GOD OR BAAL?

[SW379] 5/18/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“God or Baal?”

 Text: 1Kings 18:1, 15-41

Elijah asked God’s people who worshiped the LORD and Baal, “How long will you limp between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him, but if your choice is Baal, follow him.” Jesus Christ asks today’s believers, “Will you worship My Father and Me, and no other, or will you continue to worship Us and the god of Self?”

Background

Baal   

The father of the false gods, the storm god, the god of lightning, wind, and rain. He was also the god of fertility. His name means “Master.” When his worshipers experienced drought and famine, or infertility, they believed they had displeased Baal, and offered their children in the fire to soothe his anger. Thus, they manipulated him so he would give them the prosperity that they wanted.

The god of Self — 

The one who follows this god and the Lord says, “I want to manipulate God into giving me what I want. If He will not give me what I want, I will look for another ‘god’ who will  give me what I want.” 

The root of worship of the god of Self  — the sin nature inborn in every human being since Adam. The sin nature of those who follow the god of Self is alive and well, and they are slaves of that nature! 

Do you remember Jesus’ words? He says he who sins is a slave to sin (John 8:34). And, beloved, Jesus says the slave to sin does not remain in His house forever (John 8:35).

The fruit of the god of Self 

Galatians 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh (the sin nature) are evident (by outward behavior), which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities (hostility), strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions (heresies), 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Do you now see that that you must make an immediate choice?  Who you will follow — the god of Self, or the Lord? If you choose the god of Self, you will not inherit the kingdom of God (again, Galatians 5:21). Jesus Christ will erase your name from the book of life (Revelation 3:5). 

Therefore, pay close attention to the words the Lord has given me from 1Kings 18!

The LORD had imposed a three-year drought on the earth; therefore, there was a famine (see 1Kings 17:1). Why did He choose drought and famine, in order to discipline and punish His people for worshiping Baal? Because they believed Baal was the storm god, and therefore controlled rainfall. 

By imposing such an extended drought and famine on the whole earth, He judged both Baal and His own people who worshiped both Him and Baal. How? Baal was powerless against the drought and famine the LORD imposed on His people, and the people were unable to manipulate their false gods, and unable to manipulate the LORD.

There is a drought in today’s church. It is not a drought of natural water, but a drought of the living water that you receive when you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, famine in today’s church has resulted. It is not a famine of natural food, but a famine of the true Word of God (Amos 8:11). This drought and famine is Jesus Christ’s discipline and punishment for the church’s worship of both Him and the god of Self. 

Across many denominations, and around the world, today’s believers are widely taught by today’s Ahabs and their prophets that Jesus Christ came to serve the god of Self. They are taught to declare their demands to the Lord, and decree that He must do them. I tell you, the god of Self seeks to manipulate God! How foolish!

Verses 1, 15-16   

After three years of drought and famine, the LORD said to Elijah, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth.” 

Obadiah, who worshiped and revered the LORD, heard that Elijah was going to Ahab, king of northern Israel, and was concerned for Elijah’s safety. Why? Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, had killed all of the Lord’s prophets except 100 whom Obadiah had hidden (see Verse 3). Why? She did not like what they prophesied.

But Elijah was obedient to the LORD! So he told Obadiah, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.” And Obadiah went to Ahab, instructing him to go and meet with Elijah.

This very day, I show myself to today’s Ahabs and their prophets and their followers. The Lord has sent me to exhort them turn away from worshiping the god of Self, and to warn them of the consequences of their sin. His promise to those who turn back to Him is that He will send the rain of the Holy Spirit’s fullness to any who will hear and heed His words.

Some tell me that it is dangerous to speak these things! Today’s Ahabs and their followers will try to kill you (silence you), they say! But the Lord has made me stand before Him to hear His words and speak them. Therefore, I will surely speak frankly and bluntly to the church, just as I am required to speak (Ephesians 6:20)!

Verses 17-18 —

When Ahab saw Elijah, he called Elijah a troubler of Israel. But Elijah responded that it was Ahab and his father’s house “who are the  troublers of Israel, because you have forsaken (gone away from) the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals.” 

Because Ahab and his house had chosen to follow Baal and Baal’s “family” the people of northern Israel followed Ahab into rebellion against the Lord. Because of their sin, Ahab and his followers were now troubled by the LORD by drought and famine!

It is the same today. Many worshipers of the god of Self, who are overseers and are in pulpits and are in pews, call me a troubler of the church because I continually call her to repent and return to the Lord, and I constantly warn her of the consequences of her sin. But I will continue to obey the Lord!

By calling me a troubler, today’s Ahabs turn things around, just as Ahab the troubler turned things around and accused Elijah! Today’s Ahabs are the troublers of the church, encouraging her to worship the god of Self. They have turned her into something that in no way resembles the church Jesus Christ inaugurated at Pentecost! 

Therefore, the Lord is troubling and will yet trouble today’s Ahabs and their prophets and their followers. As I have said, He is has struck them with a drought, for they have no living water, and a famine for the Word of God (Amos 8:11). But He has also sent and is yet sending His prophets to trouble their hearts with the truth!

Verses 19-20 —

Elijah challenged Ahab to call all of Israel to him at Mount Carmel, along with as 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, the “mother” of Baal. Ahab obeyed Elijah in this, assembling all 850 false prophets and all Israel at Mount Carmel.

Through this message, I challenge all Ahabs and false prophets of the god of Self. Meet with the Lord, right here and right now. How? In the Word of God, from which I speak! 

Verse 21 —

Elijah came near to the people of Israel and said, How long will you limp between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow (follow after) Him. But if Baal (is your god), follow him.”  But the people did not answer him a word.

O believer, how long will you limp between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow after Him, obey Him, and worship Him and Him alone. But if the god of Self is the god you worship, follow after it, and perish, in the day of judgment.

Verses 22-29 —

Why did Elijah say that he was the only one left as a prophet of the LORD? There were yet 100 of the LORD’s prophets, hidden by Obadiah, as I have said. But Elijah was the only one out in the open, prophesying.

I know that there is a remnant of the Lord’s prophets who speak for Him in these days. Most have been expelled from the church by today’s Ahabs and their prophets and their followers. Why? Like Jezebel, they do not like what the Lord’s prophets say. It is not the ear candy that the god of Self loves. 

But the Lord helps those who speak for Him, and we sing for joy, in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 63:6). And no one is able to destroy the eternal Word of God that they speak.

Elijah issued a challenge to the prophets of Baal, who prophesied out of their own imagination (Jeremiah 23:16). He challenged them to and get two oxen, choose one, cut it up, place it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Elijah would prepare the other ox, lay it on the wood, and put no fire under it.

Elijah instructed the prophets of Baal to prepare their offering and call on the name of their god (call him forth). They were to go first, for they were many. Then Elijah would call on the name of the LORD (calling Him forth). Elijah said, “The God who answers by fire (consuming the offering) He is God.” And all the people said, “That is a good word.”

I stand against many false prophets, and I challenge them to prepare an offering for the god of Self, and call upon the name of the god of Self. Go first, for you are many. The God who answers by fire, He is God.

The prophets of Baal prepared their offering, and called on the name of Baal from morning to noon. O Baal, answer us! But there was no voice and no one answered. 

At noon, Elijah mocked them — “Call out loudly, for he is a god; either he is occupied, or gone aside (to relieve himself), or is on a journey, or is asleep, and must be wakened.” Psalm 115:4-8 describes false gods — they are the work of man’s hands. They cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, walk, or make any sound. Those who trust in them will become like them.

Then they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves until their blood gushed. When midday was past, they prophesied until the time that evening sacrifice was made to the LORD — 3:00 p.m., by our time today. 

Today’s Ahabs and their false prophets will cry to the god of Self from morning to noon. They will use every Self-worship and Self-help and Self-affirmation method they can conjure up, in order to get the attention of the god of Self. But the god of Self is no god at all, and cannot answer. So today’s Ahabs and their prophets will become exhausted by their efforts to get the god of Self to respond. 

