as Paul! Timothy will faithfully teach them the same things Paul teaches everywhere.

Verses 19-20 — Some of the Corinthians think so highly of themselves that they doubt that Paul will come. (I have heard an infant in Christ say that she and her church will not be reproved by her superintendent because the superintendent is scared of losing the membership of her church. That is the kind of arrogance Paul is speaking of here.)

The Corinthians and their false teachers are issuing forth words. What power are they speaking in? It is a rhetorical question. By their actions, Paul already knows they speak in their own power, not the power of God!

But the kingdom of God does not consist of man-inspired words issued forth in human power, but in God’s dunamis — His miracle-working power! Paul is about to flex his spiritual muscles and apply that dunamis against them, for he is a fully empowered, reigning king and priest in the kingdom of God. Hallelujah!

If Paul were living today, how would you feel about receiving such a message from him? Would you be confident that he would find you reigning as a priest and king, no longer a slave to sin, and speaking in the power of God?

Verse 21 — He tells them that they will see him soon. The way he comes will depend on their response to this letter. It will either be with a rod (of discipline) if they do not heed his exhortation, or with love and gentleness, if they repent.

Christ was not gentle when He rebuked the arrogant, nor was God in the OT, nor is the Holy Spirit. They are One, and do not change. Paul reprimands the Corinthians so that they will repent. He would much rather come lovingly and gently to them. But His correction, be it a rod or gentle, is motivated by God’s love in Paul’s heart.

Next time, Paul addresses a case of immorality in the church at Corinth. He will give instructions on judging — who, how, where, and when. It is, of course, just according to Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:15-17.

Lord Jesus, may believers measure themselves against this word from Your Word. May their hearts be convicted, and may they repent and cry out to be filled with Your Spirit. Amen. So be it!


[SW321] 03/16/2018 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

He Delivers the Devoted!

Who does the Lord deliver? Those who are devoted to Him, who cling to Him like glue! He will deliver anyone, if they will cling to Him! But what is it to cling to Him? Let King Hezekiah show you, so your Enemy, Satan, is defeated!

Texts: 2Kings 18:1-12, 19:1-7, etc.

2Kings 18:3-12

In Verse 3, King Hezekiah did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father (ancestor) David did. He loved the Lord.

When his father, Ahaz, reigned, Judah worshiped false gods. Ahaz even offered some of his sons as sacrifices to them. He also bribed the king of Assyria, so he would deliver Judah from Aram. But when Ahaz died and Hezekiah was made king, he destroyed all of the false idols and high places where his father and all of Judah had worshiped (see Verse 4).

Hezekiah trusted in (quickly sought refuge in, relied upon) the Lord, the God of Israel (Verse 5-6). He did not trust in false gods, but in the one true God. And both before and after him, there was none like him, because he clung to the Lord (glued himself to Him), guarded and honored His commandments, everything the Lord commanded Moses, by obeying them.

The Lord was with Hezekiah, and wherever he went, he prospered. He walked in victory, because of his devotion to the Lord (see Verses 7-8). He defeated the Philistines, and repossessed the land they had taken.

Meanwhile, King Hoshea of northern Israel (Samaria) did not do these things, and in the fourth year of Hezekiah’s reign, the king of Assyria besieged Samaria, captured it, and carried the Israelites away into exile (see Verses 9-11).

Why was Samaria carried off into exile? Verse 12 tells us. In utter contrast to King Hezekiah’s devotion to the Lord, the Israelites in Samaria did not obey the voice of the Lord, spoken through His prophets.

Instead, they sinned, completely disobeying that which had been established by the Lord through His servant, Moses. They neither listened to it nor did it. So, He did not deliver them from their enemy, but delivered them into Assyria’s hands, thus exiling them from His presence and from the land.

The next king of Assyria very much desired to capture and possess Judah, just as his predecessor captured and possessed Samaria. So he invaded Judah and seized all the fortified cities, and then approached Jerusalem (Verse 13).

Why did the Lord allow the invasion? Shouldn’t the Lord have rescued them? But He would yet rescue them and be glorified by delivering Jerusalem and ALL of Judah, and forcing the Assyrian army and its king back to their own land. Hallelujah! Read on!

King Hezekiah sent a tribute to the king of Assyria, as was required. He had not sent it, up to that point (see Verse 14).

Assyria’s representatives came to the conduit of upper pool just outside Jerusalem, and blasphemed the Lord, by boasting that He was no better than all the gods of the land in the countries Assyria had already conquered. So they would conquer the God of Israel, just like those other gods (Verses 17, 22, and 35).

2Kings 19

What did Hezekiah do, when Assyria blasphemed the Lord and threatened to besiege Jerusalem? He tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and entered the house of the Lord (Verse 1). He humbled himself and mourned. He trusted in (quickly sought refuge in, relied upon) the Lord!

Oh, the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective, availing much (James 5:16)! He knew he did not have the strength to deliver, but cried out to the Lord, because he knew who delivers (see Verses 2-3).

He sent word to Isaiah, the Lord’s prophet. The Lord responded immediately (Verses 6-7)  —

— Do not be afraid of the words of the king of Assyria (who is, for us, a type of Satan).

— I will put a spirit in him so he will hear a rumor (announcement, report) and return to his land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.

I tell you the truth, beloved, His eyes move to and fro across the earth, to strongly support those whose hearts are entirely His (2Chronicles 16:9)!

Then the king of Assyria sent a letter by messengers, again boasting to King Hezekiah that his army would overrun Jerusalem, and blaspheming the Lord by saying the Lord was deceiving Hezekiah (Verses 10-13).

Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it out before the Lord, and prayed for deliverance from Assyria, for they had reproached the living God (Verses 14-19)!

The Lord heard Hezekiah’s prayer, because he clung to and was devoted to and obeyed the Lord. The Lord directed Isaiah to send word to him, for thus said the Lord concerning the King of Assyria —

2Kings 19:22  “Whom have you reproached and blasphemed?

And against whom have you raised your voice,

And haughtily lifted up your eyes?

Against the Holy One of Israel!

2Kings 19:27  ‘But I know your sitting down,

And your going out and your coming in,

And your raging against Me.

28  ‘Because of your raging against Me,

And because your arrogance has come up to My ears,

Therefore I will put My hook in your nose,

And My bridle in your lips, (what Assyria did to its captives)

And I will turn you back by the way which you came.”

AND Isaiah continued —

2Kings 19:32  “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, ‘He will not come to this city or shoot an arrow there; and he will not come before it with a shield or throw up a siege ramp against it. 33 “By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he shall not come to this city,” declares the Lord. 34 For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’”

And in Verses 35-37, the Lord delivered Jerusalem, striking 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. They all departed, and went back to their land. And the king of Assyria’s own sons struck him dead. He delivers the devoted, beloved!

