COMMENTARY ON JOHN 1

NOTE: Please see John 3 notes for comments on 1:12-13. I missed saying anything about these verses in the commentary below.

The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!

Please bear with me while I get just a bit technical in parts of the first few verses of the Book of John. He wonderfully sets the foundation for faith in Jesus Christ, right from the start. Many have misinterpreted these verses over the centuries, so I asked the Lord to help me, by using some word definitions, put an end to all those misinterpretations.

Verse 1 — I could spend a week on this verse alone! In the beginning (literally, in beginning), before anything was created, was the Word.

The Word? What is that? You will see. This Word was literally geographically located with God somewhere. And this Word was God. This Word was divinity. This Word existed before anything was created.

How can this Word be located with God and be God? You will see.

Do you hear the echo from Genesis 1:1? In beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Verse 2 — He (literally, this one, the same one John has just described in Verse 1) was in beginning, before anything was created. This Word is a “He.”

Verse 3 — All things came into being (were created) through Him — through this Word. All things. Nothing was created until He created it. Nothing simply created itself. Nothing came into being and was created except through Him.

Verse 4 — In Him was life (zoe), defined as “life as God has it, eternal life.” And this zoe was the light of men. This life from this Word shone on men, like rays of light. It was luminous. It lit up this Word.

Verse 5 — This Word, this luminous, shining light, this one who had the life of God in Himself, shines — here and now —  in the darkness. Everything was in the past tense until this verse. His light shines here and now. But the darkness did not comprehend it. The darkness could not overcome it. The darkness could not seize it. The darkness could not perceive it. The darkness could not possess it.

Why? In the natural world,when you flip a switch in a dark room, the darkness goes away. It cannot remain in the presence of light. You will later see that darkness (a symbol or “type” for evil in the Book of John) flees when the light of this Word shines on it. It cannot remain in His presence.

Verses 6-8 — John the Baptist is introduced. He was sent from God. He was a prophet of God. His marching orders are in Isaiah 40.

John the Baptist came as a witness, as one who testifies. What was he going to testify about? This Light, this luminous one, this one who shined on people, this one that made darkness flee, this Word, this one who was both with God and at the same time was God, about Him. Why? So that through John the Baptist’s words, given to him by God, all might believe.

John the Baptist was not the Light, but John the Baptist came to testify about the Light. He came to say, “This is the Light!”

Verse 9 — There He was! The true Light, the Light who the Apostle John is writing about. This Light, this God, this one who was with God, CAME into the world. He entered the world, He appeared in the world. He was not from the world, or He would not have needed to enter it from somewhere else.

And this Light enlightens every man. He shines upon every man. This light is not in every human being, but it shines upon every human being. When it does, it brings light, and makes the human being able to see.

Verse 10 — He was in the world. He entered the world and was geographically located in it.

He made, He created the world. This one who entered the world was the Word, was God who created the world and was with God at the time it was created.

But the world (human beings in the world) did not know Him. They did not recognize the One who created the world. They saw Him standing before them, but they did not know Him or perceive Him as their Creator.

Verse 11 — He came into His own. Again, He came. He entered into and met up with His own. He met up with all He had created. He met up even with a particular people who were set apart from the rest of His creation. But they did not receive Him. They did not associate themselves with Him, they did not have any kind of relationship with Him. They did not take Him, they did not receive Him. The opposite of receive? Deny, renounce, turn away.

Why did He come? You will see.

Verses 12-13 — But whoever (as many as) received Him, associated themselves with Him and had a relationship with Him — they became children of God. Prior to receiving Him, they were not children of God. They became children of God when they received Him.

What exactly did they do to receive Him? They believed He was exactly Who He said He was. Who did He say He was? You will see. John says He was God, was with God before anything was created, and entered the world, and was the One who shone like a light in the darkness.

Verse 14 — Now I can answer who this Word is. He became flesh. He was not flesh to begin with, but became flesh. He took on a body —

Hebrews 10:5  Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,

“Sacrifice and offering You have not desired,

But a body You have prepared for Me;

Psalms 40:6    Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;

My ears You have opened;

Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.

7  Then I said, “Behold, I come;

In the scroll of the book it is written of me.

8  I delight to do Your will, O my God;

Your Law is within my heart.”

Not only did He take on a body, but He dwelt (abided, stayed for a while) with us. “Us” means the writer of this gospel. “Us” means human beings, also.

And we saw His glory — John and the rest who saw Him and with whom He stayed for a while — saw His glory, His dignity, we experienced His weighty presence and His majesty which was deserving of honor and praise.

It wasn’t just any glory. It was glory given Him by the Father. Who is the Father? This is the first mention of a Father. This One is the only begotten (monogenes, which means always existing). This One is the Son.

This One is God, the Word that was with God in the beginning, and God is the Father of this One. Now you know the answer to the first question: How can this Word be located with God and be God? It is because God was the always existing Father of this always existing Word who was God. So we have God the Father, and God the Son — they are both God. They are not separate Gods. They are one God.

Genesis 1:26   Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Let Us — We make. The Hebrew word for “make” has a “we” on the end of it, in my Hebrew-to-English Bible. “We” is more than one. Both are God. They speak the same things, they do the same things. They are Father and Son, in one.

This is hard to “reason out” with the natural mind with which you were born. It is hard to grasp. But they operate as one and are both God, so they are God. Just accept it for now. You will see.

And this Word, this One who came, this Light, this Son of the Father, became flesh. He was not flesh before, but He became it.

He dwelled among us. He came here. He came to us. He stayed, He abided, until all that He had to do was finished.

He was full of grace and truth. He was completely filled with it. He was covered with it.

