REBUILDING – PROVISION

[SW136] 04/12/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church —Provision”

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.

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 — Interceding

Chapter 2 — Requesting Christ’s provision

Chapters 3 and 4 — Possessing God’s strength and wisdom

Chapter 5 — Convicting regarding sin

Chapter 6 — Discerning

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repenting

Chapter 10 — Consecrating

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 2

Having heard the report that the remnant in Judah was under great distress and reproach, Nehemiah interceded for the sons of Israel, asking the Lord to forgive, and reminding Him of His promise that, if they would return to Him, He would return them to Israel. He asked the Lord for mercy when he went before King Artaxerxes.

It was not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit that Jersusalem and its walls and temple would be rebuilt (Zechariah 4:6). Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, in Spirit-filled believers, will the church be rebuilt.

As intercessors for today’s church, we ask the Lord Jesus Christ, head of the church, to have compassion on His church. Unlike Nehemiah, thought, we do not deal with a pagan king as an intermediary used by God — we go to the King of kings and Lord of lords, the One who is above all things:

Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —  all things have been created through Him and for Him.  17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

The earth is His, and all that is in it (Psalm 24:1)!

He preserves His promise to those who love and obey Him (Nehemiah 1:5)!

We can come before Him and ask whatever we will, and He will do it:

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and  greater works than these he will do; because  I go to the Father. 13 “ Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that  the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything  in My name, I will do it.”

The Lord sees our sadness of heart over the brokenness in the church (Nehemiah 2:2). But we are not afraid, as Nehemiah rightfully was afraid of the pagan king. No, perfect love casts out fear of punishment:

1John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but  perfect love casts out fear, because fear  involves punishment, and the one who fears is not  perfected in love.

And so:

Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Oh, our King lives forever! As we sit at the table with the Father, Son and Spirit, the Son will ask us, “What would you request?”

Our desires are Your desires, Lord Jesus. We have come to do Your will, O Lord; Your Law is written in our hearts (Psalm 40:6)!

We will say, “Send me to Your broken church, that we may rebuild it” (v. 5).

“Whom shall We send, and who shall go for Us?” Isaiah said, “Here am I! Send me!” He saw the Lord highly exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. His heart was cleansed by the coal of fire touching His lips, in Isaiah 6!

It will please the King of kings to send us (v. 7), and we will return to Him at the appointed time.

Our fathers were in the church, and we want to bring it back to what it was in those days. The church was with Christ at one time, but now all but a remnant have been exiled from God’s presence.

What must we ask our King for?

— First, authority. We must have authority to pass through Enemy territory, from the One who is greater than our Enemy, Satan:

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I have given you authority to  tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that  your names are recorded in heaven.”

Beloved, in today’s church, few have asked for Christ’s authority to pass through Enemy territory. Therefore we are blindsided and ambushed, deceived and destroyed.

We cannot ask for Christ’s authority over Satan if we are disobedient. But if we will ask Him to change our hearts, so we love and obey Him, He will surely grant us the authority we lack!

— Second, timber. Nehemiah needed natural wood.

We need the whole message of the Cross, from the bounty of the King. What is the whole message?

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. We all know that one.

Why was that necessary? He was, indeed, a sin offering to cover our past sins.

But the message of the Cross goes beyond that — it is the rest of the story, the part which must be in place for the church to be rebuilt.

God sent Jesus Christ that we may have His Spirit, His heart, His love,  His nature, with our old, rebellious nature crucified, in a moment of time!

That is the timber by which the church will be rebuilt — the whole message of the Cross! We must ask Him to put steel in our backbones so we boldly speak it!

In today’s church, beloved, the message of the Cross is the message of the “CRO.” It is half the message. It leaves out the “SS” which is Sin Sickness. That is a disease only Christ can heal, and that by way of His work on the cross and afterwards, when He rose from the dead after three days. He ascended to the Father, was glorified, and poured out the Holy Spirit, who fills us with God’s holiness and gives us a new heart, a new nature!

Yes, we continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, but we no longer resist as the Lord molds and shapes! We have given up our rights to ourselves! We are dead, and now He lives in us (Galatians 2:20).

We must return to building on the one foundation, Christ, so our work will not be found by Him to be wood, hay and straw.

1Corinthians 3:11 For no man can lay a  foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver,  precious stones, wood, hay, straw,  13  each man’s work will become evident; for  the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test  the quality of each man’s work.  14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will  receive a reward.  15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

As the Nehemiahs for today’s church, we call that all pastors once again build on the foundation which is Christ!

When we ask the Lord for the authority and the whole message of the Cross, He will go beyond what we have asked. He will send with us (Verse 9) officers of the army and horsemen — angels, ministering servants:

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said,
“ SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES
A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?
14 Are they not all  ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

They will assist us when the Enemy hears of the church’s rebuilding and is displeased that we seek her welfare, just as Sanballat and Tobiah were displeased!

But our Lord has won the victory. Satan has nothing in Him (John 14:30). And we walk in Christ’s victory, when we have called the Father to do the whole gospel in us (Luke 11:13)!

Jesus Christ WILL have a church glorious, without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:27). But just as with Nehemiah, He wants those who love and obey Him to participate in the church’s rebuilding (Ephesians 4:11), even to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

Will you join me, O remnant, and rebuild the church? The One we go to for provision will certainly provide.

Next week, we will celebrate His victory, on Resurrection Sunday. Then we will return to Nehemiah and learn the next step to rebuilding.

#1 REBUILDING — INTERCESSION

[SW135] 04/05/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“#1 Rebuilding — Intercession”

The Lord Jesus Christ is calling for intercessors within His church to beseech the Father to rebuild today’s broken down church (see the latest Barna report). He is faithful and will hear us!
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 — Interceding

Chapter 2 — Requesting Christ’s provision

Chapters 3 and 4 — Possessing God’s strength and wisdom

Chapter 5 — Convicting regarding sin

Chapter 6 — Discerning

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repenting

Chapter 10 — Consecrating

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

Here was the spiritual condition of Israel that led to the Babylonian exile of Judah (southern Israel) about a hundred years after Samaria (northern Israel) was exiled through Assyria:

Ezekiel 22:26-31 “Her  priests have done violence to My law and have  profaned My holy things; they have made no  distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the  unclean and the clean; and they hide their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.  27 “Her princes within her are like wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and  destroying lives in order to get  dishonest gain.  28 “Her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing  false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken.  29 “The people of the land have practiced  oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have  oppressed the sojourner without justice.  30 “I  searched for a man among them who would  build up the wall and  stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found  no one.  31 “Thus I have poured out My  indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath;  their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord GOD.