Verses 30-37 —

Then Elijah rebuilt the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down He prepared it for his sacrifice to the living God. He ordered it to be doused with water. Douse it! Douse it again! Douse it a third time! Wet it thoroughly, even the trough around it, to make it as hard as possible for it to be set afire!

In the natural, it seemed impossible to set me afire, for my sin nature was alive and well! My heart was completely hardened by my worship of the god of Self! But I testify that nothing is too difficult for the Lord! He consumed me, crucified the sin nature in me, purified my heart and now I am His servant. He has done it; therefore, it is He who is glorified — not me!

At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near to the altar he had built to the LORD, and said, “O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob), today let it be known that You are God  in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word.” 

Elijah continued, “Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people would know that You, O LORD are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” Elijah knew that when the LORD consumed Elijah’s offering, the people would return to the LORD, for it would be the evidence that Elijah spoke for the LORD! 

I will call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself on a cross at 3:00 p.m., about 2,000 years ago, at the time of the evening sacrifice! He is the true evening sacrifice — the whole of the Law of Moses speaks of Him! 

Because the god of Self in me is dead and buried, I am able to call the Lord forth. But He does not hear sinners (John 9:31).

So what will I call, when I call on His name? O Lord Jesus, let it be known today that You and Your Father and Your Spirit are God over all, and I am Your servant and have done these things at Your word.

I will say, Answer me, O Lord, that they may know that You, O Lord, are God, and You have turned their heart back again! O Lord, You have consumed me! I pray that many will see the fire with which You have permanently filled me, and will turn their hearts back to You!

But I know that not all will return to Him, for some in the church are not the church. In the day of judgment, listen to His words to those who say, “Lord, Lord,” and yet worship the god of Self and therefore continue to sin against Him —

Matthew 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE (do) LAWLESSNESS (sin).’”

Verses 38-39 —

When Elijah called upon the LORD, the fire of the LORD instantly fell, consuming everything on the altar, and even the altar itself — the offering, the wood, the stones, and even the water in the trench.

When the people saw it, they fell on their faces and they said, The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!

I asked the Lord to consume me so my brethren would  repent and turn from their worship of the god of Self, and fall on their faces, crying,“The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” Having offered myself to the LORD as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing (Romans 12:1). I  know He will to turn the hearts of my brethren back to Him, if they repent. He is the only One who can do it!

Verses 40-41 —

Elijah put the prophets of Baal and put them to death. Then he said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink for there is the sound of the roar of a heavy shower.” 

I speak the words the LORD has given me, in order to silence today’s Ahabs and their false prophets. They will ultimately burn in the lake of fire, unless they repent (Revelation 19:20). 

And when believers repent, they will hear the roar of a heavy shower  — a shower of living water within them. The famine for the Word of God will end. What will they eat? Here Jesus Christ’s promise to all in His church who repent from worshiping the god of Self 

Revelation 3:20 ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Lord Jesus, let it be so, I pray, for you will come into those who repent, filling them with Your Holy Spirit! Amen!

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ISAIAH SESSION 7 — THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT KNOWING HIM

Text: Isaiah 5:13-30

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

In the days of Isaiah, God’s people are headed for disaster —  exile (separation from His presence), and even death and condemnation. Oh, but if they will repent as I did, the Lord and I will rejoice and sing (Zephaniah 3:17)!

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. He gives Isaiah visions, and words with which to paint a picture of what the Lord has shown him.

And He sends me to the church today, though I am only a pastor and teacher. But by His grace, I am what I am. As I read Isaiah, I see what the Lord showed him, as if the Lord was showing it to me. If I were going to give this a title, I would call it, “The Consequences of Not Knowing Him.”

Verse 13 —

Therefore, says the LORD. A good Bible student will want to know what the “therefore” is there for! Therefore — because His people do not pay attention to the deeds of the LORD, nor consider His ways (Isaiah 5:12), they reveal that they have no knowledge of Him. The consequence of not knowing Him? They will go into exile, separated from His presence. It is the same today.

This “knowledge” is from the root word yada, which refers to the intimacy of a marriage between a man and a woman. He wants you to be married to Him, beloved!

God’s rebellious people had no respect for His deeds on their behalf, and the work of His hands on their behalf. Instead, they feasted with the world, with idolaters, with false prophets and teachers! It is the same today, among rebellious believers. With whom are you feasting, beloved? Whose words are you eating?

Because of their and your lack of intimate knowledge of Him, you will endure famine and drought. In the natural, the LORD commanded the clouds not to rain (5:6). Lack of rain means lack of crops. Lack of crops means famine. 

But then and now, many are in spiritual famine and drought —

Amos 8:11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD.”

You will not be able to hear Him when He speaks, because you will be separated from His presence. But He intends to restore you, if you see your heart’s poverty-stricken condition and repent!

Verses 14-15 —

Therefore, because God’s people do not pay attention to His deeds and do not consider the work of His hands, Sheol (hell) has enlarged itself and opens its mouth wide to swallow them! There is no limit to how many of God’s rebellious people hell will swallow. All of man’s splendor, the multitudes, the pomp and tumult of their revelry, and those who jubilantly worship what the world worships, will descend into hell’s gaping mouth. 

Social status among His rebellious people will not affect His judgments against them. Both the low and the mighty will be abased (humbled). The eyes of the proud and lofty also will be abased.

Verses 16-17 —

But the LORD of Host’s judgment of the rebels among His people will cause Him to be exalted, because it is right for Him to bring down the proud, the lofty, the rebellious. He gives them what they have chosen to receive.

The holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness. He is holy, His character above reproach. He judges rightly.

Why is He called righteous, in His judgment of His rebellious people? Isn’t it terrible to send people to hell? Ah, but they send themselves there, for they have been warned by the prophets He has sent again and again, and they have scoffed at His warnings. It was their choice to disobey, and now they will pay the price. He is true, both to His promises, and to His warnings.

The pride of His rebellious people — the land — will be turned over to lambs who will graze among the ruins. And strangers will come upon the ruins, and eat in the ruins of the homes of the wealthy, those who were prideful, greedy and cruel to their brethren.

Verse 18 — 

Woe to those who drag iniquity (moral perversity) with the cords of falsehood, and sin (willful disobedience) as if with cart ropes. What a picture! So much moral perversity that it must be dragged along behind them with the cords of their lies to their God and their brethren! So much willful disobedience that it must be piled in a cart, and pulled by ropes over their shoulders! They create great burdens for themselves! 

What are you dragging? Do you lie to God? Do you still willfully disobey Him? Then you are familiar with the weight of your sin and moral perversity, just as I was, before I repented and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Oh, but then! My sin nature was crucified when I was filled, and the cords of sin and moral perversity were severed forever! What a weight was lifted! I was completely freed from slavery to sin, just as Jesus Christ promised (John 8:31-36). He will do the same for you, if you repent!

Verse 19 —

Woe to those who say, Let Him make speed, let Him hasten His work, that we may see it, and let the purpose of the Holy one of Israel draw near, and come to pass, that we may know it! 

His rebellious people say to their God, “Bring it on! Show us what You are going to do! Hurry up and do it! We are not afraid of You!” 

Verse 20 —

Many of His people, then and now, call evil good and good evil. Woe to them! Many substitute darkness for light, and light for darkness, exchange sweet for bitter, and bitter for sweet. 

They bless sin, and curse those who call them to repent. If there is light (revelation), they reject it and put spiritual darkness in its place. They reject the sweetness of God’s Word, which is like honey from the comb (Psalm 19:10), preferring the bitterness of their rebellion. 

John Oswalt says of those who mock God’s ways, “In order to justify their own behavior, they must (claim) that their evil is good, that their darkness is light, and that their bitterness is sweet.” 

Verse 21 — 

Even today, many of His people are wise in their own eyes, and clever in their own sight! Woe to them! They use man’s wisdom to justify their sin. They trust man’s wisdom in order to make their ministries prosper. They think they know better than God. 

I am not against education. But many believers and leaders of today’s church exalt those who have doctorates, whose heads full of knowledge but whose hearts devoid of God. Oswalt confirms that many who teach in seminaries do not even believe in God and Christ, beloved! 