This Word was full of grace. What is grace? I looked it up. Most say grace is “unmerited favor.” But the Strong’s Dictionary says it is the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life. He was God, and filled with God, and His heart was entirely God’s, and it was reflected in His life. And He had a divine influence upon the hearts of humans, and on their lives. I like that!

This Word, was full of truth. What is this truth He was completely filled with? He concealed nothing. He was truthful. He told the truth about God. He was filled with truth and was the Truth, the embodiment of all that is truly true, not just truths humans have discovered, not truths espoused by philosophers or psychologists, but the truth regarding God. No other truth can compared with His truth, because His truth inwardly changes hearts and lives. You will see it.

Verse 15 — John the Baptist testified about Him, about this Word, about this Son. What did John say? “He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.”

What does that mean? John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus’ ministry. But Jesus is greater than John the Baptist. Why? Jesus existed before John the Baptist.

But John the Baptist was conceived first. So John is not testifying of their natural age difference. He is saying this One existed before Him. Not “was created,” but “existed.” This One is the always existent Son of God.

Verses 16-17 — Of His fullness (a filled container in view) we all received (the disciples/apostles, including the writer of the Book of John). We were filled with Him, the Apostle John says. He filled us up with the same fullness He has. What was Jesus full of? You will see.

They also received grace upon grace (literally, grace for grace). The Apostles received this divine influence upon the heart, and it reflected in their lives. It was heaped up in them. Jesus gave it to them so they would give it to others. Jesus gave it to them so they would have an abundance of grace in their lives, and abundance of this divine influence upon the heart, reflected in their lives.

Why did they need this fullness? Because the Law was given through Moses. The necessary truth about God, the truth that there had to be a change of heart in humans was realized, came into being, and arose through Jesus Christ. He is the Giver, and we are the Receivers.

Verse 18 — No one has seen God at any time. No human has stood before God and then come to stand before men to say, “I went to God and saw Him.” When humans see God, they are judged, and those who are His remain with Him.

So how do we know what God is like? Through the only begotten, the Son of God, who is in the bosom of the Father since He died and rose and was glorified and sat down at the right hand of the Father. This Son of God shows the Father to us, has explained God, declared God, told about God, and reported to us who God is.

Verses 19-24 — Here’s how John the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus came about. The priests and Levites (sent by the Pharisees, per verse 24) asked him “Who are you?” Not the Christ (Daniel 9:25, Isaiah 53, etc.). Not Elijah  (1Kings 18). Not the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:18). Then who are you? John the Baptist quotes from his marching orders in Isaiah 40:3.

Verses 25-28 — So if you’re not the Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet, why are you baptizing, John the Baptist (in Bethany, by the Jordan, just a couple of miles outside Jerusalem)?

Let me tell you, he says. I’m baptizing in water, but One stands among you that you don’t know/recognize/acknowledge. He’s the One who comes after me. I’m not even worthy to untie the thong of His sandal. (He baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire, per Matthew 3:11.)

Verses 29-31 —-The next day, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to him. What did John say, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Why did He come? To take away the sin of the world. He was to be a sacrificial Lamb, killed to remove sin. Not just one or two sins. Not just in some people and not others. But sin, the whole principle of sin, the whole nature of sin that is in humans, the thing that requires the grace, the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.

This is the One who is greater than me, who existed before me, even though I was conceived before Him, here on earth.

John the Baptist did not recognize, did not fully understand and know that Jesus was the Son of God until it was time for Jesus to be recognized by John the Baptist and the world as the Son of God, the Lamb who came from God the Father.

And this Son of God, this Lamb who would be a sacrifice for the sin in all of us, is the reason John the Baptist came baptizing. He prepared the way in hearts, by speaking a message of repentance from sins. That is the first step, for all of us.

We do not come to Christ because He does good things. We come to Christ because we need the change of heart that only He can do.

Verses 32-34 — I am an eyewitness that the Holy Spirit descended and did not come and go as with Old Testament Prophets, but remained on this One. The Spirit descended from heaven like a dove. Heaven is up. That is where the Holy Spirit comes from. The Holy Spirit gracefully descends. And beginning with Jesus Christ,    the Holy Spirit does not come and go. He comes and stays. How does that happen?

By baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire. Baptism with water reflects that a person repents for his way of life and turns from it. Baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire is done by Jesus Christ, and it means the Holy Spirit comes and burns something up and fills you with the divine influence upon the heart, and it is reflected in your life. What does He burn up? The sin nature that the divine influence replaces.

John the Baptist says that God, who sent him to baptize with water per Isaiah 40, told John the sign he was to look for — the Holy Spirit descending and remaining. When John the Baptist saw it, that was His sign that Jesus was the One who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.

John concludes his testimony, for the time being. I am an eyewitness. I have seen the sign. I have testified about this One, that this One is the Son of God. He is divine, He is God the Son.

Verses 35-37 — John the Baptist stood with two disciples. Jesus walked by, and John exclaimed again, “Behold the Lamb of God!” That was so these two would follow Jesus.

Verse 38-42 — Jesus saw them following. “What do you seek?” He’ll ask you that, too, when you start to follow Him. They call Him Rabbi, a term of respect for a teacher, and say they want to know where He is staying. That means they want to be with Him. It was about 4 p.m., our time.

He says, “Come, and you will see.” Well, they would see where He was for that day, and later, they would see where He really stays. They would see that He came from God the Father.

One of the two was Andrew, Simon’s brother. First, he went to find Simon, and said, “We have found the Messiah (which translated means Christ).” They had heard the words of John the Baptist and followed this One that John identified as the Christ. Then Andrew brought Simon to Jesus.