Now after Hezekiah, his son, Manasseh, sinned greatly against the Lord. Therefore, about 150 years later, Jerusalem and all of Judah were exiled to Babylon when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon overran them. Yet, at the end of 70 years, when that rebellious generation had died off, He fulfilled His promise to bring them back to the land. Those who came back were devoted to Him, and so there were no more exiles.

Yet when Jesus Christ, their Messiah, walked the earth, He was rejected by the Jewish leaders and priests, just according to the prophecies of the Messiah’s coming Therefore, in 70 A.D., the Lord allowed the Romans to overthrow them entirely, and the temple in Jerusalem was burned to the ground and utterly destroyed. The land was not returned to Israel until May 14, 1948.

I tell you the truth, just as with Samaria and then Judah, it is your choice today. If you are rebellious against the Lord, not listening to Him nor obeying Him, you will not be delivered from Satan, but the Lord will allow him to sift you like wheat (Luke 22:31).

And if you continue to shake your fist at the Lord, rather than turn back to Him and repent, you will be destroyed, because you have chosen to be destroyed (Isaiah 8:21).

But the Lord does not desire any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9)! So, while it is Today, He offers you His mercy if you will return to Him. Do not listen to those who say, “We must always sin, we are only human and cannot help it.” They do not speak from the Lord. God help them!

Do you not know that Jesus Christ promised to deliver you from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36)?

And as Paul has written —

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?

AND . . .

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

How is slavery to sin conquered? How can you stop sinning? How can you crucify your sin nature? These are the means for becoming entirely devoted to the Lord, which results in the defeat of your Enemy, Satan!

Dear believer, ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). Then, Satan may attack and may even appear to be at the point of overwhelming you. But cry out to the Lord, and He will deliver you, just as He did Hezekiah and all of Judah. This is His promise to such ones —

Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;

And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.

This is the heritage (inheritance) of the servants of the Lord,

And their vindication (righteousness) is from Me,” declares the Lord.

For those believers who are sinning against the Lord, may you heed the warning of the Lord. He extends His hand of mercy to you today. Turn from your sin, repent from the depths of your heart, and He will receive you back to Himself.

And for those who are entirely devoted to Him, may you believe the promise of the Lord, for He will surely deliver you. His promises are Yes and Amen to those who love Him  (2Corinthians 1:20). Hallelujah!

Amen, Lord Jesus. So be it, I pray!

SESSION 4 — “To a Church in Crisis, With Love,” a Bible study of 1 & 2 Corinthians

Text: 1Corinthians 3

Paul, who loves the church with God’s own love, has expressed much to the believers in Corinth, in the first two chapters. He has reminded them of their calling, and exhorted them regarding their behavior toward those who have been sent by the Lord to them. He has indirectly called them to spiritual maturity.

Now, he frankly and bluntly evaluates their spiritual maturity, not to condemn them, but to call them to repent and to ask their Father in heaven to fill them with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13)!

If I were going to give this a title, it would be, “Infants in Christ.”

Verse 1 — Paul would love to speak to the believers at Corinth as spiritual, mature in Christ, freed from the tyranny of their sin natures, no longer carnal, no longer being jerked around by fleshly desires.

But he cannot speak of them that way. He has to speak to them as men of flesh, believers whose sin nature is alive and well and causing chaos in the church at Corinth.  He has to address them as infants in Christ. Infants — “immature, babies, unlearned, unenlightened.”

Verse 2 — Paul gave them milk to drink — the basics of the Christian faith. They could not digest solid food (teaching on righteousness) because they were not ready to receive it, just as children cannot digest solid food until they are no longer infants. Even now, he says to the believers at Corinth, you are not able to receive solid food.

The writer of Hebrews gives the same exhortation to the Hebrew Christians scattered during the diaspora caused by persecution of Christians in Israel —

Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature (complete, perfect), who because of practice have their senses (perception) trained to discern good and evil. [That is, they are filled with the Spirit, and are able to use their spiritual perception to discern good and evil.]

Verse 3 — “For you are still fleshly.”  Still! That means there is more than a fleshly life for Christians, beloved. When you first believe, your sin nature is still alive and well. But you are expected to seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and then that fleshly sin nature is crucified!

How does he know they are still fleshly? For (because) there is jealousy and strife among them. Paul asks them, Are you not fleshly (carnal), are you not walking like MERE MEN? Jealousy and strife among believers are sure signs that they are infants in Christ.

Instead, they should be walking as Jesus Christ walks! You may say, It is impossible to walk like Christ. But hear the Apostle John —

1John 2:6 . . . the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

Per the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, “The question in verse 3 is stated in Greek in a way that expects a positive answer (i.e., “Yes, we are walking like mere men”). This suggests that the Corinthians, if honest with themselves, should admit their failing here. To walk kata anthropon (according to man) means to live the way the ordinary sinful man lives—in selfishness, pride, and envy.”

Jealousy and strife, one-upmanship and power plays, plots against pastors whose words offend them (as Paul’s offended the believers at Corinth), favoritism, politics. These are a stain and blot on Christ’s reputation, put there by those for whom Christ died! There are many believers today who exhibit the same behavior as the believers at Corinth. Each time they fight and split churches, they give their Lord a black eye. Shame!

Verse 4— Paul continues telling them why he knows they are infants, asking them again, When one says, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, are you not MERE MEN? Their actions prove it — boasting in who they follow, prideful, judging those the Lord sent to lead them, and thus judging Christ, as if they know better than Him!

Verse 5 — Who are the ones the believers at Corinth judging? Apollos and Paul are servants through whom the believers at Corinth came to faith in Jesus Christ,  “even as the Lord GAVE to each one of you!” O believers at Corinth, you did not save yourselves. The Lord saved you through the ministry of Apollos and Paul, and your salvation was a gift to you from God —

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God . . .

O church at Corinth, you have a distorted view of the Lord’s work! O church today, examine yourselves! Are you yet fleshly?

Verses 6-7 — Here is the role of a servant of the Lord, put very simply. One plants, then another comes and waters, and God causes the seed to grow into a plant that produces fruit! The believers at Corinth are judging God’s work, by comparing one leader to another.

The seed planted by Paul could not produce fruit without water. Seed in dry ground will simply sit there. But water it, and it has the right environment to germinate. Still, the water by itself, and even the water and seed, do not cause the growth. Watered seed requires light in order to burst forth from the ground and grow. That light is God! He causes the growth.

He who plants and he who waters are not anything but God’s fellow workers! But God, who causes the growth, IS SOMETHING! It is His supernatural work that has caused the believers at Corinth to be drawn and saved.

Again, Paul emphasizes that God causes that seed of truth to spring to life. Paul is just a seed planter. Apollos is just a waterer. Nothing can grow until God shines the light. Why, then, are the Corinthians playing favorites, as if it is man, and not God, who gives the increase?

Verse 8 — Now he who plants (Paul) and he who waters (Apollos) are one. They are of the same divine nature, filled with the Holy Spirit, and have the mind of Christ. But each will receive his own reward (wages) according to his own labor.