Verse 22-23 —

Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, then and now! They are not heroes or valiant men of the LORD. They are not ones who defend His holy name. They are defenders of their right to drink and participate in perverse sex. 

Woe to those who judge God’s sinning people as “not guilty,” because they receive payment for dismissing the sin. Woe to those who rob  those who are in the right, who are righteous before God!

Verses 24-25 —

Therefore, because His people rebel against Him, the LORD’s anger burns against them. So, just as a tongue of fire consumes stubble, and dry grass collapses into the flame, so the root of His rebellious people will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust. They will be consumed, they will collapse, they will rot, they will blow away as if they were dust. 

Why? He repeats the details of their rebellion. They have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. I wish I could say that today, God’s people no longer reject His law and despise His Word. 

I wish I could say that today, believers are holy as He is holy. But they reject and despise Him and His Word, just as in the day of Isaiah! They say to those who speak the truth, “Those words are harsh. Those words are painful for us to hear. Those words make us feel bad about ourselves! God is love, just love, that’s all He is! So you are not speaking for Him, and we will not listen to your words!”

So Isaiah sees what the LORD will do to His people then, just as I see what He will do to His people now, unless they repent! His anger burns against His rebellious people. 

His hand is stretched out (He strikes them down), to execute judgment upon them. Isaiah uses this phrase 16 times over 66 chapters. He strikes them down! And when He strikes them down, the mountains quake and the torn corpses of His rebellious people lie in the middle of streets and are swept away like refuse (filth). 

But because of all they have done, His anger is not yet spent. His hand is still stretched out, to further judge His wayward people!

Verse 26 —

Isaiah receives a terrifying vision of how the LORD will further judge His people. He will lift up a standard (a banner, a sign inviting invasion) to the distant nation (Babylon) and whistle for it from the ends of the earth!

And behold, it will come with speed, swiftly! Who is in charge? The LORD, even when He calls enemies to discipline His people! And Babylon will hurry, speedily! The LORD’s judgments are swift!

Verse 27 —

The LORD describes the invading army. No one in it will be weary or stumble. They will be surefooted and strong. None slumbers or sleeps. They are not lazy. Nor is the belt of the waist undone. They are in a constant state of readiness for battle! Nor is its sandal strap broken. They are perfectly equipped!

Verse 28 — 

The invading army, Babylon, is poised for battle! Their arrows are sharp. All its bows are bent, ready to send the arrows to their target. The hoofs of their horses are as hard as flint, fully protected against the hard ground. The wheels of their chariots are like a whirlwind, because they move so quickly!

Verse 29 —

The roaring of Babylon is like a lioness, like the roaring of young lions. Babylon is powerful, it makes a great noise, it is strong. It growls as it seizes its prey — God’s rebellious people! And it carries them off, with no one to deliver them from its jaws! The LORD has commanded this army to overrun His people, to destroy them if they resist, or to capture them and to carry them into exile.

Verse 30 —

Isaiah hears the growl of the armies of Babylon. It is like the roaring of the sea. And Isaiah sees the armies of Babylon coming into the land. 

The enemy’s armies are so vast that their feet, their horses, and their chariots create a cloud of dust that darkens the sky and hides the sun. And indeed, the LORD’s rebellious people will be distressed (sorrowful and anguished), at the sight of them!

Beloved, the LORD takes no pleasure in punishing His people — 

Ezekiel 33:11 “Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’”

He has commanded them to be holy as He is holy, good as He is good, righteous as He is righteous. But they have not paid attention to or considered His deeds and the works of His hands, on their behalf. 

They have rejected Him in favor of their own wisdom, and in favor of the gods of the lands that surround them. They call evil good and good evil. So, He disciplines and punishes them. If they go into exile, they will survive, He says through His prophet, Jeremiah 

Jeremiah 27:12  I spoke words like all these to Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, “Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him and his people, and live! 13 “Why will you die, you and your people, by the sword, famine and pestilence, as the LORD has spoken to that nation (people) which will not serve the king of Babylon?”

But again, many will rebel, and will refuse to go into exile, and they will die. The LORD will not allow them to be victorious over King Nebuchadnezzar, the servant He has chosen to discipline and punish His wayward people (Jeremiah 25:9).

It is the same today, beloved. Even when the LORD brings punishment upon His people, even when He disciplines them, many resist and rebel. And they perish because they have rebelled against Him, though He warned them again and again.

If His hand is stretched out toward you, to discipline you, then allow Him to do His work in you. Repent and return to Him. He will surely restore you!

Lord Jesus, may those who believe in you hear and heed Your words, and repent. Amen.

JUDGING SIN

[SW378] 5/11/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“Judging Sin”

 Text: 1Corinthians 5, Matthew 18:15-17, etc.

Are Christians supposed to judge sin? If we are to judge sin, then what is the purpose of judging sin? Whom do we judge? Whom do we not judge? 

I will show you that believers must judge sinning believers in the church, and I will show you why. I will show you that we are not to judge sin in the world, and I will show you why.

I tell you the truth, Jesus Christ is angry that sin is celebrated and elevated among believers and by leaders in His church. Do you not know that when you condone sin, you yourself sin? It was the same in Corinth in the days of Paul. And through Paul, the Lord has much to say to you!

1 Corinthians 5

Verse 1 —

Paul is shocked! He is horrified! A report has come to him that there is immorality within the church at Corinth — a particular kind of immorality that even pagans do not practice! What is the sin? A brother in Christ has his father’s wife. He is living with her sexually, in an ongoing relationship. The sin is incest.
The Law of Moses is not negated by the New Testament. The Old Testament was the only book the early church used, because the New Testament had not been written yet! Paul used it to help converted pagans understand the character of God. 

The Word of God says the sin of incest exposes the woman’s nudity to her son, and also strips the honor of the father. The consequence for the sin of incest is death — 

Leviticus 20:11 “If there is a man who lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered  (denuded disgracefully) his father’s nakedness (nudity); both of them shall surely be put to death, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”

Today, the consequence of death remains for those who sin, because in the day of judgment, they will be found guilty of the sin they have chosen to commit. By their own choice, therefore, they will sentence themselves to hell.

Incest is so abhorrent and repulsive that even the pagans forbid it. Even in their earthly wisdom, they would say that such a thing is abhorrent and an insult to the father of this young man. Yet the church at Corinth celebrates the relationship!

Verse 2 —

The believers at Corinth have become prideful about this young man’s incest. They have given their seal of approval to it. How? They have not rebuked him, nor have they warned him to stop, nor have they removed him from the congregation. Paul rebukes them, saying the young man should have been removed from the congregation at Corinth, but he has not been removed.  

Why would you remove a sinner from a congregation? The rest will see his continued presence among them as acceptance of whatever sin is being committed, as if the Lord is not going to punish any of them for sinning. Therefore, everyone will take sin lightly. 

I continually see the effect of not removing sinning believers from those in the pews and in the pulpits of churches in the U.S., and around the world. Sin has become rampant and even blatant, done openly and unashamedly, among believers! 

The church, who should be Jesus Christ’s spotless, blameless bride (Ephesians 5:27, Revelation 19:7, 21:2 & 9), considers and teaches that nearly everything God says is sin (1Corinthians 6:9-10) is no longer sin. Many believers consider the church’s acceptance of sin to be an excuse for they themselves to sin. 

But sin leads to death (Romans 6:23), whether or not you count yourself as a Christian, as this young man did. Look at the Holy Spirit’s judgment against Ananias and Sapphira’s greed that led them to lie to the church leaders — the Holy Spirit struck both of them dead (see Acts 5:5, 10)! 

Look at Jesus Christ’s admonishment to five of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3! They were in danger of losing their salvation. Beloved, He admonishes those He loves!

Do you not know, beloved, that sin among believers — sin in God’s camp — causes the whole church to be spiritually defeated in every way by the enemy of their souls, Satan! The church has no spiritual backbone these days. She has not exposed, rebuked, and removed the sinners among her.Therefore, she is weak and powerless and entirely defeated. 