Jesus had never met Simon, but He knew his name and his father’s name — Simon bar Jonah, Simon the son of John. That’s because He came from God the Father, and was God the Son, in a human body. He gave him a new name. He will give you a new name too. It was Cephas (Peter), which means “a stone”). He will make you a stone, too, a living stone (1Peter 2:5).

Verses 43-51  — Jesus went to Galilee, and found Philip. He said, “Follow Me,” and Philip did so. Philip lived in the same city as Andrew and Simon Peter.

Philip found Nathaniel and told him this is the One Moses wrote about. This is the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:18). This is Jesus of Nazareth. He is the son of Joseph. Philip didn’t know who He really was, yet.

Nazareth was on the northern edge of Judah. Many of its people were non-Jews (Gentiles), and were looked down upon by the Jews around Jerusalem. Galilee of the Gentiles was in the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, and to them came God the Son, and when He came, He made it glorious (Isaiah 9:1), filled with God’s weighty presence.

So that is why Nathaniel asked, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” And Nathaniel said, “Come and see!”

As Jesus saw Nathaniel coming, He told Nathaniel he was an Israelite among Israelites. There was no guile in him. Nathaniel was not a plotter and schemer, not a conniver. He was honest. Jesus saw his heart, though Nathaniel had not yet uttered a word. That’s true for you, too. Nathaniel had nothing to hide. And if you are like him, you will hear those words from Jesus.

The words of Jesus touched Nathaniel. “How do you know me so very well, Jesus?” And Jesus tells him that He saw him under the fig tree. Jesus did not give up His powers when He came from God the Father. He could see hearts, and see where people were sitting, before they ever actually stood before Him. That’s true for you, too.

Nathaniel’s response should be our response. You really are the Son of God. Jesus says, you haven’t seen anything yet! I’ll do much greater things than what I just did with you. Truly, truly — IMPORTANT! You will see the heavens opened (to you) and the angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man. What does that mean? Jacob’s ladder —

Genesis 28:12 He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

Jacob saw, in his vision, a representation of what God would do many years later. God would make heaven, where the angels reside, open to everyone who would believe that Jesus is the Way, the Ladder. He is the Way to God the Father. He is the means by which heaven is opened and the means by which we may ascend to heaven.

 

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WHAT GOD MAKES YOU

[SW182] 04/17/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“What God Makes You”

What does God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit make you when you are saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost? Oh, my! I’m about to tell you about it!

Text: Isaiah 61

NOTE: This text is a promise for Israel, God’s people, if they see their Messiah, Jesus Christ. But you have also been made one of God’s, even His adopted child, so these promises are for you, too!

When the Spirit of the Lord has filled you up, and Jesus Christ rules reigns in you (John 14:17), beloved, by way of His Holy Spirit —

61:1    He makes you anointed and appointed, consecrated and assigned! To do what?

— Use those beautiful feet (Isaiah 52:7) to bring good news of God’s great salvation to the afflicted, that is, the contrite and humble, those who know they need what God has (and we all need it), just like God did for you. Those are the ones who will gladly receive what you bring!

— Bind up (wrap firmly and heal) those whose hearts are shattered in pieces, just like God did for you!

— Proclaim liberty (freedom, rapid movement, and spontaneous outflow!) to the captives of sin, just like God did to you!

— Proclaim freedom to prisoners, but the literal is much more powerful! Complete opening to the bound ones, just like God did to you!

— Proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, a very long year that began about 2000 years ago and is still continuing, just like God did for you!

61:2     — Proclaim the day of vengeance of our God, when He will take revenge upon Satan and those who reject His Christ. Amen! We must speak of God’s judgment, for He sent His Son to keep us from it, if we will believe!

— Comfort those who mourn over the wickedness that is done in high places  in this world, just like He did you.

When the Spirit of the Lord has filled you up, and Jesus Christ rules reigns in you, beloved —

61:3    —Those who mourn over their spiritual condition will, like you, receive a change in character and condition!

— A garland (victorious crown) instead of ashes on their heads, just like He did you!

— The oil of gladness instead of mourning — oh, they will receive through you the glorious oil of the Holy Ghost, righteousness, peace and joy in Him (Romans 14:17), so they, too, can be anointed and appointed, consecrated and assigned, just as God made you!

— The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting, which means praise will be like a robe upon them, just like God put that mantle of praise on you!

And just like you, they will be called oaks, strong and long-lived, even oaks of righteousness, standing firm and right with God because God is in them to empower them to live holy lives! Why? So He is glorified! So people see Him in you, and say, “The Lord, He is God!” They see that, like you, these have been with Jesus!

It won’t be their work, but God’s. He’s the Planter, and when He looks over His great and vast plantations of oaks of righteousness, He is glad, indeed!

61:4 — Then they will join you in:

— Rebuilding the ancient ruins of the lives of those around them!

— Raising up those who have been devastated by Satan’s work in their hearts!

— Repairing that which seemed impossible to restore because it had been in ruins for so long!

61:5 — Strangers, those they and you do not now know, will supply your natural needs for food and drink, just as the widows did for Elijah and then Elisha.

— But why won’t they and you and they be tending to those things?

61:6 — Just as God has made you, they will be called priests of the Lord (1Peter 1:4-5), a royal priesthood! It’s a full-time job, so others will supply their natural needs for food and drink, in a similar way to the Levitical priesthood in the Old Testament. Oh, my!

— They, like you, will be ministers of our God (Ezekiel 44:15), those who directly minister to God, face-to-face, coming extremely near to Him to minister to Him, having holy intimacy with Him, pouring out of the love He poured into their hearts to overflowing, just as He poured it into yours (Romans 5:5)!

— They, like you,  will enjoy the spoils of victory over this world system!

61:7  Just as God has made you, they will exchange their shame for an inheritance!

— They, like you, will receive the inheritance of the first born, a double portion!