Verse 9 — Apollos and Paul are God’s fellow workers. God works through them to bring salvation to the ones to whom they minister. The believers at Corinth are part of God’s field, from which He has harvested their souls (see John 4:35). And when they believed into Jesus Christ, they became God’s building —

1Peter 2:4  And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

They do not build themselves, but HE is building them, using His fellow workers! His goal? Listen —

Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping (perfecting) of the saints for the work of service (to become His servants), to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge (intimate knowing is in view here) of the Son of God, to a mature (perfect, complete) man, to the measure of the stature (as great as) which belongs to the fullness of Christ (a full container, that is, to encourage and exhort them to be filled with the Holy Spirit).

Verses 10-11 — The Lord gave Paul grace (the ability, through His divine influence on his heart and its reflection in his life) to be a wise master builder.

Paul laid a foundation. And another came along and is building on it. But each man must be careful not to build on any other foundation, because the building will surely fall. And what is that foundation? Jesus Christ! Here is what Jesus says —

Matthew 7:24   “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell — and great was its fall.”

Again, Paul emphasizes that he is able to build them into a building only by the grace of God. It is God who has enabled him to become a wise master builder (architekton), because the Lord filled Paul with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17).

The master builder is the one in charge of the building process. It is from architekton that we get the English word, “architect.” Paul has laid a foundation, that is, basic teaching about Christ and the church. Another teacher is building upon that foundation. They are co-laborers, each with their own responsibility regarding the construction project.

Verse 12 — If any man begins with Jesus Christ as the foundation, and then builds, they may build in one of two ways —

— with gold, silver, and precious stones, or

— with wood, hay or straw.

Verse 13 — And the fire of God’s judgment will judge and test each man’s work. The church at Corinth is not in a position to judge it!

Verses 14-15 — If a man’s work remains after being tested by the fire of judgment, he will receive a reward. That man built with gold, silver and precious stones, which are not destroyed by fire. He built the church up with the pure truth of God’s Word — both milk and meat — and exhorted the church to be filled with the Holy Spirit, as commanded by Jesus Christ (Acts 1:4-5)!

But if a man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss (that is, he will have no reward). His work was made of wood, hay and straw, which burn up in fire. He kept to the basic tenets of the faith, warned them of sin and exhorted them to turn from it, but has not exhorted his congregation to obey Christ’s command to be filled. Yet his work was built on the foundation which is Christ, so he will be saved, but as if he had gone through fire.

I am convinced that these verses pertain to all believers and not just their teachers/builders. You might say, “But Paul has been speaking of teachers, not everyday Christians, up to this point.”

I stand by my conviction because seven times in the next few verses, Paul uses the words “no man” and “any  man,” and because. Paul is about to remind not just teachers, but all Christians at Corinth, and all of us: “Let no man deceive himself!” “If any man among you . . .” He’s speaking to all of the Corinthians. Let’s continue this discussion with the next set of verses.

Verse 16 — Paul takes the building metaphor to a deeper level, speaking to all the believers at Corinth, and to you and me, beloved! He asks, Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

“Do you not know” is a rhetorical question — the believers at Corinth ought to know, they are responsible to know! They have a measure of the Spirit, but their temples are not filled with the Spirit, as evidenced by their carnal actions.

Verse 17 — Paul takes it further still. If you, the temple of God, are destroyed by your own sinful nature, your own lusts that have not been crucified with Christ (Galatians 5:24), God will destroy you. He says this to believers, beloved!

Why? Because the temple of God is holy, set apart, sanctified. And Paul says to them, that is what you are — the temple of God. But they are not yet holy, as evidenced by their actions.

Paul warns the Corinthians not to destroy the temple that they have become. They are not to corrupt it, they are not to cause it to shrivel and wither, they are not to ruin it (with sin). If they continue to sin, God will destroy them. Strong words! Sin leads to death. Destroy your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, by sinning, and God will destroy you.

Here is what James writes about the carnal Christian’s lusts —

James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

The wages of sin is death, beloved, per Paul’s exhortation to the believers in Rome, in Romans 6:23.

But Peter writes this about those who are filled with God’s Holy Spirit  —

2Peter 1:4 For by these (God’s glory and goodness revealed in the gift of Jesus Christ), He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

His promise? Stay (24:49) and wait for the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4-5), “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Paul continues to reprimand and exhort, just as I do today. Why?

2Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. 3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

Become partakers of the divine nature, O believer! Ask the Lord to put your sin nature to death, and fill you with His Spirit!

Only then will you — the temple of God — be holy, and be a place where the Father and the Son and the Spirit come to permanently dwell, filling you with God!

Glory to God! He will do it, if you will admit that you are yet carnal, you are yet fleshly, you are yet an infant!

Verses 18-20 — Paul exhorts the believers at Corinth, who deceive themselves with their worldly wisdom! Don’t deceive yourself, but become foolish — abandon worldly wisdom! Then and only then will you become wise (have God’s wisdom)!

The wisdom of this world is foolishness to God, O church in Corinth, and today’s church! Do not rely on it. Do not build with it. It is wood, hay and straw!

Paul quotes from the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, saying, It is written of God —

Job 5:13  “He captures the wise by their own shrewdness,

And the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted.

And again,

Psalm 94:11 The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.

And I add,

Jeremiah 8:9  “The wise men are put to shame,

They are dismayed and caught;

Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord,

And what kind of wisdom do they have?

“Let no man deceive himself.” No one is deceiving you, but you are deceiving yourself if you think you can sin and still be accepted by God.

Do not “reason away” your sin, like the Gnostics, Cynics and Stoics were falsely teaching. They considered themselves to have “hidden wisdom” but it was no more than their own foolish imaginings intermingled with Greek philosophy. They said, “Your body is made of skin and bones. Those are not holy things. So go ahead and sin in your body, because you have the Holy Spirit to keep you holy in your spirit.”

This is a perverse teaching and not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus came so that our past sins would be forgiven, to reconcile us to God, and He also came so we would no longer be slaves to the sin nature, but would be made holy by the indwelling Holy Spirit and governed by Christ’s nature.

“Let no man deceive himself!” (italics mine). Wait a minute! Aren’t the false teachers the deceivers and therefore responsible for the faulty thinking of the believers at Corinth? No, the believers deceive themselves. The Corinthians liked the false teaching because it pleased their carnal, sinful desires. They loved to sin, and this teaching said it was all right to continue to sin. So they deceived themselves into believing it.

Verses 21-22 — So then! This is the conclusion of the matter, and the conclusion of Paul’s reprimand of the believers at Corinth, on this issue. So then, let no one boast in men.

Why? Because all things belong to you (are of) — they are a gift to you — whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas (Peter), or the world or life or death or things present or things to come.

The Expositors Bible Commentary explains the last part of Verse 22 this way —

Also the kosmos (the world itself), the processes of living and dying, the present and the future—all are to be viewed in relationship to God’s purposes and plans for his redeemed people. So Paul can say, “All things are yours.” Everything is for the believers’ benefit, everything belongs to them.