In Joshua 7, Achan willfully disobeyed the LORD’s direct command to take nothing from Jericho, whom Israel had soundly defeated. He secretly took and then hid treasures in his tent. But nothing is hidden from the eyes of the One with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13). Because of Achan’s sin, Israel was soundly defeated when they attacked Ai. Joshua did not know about Achan’s sin, and fell down before the LORD —

Joshua 7:10   So the LORD said to Joshua, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? 11 “Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. 

Notice that the Lord did not say, “Someone has sinned.” He said, “Israel has sinned.” If one sins, all are guilty! When the Lord showed Joshua that it was Achan who had sinned, and Achan confessed it, he was put to death. Then Israel battled Ai again, and soundly defeated them.

Sin leads to defeat, and ultimately, death! Why do believers take sin lightly today? They are taught to do so! Thus, they reveal that they have no discernment, and do not know Jesus Christ, for they do not know His voice, but run after the voices of strangers (see John 10:4-5, 27). 

I tell you the truth, every breath I take is a prayer for the church, for she has become a silly dove, who is without understanding and readily mates with the world system, just like Ephraim/northern Israel (see Hosea 7:11)!

Verses 3-5 —

Now, Paul issues his judgment on the silly doves at Corinth! He, on his part, has judged sin in the church. He is not in Corinth, but he is with them in the Holy Spirit; that is, by the Spirit, He is able to judge them and has already judged the sinning believer who has committed incest, as if he were present with them. 

Paul says, in the name of our Lord Jesus (theirs and Paul’s), when the church at Corinth is assembled, Paul will be with them by the Holy Spirit, and with the power of our Lord Jesus, Paul commands them to deliver the sinning believer to Satan for the destruction of his sinful nature! What? Send him away, and do it in front of the whole church? Jesus says likewise, and so does Paul, to Timothy —

Matthew 18:17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

1Timothy 5:20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.

Why bring the sinning believer before the whole church and then send him away? So that Satan can sift the man like wheat — shaking and tossing him. 

It was the same with Jesus when Peter boasted that he would never leave Jesus —

Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted (when you repent for your sin of pride), strengthen thy brethren.” (KJV)

When the man repents (see 2Corinthians 2:6-8) and then asks the Lord to fill him with the Holy Spirit, his sin nature — which is at the root of his lust for his father’s wife — will be crucified (Galatians 5:24). Then, his spirit will be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (the day of judgment). 

Why do we judge sin among believers? The primary purpose of publicly exposing, rebuking, and putting out a sinning believer is his or her salvation!

Verse 6 —

Paul exhorts the believers at Corinth that their pride is not morally good. It gives Jesus Christ a black eye every time a believer sins. Scoffers will scoff, saying, “See? They are no different from us! Christianity is a big joke!”

Do you not know that a little leaven (yeast) leavens the whole lump of dough? In the same way, a little sin spreads through the whole church! How?

If one person’s sin is not rebuked, Satan will run riot with the rest of the sinning believers whose sin nature is still alive and well. Well, say the rest of the sinning believers, you did not rebuke his sin, so how can you rebuke ours? Hmmm, says the pastor. I suppose you are right. So I will not rebuke your sin or anyone else’s sin. 

What? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin continue to live in it (see Romans 6:2)? Put out the sinning believer who has shown by his actions that he has not died to sin — his sin nature and its lusts and desires are alive and well!

Verse 7 —

Because of the perverseness of human nature, and the great desire of sinning believers to have their sin blessed and not cursed, Paul clearly speaks, as Christ’s representative, “Clean out the old leaven so you may be a new lump, just as you are (to be ) unleavened.” 

Paul commands the believers at Corinth to get rid of the leaven (a type of sin) — the sinning believer who has his father’s wife. 

Beloved, do you not know that there should be no sin in you? Christ died on a cross not only for your past sins to be forgiven and not only to reconcile you to God, but to rise on the third day and ascend and pour out His Holy Spirit so your sin nature (the leaven you were born with as a child of Adam) is crucified! Then the leaven in you will never rise again!

Verse 8 —

It always bothers me when translators add “let us” to passages, as if it is a suggestion. Paul issues commands here. Therefore, Paul says, celebrate the Passover, and not the sin of this believer. 

Death has passed over us, if we believe into Jesus and remain in Him! O believers in the church at Corinth, O believers in the church of today, why sin against yourself by not rebuking the sinning believer? Do you not know that you put yourself back under a death sentence?

Paul commands the believers at Corinth to celebrate not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness — which this man had against his father — but with the unleavened (sin-free) bread of sincerity (purity of heart) and truth. I tell you the truth, you will not be able to do that until your sin nature has been dealt a death blow! 

I exhort you to ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), and then wait for His promise (Acts 4:1-5)! He will purify your heart, and you will know it when He has done it!

Verses 9-11 —

Paul writes to the believers at Corinth, exhorting them not to associate (mix with, gather with) with immoral people. But he did not mean the (sexually) immoral people of the world — or with the covetous, or swindlers, or idolaters. 

If the believers at Corinth was ordered not to associate with unbelieving sinners, then they would have to go out of the world. But we are commanded by Jesus Christ to go out into the world and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must be among them, but not sin with them. 

Spirit-filled believers are not part of the world, but are in it, says Jesus Christ, when He speaks of what it will be like for His followers after their own personal Pentecost —

John 17:14 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

If we are to associate with the sinning world, in order to spread the gospel, then who should we not associate with? Paul commands the believers at Corinth not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous (sexually promiscuous), or an idolater (worship of self), or a reviler (abuser), or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one! They are false brethren! 

But look! We have them in our pulpits! They are members of our church boards! They are in our pews!

Verses 12-13 —

For what have I to do, asks Paul, with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? That is a rhetorical question. Of course you do, Paul is saying! 

Why not judge those who are outside the church? God will judge them. They are already under His wrath, just as John the Baptist testifies —

John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

But in the church, Paul has already said, sinning believers must be judged! Remove the wicked man from your midst! Do not mix with him, do not gather with him, do not even eat with him!  If you do, you incur God’s judgment upon yourself, for to praise rather than rebuke sinning believers is to help them on the way to hell. You give them and yourself a death sentence, beloved!

Knowing that believers are to judge sinning believers, how should it be done? Jesus issues commands to the church regarding sin in the church —

Matthew 18:15   “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.” 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile (unbeliever, heathen) and a tax collector.”

Let him be to you as an unbeliever, just as I noted earlier in this message, from Matthew 18:17!

May the whole apostate church repent for doing what is culturally acceptable rather than what is right before God! By deciding in their own minds that it is not loving to rebuke sin, the sinning believer does not repent and will not be saved on the day of judgment. 

Do you not understand that the church thus helps sinning believers onto the broad path that leads to hell (see Matthew 7:13), and thus sins? Do you not understand that, because the church does not rebuke and judge sin among her members, she is wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, and does not know it? Jesus Christ rebukes the church at Laodicea —

Revelation 3:17 “Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich . . . 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”

Make it so, Lord Jesus, I pray. May every member of Your church repent and ask to be refined and purified in Your fire, by asking Your Father in heaven to fill them with Your Holy Spirit! Surely, You will answer by baptizing them with the Holy Spirit and fire! Amen!

ISAIAH SESSION 6 — POISONOUS BERRIES

Text: Isaiah 5:1-12

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

In the days of Isaiah, God’s people are headed for disaster —  exile (separation from His presence), and even death and condemnation. Oh, but if they will repent as I did, the Lord and I will rejoice and sing (Zephaniah 3:17)!

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. He gives Isaiah visions, and words with which to paint a picture of what the Lord has shown him.

And He sends me to the church today, though I am only a pastor and teacher. But by His grace, I am what I am. As I read Isaiah, I see what the Lord showed him, as if the Lord was showing it to me. If I were going to give this a title, I would call it, “Poisonous Berries.”