—They, like you become co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)!

— And they, like you, will shout for joy because of it! Not for just a moment, but everlastingly, joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Peter 1:8)!

61:8    Just as God made you, they will offer themselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing (Romans 12:1), when they, like you, are filled with the Holy Ghost!

— This is just and right to God. He loves when His brand of justice is done!
He hates a partial offering, a lukewarm offering, an offering accompanied by complaint. Glad and full surrender is what pleases Him!

— And they, like you, will receive their reward, and an everlasting promise will be made to them by Him!

61:9 —They will be made bearers of blessed children, just like you! Everyone will recognize the Holy Ghost in them and their children!

61:10    — And like just like you, He will make them into rejoicers, those who rejoice greatly in the Lord and exult God! Why?

— Like you, they will know that they are clothed with salvation and wrapped in a robe of righteousness!

— Like you, they will know that there is a victorious Bridegroom coming for them, and they will be adorned with great spiritual riches in preparation for the day He comes!

Well . . .

62:2-3 — Like you, they will have a new name given to them by God. That designates that change in their condition and character!

— He will make them into a crown of beauty and a royal diadem (turban) in His hand, that is, under the control and care of God.

I could go on and on! I am one who stands on the wall, who cries to the church and those who do not know Christ to repent, to turn, until they shine brightly with the righteousness, like the brightness of the dawn’s radiance (62:1)!

I am a watchman who will never keep silent, I will not take rest, and I will cry out to God until He establishes and makes the church, and His people Israel who receive their Messiah, a praise to the earth!

Now, my brothers and sisters, has God made you these things? You must ask Him to do it, so you can lead others to the same thing! You can’t lead them to it if He has not made you that which you are proclaiming! You can’t fake this. You can’t be all nice in church on Sunday and live like hell the rest of the week! Amen!

Examine yourself right now, before Him. Bow, kneel, contritely and humbly. If you are not doing these things, ask Him right now to save, sanctify, and then fill you with the Holy Ghost. And He will make you these things. It is His promise, and He never goes back on His promises.

STEADFAST AND IMMOVABLE

[SW181] 04/11/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Steadfast and Immovable”

Steadfast and immovable! Standing firm! Nothing and no one able to sway you or move you from your faith in Jesus Christ and God’s promises!

1Corinthians 15:58   Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

Superabounding, excelling in the work of the Lord, proclaiming Jesus Christ! His glorious, powerful, life-giving work!

Going and making disciples of all men, teaching them to obey Christ (Matthew 28:19-20)!

Healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, casting out demons (Matthew 10:8)!

When you yourself have been filled with the Holy Spirit, laying hands on your fellow believers, so they are filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:6).

If you are steadfast and immovable, you know without a doubt that this great labor in the Lord is not in vain. You won’t come to Him empty-handed, but bearing the fruit of His works in you and through you!

What rewards there are to those who remain steadfast and immovable?

Revelation 3:8-10 — You have a little power, you have kept His word, you have not denied His name. You are a faithful representative of Him, walking in this world like Him. You have kept the word of His steadfastness. You are steadfast, immovable, always superabounding in this work!

So Jesus Christ puts before you a door for you which no one can shut. It is a door that opens into great and effective work for Him. And false teachers will come and bow down at your feet. Jesus will make them know that He has loved you.

You say, “Jesus loves me, this I know! And you also say, “Jesus knows me, this I love!”

And you will not have to endure what those who reject Him and deny Him will endure. He will keep you, guard you, be a fortress around you! You will be protected from that hour!

And because you remain steadfast and immovable, even if your body dies before Jesus Christ returns, it will be resurrected when that trumpet sounds (1Corinthians 15:50-57)! Death has no victory! Death has no sting!

Therefore, be steadfast, Paul exhorts! Immovable! Against what? Is there something that could move you? What is the “therefore” there for?

Many winds of false teaching swirled around the Corinthians, and swirl around us today.

Great waves are stirred up by these winds, and if we are children and not mature in our faith, we will be tossed here and there, just as some of the Corinthians and Ephesians were (see Ephesians 4:14). But Jesus Christ will change us from children to adults, when we ask Him to make a 24/7 connection between us and the Father and the Son, by the Holy Spirit!

Back in 1Corinthians 15, deceitful teachers tried to convince the Corinthians that there is no resurrection of the dead (15:12).

So, they said, you don’t have to walk as Jesus walked when he was on the earth. Live the way you want to live. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die (15:32).

I tell you, the devil is at work. His goal is to kill you, to steal what God has given you, to destroy you, so you perish with him eternally (see John 10:10). Don’t let him get you!

BECOME steadfast, immovable! How? Ask Him to do it in you!

Christ has come that you may have superabundant life — His life, His eternal life (John 10:10)! Superabundant life that overflows, that becomes a rushing, flood-stage river of living water!

Paul said it was the risen Christ and not human reasoning that motivated him to fight with the demons that were in Ephesus.

He knew without a doubt that when men are delivered and saved, THEY will know without a doubt that Jesus Christ is Lord and that their own resurrection is sure! His labor was not in vain!

But some of the Corinthians were yet children, just as with some Christians today. They continued to live wildly, for which Corinth was world-renowned. Eat, drink and be merry!

Paul warns them and you today, to stop listening to false teachers who say you can do what you want — God’s grace covers you! Hyper-grace! Cheap grace! 

Shall we continue to sin so grace may increase? May it never be (Romans 6:1-2)!

Get drunk, do just as you did before you said “I do” to the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul tells the Ephesians, “Don’t get drunk with wine! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!”

Ah! That’s the key! When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you won’t be a child any more, and the process of becoming more like Jesus will go into hyperdrive!