And believer, you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

You are not your own! You have been bought with a price, O believers in Corinth and believers today —

1Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

So then! Let no one boast in men. Whether Paul is teaching them, or Apollos or Cephas does not matter. Christians are to put their trust in God. Who appoints Paul and Apollos and Cephas? God! He appoints who He wants, and we do not question His wisdom.

Paul repeats “all things” twice in these verses. As those who are saved, we are co-heirs with Christ, and He is heir to all things. Paul exhorts them that nothing is more important than this truth. They are divided over Paul and Apollos and Cephas, and which one is better. Their focus is entirely wrong, and it is because they are still controlled by their sin natures.

They are worrying about the world, life and death, things present and things to come. Their concerns are self-centered (“What makes me feel good about myself? “Who do I like best? What happens to me when I die?”). As Dr. Dennis Kinlaw taught, they are curved in upon themselves, as in a fetal position, rather than outward, toward a lost and dying world.

The Corinthians are Christ’s. Christ is God’s. Life and death, things present and things to come should not influence them in any way — all of them are part of the fulfillment of God’s purpose.

Neither should such things influence Christians today. But like the believers at Corinth, they will be influenced by such things until they are filled with the Holy Spirit. Then, the sin nature is crucified and replaced with Christ’s nature. Then, God works a miracle, turning that fetal position into an outward curve that embraces and collects lost souls.

O believers in Corinth, O church today, your partisanship, your strife and jealousy, is a black eye to the One to whom you belong. So repent and ask the Lord to change your hearts!

Next time, Paul will further exhort the believers at Corinth about their boasting and judging. He will tell them that he is coming for a visit. The way he comes will depend on their response to this letter. It will either be with a rod (of discipline) if they do not heed his exhortation, or with love and gentleness, if they repent.

Lord Jesus, You discipline those you love, so they may share in Your holiness (Hebrews 12:10). Now, take this that you have shown me, Lord, and send it forth in the power of Your Spirit, that the Father and You would be glorified. Amen. Let it be so.


[SW319] 03/09/2018 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

A Church Filled With Strangers

The Lord wants today’s church to learn from what happened to northern Israel (Samaria), after Assyria carried His rebellious people into exile. He disciplines His people so they may share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:10).

Text: 2Kings 17:24-41

Verse 24 — Samaria (northern Israel) had been taken into exile by Assyria, and scattered across the known world. The king of Assyria then scattered throughout Samaria exiles from the many nations he had conquered. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities. The people from these nations did not know the Lord. So, the land was filled with strangers.

Verse 25 —Because they knew nothing of the Lord, they did not fear (bow themselves down to, revere, respect) Him, nor obey Him. Therefore, He sent lions among them, as a warning that He is God, and there is no other. Some were killed by the lions.

Verse 26 — So, these strangers who filled the land spoke to the king of Assyria. They said, We were carried into exile, to Samaria. But we do not know the custom (judgment, justice, decrees and ceremonies) of the god of the land. Pagan nations believed their gods ruled over regions and nations. They told him that, whatever god he was, he had sent lions among them and killed some. They believed it was because they did not know this god’s customs.

Verses 27-28 — So the king of Assyria commanded that one of the Lord’s priests, who had been carried away from Samaria and into exile, be summoned and sent to Samaria. He was assigned to teach the pagans the custom (judgment, justice, decrees and ceremonies) of the god of the land. So, the priest of the Lord came and lived in Bethel, and taught the pagans how they should fear (bow themselves down to, revere, respect) the Lord.

Verse 29 — But even though the priest of the Lord taught them, they still made images of the false gods of the nations from which they had come. They put them in the houses on the hills (high places) that the Jews who had lived in Samaria built for false gods. Every pagan nation made its own gods in the cities in which they lived.

Verses 30-31 — The Babylonians made Succoth-benoth (Baal or one of his relatives), those of Cuth made Nergal (the occult god of the underworld), those of Hamath made Ashima (probably Asherah, goddess mother of Baal), and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.

So, while they feared (bowed down, revered and respected) the Lord outwardly, they also offered their children in the fire as, sacrifices to appease their gods. It never entered the Lords’s mind to do such things (Jeremiah 7:31)! And their gods of sensuality and perversion were worshiped in Samaria, by the strangers who had filled the land.

NOTE: For the Lord, it was not a surprise that strangers filled the land. He knows the end from the beginning. He sits above time and sees everything that was, is, and will be, all at once. He knew what the king of Assyria would do. It was the Lord’s judgment on the land, and on His people who were exiled.

Verses 32-33 — But the strangers who filled the land also followed the customs (judgment, justice, decrees and ceremonies) of the Lord. They respected the Lord, they thought, by outwardly performing what the priest had taught them to do, but continued in all their wicked ways. They made for themselves priests of their gods who would offer sacrifices, even children, at the high places. Thus, their hearts were darkened and divided.

Verse 34 — “To this day,” they do so. That was why many Jews would have nothing to do with the people of Samaria, when Jesus walked the earth. But remember that Jesus spoke the truth to the Samaritan woman at the well, and she told the people of the city of Sychar, and the whole city was saved (John 4:41-42)! Keep that in mind, for there is hope for those who repent and turn to Him!

So, even when Jesus walked the earth, and even to this day, strangers who have filled the land do not truly revere the Lord, nor do they follow the statutes or ordinances of the Law of Moses, or the commandments which the Lord commanded Jacob, whom He named Israel.

Verse 35 — The Lord had made a covenant with His nation, Israel. He commanded them not to revere or respect or worship other gods, and not to serve or sacrifice to them. Why? They are man-made, and thus, they are dead —

Psalm 115:4  Their idols are silver and gold,

The work of man’s hands.

5  They have mouths, but they cannot speak;

They have eyes, but they cannot see;

6  They have ears, but they cannot hear;

They have noses, but they cannot smell;

7  They have hands, but they cannot feel;

They have feet, but they cannot walk;

They cannot make a sound with their throat.

8  Those who make them will become like them,

Everyone who trusts in them.

Verse 36 — But the Lord, who brought them out of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm — He was the One they were to fear (bow themselves down to, revere, respect) and offer sacrifices to (and certainly, not child sacrifices)!

Verses 37-38 — Israel was to follow His Law and commandments and statutes, rules established by the Lord, not created by man. These were given by Him, for their own good. Again, “You shall not fear other gods” is spoken here. It was Israel’s disobedience that led to their exile, for they had forgotten the Lord!

And now strangers filled the land, disobeying the Lord in the same way, even though a priest had taught them how to worship the Lord.

Verse 39 — Had Israel obeyed the Lord, He would have delivered them from the hand of all their enemies. But those who truly fear the Lord (witness King Hezekiah of Judah), are delivered!

Verses 40-41 — But even though these strangers who filled the land were taught all of these things, they did according to their earlier custom, when they were in their own lands, before they were exiled to Samaria.