Prior to the exile, the Lord’s prophets had warned and called for repentance, but no one listened. It continued during the exile, and once again, men stood in the gap to intercede for Israel:

— The Lord’s call to intercession through the prophet Joel, in Joel 2:12-17

— Daniel’s great prayer of intercession in Daniel 9, after he read Jeremiah 25:11 and realized that the 70 years of Babylonian exile had been completed.

— Nehemiah, cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, who stood in the gap before the Lord for the people, to restore and rebuild.

Nehemiah 1

Cyrus of Persia made the proclamation to his entire kingdom (and the Medo-Persian empire conquered the Babylon empire which encompassed the known world). In 2 Chronicles 36:22-23, Cyrus proclaimed that the Lord God had appointed him to build Him a house in Jerusalem, and released all Jews in exile to go up to Jerusalem. This was just according to the prophecy the Lord gave Isaiah in Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1, 150 years before Cyrus came to power!

Persia was now under the rule of Artaxerxes. Of the approximate million who were in Judah at the time of the exile, only 42,360 Jews would return to their land and rebuild. The rest died in battle when Babylon laid siege, or tried to escape to Egypt and were killed there. A few were allowed to remain in the land to tend it and a few escaped. Some stayed in Babylon, preferring it to Israel.

Intercession was the first step to rebuilding, and that’s what Nehemiah 1 is all about.

Nehemiah heard the terrible report about the remnant in the land. He wept and mourned, fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

That’s intercession — seeking God’s heart for the church or for individuals, weeping and mourning, praying and fasting day and night (v. 6), beseeching God to act on behalf of His people, and having faith that He will answer.

Let’s look at Nehemiah’s prayer in Chapter 1, so we may understand how to pray for today’s church —

— He beseeches the Lord God of heaven, who is faithful to keep covenant with those who love and obey Him.

— Hear! See! I am Your servant. I am praying on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants. We have not served you well, for we have sinned against you. Even I and my family have sinned against you.

— We have acted very corruptly against You. We have completely disobeyed You. And just according to Your command to Moses, You have scattered us.

— But remember, Lord God, that if we repent, if we return to You and obey You, even though we’ve been scattered to the remotest parts of the earth, you will gather us and return us to Israel, where You have chosen to cause Your name to dwell.

— You redeemed them before, Lord, by your great power and strong hand.

— I beseech You! Hear the prayer of Your servants who love and revere You.
Bless me by granting me compassion (7356, raham mercy, from the word for womb) from King Artaxerxes.

— For I am cupbearer to the king. I have a close relationship to him, as a friend. I hear what goes on in his throne room. He trusts me not only with his secrets, but with his life, for I taste his wine before he drinks it, so if it is poisoned, I die rather than him.

For today’s church:

Please listen to the message, for I interweave the Lord’s words for today’s church with verse-by-verse explanation of Nehemiah 1. The video will available later today at:

https://www.youtube.com/user/SetFreeMinistriesFMC

http://vimeo.com/myfathersplace

Intercession did not end when Jesus came! Our Lord interceded in John 17, and He literally IS our intercession in heaven, for His work is finished! The Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray (Romans 8:26-27). The Apostle Paul was a great intercessor, in Ephesians 1 and 3 and throughout all of his letters to the churches.

Oh, beloved, intercession is not only petitioning God, but it is spiritual warfare!

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 . . .

Colossians 1:9   For this reason also,  since the day we heard of it,  we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the   knowledge of His will in all spiritual  wisdom and understanding,  10 so that you will  walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,   to please Him in all respects,  bearing fruit in every good work and  increasing in the  knowledge of God;  11  strengthened with all power, according to  His glorious might,  for the attaining of all steadfastness and  patience;  joyously 12 giving thanks to  the Father, who has qualified us  to share in  the inheritance of the  saints in  Light.

And it must be done for today’s church. She is exiled from the presence of God. She has sinned greatly and been scattered. Many have fallen away, many follow false teachers who tickle their ears. Many do not believe or declare that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Many of our churches are dying or dead.
Ezekiel 22:26-31 “Her  priests have done violence to My law and have  profaned My holy things; they have made no  distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the  unclean and the clean; and they hide their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.  27 “Her princes within her are like wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and  destroying lives in order to get  dishonest gain.  28 “Her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing  false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken.  29 “The people of the land have practiced  oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have  oppressed the sojourner without justice.  30 “I  searched for a man among them who would  build up the wall and  stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found  no one.  31 “Thus I have poured out My  indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath;  their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord GOD.

So I pray the same prayer as Nehemiah. By the grace of God, all whose hearts are entirely His are able to pray and beseech Him to act on behalf of our broken churches. Who will pray with me? Who will return with me to rebuild the church?

JESUS’ PROMISES TO OVERCOMERS

Those who overcome this world by way of Jesus Christ, who overcame the world, have great promises from Him!

[SW134] 03/28/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Jesus’ Promises to Overcomers”

First, the definition of “overcome” —

3528. nikao, nik-ah´-o; from 3529; to subdue, conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.

3529. nike, nee´-kay; conquest, i.e. (figuratively) the means of success, victory.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Overcomers —

— Repent from leaving their first love

— Stand steadfast in Christ amidst persecution even to death, thus gaining the crown of life

— Repent from eating things sacrificed to idols and committing sexual immorality

— Repent from tolerating/compromising false teachers in the church who teach the above (i.e., it’s OK to sin) and from following such teaching

— Repent from their deadness and wake up, remembering and keeping what they have heard

— Remain steadfast in their faith in Christ, so as not to lose their crown

— Repent from their pride and from trusting in their riches, and seek
the purification of heart that only the Lord, our Refiner can give

To Ephesus:

Revelation 2:7 ‘ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

This is a promise to those who repent from leaving their first love, Jesus Christ . . .
and is also a promise to all overcomers.