In Verse 34, Paul tells the Corinthians (and you), to become sober-minded (rouse yourself out of your stupor! Wake up! If some need to become, they are not yet!
They and you need to “become!” Stop sinning!

Those false teachers have no knowledge of God, no intimacy with Him, or they would never teach that you can sin and still be fine with God! Paul spoke it to the shame of those who listened to such ones. And the same goes for you, beloved!

Ask God the Father to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and He will give you discernment so you will run from the strangers, the hirelings the false teachers who are in it for personal gain. You will hear and heed the voice of the Good Shepherd (see John 10)!

And even when you are filled, continue to grow —

2Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,  18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

You will ever increase in Christlikeness!

You will remain steadfast and immovable, knowing without a doubt that when you proclaim Jesus (which is your work in the Lord), your work will bear the fruit of deliverance for many!

And you will know without a doubt that you will be with the Lord forever! And ever! And ever! And ever! Amen!

ENLARGED!

[SW158] 10/24/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Enlarged!”

Oh, God wants to enlarge us, so our hearts are made big enough to contain Him!

Enlarged (7337) — broadened, widened, made into a wide space!

Text: Isaiah 54:1-3

The Lord spoke this to Israel, while they were in captivity, unable to bear, desolate.
And He told them to shout for joy!!! Why? Because He was going to restore them.

He said, “Enlarge!” Make room for Me! Widen your view of Me! Enlarge your understanding of what I can do in the midst of your desolation and barrenness.

His promise? Your desolation will end!

More promises:

Verse 11-12 You are now afflicted and storm-tossed, you are not comforted (returned to Me). But I will garnish you with precious jewels, as a bride is adorned for her Bridegroom!

Verse 13 You will have sons, and they will be taught by Me, and they will have great shalom, peace, wellness, health, spiritual prosperity!

Verse 14-15 I will establish you in My righteousness, and you will no longer be oppressed by fear and terror. No one will assail you — if they try, they will fall.

Verse 16 The Lord created Nebuchadnezzar as His servant to punish Israel for her waywardness. He created all human beings, and uses some for such purposes, to cause ruin that His people would cry out and return to Him.

Verse 17 But once you have returned, no weapon formed against you will prosper, and you will condemn all who accuse you! It is your heritage, your inheritance, when you become a servant of the Lord — one who obeys out of love.

This is reason to shout for joy! God says, prepare yourself, and I will enlarge your heart so I may dwell in you, just as My Son declared in John 14:23!

Enlargement! David, a man after God’s own heart, declared it:

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

Psalm 119:45  And I will walk at liberty (literally, in a wide space),
    For I  seek Your precepts.

Psalms 118:5    From my distress I called upon  the LORD;
     The LORD answered me and  set me in a large place.

Psalms 18:19  He brought me forth also into a  broad place;
    He rescued me, because  He delighted in me.

He delights in those whose hearts are His! He delights in those who run in the way of His commandments because He has enlarged their hearts so they can contain Him! He rescues them and sets them in broad places!

Do you see the common thread? It is a promise for those who return.

Isaiah 55:6-7

Seek (1875) — enter into relationship with — God!

It is a limited time offer — it is while He is found, while He is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts!

Let him turn to the Lord — He will have mercy on him, and FREELY pardon him!

You may say, “Well, that is the Old Testament. It doesn’t apply to the church.” But listen to what Paul spoke to the church at Corinth, for some of them were acting wickedly and unrighteously:

2Corinthians 6:17  “ Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
    “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
    And I will welcome you.
18      “ And I will be a father to you,
    And you shall be  sons and daughters to Me,”
    Says the Lord Almighty.

It is a quote from Isaiah 52:11. The condition for the promises of God is to separate yourself from wickedness and unrighteousness, in yourself and in the world.

Turn, and all of His promises in Isaiah 54 that I have spoken of will be yours!

Do what is required by God — turn —  and the promise will be fulfilled in you, and you will be filled full of God!

LEAPING BELIEVERS!

What is the purpose of being a leaping believer? That everyone may see our joyous celebration of the freedom only Jesus Christ can give!

[SW150] 08/15/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Leaping Believers!”

Text: Psalm 30, Acts 3:1-10

Psalm 30

Verse 1 – I will extol You, O, Lord, raising Your name high, like a banner! You have drawn me up out of the water, lifted me up, like a bucket is lifted up from a well. You pulled me up out of the Enemy’s plans and schemes!

Verse 2 – O Lord, MY GOD, You are MY God, and I am Yours! I cried to You, and You healed me!

Verse 3 – I was ready for Sheol, the place of the unrighteous dead! You kept me alive! You keep me, so I don’t go down into that pit!

Verse 4 – A characteristic of those who are His, and obey Him, and are therefore godly: They sing! They give thanks!

Verse 5 – You anger was for a very short space of time, when I did not commune with You because of my sin. I broke the holy intimacy You deserved.
[For myself, I had no relationship with you, no holy intimacy with you at all; I willfully rebelled against you.]

And You had every right to be angry, because You created me for that purpose.

But I have returned to You! Your anger is gone, and Your favor is forever!

I wept during the time I was away from You [for myself, during the time I did not know you]. It was like a dark night, but morning came, Your light shone upon me once again, and now, I cannot help but SHOUT with joy!

Verse 6 – Now I declare I will not be moved, because I have returned to You. Lord, You have made me secure! I will never be moved!

Verse 7 – Your favor, Lord, makes my mountain stand strong. I could not do it in my own strength. I was afflicted and weak.

But through my weakness, Your power dwells in me (2 Corinthians 12:9). If I said I was strong in my own strength, You would not make Your power dwell in me.

When I had made You angry by sinning and thus breaking my relationship with You, I was dismayed, because You did not let me see You.