So, these nations went through the motions of paying respect to the Lord. They outwardly feared Him, but they did not obey His commands. They “served” the Lord, but only as rote, as ritual. They continued to serve their idols, from generation to generation, just as their fathers did, even to this very day.

What does all of this have to do with today’s church?

Today’s church is filled of strangers, just as Samaria was in those days.

The people of many Christian churches/denominations have been exiled from the presence of the Lord. Their gods are not made of wood or stone or metal, but their fear of their gods reveals that their hearts are divided, just like the hearts of the Jews who were exiled, and the strangers who filled Samaria.

They remain in their church buildings, but the Lord’s presence and His Holy Spirit have “left the building.” As a result, the church is now filled with strangers who outwardly fear the Lord, while they also worship other gods.

What gods are revered, in today’s church? The god of self, from which the fear of all false gods stems. Witness the “Me Gospel,” where I view the Lord as One from whom I can get the things I want — success, prosperity, even grace, though I am willfully disobeying Him. So, I am a stranger in His church, outwardly revering Him while at the same time worshiping the god of self, just as with the strangers who filled the land of Samaria worshiped other gods.

The behavior of many in today’s church, and the teaching of the church’s false shepherds, is undeniable evidence that such ones are strangers who have filled the church. The people want the Lord to do this and that, and their false shepherds prosper because they tell them that the Lord wants to give them all that they want.

Such behavior is also undeniable evidence that many in the church love the world and the things of the world, though the Apostle John warns us that those who do such things do not have hearts filled with the Father’s love —

1John 2:15   Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

Are there other gods worshiped in today’s church? Yes! Man-made gods are worshiped — man’s wisdom and man’s ways, which are followed and revered. Today’s church uses man-made methods to cajole the world into loving them. “Would the community miss our church if it closed?” It is a common question employed by today’s church leaders. But it is a foolish question, per Jesus Christ’s words to His disciples —

John 15:19 “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.”

Thus, strangers have filled the church, ones who outwardly fear the Lord, but worship other gods, the gods of self and of man-made things.

What happened to the true worshipers of the Lord? Many have died and gone on to be with the Lord. And others have left the building because they cannot bear what they see, like the faithful Levites expelled from Samaria by King Jeroboam, and those who followed them back to Jerusalem —

2Chronicles 11:16 Those from all the tribes of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the Lord God of Israel followed them to Jerusalem, to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers.

The strangers who have filled the church have taken possession of the church. And for such ones, the teaching of the few remaining faithful leaders does not stir them to repent. They do not listen (Verses 29, 40, 41).

Even though the Lord has sent lions among the church, causing many of today’s churches to die and become Masonic Temples and community centers, the strangers who fill the church still do not repent. They continue to use man-made methods, and leaders continue to speak pleasant things from the pulpit.

Isaiah 30:9 For this is a rebellious people, false sons,

Sons who refuse to listen

To the instruction of the Lord;

10  Who say to the seers, “You must not see visions”;

And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right,

Speak to us pleasant words,

Prophesy illusions.

But there is hope!

But as I said when talking about Verse 34, Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman, one of the strangers who had filled the land. And she and the whole city believed into Jesus Christ!

John 4:41 Many more believed because of His word; 42 and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Here was His word, the same one He preached from the time His ministry on the earth began —

Matthew 4:17  From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (near).”

Oh, church! Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! Do you not see it? But calls to repentance are unknown in churches that are filled with strangers.

The word is very near to you (Romans 10:8), believers in today’s church, so near that if you simply turn and repent, and believe, you will be forgiven, and you will see Jesus Christ, the Word of God! Therefore, repent and believe!

And then stay and wait for the promise of the Father — the baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit, and sin will no longer live in you, but the Father, the Son, and the Spirit surely will! Then your heart will no longer be darkened and divided.

Cast away to the moles and the bats the idols which you have made for yourself to worship (Isaiah 2:20)! Cast away the idol of self, and the idol of man-made wisdom and man’s ways!

The writer of Hebrews warned the believers who were scattered during the persecution of the early church —

Hebrews 4:7  He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”

Amen, Lord Jesus. So be it!

SESSION 3 — “To a Church in Crisis, With Love,” a Bible study of 1 & 2 Corinthians

Text: 1Corinthians 2

Paul, who loves the church with God’s own love, has expressed much to the believers in Corinth, in the first chapter. He has reminded them of their calling, and exhorted them regarding their behavior toward those who have been sent by the Lord to them. They are judging by man’s wisdom versus God’s wisdom, which they do not yet have.

Now, he builds toward an evaluation of their spiritual maturity, not to condemn them, but to call them to repent and to ask their Father in heaven to fill them with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13)!

If I were going to give this a title, it would be, “A Call To Maturity.”

Verse 1 — Paul again emphasizes his calling, which has been questioned by some in the church at Corinth. He came to proclaim the testimony of God (the evidence and witness of Him) –– first, that God exists, and then, what God has done in Christ Jesus, for all of humanity.

Paul states again that he did not come in superiority (excellency) of speech or worldly wisdom. He would never diminish the message of the cross, by exalting himself (1Corinthians 1:17)!

As I have taught in Sessions 1 and 2, it is not through man’s wisdom nor fine speeches nor debate that people come to faith in Jesus Christ. They come because of the evidence, power and witness of God, through the Holy Spirit in all Spirit-filled believers.

Verse 2 — So Paul determined (concluded) to know NOTHING (a double-negative, strengthening the denial) but Christ and Him crucified. And it is the same for all who are Spirit-filled. Out of our intimate knowledge of Christ, all power comes and all ministry flows! Then He is glorified, and not us!

Some would ask, Really, Paul? You want to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified? You are a well-educated Pharisee!

But Paul considered everything dung, compared with knowing Christ Jesus His Lord! Listen to his words to the believers at Philippi —

Philippians 3:4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

Philippians 3:7   But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish (literally, dung) so that I may gain Christ . . .

Does today’s church consider everything dung except knowing Christ intimately? Or have we, in all of our programs that are based on man’s wisdom, offended God and Christ? Where is the “knowing nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” with all that today’s church designs out of her own imagination?

How is it that today’s church thinks the right combination of exciting music and a speaker with natural charisma will “bring ‘em in?” Eloquent speakers who never mention sin may bring people in, and cool music may keep the congregation happy. Their efforts may even help build a megachurch!

But the congregation will only know man’s wisdom and man’s talent. They will not know the true gospel of Jesus Christ, nor will they know what it is to worship in Spirit and in truth. They will have faith in man’s wisdom. I asked one member of such a church, “Why did Christ come?” He said, “To do good things.” I took him to Isaiah 53, and from the truths there, he repented for his sin and was saved.

Beloved, it is hard to ignore someone lit up by the Holy Spirit, preaching Christ crucified, who preaches regarding sin, righteousness, and judgment. They help you  to see that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.

They preach that Jesus commands you to crucify your sin nature (also called the carnal nature), and become a partaker of His divine nature! And the power of God for salvation is evidenced through preaching done in the power of the Holy Spirit, and by no other means!