Verse 1 —

The LORD is Isaiah’s well-beloved, and the well-beloved of all who are entirely His. Many would think that calling Him your Beloved is an irreverent way to speak of the LORD, but that is precisely what He wants to do in the hearts of every believer, just as Jesus Christ prayed to His Father —

John 17:25   “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

God Within you, His love within you! He wants all of you, He wants your whole heart to be devoted to Him and for you to love Him with His divine love which He will pour out into your heart by the Holy Spirit whom He gives to whoever asks (see Romans 5:5)! I cannot help but speak of this great work that the Lord will do in the hearts of all who seek Him!

What does Isaiah do for his LORD? He sings a song to Him, one given to Him concerning the LORD’s vineyard. 

Isaiah’s beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill — prime farmland. The vineyard is God’s people (Isaiah 5:7), then and now — those who have believed into Jesus Christ. He also still calls His people, the Jews, to receive their Messiah, who is Jesus.

Verse 2 — 

The LORD tilled the fertile soil on the hill where He planted His vineyard. He removed the stones, and planted it with a grapevine, so it would produce a bright red grape, the most desirable and prized grape. He made sure that there was nothing to impede its growth and production.

He built a tower in the middle of it, where a watchman was posted. He hewed out a winepress in it. He provided everything needed for a productive vineyard.

Then, He expected His vineyard to produce good grapes, bright red grapes, because He is good and He took perfect care of His vineyard. But it produced only worthless ones — literally, poisonous berries. 

Verses 3-4 —

The LORD speaks. And now, My people, judge between Me and My vineyard. What more could I have done for My vineyard?

He is good, and did only good to and for His vineyard. He provided all that it needed in order for it to produce grapes. 

Why, then, did it not produce what it should have produced? It was not His fault that the grapevine He carefully planted bore poisonous berries. But the fault lies with His people, who rebelled, and rebel today, against Him. Do you understand that when you sin, you are rebelling against the LORD? And your sin makes you produce fruit that is contrary to Him, even fruit that is poisonous!

Rebellion always leads to ruin. I know it firsthand, from my own rebellion and my own ruin. But He gave me a song of restoration, when I repented. Then He and I sang this song —

Isaiah 27:2  In that day, “A vineyard of wine, sing of it! 3 “I, the LORD, am its keeper; I water it every moment. So that no one will damage it, I guard it night and day. 4 I have no wrath. Should someone give Me briars and thorns in battle, then I would step on them, I would burn them completely. 5 Or let him rely on My protection, let him make peace with Me, let him make peace with Me. 6 In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, and they will fill the whole world with fruit.”

Indeed, it is a beautiful song! Now I rely on His protection. My heart is no longer divided, but wholly His! He forgave me, reconciled me to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ, and then filled me with His Holy Spirit so I love Him with His love! I took root and sprouted so I now bear the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Glory to God for what He has done!

Verse 5 —

But His people did not turn back to Him, though He sent prophets to warn them, again and again. Jeremiah says 

Jeremiah 25:3 “From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, these twenty-three years the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. 4 “And the LORD has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear . . .

And the LORD Himself says —

Jeremiah 26:4-5 “And you (Jeremiah) will say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD, “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, 5 to listen to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you again and again, but you have not listened;“to listen to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you again and again, but you have not listened; 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh, and this city I will make a curse to all the nations of the earth.”’”

Jeremiah 29:19 because they have not listened to My words,’ declares the LORD, ‘which I sent to them again and again by My servants the prophets; but you did not listen,’ declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 32:33 “They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them, teaching again and again, they would not listen and receive instruction.”

Jeremiah 35:14  . . . “I have spoken to you again and again; yet you have not listened to Me. 15 “Also I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them again and again, saying: ‘Turn now every man from his evil way and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to worship them. Then you will dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers; but you have not inclined your ear or listened to Me.”

Jeremiah 44:4 “Yet I sent you all My servants the prophets, again and again, saying, “Oh, do not do this abominable thing which I hate.”

Why did they rebel? As it is today, many false shepherds ruin His vineyard. They trample down His field. They make it a desolate wilderness (Jeremiah 12:10). 

His people preferred (and prefer today) the soft words of false teachers and prophets rather than the hard truth that the LORD’s teachers and prophets spoke to them then, and speak to them now. It is truth that brings restoration, if they heed it and repent.

Because of their rebellion, He tells them what He is going to do to His vineyard. He will destroy it. He will remove its hedge and it will be consumed (eaten up by Babylon’s invading army). 

He will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground — trampled by the feet of the vast armies of Babylon! Are you trampled ground, as I was when I was dead in my sins and extremely disabled by progressive multiple sclerosis (MS)?

The good news for me then, and for you now, is that His purpose in discipline and punishment is always that His people would turn back to Him. 

Verse 6 —

The LORD continues His description of the desolation His people will face, because of their disobedience. His beautiful vineyard, which produced for Him only poisonous berries, will be laid waste by Him. He will no longer care for it, no longer prune it, no longer hoe it so weeds do not choke it. And the fertile ground will become parched, for He will charge (command) the clouds not to rain on it. 

Verse 7 —

Why will He destroy what He so carefully planted? Because of their rebellion!

The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His delightful plant. They are the vine He planted, expecting bright red grapes.

But His delightful plant bore the poisonous berries of bloodshed (oppression, and even the sacrifice of their children in fires to false gods). He looked for justice (for proper, godly judgments by His people), but found only bloodshed. They chose false gods instead of Him!

And His delightful plant bore a cry of distress (a shriek)! He looked for righteousness, for His people to be as He is, to be right as He is right. But instead, He heard the shrieks of children as they were burned to false gods, and the shrieks of slaves who were beaten by their wicked masters, and the shrieks of those who were robbed of their land by their greedy brethren. 

Verses 8-9 —

Woe to those, the LORD says, who add house to house and join field to field until there is no more room, so that they have to live alone in the midst of the land! It is a picture of those who are greedy, who want to hoard great tracts of land, and who are never satisfied with what the LORD has provided for them. They buy so much land that there is none left on which others can live. 

To Isaiah’s ears, the LORD has sworn, “Surely!” Without a doubt! My people, you were greedy for land and houses, so others were left desolate, with no place to live. So, your many houses will be made desolate — even great and fine ones — without occupants. He will remove His people from the land that they hoard, and the houses they treasure.

Verse 10 —

The LORD will also make the land unfruitful. Ten acres of vineyard will yield only one bath (7.5 gallons) of wine, rather than the expected 500 gallons. A homer (2.5 pounds) of seed will yield but an ephah (1/10 of a homer) of grain, about one day’s gleaning. The yield of the land will be virtually nothing. 

Verse 11 —

The LORD sees all that His people are doing. They rise early in the morning so they can begin to drink. They stay up late in the evening so wine may inflame them (perverse sexual passion in view here)! 

Paul warns the believers in Corinth that no drunkard or any other sinner will inherit the kingdom of God —

1Corinthians 6:9   Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 

But the good news comes in the next verse —

1Corinthians 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Have you been washed? Have you been inwardly cleansed of sin? Or do you rise early to drink in what the world drinks in, and stay up late, passionate for what the world is passionate for? 

Then repent! Turn back to Him, and cry out to be filled with His Holy Spirit. You will no longer crave what the world craves, but will greatly desire continual fellowship with your Maker!

Verse 12 —

The LORD’s people were partying with the world, actively rebelling against the LORD, doing what the nations around them did. They held great banquets, accompanied by lyre and harp, flute and tambourine, and wine! 

But they did not pay attention to the deeds of the LORD, nor did they consider the work of His hands. 

What were His deeds? He took perfect care of them, so they would produce bright red grapes, but they produced only poisonous berries. 

So they would see His deeds of discipline and punishment, for He would send them into exile after they had been overrun by Babylon’s armies. Remember, He does it so He may restore those who repent!

They were His work, but they produced poisonous berries instead of bright red grapes. And so they will experience the work of His hands when He removes His protection and Babylon invades Judah and even Jerusalem, and carries them into exile!

They did not consider, they did not pay attention. They had no respect for His deeds on their behalf, and the work of His hands on their behalf. 

Instead, they feasted with the world, with idolaters, with false prophets and teachers! It is the same today, among God’s people, and it was the same for me, before I repented and He changed my heart.  