Verse 8 & 9 – I called to You, I cried out to You, I made supplication to You, asking for mercy, asking for favor . . .

I cried, “How can I praise You and declare Your faithfulness if I am dead?”

Verse 10 – In my distress, I said, “Hear, O Lord! Heed my cry! Be gracious to me! Help me!”

Verse 11 – And You turned my mourning into DANCING!
I no longer wear mourning clothing, because You have clothed me with gladness! (Isaiah 61 — the oil of gladness, a type or symbol of the Holy Spirit!)

Verse 12 – Why have You rescued me?

So that I would sing Your praise from the depths of my being, and not be SILENT. And O Lord, MY GOD, I will give thanks to You forever!
——————————————————————————————————–
Beloved, that was King David, in the Old Testament. A dusty old book? I don’t think so! Look what the Spirit of God did through Peter and John:

Acts 3

Verse 2 – Lame from birth, the man had never walked, just like everyone who doesn’t yet know Jesus Christ. We’ve never walked with the Lord. We are lame from birth.

And this man lame from birth was more than 40 (Acts 5:22)! I myself was 45! Beloved, it’s never too late!

We came to the Beautiful Gate, not even asking for healing, but crying for help, begging for natural provision, from anyone who would hear. We were spiritually impoverished and didn’t even know it.

Verse 3 – When we first saw Your servants, we begged them for natural provision, just like the others who passed by. We did not look up. We did not know Jesus Christ’s provision which He made on the cross.

Verse 4 – But they commanded us to look at them.

Verse 5 –  We looked at them.

Verse 6 – They said they were not rich in natural wealth, but in the name of Jesus Christ, walk!

Verse 7 – They helped us to arise, and immediately, our atrophied feet and ankles were made strong! Our atrophied spirits were made alive and whole, as they were originally meant to be!

Verse 8 – We didn’t just stand — WE LEAPED UP! The power of God coursed through us, because Your servants were filled with Your Holy Spirit!

We stood for the first time in our lives. WE LEAPED UP, physically and spiritually, and entered into life in Jesus Christ!

And for the very first time ever, we entered the presence of God, and we could not help but continue to LEAP and walk and PRAISE GOD!

Verse 9 – Everyone saw us walking and praising!

THIS IS THE PURPOSE OF OUR LEAPING AND WALKING AND PRAISING GOD: THAT EVERYONE SEE THE JOYOUS CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM THAT ONLY JESUS CHRIST CAN GIVE!

Verse 10 – And they knew we were the lame ones who used to beg for natural provision, who had never walked with Jesus! And everyone was filled with wonder and amazement. It is for Your glory, Lord!

And we continue to LEAP and walk and PRAISE GOD!

O Lord, You have turned our mourning into DANCING, loosed our garments of mourning and clothed us with GLADNESS!

And we cannot help but SING and PRAISE YOU and we cannot be SILENT! We give thanks to our Lord FOREVER!

To the church:

Do you leap? Do you shout? Do you sing? Do you praise? Do you give thanks publicly? Are you unable to keep silent?

This is the testimony of the true church of Jesus Christ.

If you do not leap, if you are silent, if you are mourning, if you are begging for natural provision, O Christian, you must humble yourself and cry out and ask the Lord God to help you!

You must establish communion with Him. You must have holy intimacy with Him. You must confess the sin that separates you from Him.

He is angry with you because He has provided Jesus Christ to die for your sin from you and be raised from the dead on the third day to send the Holy Spirit to set you free from slavery to sin!

He will draw you up out of the sin you’re drowning in, lifting you up like a bucket is lifted up from a well. He will pull you up out of the Enemy’s plans and schemes!

He will be your God, and you will be His child!

When you cry to Him, He will heal you!

He will immediately make you able walk with Him. He will also heal you physically, as he did the man at the Beautiful Gate.

You will come into His presence, LEAPING and walking and praising God, just as we do.

Do not judge leaping, dancing, shouting, singing, praising believers, calling us fanatics! Let Jesus Christ show you why we leap, so you may leap, too! ASK HIM TO MAKE YOU A LEAPER, SO EVERYONE CAN SEE YOUR JOYOUS CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM THAT ONLY JESUS CHRIST CAN GIVE!

REBUILDING – SPIRITUAL WARFARE

We must be fully submitted to God to defeat the Enemy’s attempts to keep the church of today from being healed of its brokenness!

[SW139] 05/03/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — Spiritual Warfare”

First we intercede standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild. Then we act upon the inspiration of God, the heart of God which we have sought and got!

But in the midst of the building, the Enemy who is Satan will mock, despise and attack us. How do we defeat him? Spiritual warfare!

Jesus has shown me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:

Chapter 1 — Intercession

Chapter 2 — Christ’s provision

Chapters 2 and 3 — His Inspiration and Strength

Chapter 4 — Spiritual Warfare

Chapter 5 — Conviction regarding sin

Chapter 6 — Discernment

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance

Chapter 10 — Consecration

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

Ezekiel 22:26-31 describes the spiritual condition of Israel that led to the Babylonian exile of Judah (southern Israel) about a hundred years after Samaria (northern Israel). Judah had sinned greatly against the Lord, and refused to listen to the prophets the Lord sent to them, who warned them to repent. And so God sent them into exile in Babylon for 70 years.

Nehemiah 4

Nehemiah interceded for Jerusalem after his countrymen brought him the sad news that the city was in great distress and reproach, with its wall broken down and its gates burned with fire.

He asked the Lord for favor with King Artaxerxes, and reminded the Lord of His promise to return them to Jerusalem if they returned to their God.

He found favor, indeed! The king sent Nehemiah with authority, timber, officers of the army and horsemen to rebuild Jerusalem.

Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, with something God was putting on his heart to do for Jerusalem. After surveying the destruction, he spoke to the people:

Come, let us rebuild
The hand of my God has been favorable to me
The king supports us

Enter the Enemy, in this case represented by a Horonite (that is, from Moab). Sanballat’s name means “may sin (the moon god) give him life.” He was the governor of Samaria, which used to be northern Israel before they were sent into exile because of their sin. The King of Samaria peppered the land with a mixture of followers of many gods.

When he heard of the repairs (so cool — the literal word is healing), Sanballat mocked, despised, accused. He was furious (2734 burning with anger) and very angry (3707 provoked). So he insulted them in Verse 2. I love Sanballat’s last words in that verse: Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble, even the burned stones?” Oh, yes! Our God can revive the church and make her living stones again (1Peter 2:4-10)!!!! All things are possible with God:

Matthew 19:26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “ With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Mark 9:23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’  All things are possible to him who believes.”

Mark 10:27 Looking at them, Jesus  said, “ With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

Sanballat’s cohorts are Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem the Arab. Tobiah chimes in with Sanballat. What the Jews are building will fall under the weight of a fox. Thus, the Jews who are building become demoralized.

Does Nehemiah get armed men together to physically attack the Enemy? No, he calls on God, in Verse 4-5. God, not Nehemiah, put it in Nehemiah’s heart to restore Jerusalem. Since it wasn’t Nehemiah’s idea, he was able to call on God.

So the whole wall was joined to half height, for the people had a heart to work.

What does the Enemy do when he sees us succeed in rebuilding? He forms a conspiracy to come and fight against and destroy the rebuilders. But we have One who has come to give us His life, His power, His Spirit abundantly!

Does Nehemiah get armed men together to physically attack the Enemy? No, he prays to God. He calls on God, he prays to God and sets up a guard. Prayer is the offensive weapon in spiritual warfare, and guarding is the defensive weapon:

2Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war  according to the flesh,  4 for the  weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but  divinely powerful  for the destruction of fortresses.  5 We are destroying speculations and every  lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the  obedience of Christ . . .

And from the Interlinear Greek-to-English literal translation:

Ephesians 6:10 Be made powerful in the Lord, and in the might of His strength. Put in all the armor of God, for you to be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil, because we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the rulers of this world, of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenlies.”

And the last weapon spoken of in Ephesians 6?

Ephesians 6:18    With all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all  perseverance and  petition for all the saints  . . .”

In Nehemiah 4:10, the people of Judah confess that they are unable to rebuild the wall in their own strength. God will do it!

The Enemy plans to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), but Christ has come that we may have His life in us, abundantly! And if we have His life in us, the Enemy has nothing on us.

The Enemy plans to attack and kill and put a stop to the rebuilding.

The Jews who lived near them heard of their plan, and told the leaders 10 times that they would come up from every direction and attack — words of fear, spoken 10 times. It is as Israel did in Numbers 13:33, coming with a bad report that they were like grasshoppers among the people of Canaan. These are words of unbelief!

Did Nehemiah form an army to physically attack the Enemy? No. He armed the people, but they were to stand:

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore, take up  the full armor of God, so that you will be able to  resist in  the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  14 Stand firm therefore,  HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING  PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,  15 and having  shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;  16  in addition to all, taking up the  shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the  flaming arrows of  the evil one. 17 And take  THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the  sword of the Spirit, which is  the word of God.

Do we have no armor for our backs? Of course we do:

Isaiah 52:12 But you will not go out in haste,
    Nor will you go as fugitives;
    For the  LORD will go before you,
    And  the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

The people feared. But Nehemiah exhorted them to remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for what He has promised you (Verse 14). Because God put the rebuilding into Nehemiah’s heart and it was not a scheme Nehemiah cooked up on his own, God would fight for them!

Remember what happened to the people when they decided to enter the promised land anyway, after the Lord rebuked them for their unbelief? They were defeated. It was their idea, not God’s, to enter the land after God’s rebuke and His promise that they would wander 40 years in the desert before entering the land. There is no victory if the Lord is not in the midst, beloved!

Once the Enemy heard that their plan had been discovered and God had frustrated their plan, they could not carry it out. So the rebuilders continued their work. But not without the armor (Verses 16-17).

And a trumpeter was assigned to blow the trumpet if he saw the Enemy approaching. He would sound the trumpet and the people would assemble themselves where the trumpet had been sounded. But they would not fight — God would fight for them.

The work went on from the rising of the dawn to when the stars came out. Half of the workers held spears for defense, even carrying their weapon to the water, and never removing their clothes. They stayed in the city continually, not leaving to return home, so they could both guard and labor without ceasing.

Admonishment to today’s church:

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)! Pray for the rebuilding of the church!

Beloved, unless you are submitted to God, He will not hear your prayers, and you will not defeat the Enemy who is continually conspiring to keep the church from being rebuilt (James 4:1-7)!

Submit to God, beloved. Ask Him to change your heart, to give you a new one, a heart that is not out for its own interests, that does not demand its own rights, that does not hate, but one that completely belongs to God and is filled with His love. The Enemy cannot stand and will retreat, his attack foiled, if we are fully submitted to God, and following what He has put into our hearts, and not our own imaginings.

The Lord will be your rear guard under these circumstances only:

Isaiah 52:11    Depart, depart, go out from there,
     Touch nothing unclean;
    Go out of the midst of her,  purify yourselves,
    You who carry the vessels of the LORD.

Go out of the midst of the world, purify yourselves. Then He will go before you, and He will be your rear guard, and you will have victory over the Enemy!

WHY JESUS CAME

[SW119] 12/13/2013 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2013
“Why Jesus Came”

Why did Jesus come? Was there any other way for God to reach us?