Bear with me a bit more, beloved. When I was studying to be an ordained pastor, many of my texts were written by authors who relied on man’s wisdom, natural reasoning, and everything BUT God. Psychology, psychiatry and medical knowledge about the human body were emphasized. There was no mention of the Holy Spirit or of the power of God! The Lord was and is grieved by what is taught in seminaries and ordination programs!

Verses 3-5 — Paul says that, rather than being an excellent speaker and wise debater, he came in weakness (feebleness) and in fear.

In what weakness did Paul come? He understood that his own wisdom and his own strength were weaknesses. Only in the strength and wisdom and power of God will souls truly come to Christ and be saved.

And what kind of fear did Paul have? The fear of God! He worked out his salvation with fear and trembling! He spoke of it, in words of the Spirit’s wisdom, to the believers in Philippi —

Philippians 2:12   So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work (fervently working) in you, both to will (to determine to do) and to work (fervently do) for His good pleasure (that which delights God).

So, the fear in which he came to Corinth is related to Paul’s understanding that it is God who is fervently at work in Paul to ensure that Paul fervently does that which delights God.

And I tell you the truth, knowing that God is at work in me inspires my reverential awe of Him! God — the God who created everything and who is above all things, God my Father  —  is at work, even in such a one as me! And it is He who gives me His fervency and wisdom, as I teach and preach and share Jesus Christ wherever I go. He who has begun a good work in me will perfect it until Christ returns (Philippians 1:6).

Next, he says that he purposely does NOT preach in persuasive words of (man’s) wisdom. That would accomplish nothing, for it is not the power of God! Paul preached in demonstration of (revealing, manifesting) the Spirit and power (dunamis, the miracle-working power, of the Spirit)! If he DID speak in persuasive words of man’s wisdom, their faith would be in man’s wisdom, not the power of God!

The power of God was not only made evident in Paul’s preaching, but in attesting signs and wonders that accompanied his preaching. Was it so that Paul looked powerful? Perish the thought! It was done so that the Corinthians’ faith would not rest in anything man-based, but in the dunamis, the miracle-working power, of God.

Let’s do a reality check here. How much dunamis is evident in the church in America today? There are signs and wonders being performed in charismatic circles, but how many of those men and women are preaching and living as Paul preached, or as Christ Himself lived and preached? Are they preaching regarding sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:8)? If they are not, then they are not filled with the Spirit. As for their signs and wonders, look to Matthew 7:21-23!

It amazes me that the believers in Corinth saw signs and wonders at the hands of Paul, and heard His words delivered in the power of God, but turned and listened to false teachers who were preaching strange doctrines and encouraging them to sin.

Ah, sin! That’s it! They liked their sin, so the false teachers’ words pleased them! Their sin nature had not yet been crucified.

Verse 6 — It is important to look at the next few verses with this verse in mind. What Paul is about to say pertains to those who are mature (complete, made perfect). That is, he is speaking about those who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, and the actual, perfect, divine love (agape) of God. He is not speaking about infants in Christ, those who are saved but still carnal.

So, what kind of wisdom do mature Christians possess? Certainly not the wisdom of this age (of this world), nor of the rulers of this age (of this world).

Who are the rulers of this world? God has given Satan temporary permission to be prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). So he is ruler of this world, in that sense only. And there are human rulers of this world whose father is Satan, just as with some of the Jewish leaders when Jesus walked the earth, of whom He said —

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.”

Paul says mature Christians speak a wisdom not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away (being rendered useless, abolished).

Verses 7-8 — We who are mature— Spirit-filled, made perfect and complete by God — speak God’s wisdom, which is eternal! We proclaim a mystery that is now solved. What is this mystery?

It was “hidden,” but hinted at in the Old Testament, but now has been fully revealed in the New Testament. God, who sits above time, determined before time began that His Son would be the means for all people who believe in Jesus Christ to be saved from their past sins, reconciled to God, and then filled with God’s Spirit.

Oh, if the rulers of this age, whose father was Satan, had understood, they never would have crucified the Lord of glory! His crucifixion was THEIR death warrant! They were emptied of their power —

Colossians 2:15 And having spoiled (wholly divested) principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly (exhibited them publicly as having been made powerless), triumphing over them (conquering them) in it (the cross).

Satan thought he had won, because Christ was crucified. But God raised Christ up on the third day! Now, death has no victory, death has no sting (1Corinthians 15:55)!

The devil can’t use the threat of death to strike fear in a Christian’s heart, because the cross and resurrection mean eternal life — but not for those who come to faith but continue to willfully sin against God (Hebrews 10:26), thereby trampling under their feet the Son of God, regarding His blood as unclean (Hebrews 10:29). Beware!

Verse 9 — Oh, beloved! Paul quotes from Isaiah 64:4 — Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those love Him!

The passage in Isaiah says, “. . . for who wait for (entwine themselves with) Him.” Oh, this promise is for those who stay (Luke 24:49) and wait (Acts 1:4-5) until they are entwined with Him and filled with His divine love and power!


Verse 10 — And so, God has revealed these things to those who are mature — those who are Spirit-filled Christians.

The Holy Spirit searches the depths (deep waters) of God’s profound wisdom in order to teach Spirit-filled Christians all things (John 16:13-15)! In turn, we teach infants in Christ of the “much more” of the Lord, exhorting them to ask the Lord to crucify their sin natures and give them His divine nature!

Verse 11 —  Men know the thoughts of mankind via their own spirits. All of man’s wisdom is from mankind’s spirit. It is “of man,” and not “of God.” No one has God’s Spirit, until they believe into Christ.

When you believe, you receive a measure of the Spirit (John 20:22), so as to transform you into a new creature. But mature Christians do not have just a measure — they are filled with God’s Holy Spirit, so that the Spirit may teach them God’s wisdom.

The Holy Spirit knows God — He is God the Holy Spirit. Human’s spirits are limited to their own understanding — what flawed mankind teaches them about themselves. There is no comparison, beloved! It is far better to have God’s infinite wisdom than mankind’s flawed wisdom.

Verses 12-13 — So, Christians who are mature have not received the spirit of the world, which involves human knowledge of mankind’s own spirit. Rather, we have received the Spirit who is from God, so we may know all the things God has prepared for us and freely given us! Freely given!

Freedom from the sin nature (John 8:31-36), hearts full of God’s love, a deep understanding of God’s heart through the Word of God, and the ability to speak and do “God works” in God’s power!

Mature Christians speak of these things — not in words of worldly human wisdom, but in words of the divine wisdom of God, by the Holy Spirit. We combine (connect) spiritual thoughts — that is, thoughts regarding God’s wisdom and nature  —with spiritual words — that is, words inspired by the Holy Spirit.

If you remember connect-the-dot puzzles, you know that you would connect one dot to the next, and eventually a picture would be revealed. It is the same for Spirit-filled believers. We connect the dots of God’s wisdom and words, so that those who hear us can see a picture of God and Christ!