The tree of life in the Paradise of God

Genesis 2:9 Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This is the tree of life from which God prohibited Adam to eat, after he sinned against the Lord (see Genesis 3:22). And this is a word of restoration . . . He who overcomes eats of it, in heaven. 

For those who overcome, eternal life starts here and now, in that His eternal life is in us, but we will also eat its fruit with God in heaven! Hallelujah!

To Smyrna:

Revelation 2:11 ‘ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’

This is a promise to those who remain steadfast in Christ, despite persecution even to death . . . and is also a promise to all overcomers.

No harm from the second death,

Defined at the end of the sequence of events in Revelation 20:4-11:
The first resurrection — His saints come to life and reign with Christ for a thousand years.

[NOTE: remember Paul’s words — absent from the body, our spirits go to the Lord (see 2 Corinthians 5:6-8). When we die, our spirits go to the Lord, but there is a later resurrection of our bodies.]

Then Satan is released for a period of time.

Then there is great battle on the broad plain, with enemy armies surrounding Jerusalem — instantly defeated by the Lord who rains down fire on them.

Then the devil joins the beast and the false prophet (see Revelation 19:20) in the lake of fire where they are tormented day and night forever and ever.

And then the second death is defined:

Revelation 20:11  Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

So that we may understand:

Revelation 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Remember —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 a name to be erased from the book of life.

To Pergamum:

Revelation 2:17 ‘ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’

This is the promise to those who repent from eating things sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality, who repent from the things of this world, and is also a promise to all overcomers.
Hidden manna

Reflects a Jewish tradition that the pot of manna that was placed in the ark for a memorial to future generations (Exodus 16:32–34; cf. Hebrews 9:4) was taken by Jeremiah at the time of the destruction of Solomon’s temple (sixth century B.C.) in the Babylonian overthrow of Jerusalem, and hidden underground in Mt. Nebo (2 Maccabees 2:4–7). There it was to remain until the coming of the Messiah when Jeremiah would reappear and return the ark and its contents to the new messianic temple in Jerusalem. [Source: New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT)]

White stone

Again from the NICNT, I believe the white stone refers to a tessera (small block of stone like a mosaic tile) that served as a token for admission to a banquet. They were distributed to the poor in Rome by the emperors to insure a regular supply of corn, and to victors at games.

But I believe these two uses of the tessera fit best:

— A token for admission to a banquet. We are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb, when we will be bride to our Bridegroom, united in a way not possible here on the earth! Read Isaiah 25:6 to hear what will be served!

— Given to gladiators who had won the admiration of the public and had been allowed to retire from further combat. We will have fought the fight and been victorious, and in a sense, we will retire! Read 1Timothy 1:18 and 6:12, and 2Timothy 4:7!

As for the stone’s color, white indicates purity.

Our new name

The new name written on the stone, I think, is as the Lord did with Simon Peter, saying:

Matthew 16:18 “I also say to you that you are Peter (4074 petros, a piece of rock), and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

To Thyatira:

Revelation 2:26 ‘ He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; 27 AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.”

This is the promise to those who repent from compromise and tolerance of false prophets and prophetesses who say it’s OK to sin, because our spirits are saved anyway, a version of Gnostic teaching. It is also a promise to all overcomers.
Psalms 2:7   “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”

Authority over the Enemy, and authority to rule with Christ, having become co-heirs with Him (see Luke 10:19, for we have authority now, but more so when we stand before Him at the end of things:

Romans 8:17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

If we will suffer persecution, and spiritually, death to our sin nature and become filled with His nature, by His Holy Spirit, we are indeed heirs.

Morning star

Morning star (5459 phosphoros) light-bearing, morning star, daystar.

2Peter 1:19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

Revelation 22:16   “ I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

I believe this is in reference to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. Right now, the Holy Spirit is an earnest, a pledge:

Ephesians 1:13b-14 . . . the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

I believe the morning star is a greater portion of the Holy Spirit than we can contain in physical bodies.

To 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.

This promise is for those who wake up and repent from their deadness, and remember and keep what they have heard, and is also a promise to all overcomers.

Mark 9:2    Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; 3 and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.

White garments — exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. Heavenly clothing!
The book of life

Psalms 69:28 May they [the wicked] be blotted out of the book of life
And may they not be recorded with the righteous.

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

Philippians 4:3b . . . and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him (the beast), 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.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

Again, so that we are sure:

Revelation 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Confessing them before God

Matthew 10:32  “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.”

To Philadelphia:

Revelation 3:12 ‘ He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.

This is a promise to all who remain steadfast, and thus do not lose their crowns, and and is also a promise to all overcomers.

Pillars

I believe He speaks of the two bronze pillars made by Hiram for Solomon’s Temple —

1Kings 7:21 Thus he set up the pillars at the porch of the nave; and he set up the right pillar and named it Jachin, and he set up the left pillar and named it Boaz.

Jaquin (3199) He will establish AND Boaz (1162) quickness (life, strength). He will establish us, in His strength! Thus, we are pillars in the temple of God that is in heaven.

And the overcomers will not go out from it anymore!

What will He write on us?

— the name of My God, YHWH

— the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem

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.

— My new name, the one He did not have until He was sent by the Father, crucified, dead, buried, risen, ascended, and glorified, Yeshua haMashiach.

To Laodicea:

Revelation 3:21 ‘ 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.”

Hebrews 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high . . .

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Again, these are the promises, to all who:

— Repent from leaving their first love

— Stand steadfast in Christ amidst persecution even to death, thus gaining the crown of life

— Repent from eating things sacrificed to idols and committing sexual immorality

— Repent from tolerating/compromising false teachers in the church who teach the above (i.e., it’s OK to sin) and following such teaching

— Repent from their deadness and wake up

— Remain steadfast in their faith in Christ, so as not to lose their crown

— Repent from their pride and from trusting in their riches, and seek
the purification of heart that only the Lord, our Refiner can give

Beloved, it is not too late to turn. If the Holy Spirit has shown you that you are like Ephesus, or Pergamum, or Thyatira, or Sardis, or Laodicea, it is because of His love that He rebukes you. Turn now, for His grace is here to change your heart!