Scriptures:  Genesis 3:18, Isaiah 53

Jesus Christ sweeps the earth,
looking for the treasure of repentant hearts (Luke 15:8-10),
hearts that turn from sin and to Jesus Christ.

Sin is the reason we need a Savior AND
a Lord who will remove our rebellious hearts from us!
For we all like sheep have gone astray,
every one to his own way (Isaiah 53:6).

This was not a surprise to God the Father.
Even from before the earth was formed,
He had already prepared a lamb as a sin offering for us all!!!
(Revelation 13:8, 1 Peter 1:20).

Was there any other way for God to reach us?
If so, why the Lamb?

In Genesis 22, Abraham acted out the great sin offering
that God the Father would make, 2000 years later:

Genesis 22:14 Abraham called the name of that place  The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD  it will  be provided [literally, “it shall be seen”].”

Indeed, it was God who would provide the Lamb for the world,
His one and only Son, on that same mountain,
Mount Moriah (“seen of Yah”).

Is there any other way for God to reach us?
If there is, why His Son?

And His provision is seen by the entire world!
He gives us free will to either receive what He has done,
or reject it!

It began in the Garden of Eden,
after Adam and Eve sinned
by disobeying the single command of the LORD.

But afterwards, He said to Satan the tempter:

Genesis 3:15 (NLT) And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

A mortal wound to the head of Satan,
to the authority of Satan over human beings,
delivered by the One and Only Son!
The Son’s heel was bruised on the cross,
but He arose!

So God sent His Lamb, a part of Himself, His One and Only Son.
He is the only Way God could reach us!

With all that established, behold, look at the kindness of God in Isaiah 53,
written 700 years before Jesus Christ’s ministry here on earth!

Isaiah 53:2b He has  no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should  be attracted to Him.

3 He was  despised and forsaken of men,
A man of  sorrows and  acquainted with  grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was  despised, and we did not  esteem Him.

Many reject Him today.

The world (and some of the church) says He’s nothing special,
just perhaps a good man,
maybe a prophet,
or a great philosopher,
who lived and died a long time ago.

Isaiah 53:4   Surely our  griefs [literally, sicknesses) He Himself  bore,
And our  sorrows [literally, pains] He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of  God, and afflicted. (See Matthew 8:17!)

They do not understand that He did what He did
for the sake of all human beings.
They think He was cursed by God
because God didn’t come to His rescue
and save Him from death on the cross.

Strange it is! We think He was cursed by God.
But He took upon Himself the blows that humans should have received.
He was torn to shreds when He was scourged by the Romans.
He was crucified!
We deserved it, but He took it for us.

5 But He was  pierced through for  our transgressions,
He was crushed for  our iniquities;
The  chastening for our  well-being fell upon Him,
And by  His scourging we are healed.

Was there any other way for God to reach us?
If so, why did His Son take upon Himself the punishment we deserved?

6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To  fall on Him.

Strange it is!
God the Father laid on God the Son all the sins of the world!

To all who come to Him,
there is forgiveness of past sins
and then a new heart that is pure and clean
and no longer rebellious toward God.

Do you see the Lamb slain from before the earth was formed?
Do you see the Lamb offered on Mount Moriah,
where God’s provision is now seen?

Isaiah 53:7   He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not  open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.

Did Jesus Christ protest His treatment by the Romans, and the Jewish leaders?
No! He knew that it was for this reason that He came to the earth.

John 6:38 “For  I have come down from heaven,  not to do My own will, but  the will of Him who  sent Me.”

He is the Lamb of God,
who takes away the sin of the world —
not just sins, but the rebellious nature in all of us,
if we will believe Him!

8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the  living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
9 His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a  rich man in His death,
Because He had  done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

Sin is rebellion against God.
The blameless, sinless Only Son was killed for yours and mine.

Two guilty criminals were with Him, one to the left and one to the right.
After He died, He was buried in the tomb of a rich man —
Joseph of Arimathea,
a prominent member of the Sanhedrin.

Isaiah 53:10   But the LORD was pleased
To  crush Him,   putting Him to grief;
If  He would render Himself as a guilt  offering,
He will see  His  offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the  good  pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

What?
This was God the Father’s plan all along?
Yes, because the Only Son was blameless, spotless, and sinless,
He was the only One on this earth who could serve
as a sin offering for all of us.

And this Lamb came back to life!
He sees His offspring, those born from above,
the many sons and daughters He brings to glory (Hebrews 2:10)!

John 10:17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I  lay down My life so that I may take it again.”

He took His life back up again!
And because He rose,
He is able to give us zoe, life as God has it!

Isaiah 53:11 As a result of the  anguish of His soul,
He will  see  it and be satisfied;
By His  knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will  bear their iniquities.

He is satisfied, and so are we,
when we come to intimately know Him.

And now many may be counted righteous
because He bears their sins,
WHEN THEY BELIEVE
Jesus Christ is the One and Only Son,
the Lamb of God,
who died for them and rose again.

Isaiah 53:1    Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

Do you believe the message?
Then the powerful arm of the Lord will be revealed to you,
Jesus Christ will be revealed to you,
and by His power,
you will be forgiven.

And you will become a partake of His nature (2 Peter 1:4)
given a clean, new heart
that responds to every whisper of God!

Isaiah 52:7  (NLT)  How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!

Indeed, if there had been another way,
why did God plan His Only Son’s death on a cross?

Seeing what God has done, seeing the price He paid for your sin,
O church, and O world,
will you now turn from your sin,
and receive His forgiveness and heart cleansing?

I tell you,
the message of the cross is foolishness, to those who are perishing,
but to the ones being saved,
it is the power of God and the wisdom of God!
(1 Corinthians 1:18, 24)