Verses 14-15 — But natural (unspiritual) people do not accept (receive, take in)  the things of the Spirit of God. Such things seem foolish to them, just as Paul said in 1Corinthians 1:23.

The infants in Christ at Corinth have not accepted (received and taken in) what Paul has taught because they are unspiritual, carnal, still using man’s wisdom. So, they judge the wisdom of men to be far greater than Paul’s teaching.

This truth leads to an important point, in Verse 15. Paul is spiritual, filled with the Holy Spirit, as are all mature Christians. So, he and we are able to discern, to investigate and examine, and to determine whether someone is speaking by the Holy Spirit, or from worldly wisdom.

The spiritual (those filled with God’s Spirit) appraise (examine, evaluate) all things, but immature believers at Corinth are unable to appraise anything. Yet they have attempted to appraise those who are spiritual!

Beloved, Spirit-filled believers cannot be appraised by natural men or immature Christians. They are appraised by God Himself! Paul later writes this to the church at Corinth —

1Corinthians 4:3 But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. 4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.

Verse 16 — Paul quotes from Isaiah 40:13, in order to emphasize that until the Holy Spirit fills us, we are unable to think and see as God thinks and sees —

Isaiah 40:13  Who has directed (measured out, pondered) the Spirit of the Lord,

Or as His counselor has informed (advised) Him?

But we who are Spirit-filled have the mind (divine understanding) that belongs to Christ. We understand and possess His heart. Believers must be filled with the Holy Spirit, with God the Father and God the Son permanently dwelling in them (John 14:23), in order to have the mind of Christ.

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit teaches us God’s wisdom and gives us the mind of Christ regarding all things. We comprehend God’s ways and thoughts. And we do so more and more (2Corinthians 3:18), as we continue to be taught by His Spirit!

Having the mind of Christ also means that we are selfless and humble, even as Christ was selfless and humble (strikethroughs mean these words do not appear in the original Greek) —

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude (mind) in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus . . .

We who are filled with the Holy Spirit have Christ’s humility, because Christ permanently dwells in us and has made us partakers of the divine nature. We place others above ourselves, just as Christ did by coming to the earth and dying on a cross for our sins! We boast in Christ alone!

Again, Paul has said that a natural man or carnal, immature believer cannot know the things of God. So, the infants in Christ at Corinth do not have the mind of Christ.

He will frankly and bluntly tell them that truth, in Chapter 3. He does it out of love, for their good. Why? So they may repent of judging with man’s wisdom and following false teachers, and seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so they may appraise by the wisdom of God alone!


[SW319] 03/02/2018 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

The Blind Who See

In 1Kings 13, a man of God who could see was found to be spiritually blind, because he blindly obeyed a false prophet. But a true prophet sees by the Holy Spirit. Even physical blindness is no hindrance to such a one.

Text: 1Kings 11:29-38, 14:1-18, etc.

So, I will show you Ahijah, a true prophet of God whose physical blindness is no hindrance. He sees what the Lord wants him to see, and says what the Lord wants him to say. Even when the word the Lord gives him is harsh, he is not afraid to speak it, and will not leave out a word. Ahijah was such a one.

The Back Story

Ahijah’s first word from the Lord to Jeroboam was favorable, in 1Kings 11:29-35. The people of southern Israel, and King Solomon himself, had forsaken the Lord and worshiped many wicked and false gods — even gods to whom they sacrificed their children in the fire, as burnt offerings.

Ahijah came to Jeroboam and tore a new cloak into 12 pieces, giving 10 to Jeroboam (11:30-31). Then the Lord spoke through Ahijah to Jeroboam, saying

the Lord would tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and give ten of the twelve tribes to Jeroboam. Jeroboam would be king over those ten tribes, in northern Israel (Samaria). The kingdom would be divided, with Judah (and Benjamin) to the south, and and the rest of the tribes to the north.

The Lord said He would be with Jeroboam and make Jeroboam’s house enduring, like that of King David, if Jeroboam listened to all the Lord commanded and walked in His ways, and did what is right in His sight by observing His statutes and His commandments as His servant David did (11:38).

King Solomon learned of it and threatened to put Jeroboam to death, so Jeroboam fled to Egypt until the death of Solomon. After the foolish leadership of Solomon’s son, King Rehoboam, the kingdom was divided, just as Ahijah had prophesied, and Jeroboam became northern Israel’s king.

Now —  the blind who see (1Kings 14:1-18)!

Verses 1-3 — Abijah, the son of Jeroboam. became sick. So Jeroboam told his wife to arise and go to Shiloh, 20 miles to the south of Tirzah, where Jeroboam’s house was located.

He instructed her to disguise herself, so the ones to whom he was sending her would not recognize her as his wife.

There were several reasons for this:

— Jeroboam had forsaken the Lord for wicked and false gods, just as Solomon did. The Lord would have told him that Ahijah was blind (Verse 4) and that disguise was not necessary, but his sin had separated him from the Lord (Isaiah 59:1-2), and he had no contact with Him.

— Many in Shiloh must have despised Jeroboam because of his sin and lack of repentance. So he did not want his wife to be recognized by them. Remember that Joshua erected the tabernacle in Shiloh (Joshua 18:1). Faithful followers of the Lord remained there, even after it had been moved to Gibeon and then to the temple in Jerusalem.

— Jeroboam would not go himself, because he did not want Ahijah to confront him with his sin. Jeroboam had disobeyed the words Ahijah had spoken, and had forfeited the Lord’s promise to him, to give him an enduring house.

NOTE: Jeroboam sent no message to Ahijah that he had turned from his sin, and repented of it. He had no desire to repent.

Jeroboam instructed his wife to take an offering to Ahijah — ten loaves, cakes, and a jar of honey. Jeroboam was sure that Ahijah would tell her what would happen to their son. He knew Ahijah was a true prophet, per the backstory I have given you.

He hoped for a word from Ahijah that his son would live. But remember that, in 1Kings 13:34, the Lord would see to it that Jeroboam’s house was blotted out and destroyed from the face of the earth, because of his sin from which he never repented.

Verse 4 — So Jeroboam’s wife obeyed him and went to Shiloh. She came to Ahijah’s house. As I have noted already, Ahijah was physically blind. His eyes were dim (set) from old age.

Verse 5 — Ahijah was physically blind, but that was no hindrance to his ability to see by the Holy Spirit! He knew the Lord as Samuel and David had known Him. How do I know that? The Lord told him in advance that Jeroboam’s wife was coming to inquire concerning her son who was sick. He instructed Ahijah what to say to her. The Lord also told her that Jeroboam’s wife would come in disguise.

Verse 6 — So, when Ahijah heard her footsteps, he said, Come in, wife of Jeroboam (though he could not see her). And he asked, Why do you pretend to be another woman?

Then Ahijah said something that seems strange — I am sent to you with a harsh message. She had come to him. How, then, could he have been sent to her?