Those who are like Smyrna and Philadelphia, ask Him to continue to establish you in His strength, that you may remain steadfast and faithful, pillars in His temple! Hallelujah!

 

JESUS’ LETTER TO THYATIRA

Where has your heart been lately, O church? He wants your heart. Have you gone after other lovers?

[SW130] 2/28/14 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Jesus’ Letter to Thyatira”

Text: Revelation 2:12-17a

Background:

While the Apostle John is exiled on the island of Patmos (to the east of Greece), Jesus Christ gives him a revelation — an unveiling — of Himself, and what is to come.

The unveiling of Himself:

When John sees Jesus Christ as He is now — Judge, Lord of lords, and King of kings — here’s what happens:

Revelation 1:17   When I saw Him, I  fell at His feet like a dead man. And He  placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid;  I am the first and the last, 18 and the  living One; and I   was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have  the keys of death and of Hades. 19 “Therefore  write  the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place  after these things.”

What is to come:

Before He unveils what is to come, the Lord Jesus speaks to seven churches through their messengers (pastors). He is the one that walks among (5281 in the middle of) the seven golden lamp stands like candelabra (the churches).

Why does He speak to them? To encourage them, to exhort them, to correct them, to convict them regarding sin and righteousness and judgment. He commands five of the seven churches to repent.

Background on Thyatira:

Lydia, from Acts 16:14ff, was a native of Thyatira, a place of shrines to Apollo, Artemis, Helius (sun god), and the Roman emperor who was worshiped there as Apollo incarnate. It was the center for many trade guilds. Drunken guild-feasts and orgies were part of the pagan worship in Thyatira.

Jesus’ words to the church at Thyatira:

Jesus Christ identifies Himself as the Son of God, the only true God incarnate. His self-description is that of Judge — eyes like a flame of fire, feet like burnished bronze. Bronze and fire frequently connote judgment in God’s Word. He stands as Judge before them, for something is very wrong, amidst all the right that is being done by this church.

He fully knows their love and faith and the service and perseverance (steadfastness in faith). Even now, they do more in service and are more steadfast than ever . . . but He has something against them.

They tolerate (that is, they permit) someone named Jezebel to be in their midst.
In a word, they compromise.

Jezebel calls herself a prophetess. She calls herself —  she was not called to prophesy by God and is not God’s prophetess, or she would not teach what she is teaching! She claims she hears from God, but what she says is from her own imagination, as in Judah at the time of Jeremiah’s preaching (Jeremiah 2:8, 23:16). She is a false teacher.

What is the difference between Pergamum and Thyatira? In Pergamum, some went OUTSIDE the church to eat food sacrificed to idols and commit acts of immorality.  In Thyatira, Jezebel teaches these things to His bond-servants WITHIN the church. And no one speaks against her!

This is the Lord’s great warning to today’s church! The worship of the world has entered the church at Thyatira, and it is being taught within her walls by a false teacher. It is the same today, and in many churches, no one speaks against the false teachers.

In 1Kings 21:25-26, King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, who worshiped Baal, the god of fertility (worshiped via cult prostitution, orgies and feasts), is described:

1Kings 21:25 Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the LORD,  because Jezebel his wife incited him.  26  He acted very abominably in following idols,  according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the LORD cast out before the sons of Israel.

Just as surely, the Jezebel of the church at Thyatira incites the church to sell themselves to do evil in the Lord’s sight, following idols.

And she refuses to repent, just as with Jezebel in 1Kings, though the Lord gave her a space of time to do so. The Lord warned her through those who remained true to Him  at Thyatira, just as Jeremiah warned Judah.

She commits — and teaches others to commit — literal adultery. And by listening to and doing what she teaches, some in the church commit spiritual adultery against Jesus Christ, their Bridegroom, and share in demons:

1Corinthians 10:19 What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or  that an idol is anything?  20 No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they  sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.  21  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and  the table of demons.

And again, as with the church at Pergamum, THEY WILL BECOME WHAT THEY WORSHIP (Psalm 115) unless they turn back to Him and away from her false teaching.

Unless she and her followers repent upon reading this letter of correction and rebuke, the Lord will cast them onto a bed (2825) — it is where she and they have committed adultery. The Greek word for “bed” here means a couch used for those who are sick.

Unless they repent, they will undergo great tribulation. I believe this refers to the great tribulation at the end of things, which is described in Revelation Chapters 6 and forward. Unlike the church at Philadelphia, they will not escape the hour of testing that is coming (see Revelation 3:10).

And the Lord Jesus Christ will destroy, put to death, slay (615) Jezebel and her followers by pestilence (literally, death), just as with those who reject God in those later chapters of Revelation, during the Great Tribulation.

All of this, as with all judgments of God, are so all the churches will know that He is the one who searches hearts and minds, and they will be repaid in accordance with what they have done (Jeremiah 17:10, Romans 2:6).

Remember, they will live if they will repent (turn from their sin, and truly mourn and cry, “Against You only, O God, I have sinned!”).

There are some in Thyatira that do not cling to Jezebel’s teaching. To them, He asks nothing but that they continue to cling to Him, until He comes.

They have not known the deep things of Satan. Ahh! We see the source of Jezebel’s false teaching. Just as only the Spirit of God knows the deep things of God (1Corinthians 2:10), only the spirit of Satan knows the deep things of Satan. Jezebel and those who follow her are following Satan.

Gnosticism boasted that it was precisely by entering into the stronghold of Satan that believers could learn the limits of his power and emerge victorious. On the basis that a believer’s spirituality is unaffected by what is done with the body, Jezebel could argue that the Thyatiran Christians ought to take part in the pagan guild-feasts (even if they were connected with the deep secrets of Satan) and thus prove how powerless is evil to alter the nature of grace. (Source: New International Commentary on the New Testament.)