Beloved, He has provided for you in every way. What fruit do you bear, for Him? He has tended you, to make you prosperous and so that you produce His glorious fruit —

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (faith), 23 gentleness (humility), self-control (Spirit-control) . . .

Or have you produced the poisonous fruit of the flesh (the sin nature)? Paul describes that fruit to the believers in Galatia —

Galatians 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But those who belong to Christ Jesus are commanded to crucify their sin nature, after they have come to faith, by asking Him to purify them by filling them with His Holy Spirit, thus making them partakers of His nature 

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

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

Judah’s passions and desires are on full display in this passage. It is the same today, among God’s people. And so, like Isaiah, I speak boldly and bluntly to you, and warn you to turn back to the Lord. 

Turn back now! Ask the Lord to fill you with the Holy Sprit! He will cleanse you inwardly, and crucify the sin nature in you, which you inherited from your father, Adam. Do it today, for a day of judgment is coming!

Lord, may Your people hear and heed, may they see the promises that repentance brings. Amen.

SEPARATED AND SET APART

[SW377] 5/4/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“Separated and Set Apart”

Text: 2Chronicles 5:11-14, Hebrews 10:1, 19-22, etc.

The Lord has asked me to show you the “then” and “now” of being separated from sin and set apart to God — called sanctification. The first is a shadow of the second. 

Why should you care? If you understand the price Jesus Christ paid for your salvation — His blood — and that He commands you to be sanctified (Acts 1:4-5, Luke 24:49), you will pay close attention.

The “Then” of the Old Testament

The “then” required outward sanctification of the priests who ministered to the Lord. Because they were outwardly separated from their sin and set apart to the Lord, they were able to come near and minister to the Lord. 

Sin separates you from God (Isaiah 59:2). God and sin cannot dwell together. So, outward sanctification in the Old Testament was a matter of life and death! If a priest was not properly sanctified outwardly, and yet entered the Holy of Holies to minister to the Lord, he died in the Lord’s presence.

Per Leviticus 8, the outward sanctification process was as follows 

— they were outwardly washed with water (Leviticus 8:6), 

— they were clothed with special linen garments (Leviticus 8:7), 

— they were given a golden crown upon which was written, “Holy to the LORD” (Exodus 28:36, Leviticus 8:9),

— they were anointed with special oil (Leviticus 8:12),

— blood from a slaughtered animal was placed on the lobe of their right ear, the thumb of their right hand, and on the big toe of their right foot, thereby covering them from head to toe (Leviticus 8:23-24), and

— they were sprinkled with blood, all over (Leviticus 8:30).

This was the “then” — an outward sanctification, according to the Law of Moses in the old covenant. By this means, they were made outwardly separated from sin and set apart to God. With that background, I will go on to the texts for today’s message.

2Chronicles 5:11-14

Verse 11 —

Solomon’s temple was finished, and the priests brought the ark of the covenant into the holy of holies (see Verses 1 and 7). All the priests had outwardly sanctified themselves, because all of them were to minister during the dedication of the temple.  

NOTE: Normally, there was a rotation of priests from the 24 divisions (see 1Chronicles 24:7-8), but this was a profoundly important occasion.

Verses 12-13a — 

The Levitical singers sang and played their instruments — with one voice — standing east of the altar outside the temple. And with them were 120 Levitical priests, each with a trumpet which they blew in unison. They made themselves heard, with one voice, in order to praise the Lord. They sang, “He indeed is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 

Verses 13b-14 —

As they praised the Lord in unity, then the house of the LORD was filled with smoke, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple! His kabod, His weighty, powerful presence, prevented them from ministering.

The “Now” of the New Testament

Jesus Christ has made a new and living way  — inward sanctification of those who obey His command to be filled with His Holy Spirit. When you obey His command to be filled, you are forever separated from the sin nature you were born with, and set apart for the Lord in a moment of time! 

And when you obey His command, you are enabled to stand and minister continually, rather than being unable to minister because of His weighty presence.  Why are you able to stand and minister? His kabod, His weighty presence, splendor and glory, permanently indwells you. As Paul wrote, you become a temple for the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 6:19)!

Hebrews 10:1, 19-22

Verse 1 —

For the Law was only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things. It can never make perfect those who draw near, including the priests.  Outward sanctification cannot cleanse us inwardly. 

The sacrificial system was symbolic, a shadow of Jesus Christ, who sanctifies believers inwardly when they ask to be filled with His Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ says that only then can we be His witnesses here (Acts 1:8), so that we not only walk as He walked but also are as He is in this world (1John 2:6, 4:17). And only then can He minister through us! As He says, apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5), but with Him in us, He will minister through us!

Verses 19-20 —

When Jesus Christ fills you with His Holy Spirit, you have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus Christ. You enter by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through His body, sacrificed for our sin on the cross. 

When He fills you, He inwardly sanctifies you. He makes you holy on the inside, so you are always able to stand before Him and minister to Him, for His kabod has filled you!

And when He inwardly sanctifies you, He fills you to overflowing with His perfect love, by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Therefore, you have no fear of punishment (1John 4:18). He has crucified the sin nature in you (Galatians 5:24), and you become a partaker of His divine nature (2Peter 1:4). 

Verses 21-22 —

Our Great Priest, Jesus Christ, who is over the whole house of God the Father, has made a new covenant, a new and living way to be inwardly sanctified, separated us from the sin nature you are born with, and set us apart to Him. 

When you are filled with His Spirit, you are able to draw near with a sincere heart (literally, a heart completely true). There is no more falseness in your heart, because Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), permanently and fully indwells you. 

Therefore, you draw near in faith, fully assured that He has inwardly cleansed you and you will not die as you stand before Him and minister to Him. He is in you, and you minister to Him continually!

Remember the outward sanctification process of “then”? This is the inward sanctification process of “now” —

The Washing — When you first believed, you were outwardly cleansed when you were baptized with water as a symbol of your repentance and faith in Christ. You became a child of God (John 1:12). But when you are filled with His Spirit, He sanctifies you through and through (1Thessalonians 5:23). Your heart is cleansed (purified), per Peter’s testimony in Acts 15:9! It is then that you are separated from your sin nature and set apart to God!

The Clothing — When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you are inwardly clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49), and inwardly clothed with His holiness, rather than outwardly clothed with special outward garments (Leviticus 8:7). 

The Crown — Because your sanctification is inward, you have a spiritual golden crown that is engraved with the words, “Holy to the Lord.” He has made you holy on the inside, by filling you with His Holy Spirit.

The Anointing Oil — You have been inwardly anointed with the oil of His Holy Spirit. You no longer need to be outwardly covered with anointing oil. You are permanently filled with His anointing, His Holy Spirit!

The Blood — You are sprinkled inwardly with the blood of Jesus Christ. He took the punishment for  your past sins on the cross, in order to remove you from being under God’s wrath and to reconcile you to God. And it is by His sacrifice on the cross that a new and living way was opened for you to be inwardly sanctified!

One voice — The unity is not an outward unity of voices praising the Lord, but inward unity of nature with God the Father and God the Son (again, 2Peter 1:4). It is the Father’s “Yes” to Jesus Christ’s prophetic petition, when He spoke of what would come to pass at Pentecost —

John 17:22 “The glory (the Holy Spirit in view) which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one . . .  26  and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Not all Christians Are Inwardly Sanctified

There are many examples in the Old Testament of those who were outwardly sanctified but forsook the Lord. Even many of the Levitical priests yielded to the desires of the people and their desire to worship false gods, whose root is the god of self. 

The Lord said through Ezekiel —

Ezekiel 44:10 “But the Levites who went far from Me when Israel went astray, who went astray from Me after their idols, shall bear the punishment for their iniquity.” 13 And they shall not come near to Me to serve as a priest to Me, nor come near to any of My holy things, to the things that are most holy; but they will bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed.”

It is the same today. Many who are in pulpits have been outwardly sanctified, but they have forsaken the Lord in order to please the people in their pews. They teach a gospel adapted to the culture of the day and the false gods their outwardly sanctified people love to worship — even the god of self, which craves outward blessings — success, money, power. 