But Ahijah was a true prophet, one sent to rebuke sin among God’s people. He was, in that sense, sent to her. And his message was harsh (tough, severe, grievous).

Verses 7-9 — Ahijah said, Go, say to Jeroboam, thus says the Lord God of Israel (for He alone is Lord, and ruled over wicked Jeroboam, just as He rules over us) —

— I exalted you by making you leader over Israel, and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you.

— But you have not been like My servant David, who kept My commandments and followed Me with all his heart, to do only what was right in My sight.

— And you have done more evil than all who were before you. You have made for yourself other gods and molten images to provoke Me to anger (because these gods were not gods at all, but man-made, useless, and dead, per Psalm 115:1-8)!

— And you have cast Me behind your back (treated Me with contempt).

Verses 10-11 — Therefore, the Lord will take action:

— He will bring calamity (evil) on the house of Jeroboam and will cut off (kill) every male person (so as to eliminate Jeroboam’s line altogether).

— He will make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam, as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone, per 1Kings 13:34!

But that is not all the Lord said He will do —

— Anyone who belonged to Jeroboam’s house will be eaten by dogs in the street. They will not be buried. And the one who dies in the field will be eaten by the birds, and not buried. It will happen, for He has spoken it!

Verses 12 -13 — Ahijah ordered Jeroboam’s wife to return home, but said her child would die when her feet entered the house at Tirzah. All Israel would mourn for him and bury him, for he alone of Jeroboam’s family would come to the grave — the rest would be left for the dogs and the birds to eat!

But why was Abijah properly buried? Because something good was found in the boy, toward the Lord God of Israel. Only he, among all of Jeroboam’s house!

Verse 14 —  And Jeroboam’s wife was to tell him that the Lord would raise up for Himself a king over Israel. Not a good king, but one who would be used to destroy Jeroboam’s house entirely. The first to die would be Abijah, Jeroboam’s sick son.

Later, the rest of his sons would be killed. By whom?

Baasha, whose name means to stink, offensiveness, would kill them. Per 1Kings 15:25, after Jeroboam died, he struck down Jereboam’s son Nadab, so he could become king. And as recorded 15:29, he destroyed all persons of Jeroboam’s house. All of this was just according to the word of the Lord spoken through Ahijah.

Verses 15-16 — Even worse, Jeroboam’s wife was to tell him that the Lord would strike all of northern Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and uproot the people of northern Israel from “this good land which He gave to their fathers.”

Who would do it? Assyria would come (2Kings 17:6), and scatter them beyond the Euphrates River. Why? Their worship of the fertility goddess Asherah, mother of Baal, and their worship of many other false gods, provoking the Lord to anger. They forsook Him to worship gods who were not gods at all!

The Lord would give up all Israel because of the sins of Jeroboam which He sinned, and with which he made Israel to sin. All of northern Israel was commanded by King Jeroboam to worship the golden calves and other idols. And many obeyed!

Verses 17-18 — Jeroboam’s wife then arose, left Ahijah, and came to Tirzah. As she crossed the threshold of the house, Abijah died, just as Ahijah had prophesied. Everyone in Israel mourned him, and he was buried, just as the Lord had spoken through Ahijah.

Now, a word for today’s church leaders and believers

I tell you the truth, true prophets will speak harsh (tough, severe, grievous) messages to those who are God’s people but are willfully disobeying Him. They will warn them of their sin and urge them to turn from it and repent before the Lord!

As with Jeroboam, the Lord is your God, and nothing is hidden from His sight (Hebrews 4:13). So when you sin against Him and do not repent, He will deal with you according to what you do, just as with Jeroboam.

I tell you the truth, the Lord disciplines His children for their own good, so they may share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:10) — that is, so they cry out for their hearts to be cleansed and filled with Him!

I tell you the truth, many believers and leaders of today’s church are willfully disobeying the Lord.  It is because they have no spiritual sight from the Holy Spirit. They hold to a form of godliness, but deny its power (2Timothy 3:5).

I tell you the truth, you may pretend to be someone else when you come before a true prophet of God, but the Lord shows true prophets the hearts of pretenders. The Lord says to many in today’s church —

Isaiah 59:1    Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short

That it cannot save;

Nor is His ear so dull

That it cannot hear.

2  But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,

And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.

3  For your hands are defiled with blood

And your fingers with iniquity;

Your lips have spoken falsehood,

Your tongue mutters wickedness.

I tell you the truth, the Lord is angry with believers today, so many of whom attend church on Sundays and yet are their own gods, ones who live for themselves and not for Him and who selfishly try to manipulate Him to get what they want.

I tell you the truth, you may attend Sunday worship services, but because you willfully disobey Him, your worship is lip service. He does not recognize or receive it from you.

Remember that I have told you the Lord showed me that He would bring His light into a particular church, and the people would say, “What is this Light? We have not seen it,” and they will fall down and worship Him. I weep! Not only was His light absent from that church until that moment, but this was the first time these churchgoers had ever seen the Light of Him, and the first time they had ever worshiped Him in Spirit and in truth!

I tell you the truth, He is angry with church leaders who have worshiped the wisdom of this world, using it to build the church, instead of seeking to be filled with His Holy Spirit! Such church leaders have cast Him behind their backs, treating Him with contempt.

I tell you the truth, such leaders have chosen pop psychology, business methods, theology that fills the head and shrinks the heart, and have chosen pastors according to natural standards rather than by the Lord’s wisdom the Lord’s ways. In the Book of Acts, even those who waited tables were required to be Spirit-filled and pure in heart, but for most leaders of today’s church, there is no such requirement.

I tell you the truth, He is angry with leaders who eagerly seek and commission foolish young men as pastors, ones who:

— are not filled with the Spirit and scoff at the thought of it

— do not walk with the Lord

— love the world and its things, and

— are shown the truth but refuse to turn from their sin

(Jeff and I have personally known and counseled such ones!)

Many come from a long line of pastors. Others are physically attractive, have children (so as to attract families), and/or are talented musicians who are able to lead the worship band.

You will say, “But we preach Jesus!” But you preach a Jesus who does not require repentance in order to be saved (I have witnessed such words from a leader in a denomination).

I tell you the truth, the Jesus being preached is a different Jesus, one who came just to do good things (I have heard it from churchgoers!), one who worries and frets and fears like you do (I have heard it in a sermon by a denomination’s leader!), one who understands you are only human and cannot help but sin (I hear it all over!).

O church! In your effort to make yourself “relevant” to the world, you have made yourself irrelevant to the Lord!

Oh, church, church! Turn from your sin and repent! The Lord will receive you back if you do. He extends His mercy to you today! Hear and heed His voice!

From Hebrews 3:15 —

“Today if you hear His voice,

Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.”

But I tell you the truth, if you refuse to repent, as Jeroboam did, He will see to it that all you have built will be destroyed and removed from the face of the earth. And you will have to answer to Jesus Christ, at His judgment seat.

Amen, Lord Jesus. So be it.