He who has an ear, let Him hear what the Spirit says to the churches of that day, and to today’s church!

I repeat:

This is the Lord’s great warning to today’s church! The worship of the world has entered the church at Thyatira, and it is being taught within her walls by a false teacher. It is the same today, and in many churches, no one speaks against the false teachers.

Are there Jezebels among us?

Are there false teachers who tell you it’s OK to sin because you’re saved and so you can sin and sin and sin the same sin and keep saying, “Sorry, Lord. Please forgive me . . .” ?

Are we compromising, allowing them to teach what is clearly in opposition to Jesus Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and through the letters from the Apostles throughout the New Testament?

What teaching are you listening to and thereby “eating”?

I have heard the words of a pastor who said it was God’s will for him to commit adultery with the church’s children’s director. They ran off together, confident they are still safe in the palm of the Father’s hand.

I have heard the words of a man who has fornicated (sex outside marriage) for over 30 years, and he says the Holy Spirit says it’s alright and that the Holy Spirit will show him when he should escape his situation.

Do you know the voice of the Good Shepherd and run from the voice of strangers? Or are you in bed with them? Christ asks this of you.

Where has your heart been lately, O church? He wants your heart. Have you gone after other lovers?

Where has your body been lately? Is your body a temple of the Holy Spirit? Or has another spirit entered your body through sexual immorality?

Where have your eyes been lately? Do you see what He sees, or would you not want Him to see what you look at?

Repent, turn from your sin because you know that it is against the Lord only that you have sinned. Ask Him to purify your heart so you have no desire for anything but Him and more of Him!

And for you who do not listen to the instruction of false teachers, the Lord places no other burden on you. Stand. You will see the salvation of the Lord!

JESUS’ LETTER TO PERGAMUM

Above all things, Jesus’ great concern and reason for rebuke is that if they continue, they will become what they worship . . . and it is just as true for today’s church.

[SW129] 2/21/14 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Jesus’ Letter to Pergamum”

Text: Revelation 2:12-17a

Background:

While the Apostle John is exiled on the island of Patmos (to the east of Greece), Jesus Christ gives him a revelation — an unveiling — of Himself, and what is to come.

The unveiling of Himself:

When John sees Jesus Christ as He is now — Judge, Lord of lords, and King of kings — here’s what happens:

Revelation 1:17   When I saw Him, I  fell at His feet like a dead man. And He  placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid;  I am the first and the last, 18 and the  living One; and I   was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have  the keys of death and of Hades. 19 “Therefore  write  the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place  after these things.”

What is to come:

Before He unveils what is to come, the Lord Jesus speaks to seven churches through their messengers (pastors). He is the one that walks among (5281 in the middle of) the seven golden lamp stands like candelabra (the churches).

Why does He speak to them? To encourage them, to exhort them, to correct them, to convict them regarding sin and righteousness and judgment. He commands five of the seven churches to repent.

Background on Pergamum:

The Christians there were persecuted by both Romans and Jews, as with Smyrna.

A great throne-like altar to Zeus was located in Pergamum, and the city-hill itself was shaped like a throne. He was worshiped at the time of this letter, and he is still worshiped today.

Jesus’ words to the church at Pergamum:

He begins by saying he has the sharp two-edged sword. What is that sword? The Word of God:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and  active and sharper than any two-edged  sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Why does He identify Himself this way, in His first words to this church? I see it as a preview of His call for them to repent. He is about to reprove this church.

He says He knows they dwell where Satan’s throne is. As I noted above, the altar to Zeus, king of the Greek gods, is large and prominent there.

Just as Paul referred to Satan as the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), Zeus’ kingdom was the sky and air. So indeed, it is Satan’s throne, for he is the one behind Zeus and other false gods. It is an indication that Jesus’ letter will warn this church about idol worship.

Jesus encourages the church at Pergamum in some things:

In spite of persecution, they hold fast (2902 retain, take hold of, cling to) the name of Jesus (3686 His authority, His character), and do not deny their faith in Him, despite the martyrdom of their leader, Antipas.

According to church history, Antipas was burned to death in a bronze bull-shaped altar. Again, it is a reference to Zeus, who often appeared in Grecian art astride a white bull. And again, Jesus Christ repeats that Pergamum is where Satan dwells.

Jesus had one thing against Ephesus: they had left their first love. But is it all that different for some at Pergamum?

Jesus has not just one, but a few things against some at Pergamum:

First, some hold to the teaching of Balaam. Second, some hold to the the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

The teaching of Balaam:

Balak, the king of Moab, wanted to destroy Israel, which had encamped in Moab. He called on Balaam, a diviner, to pronounce curses on Israel, but all that would come out of his mouth were blessings. God spoke to Baalam, and God made it so.

Since Balaam couldn’t curse them, he advised Balak to tempt the men of Israel with Midianite women, daughters of Moab, who were very sensual and beautiful (see Numbers 31:16).

The men took the bait (Numbers 25:1ff), and sinned against the Lord, eating things sacrificed to Baal of Peor and committing sexual immorality. The Lord struck them with a plague, stopped by the intercession of Phineas, a priest of the Lord.

In Pergamum, the false gods were the Roman emperor and Zeus, and orgies and feasts were part of emperor worship. Some of the church at Pergamum had taken the bait just as Israel did, committing adultery and eating food sacrificed to idols.

Even today, sexual immorality is part and parcel of the worship of false Gods. Cult prostitutes are used to “worship,” and orgies and feasts using food offered at the altars of these false gods are part of the “worship service.”

We become what we worship! This is the Lord’s warning to us today, from Psalm 115, and I will speak from that scripture later in this message.

The teaching of the Nicolaitans:

Jesus rebukes the church at Pergamum because some have followed the teachings of the Nicolaitans. He describes that teaching as being “the same way,” as the teaching of Balaam, meaning there is encouragement of sexual immorality and idol worship.

Why does Jesus rebuke Pergamum regarding idolatry and sexual immorality?