They teach that it is impossible to be inwardly sanctified until just before your body dies. But that is not what the Bible says!

Beloved, as long as you are sanctified outwardly instead of inwardly,  your sin nature is still alive and well, and you will continue to willfully disobey the Lord in many ways, and you will be judged by Him at the end of things (Matthew 25:24-30).  By refusing His command to be filled with the Holy Spirit and inwardly sanctified, you disobey Him. If you disobey Him, you do not love Him (John 14:24).

You cannot retain your sin nature and at the same time be set apart from sin. You cannot retain your sin nature and be set apart to Him, for your sin separates you from Him!

Therefore, beloved, I pray without ceasing and warn church leaders and believers to obey Christ’s command to you. When you obey Him, He will separate you from your sin nature and set you apart for His Father and Him. He will gladly sanctify you, if you ask your Father in heaven (Luke 11:13)!

Lord, may believers hear and heed the words You have given me to speak. Amen.

ISAIAH SESSION 5 — RESTORATION OF THOSE WHO REPENT

Text: Isaiah 4:1-6

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

In the days of Isaiah, God’s people are headed for disaster —  exile (separation from His presence), and even death and condemnation. Oh, but if they will repent as I did, the Lord and I will rejoice and sing (Zephaniah 3:17)!

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. He gives Isaiah visions, and words with which to paint a picture of what the Lord has shown him.

And He sends me to the church today, though I am only a pastor and teacher. But by His grace, I am what I am. As I read Isaiah, I see what the Lord showed him, as if the Lord was showing it to me. If I were going to give this a title, I would call it, “Restoration of Those Who Repent.”

Verse 1 —

In that day, “seven women will take hold of one man.” Seven is a number used to indicate completion, for God created the world in seven days, resting from His work of creation on the seventh day, because it was complete. 

“In that day” is used by Isaiah forty times over the 66 chapters of his prophecies. In the context of this verse, it is the day when God’s people are restored to Him, when they have turned back to Him. 

But more specifically, this phrase indicates the end time, at which time Israel’s blinders will be removed and they will be restored to the Lord and saved —

Romans 11:25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery (now revealed) — so that you will not be wise in your own estimation — that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 

Romans 11:26-27  and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,“THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” 27 “THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”

Again, John Oswalt (commentator for the New International Commentary on the Old Testament) and I do not believe that the word, “women,” needs to be taken literally here. The LORD is saying that all who have become weak (have become “women”) because they rebelled against Him will finally seize and fasten upon Him, to be saved by Him. 

In a literal sense, the seven women are widows, for wars make widows. So men are scarce. But I think that literal interpretation misses the Lord’s point here, regarding Israel’s self-imposed weakness.

His people will be willing to provide for themselves, if only they are allowed to take hold of this man who will receive them back so they may be called by this man’s name. Who is this man? 

I see Christ here, for it is through Him that God’s people are restored from their sin, if they will return to Him. Will they see their need, when all that they have depended upon has been ruined? This passage answers with a resounding, “Yes!” 

They will promise to provide their own food and clothing. They will plead for only one thing — to be called by the name of the One through whom they seek deliverance, that He may take away their reproach (shame). 

So, these “women” are those in Israel who have been defiant by not accepting Jesus Christ as their Messiah, and sinning in other ways. I also see all believers who have refused to submit to His lordship, believing that they knew better than Him, and who sinned against Him in other ways. Now, they see their error and repent.

I believe a time will come when all Jews and defiant believers will seek to grab onto Him, pleading to be called by His name. And if they turn to Him before it is too late, He surely will take away their shame and restore them!

Oswalt comments, “Instead of the exaltation and building up which comes from glad submission to God, our drive to be self-sufficient brings only humiliation, despair, and bondage.” 

And I will add that it is hard to watch someone being broken by the Lord, but I find that those who have hard hearts require a thorough breaking before they repent. I say that from my own experience as one who rebelled against the Lord. When I rejected Him and became a drug addict from ages 17-20, it was not a pretty sight. 

When my first husband beat me and abandoned me, I sought to return to my parents, and they gladly brought me home. One night, I cried out to the Lord, and He instantly healed me of addiction. I was in my right mind again, and my personality returned!

But then I went back to my self-reliant ways. Twenty years later, I was stricken with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), at age 40. It was then that I finally turned back to Him, once and for all. Hallelujah!

Then He healed me of MS in September of 2001. Two months later, He filled me with His Holy Spirit, and I was clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49)! Now I am His servant forever! I testify that when the Lord heals, He is glad to heal in every way, beloved — inside and out! Praise His holy name!

Verse 2 —

So, in that day, when His people will turn back to Him, the Branch of the LORD will appear, and this Branch will be beautiful and glorious. Who or what is this Branch? He is spoken of several times in prophecy —

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

Jesus Christ is that Branch —

Isaiah 53:2  For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot and like a root out of parched ground . . . 

Jeremiah 23:5  “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.”

Jeremiah 33:15 ‘In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.”

But the LORD also refers to His people, including all believers, as His branch —

Isaiah 60:21 “Then all your people will be righteous; they will possess the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified.”

And in that day —the day the Branch appears, and the day when God’s people shine (Isaiah 60:1-3), the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel. It is a picture of prosperity.

But this goes beyond natural prosperity, for the fruit of the Spirit will be manifested through those who are filled with the Holy Spirit, as Jesus Christ commands (Galatians 5:22-23, Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5)! And Spirit-filled believers will work in the Lord’s harvest fields (Matthew 9:37-38), and many will believe into Him!

Even after many of God’s people rejected His Son, and even after the temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, the LORD once again restored His people to the land, in 1948. Beloved, the purpose of His discipline and punishment is always restoration!

But He intends to restore them spiritually, as I have noted —

Romans 11:26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”

And non-Jewish believers (Gentiles) will make them jealous, so the Jews desire Jesus —

Romans 11:11   I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles (non-Jews), to make them jealous.

Verse 3 —

It will come about, in that day, when Jesus Christ, the Branch, appears, that all of God’s people will be called holy — everyone who is recorded for life, in Jerusalem — that is, all who obey the Lord. There is hope for all who return to Him and repent and ask forgiveness for their sin, and then ask Him to make them holy by filling them with His Holy Spirit. Then and only then will they be called holy!

This portion of Isaiah’s vision is also an end-time prophecy. Why? The statement, “recorded for life,” indicates that the day of judgment will have come, for God’s people. Not all will be recorded for life, but those who obey Him will be in His book of life.

Jesus said to the seventy who returned rejoicing because even evil spirits were subject to them —

Luke 10:20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

Paul writes —

Philippians 4:3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Jesus says to the church at Sardis —

Revelation 3:5 “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” 

It is possible for your name to be erased, beloved. In the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Apostle John says —

Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. 

Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess (Philippians 2:10-11), even the knees and tongues of the disobedient. But the disobedient will receive the punishment they deserve for refusing the Lord.

Revelation 21:27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Verse 4 —

You ask why I say there is hope for all who return to Him and repent and ask forgiveness for their sin, and then ask Him to make them holy by filling them with His Holy Spirit. 

Beloved, that is when the Lord (note the lower case letters, which indicates that this “Lord” is Jesus Christ, per John 12:41) washes away the filth of His people and purges from Jerusalem her bloodshed (the blood of their children whom they offered in the fire to false gods). 

How will they be cleansed? By the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning!

Malachi prophesies it —

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

The Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out to the 120, is described by Luke —

Acts 2:3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.

Verse 5 —

Isaiah sees a vision of the new heavens and new earth, for “the LORD will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire at night; for over all the glory will be a canopy.”

Oswalt says, In this case, the cloud seems not to be merely a pillar over the temple, but a canopy which covers everything. The glory of God is the canopy of cloud  which now is spread far beyond the temple. 

It is the possession of, and internally covers, all who worship the LORD —

John 17:22, 24, 26 . . . The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 26  . . . and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Verse 6 —

Isaiah sees the canopy clearly, one which is a shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain. The Apostle John also saw it —

Revelation 21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 21:22   I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.