In all ages, God says idolatry and sexual immorality are the same as committing adultery against Him. We are worshiping something other than Him, and it is really ourselves that we worship! Moses says this of Israel:

Deuteronomy 32:16 “ They made Him jealous with strange gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
17 “ They sacrificed to demons who were not God,
To gods whom they have not known,
New gods who came lately,
Whom your fathers did not dread.
18 “You neglected  the Rock who begot you,
And forgot the God who gave you birth.

In their selfishness, they satisfied their sexual and material lusts, becoming their own gods, and the Lord was dethroned.

It is the same at Pergamum, and the same today. We spurn the One who bought us with a price and join ourselves to another (1Corinthians 6:20). And in doing so, something happens to us spiritually. We become one with what we worship. Go to Psalm 115, and see that you lose your spiritual senses when you participate in idol worship and sexual immorality. What do you become? Unable to speak the things of God, unable to see or here or smell or feel Him, unable to walk with Jesus Christ. That is His great warning to you, and to the church at Pergamum!

We spurn the One who loved us and stretched out His arms for us so sin is put to death in us.

Lust is still alive and well in some of the church in Pergamum. But Jesus Christ came so they could be set free from slavery to sin, which includes lust — not just sexual lust, but “gotta have it right now,” lust, whatever “it” is.

Some at Pergamum have not asked for the Refiner to cleanse their hearts (Acts 15:9) so their hearts are totally, completely His. So they remain infants in Christ, like some in the church at Corinth.

Can God really take away lust? In 2Peter 1:3, Peter says God grants us divine power in order to live godly lives, if we truly and intimately know Jesus Christ. The result?

2Peter 1:4  For by these [His divine power and intimately knowing Him] 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.

Paul exhorts the church at Corinth about participating in idol worship, for some of them did the same as at Pergamum:

1Corinthians 10:19 What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?  20 No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles [unbelievers] sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.  21  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and  the table of demons.

It is spiritual adultery to worship false gods, and you will lose the spiritual senses the Lord gave you when you do it.

Jesus is the Bridegroom of the church at Pergamum. Some of them have left Him and gone after orgies at the Roman feasts.

This is really important: Even though the church at Pergamum does not renounce Christ and acknowledge the emperor as god, some commit adultery against Jesus Christ by participating in emperor worship, even while they say Christ is Lord.

When some at Pergamum offer themselves to cult prostitutes at these pagan feasts, a physical oneness is created that binds them spiritually to the prostitute. They cannot be “one” with a prostitute, part of her or him, and still be “one” with Christ. That’s why Paul warns the Corinthians of the same sin (1Corinthians 6:15ff). He did not want the Corinthians to become like that which they were worshiping.

Jesus warns that He is coming quickly (5035 tachu), unless the “some” who do these things repent. The Greek word can mean “in a short time,” but it also means a sudden and unexpected appearance. I believe Jesus means the latter!

When He suddenly and unexpectedly comes, He will make war, He will battle with those who follow the ways of Baalam and the Nicolaitans.

His weapon? The sword of His mouth — the Word of God! He now sits as Judge and will judge them through His word (John 12:48, Hebrews 4:12).

Look to the description of Jesus in Revelation 19:15 —

Revelation 19:15  From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that  with it He may strike down the nations, and He will   rule them with a rod of iron; and  He treads the  wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

How does this apply to the church of today?

Are we selfish? Do we put our sexual and material desires before our desire to know God intimately? We become what we worship!

We may not literally partake of food sacrificed to idols, but what do we “eat” with our eyes, in magazines, on the Internet, and on television? Again, Satan is the prince of the power of the air, and he controls what comes into your living room every night. What is on television is a product of Hollywood, where worship of self is very visible. You will become like that which you are allowing to enter into your spirit via television and the internet and movies and magazines. It will become one with you, and you will become like it.

And what wisdom do we look to, in order to grow bigger churches?

What are we lusting after?

Certainly we lust sexually, because the divorce rate is the same in the church as in those who do not know Jesus Christ. Many hearts remain unchanged from the way they were before they confessed Christ. They have not asked the Refiner to cleanse their hearts of lust.

Many have decided that Jesus Christ cannot cleanse their hearts, or they do not want Him to do so. They like what they are doing, regardless of the consequences. The wages of sin, beloved, is death and hell, where their worm never dies and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:43-46).

Some say, “I will visit You on Sunday, Jesus, and then dally with the world the rest of the week.” They thus make themselves their own god and worship themselves and their lusts, committing adultery against Jesus Christ, regardless of our confession at an altar.

Today’s church brings the world into her midst, offering the world’s idea of entertainment instead of worship, selling trinkets and coffee in the church’s shops (Jesus called the Jews who did the same at the temple “robbers” who had made the temple their den), and demanding that pastors avoid powerful truths of God that might empty a pew or two.

Today’s church says, “Let us the world’s business practices to attract people to us. Since Jesus is not among us but is outside our doors, knocking, let us continue to do it our way.”

Oh, he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches! Repent, or else Jesus Christ will come to you suddenly and unexpectedly, and use the sword of His mouth, the word of God, to slay you.

It was not too late for Pergamum, and it is not too late for us. If you will turn back to Him, if  you will ask Him to cleanse your heart so it is pure, without mixture, and totally His, He will do it. But you must act now, because He will suddenly and unexpectedly come to judge.

This is a love letter from the Lord. Those whom He loves, He disciplines:

Hebrews 12:5  You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;  5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “ MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR  FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;
6  FOR THOSE  WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
7 It is for discipline that you endure;  God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  8 But if you are without discipline,  of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

He loved His church at Pergamum, and He loves you. Do you have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to you today?

JESUS’ LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS

[SW127] 2/7/14 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Jesus’ Letter to Ephesus”

The church at Ephesus was doing many good things. But there was a huge problem, and Jesus addresses it in a love letter to them. He is speaking to today’s church as well.

While the Apostle John is exiled on the island of Patmos (to the east of Greece), Jesus Christ gives him a revelation — an unveiling — of Himself, and what is to come.

The unveiling of Himself:

When John sees Jesus Christ as He is now — Judge, Lord of lords, and King of kings — here’s what happens:

Revelation 1:17   When I saw Him, I  fell at His feet like a dead man. And He  placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid;  I am the first and the last, 18 and the  living One; and I   was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have  the keys of death and of Hades. 19 “Therefore  write  the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place  after these things.”