Do you see that this canopy is not natural, but spiritual?  It is the glory of the Lord that will be the canopy over everything!

No sun gods, storm gods or rain gods will be worshiped. Only the one true God will be worshiped, and everyone whose name is written in the Book of Life will be under His eternal, permanent protection — His canopy of glory! Hallelujah!

There will be no more principalities and powers to fight against (see Ephesians 6:12), no need for weapons of spiritual warfare (2Corinthians 10:4-5), but our Lord will reign (Ephesians 1:21)! 

In that day, our enemy, Satan, will be in the lake of fire, with all those who are disobedient —

Revelation 20:10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Revelation 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

There will be a day of judgment, but it is the heart and intent of the LORD that His people return to Him and be saved and made holy. Again, the purpose of His discipline and punishment is always restoration!

Grab hold of the LORD now, and be filled with His glory — His Spirit — so you bear His fruit and are equipped to work in His harvest!

Lord, may these words encourage Your people to grab hold of You, just as with the seven women in this scripture! Amen. So be it!

ANOTHER JESUS

[SW376] 4/27/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“Another Jesus”

Text: 2Corinthians 11:1-4, 19-20

I must introduce you to the real Jesus! Many in the church have never heard all of His words that I am about to teach you. They have heard His beautiful and powerful promises, but have purposely not been told of His requirement that they must obey His commands in order to receive His promises. 

Thus, they have been taught another Jesus. They do not believe in the real Jesus, for they do not know Him, but only know a Jesus fashioned by false teachers. 

The Rarely Heard Words of Jesus

Jesus speaks these words to believers and unbelievers, Jews and non-Jews. He spoke them to the crowds that followed Him, and to His disciples. He spoke them to everyone, and they apply to everyone.

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

To repent is to completely turn away from the sin you are doing. And you must turn from your sin, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.

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

Yes, perfect! When He fills you with His Holy Spirit and His perfect love, you will be perfect in the same way your heavenly Father is perfect. You will have His nature (2Peter 1:4), you will no longer willfully disobey Him (Romans 6:22), your heart will be purified completely (Acts 15:9) and filled with His perfect love (Romans 5:5), and the sin nature with which you wrestled will be crucified (Galatians 5:24). 

Matthew 16:24   Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny (Greek-to-English = disown/utterly reject) himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose (Greek-to-English = utterly destroy) it; but whoever loses (utterly destroys) his life for My sake will find it. 26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits (casts away) his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Utterly destroy? It is essential. You must utterly reject your self, your sin nature, and follow Jesus to your spiritual Calvary. Once there, He will crucify your sin nature. If you want to save your sin nature because you love your sin and the mere existence you currently experience, you will perish, even if you have gone to church for a lifetime. 

Would you rather have the world’s approval, and continue sinning? Then you will forfeit your soul. 

Matthew 5:20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

The Pharisees were outwardly righteous. But inwardly, their hearts were full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (impurity), per Jesus’ words in Matthew 23:27. Thereby, they were hypocrites. 

They dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” of the Law. They did good things. But they were not inwardly righteous. It is not until He makes you righteous on the inside that you will meet the standard He sets for entry into the kingdom of heaven.   

Then what happened when you were saved? You were saved from being under God’s wrath and you were reconciled to God. But Jesus commands you to go on to receive the cure for your wayward heart, for just like me, you will go on sinning after you are saved.

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him (the man sick for 38 years whom He healed at the pool at Bethesda) in the temple, and said to him, “Behold, you have become well (permanent tense); do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse (hell) may befall you.” 

If Jesus says it is possible to stop sinning, then it is possible to stop sinning. 

John 8:11 “Then neither do I condemn you (the adulterous woman),” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (NIV)

If Jesus says it is possible to leave your life of sin, then it is possible to leave your life of sin. 

Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” 

You are saved when you believe, but in order to remain in that state, you must endure to the end. What are you to endure? Hatred. Jesus says all who are part of the world system that defies Him will hate you because His name — His divine nature — is in you, and you speak His words that He gives you. 

If the world does not hate you, then you are still part of it, and not His —

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.”

John 14:24  “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

To disobey Him is to sin. Therefore, He warns —

Mark 9:43 “If your hand causes you to stumble (sin), cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, 44 [where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] 45 “If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, 46 [where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] 47 “If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, 48 where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.”

Sin leads to hell. And hell is “for real.” It is a place where you will surely go if you keep on sinning. It is a place where you will be continually punished and you will burn forever, unless you repent. That is true for disobedient believers, and for those who do not believe into Jesus.

What? God wouldn’t do that, would He? That would be mean! No, all who go to hell have chosen hell, by refusing Jesus Christ, or by being saved and yet continuing to willfully disobey the Lord. Their sin nature is alive and well, instead of crucified and dead.

Revelation 3:1  “To the angel (leader) of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead . . . 5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

The believers at Sardis were in danger of having their names erased from the book of life. Jesus will do it, if you do not repent of your sin, O believer.

Matthew 7:21  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE (do) LAWLESSNESS (sin).’”

If you are sinning against the Lord, it makes no difference what you do, even if you are using Jesus’ name when you do it. He never, ever knew you, if you continue to disobey Him after being saved, and He will tell you to depart from Him (to hell), when you stand before Him in the day of judgment.

Matthew 19:4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’  5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?” (NIV)

His references are from Genesis 1:27 and 5:2. Many claim Jesus does not speak of homosexuality, transgenderism and the rest. But Jesus Christ says God made you either male or female, and that a man leaves his family and marries a woman. 

Another Jesus

So, the church has created for herself another Jesus, one made in her own image, according to her own desires and lusts, and according to the culture of the day. It is a culture-driven gospel, not a truth-driven gospel. 

It was the same in Corinth, so Paul warned them —

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

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

To listen to another Jesus is to think you are wiser than God. To believe in another Jesus is to believe false teachers who think they are wiser than God. Paul says both of you are fools. 

Those who preach another Jesus keep you enslaved to your sin nature. They devour you like ravenous wolves. Paul gave this warning to the leaders of the church at Ephesus —

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

They take advantage of you, manipulating your sin nature with its greed and lusts. Thus, they strike you in the face. Yet you bear it beautifully, O church!

Paul described such wolves who had come in among the flock, and rose up from within the flock, at Corinth —

2Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

And Paul warned the believers at Corinth regarding many sins that were blessed and encouraged and exalted false teachers who had come among them and risen from among them — 

1Corinthians 6:9   Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 

But the good news, which few speak, is that if you turn completely away from these sins and ask the Lord to forgive you, then Jesus Christ will make you a “such were” —

1Corinthians 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

So it is possible to be delivered from all of the sins in 1Corinthians 6:9-10, and sanctified — made holy on the inside — when you are filled with His Spirit.

Why are these things not spoken by the foolish who are in the pulpits? For fear some may call their words hateful. 

But if I see a man or woman burning, and I put out the fire and wrap their wounds so they are healed, is that hateful? So, if I see someone headed for the place where the worm never dies and the fire never goes out, I will certainly seek to put out the fire by way of the gospel — the whole truth — of Jesus Christ! Otherwise, I help them on their way to hell, and that truly would be hateful!

And I will not stop at salvation, but will continue to tell them all the truth! I will proclaim God the Father and God the Son’s promise of entire sanctification — that is, to be filled with the Holy Spirit — for that is my calling as a pastor and teacher. 

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ . . .  (KJV)

Perfect! Full of Christ! That is Jesus Christ’s answer to the life of sin from which you have no power to break away! But if you love your life of sin, you will flock to foolish pulpits to hear foolish words. 

I had a vision a few weeks ago, when Jeff and I were praying together. There was a fool preaching foolish words from his pulpit, and all around him, dead bodies were stacked high. His words led his flock down the wide path that leads to hell —

Matthew 7:13   “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction (damnation), and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Repent and believe into the real Jesus! The Lord and I want you to be among the few who find the narrow way that leads to eternal life!

Lord Jesus, may believers hear the whole truth in Your words that You have given me to speak, and may they heed Your words. Amen.