What is to come:

Before He unveils what is to come, the Lord Jesus speaks to seven churches through their messengers (pastors). He is the one that walks among (5281 in the middle of) the seven golden lamp stands like candelabra (the churches).

Why does He speak to them? To encourage them, to exhort them, to correct them, to convict them regarding sin and righteousness and judgment. He calls five of the seven churches to repent. The first church is Ephesus.

The good news for Ephesus:

HE walks in the midst of the church at Ephesus. That is God’s grace to them (and in the present, His grace to us). He is there to say, “This is the way, walk in it” (see Isaiah 30:21). Because He is there, nothing is hidden from His eyes.
He sees everything so He can commend them for what they are doing well, and correct them for what they have neglected.

What they are doing well:

The are working, acting. They labor even to the point of exhaustion, and they remain constant and steadfast in the midst of trials (verse 2).

They are unable to tolerate evil men. They test apostles to see if they are false (verse 2).

In verse 3, He repeats that they remain constant and steadfast. This is to encourage them to continue to be so.  They have not grown weary in their labor.

What they have neglected:

They have left (836, departed from, sent away, left, forsaken, laid aside, omitted) their first love. This “left” is used of divorce in 1 Corinthians 7:11-13! What is the opposite of leaving? Loving.

They have left their first (4413 chief, leading man) love (26 agape, the actual love of God). As I spoke last week from John 15:16, we are to go at the Lord’s leading; He thus is our “leading man.” We do it when our hearts are filled with His agape.

Yahveh speaks of how Judah left Him, in Jeremiah 2:1-8. Let’s go there. (Please watch the video to hear this section. Look for the link on the right of my blog page.)

Do you see it?

Like Judah, the church at Ephesus has left the love of her betrothals (3618 bride-to-be). The bride-to-be left the One to whom she was engaged to be married, the leading Man, Jesus Christ. She has forsaken Him! She was devoted (2617 hesed) to Him in the beginning, doing deeds of devotion. The NT equivalent of hesed is agape.

She did deeds that indicated she loved Him, in the beginning. But how could she? She left Him. She was treacherous, Yahveh says many times through Isaiah and Jeremiah (i.e., Isaiah 24:16, Jeremiah 3 — four times in five verses). She acted deceitfully.

Because the church at Ephesus does not have God’s actual love in her, all the deeds she does are like sounding gongs and clanging cymbals (1 Corinthians 13). They are doing right things, but have forsaken their leading Man. They have lost what is essential in Jesus’ eyes, and what He commands of His followers throughout the New Testament.

Is there a cure for the church at Ephesus? If they will repent, the Lord Jesus Christ will baptize them in the Holy Spirit, so their hearts will be filled with His love, to pour it back to Him in an endless exchange, to have it flow from their bellies like torrential, rushing, flood-stage rivers!

Then they will never, ever leave their first love again. They will unite with Him in holy intimacy, loving Him with His actual agape!

It is why Jesus Christ came. God’s people cannot, in themselves, love Him as He loves them. So they cannot, in themselves, obey Him. He must pour His actual love into their hearts until it overflows (Romans 5:5). He has made the Way for us, through Jesus Christ, to be obedient ones who love Him with His love and are full of that love!

Paul prayed for the Ephesians to have God’s actual love in Ephesians 3:14-19, to be filled full of it. He would not have exhorted them if they had all been filled with God’s love. Some — I believe even some of their teachers and leaders — had not.

Why do I believe that? They had left Jesus at the altar, so to speak. They were working and acting without it, on their own lead instead of at the leading of their Chief, their leading Man! They did not ask, “Where is the Lord?” (see Jeremiah 2:6, 8), to ask Him to lead them.

They had fallen!

They had fallen from God’s grace, but there was time for them to repent.

“Remember,” He said! Call to mind what Paul warned, and what I Myself warned in Matthew 24:12 — the love of many would grow cold, because of lawlessness (sin).

He exhorts and commands them to do the works they did at first — to love their leading Man, to go out at His lead, to answer the command to be filled with His love, to stop disobeying. To go from being a fickle bride-to-be to total commitment and holy intimacy with Him!

Their works were good, but because they were not done because their hearts were not filled with the actual love of God and they did not follow the lead of Jesus Christ, they were not His works.

His works are done, beloved, when we minister to Him by loving Him with His love, and obeying Him. His works are done when we do what He calls us to do, not whatever looks like a good work to us. 

Doctrine is important, and it was good that they tested the apostles to see if they were false, and were unable to endure evil men. But they were not loving Jesus with His love, and that is His only command to us.

Everything else will flow out of loving Him with His love that has filled our hearts. If the work is not from that love because we do not yet have His actual love in our hearts, all that we do is meaningless (again, 1 Corinthians 13).

Repent (turn from what you are doing) and love Me with My love, Jesus says. If you don’t, I will remove you as part of My church — unless you repent.

Removal? Yes! They would no longer be a part of Him; they would no longer have Him walking in the midst of them; they would no longer be in His presence. Loving God with His love and all else flowing from that is THAT ESSENTIAL. It is a matter of life and death for the church.

But they were doing good things! Why should they repent? They lacked God’s love in the doing of them. They did not follow the Lord’s lead, but rather, their own. So they were disobedient. That is sin.

He closes with encouragement — He always does!

He hates the works and actions of the Nicolaitans, a sect that believed immorality was not a sin against God — they were free to sin because they said they believed in Jesus Christ. Thus, they participated in feasts and orgies, and encouraged others do to the same.
The church at Ephesus refused to believe their teaching. That was good.

If they repent from leaving the love of their betrothal, their leading Man, if they have an ear to hear (that is, heed) what the Spirit says to the churches, they will overcome (3528 conquer, prevail, get the victory).

And to those who overcome, the Lord will grant to eat from the Tree of Life in the Paradise of God. They will be with Him. If they do not heed His words, they will not.

The church at Ephesus did indeed disappear. They lost their lampstand.

There are people in today’s churches to whom Jesus would speak the same words. In every church, there is someone who is an Ephesus, someone who is a Smyrna, someone who is a Pergamum, and someone who is a Thyatira, and someone who is a Sardis, and someone who is a Philadelphia, and someone who is a Laodicea.

Are you an Ephesus? Have you forsaken the love of your betrothal? Have you left your leading Man to follow your own path? Good as your deeds may seem to you, they are disobedience. We go at His lead, not ours. You must turn back to Him, and ask the Father to give you the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).

Leaders of denominations, have you turned your denomination into an Ephesus?
Have you led others to forsake the love of their betrothal? Have you all left your leading Man to follow your own path? Good as your deeds may seem to you, they are disobedience. We go at His lead, not ours. You must turn back to Him, and ask the Father to give you all the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).

Do not delay. Time is short. We must work God’s works in these last days!

MY SPECTACULAR GOD

My God is spectacular!!! When we make Him into our own, ordinary image, we make Him appear to be ordinary, beloved!

[SW117] 11/30/2013 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2013
“My Spectacular God”

Scriptures:

Psalm 24
Hebrews 13:8
John 14:12

My spectacular God,
YHWH, the I AM,
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

I do not need to defend my spectacular God
but He has asked me to speak to His church,
for many are uncomfortable with my spectacular God!

Spectacular:

Of or like a spectacle (dramatic revelation); impressive.
grand, great, magnificent

His spectacular works, from the beginning:

Creation — He speaks, and it must come to pass!

Abraham –He gives a child to 100-year-old Abraham and his 90-year-old always-barren wife. It is for the redemption of the world, because from Isaac’s line, Jesus Christ came!

Sodom and Gomorrah — He judges sin spectacularly, for He is holy and just.

Exodus — He judges all the gods of Egypt via signs and wonders, a nation goes forth from captivity, pillars of fire and cloud guiding and protecting them, waters are miraculously parted. Why?

To Pharaoh, He says:

Exodus 9:14 “For this time I will send all My plagues  on you and your servants and your people, so that  you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth.  15 “For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth.  16 “But, indeed,  for this reason I have allowed you to  remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.

The purpose of these spectacular signs and wonders? Revelation of His nature, His power (Hebrew koakh, Greek dunamis), and that He is the only true God and completely different than anything man creates as an object of worship.

More of my spectacular God:

–Jehoshaphat’s enemies destroy themselves before his army can go into battle because God sets an ambush and confuses them. Why? Worship and obedience by Judah.

–Hezekiah sees 185,000 Assyrians destroyed (Isaiah 37:36) without Judah lifting a finger.

–The giving of His Son
God comes down to deliver us from sin —
To forgive past sins,
and free us from slavery to sin!
— Healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, casting out demons, the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, and the poor in spirit have the gospel — the truth — preached to them!

–The fullness of His Spirit
When my spectacular God comes in,
can it be anything but a spectacular experience?

–The entire change of heart

–His fruit (character and nature) in human beings

Jesus Christ and the Father question the church: Why are you uncomfortable with My power, My spectacular ways? Through them, the world is to know that I alone am God!

We downplay His power and His spectacular ways.
We do not even like to use the word “power!”
But God uses it,
Jesus Christ uses it, too, beloved.
So do Spirit-filled Christians!

Acts 6:8   And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great  wonders and  signs among the people.

Romans 15:19 in the power of   signs and wonders,  in the power of the Spirit; so that  from Jerusalem and round about as  far as Illyricum I have  fully preached the gospel of Christ.

1Corinthians 2:4 and my  message and my preaching were  not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of  the Spirit and of power,  5 so that your faith would not  rest on the wisdom of men, but on  the power of God.

O Church, you water down the Word of God:

–Don’t expect anything spectacular when you are saved

–Don’t expect anything spectacular when you are filled with the Holy Spirit

–Don’t expect to be set free from slavery to sin; you will always rebel against God, you will always be selfish.

–”Oh, I’m no saint!” Why not? God says your heart can be completely His, and commands that you be holy as He is holy! We think we sound humble, but such words offend God and insult and grieve and quench His Spirit, beloved.

Hebrews 10:26   For if we go on  sinning willfully after receiving  the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  27 but a terrifying expectation of  judgment and  THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.

Hebrews 10:29  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve  who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean  the blood of the covenant  by which he was sanctified, and has  insulted the Spirit of grace?

Why do we do these things?

The Lord shows me that the primary reason is that many of us are still natural —
we have not received the Holy Spirit.

1Corinthians 2:14   But  a  natural man  does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are  foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually  appraised.

If we had received His Holy Spirit,
we’d welcome His spectacular-ness.
We’d understand its purpose is that the world will know
there is none like Him in all the earth.

His spectacular ways are inextricably linked
to His holy character, His purity —
He commanded Israel to walk like Him,
to have His holy character.
And He commands of us.

If we had received His Holy Spirit,
we’d hate sin just like He does.
And He would give us power over it.

The second reason we are uncomfortable with God’s spectacular-ness
is that when He displays it,
we come face-to-face with His holy character,
and we see our sinfulness,
just as Isaiah did (Isaiah 6).

But many want to continue in their sin
and at the same time, be saved from hell.

O church, in doing so, you attempt to use God for your own purposes,
rather than allowing Him to bring you into His.

Since we love our sin,
we want to believe God loves that we continue rebelling against Him,
after we receive Jesus.
Agreeing with us for the sake of filled pews,
our teachers cry, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.

We thus redefine God,
making Him into our own image.
Since we are not spectacular or powerful or holy,
but ordinary,
the god we make Him into is ordinary.

We think we have made Him a God we can handle,
a God under our control.
We deceive ourselves!

He remains a spectacular God in many other parts of the world!
He reveals His power in Africa, Asia, South America —
even cold and hardened Europe,
even in Islam-controlled countries!

Will you throw to the moles and bats the god you’ve made Him into,
and fall on your face before Him?

Beloved!

Lift up your heads!  Let the King of glory come in! (Psalm 24:7-10)

His glory! In you!

My spectacular God will do spectacular things in you,
and He will do spectacular things through you,
so the world may know that He is God, the I AM!