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!

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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!

JOY INEXPRESSIBLE!

[SW137] 04/19/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014

“Joy Inexpressible!”

He is risen! (He is risen, indeed!) We do not physically see Jesus Christ, but He has revealed Himself to us, and He and the Father have come to dwell in us!

Joy is in the hearts of all who believe! And that joy began a long time before Christ rose from the dead . . .

Imagine the joy of Moses, when he received the creation story from God, and heard that the Enemy of our souls would be defeated:

Genesis 3:14 The LORD God said to the serpent . . .
    15 And I will put enmity
    Between you and the woman,
    And between your seed and her seed;
     He shall  bruise you on the head,
    And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

Imagine his joy as he prophesied of a coming prophet who would be like him, used by the Lord to set free the captives —

Deuteronomy 18:15   “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.”

Imagine the joy of David, who in the Spirit calls the Messiah “Lord, ” and speaks of His victory —

Psalms 110:1  The LORD says to my Lord:
        “ Sit at My right hand
        Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
(also see Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:42-45)

And even from the beginning of the Psalms, David speaks what he hears from the Lord in the Spirit, prophesying about the Son of God:

Psalms 2:6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
    Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

    12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry
    and you be destroyed in your way,
    or his wrath can flare up in a moment.
    Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Imagine the joy of Isaiah, when the Lord spoke through him and he prophesied of the Messiah —

Isaiah 9:2   The people who walk in darkness
    Will see a great light;
    Those who live in a dark land,
    The light will shine on them.
    4 For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders . . .
    6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
    And the government will rest on His shoulders;
    And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor,  Mighty God,
    Eternal  Father, Prince of  Peace.
    7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace . . .

And —

Isaiah 53:5    But he was pierced for our transgressions,
        he was crushed for our iniquities;
        the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
        and by his wounds we are healed.
        11  After the suffering of his soul,
        he will see the light[of life] and be satisfied;
        by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
        and he will bear their iniquities.

Imagine the joy of Jeremiah, when the Lord spoke through Jeremiah, and he gladly prophesied —

Jeremiah 23:5   “Behold, the  days are coming,” declares the LORD,
    “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
    And He will reign as king and  act wisely
    And  do justice and righteousness in the land.
    6 “In His days Judah will be saved, and  Israel will dwell securely;
    And this is His name by which He will be called,
    ‘The  LORD our righteousness.’”

And —

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

But they did not yet fully see how it would come to pass, nor did they see the Messiah face-to-face —

Jesus says:

Matthew 13:16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 “For truly I say to you that  many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

And the Apostle Peter says:

1Peter 1:10  As to this salvation, the prophets who  prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries,  11 seeking to know what person or time  the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.  12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who  preached the gospel to you by  the Holy Spirit sent from heaven — things into which  angels long to look.

Imagine the joy of Mary, when Jesus spoke to her in the garden at the tomb —

John 20:15 Jesus  said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she  said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”  16 Jesus  said to her, “Mary!” She turned and  said to Him in  Hebrew, “ Rabboni!” (which means,Teacher).  17 Jesus  said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to  My brethren and say to them, ‘I  ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 18  Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.

Imagine the joy of the disciples, when Jesus came to them —

John 20:19   So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for  fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and  said to them, “ Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this,  He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then  rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  21 So Jesus said to them again, “ Peace be with you;  as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

Imagine the joy of the Apostle Paul, who saw the risen Lord on the road to Damascus and in later visions —

Romans 1:1    Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle,  set apart for  the gospel of God,  2 which He  promised beforehand through His  prophets in the holy Scriptures,  3 concerning His Son, who was born  of a  descendant of David  according to the flesh,  4 who was declared  the Son of God with power  by the resurrection from the dead, according to the  Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord . . .  

And imagine the joy in everyone who even this day confesses that they are sinners in need of Jesus Christ’s forgiveness and cleansing, and receives all of what the cross represents —

1Peter 1:6  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now  for a little while,  if necessary, you have been distressed by  various  trials . . . 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and  full of glory,  9 obtaining as  the outcome of your faith the salvation of  your souls.

He is risen, indeed, and He is alive today! He reveals Himself to those who believe, who love and therefore obey:

John 14:21 “ He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

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

Oh, it is indeed joy beyond anything we can think or imagine, when God the Father and God the Son enter a human heart to dwell there, by the Holy Spirit! There are no words sufficient to describe it!

Even though we have not seen Him in the flesh, as did Mary and the disciples, we see Him and FEEL HIM in our hearts! His joy is in us, His peace is in us! His Spirit makes us cry out, “Abba, Father,” because we know beyond any doubt that Christ has risen and God has adopted us as His own and has become our Father!

Oh, beloved, do you have this joy indescribable? Do you know beyond any doubt that Christ has risen and you are now a child of God? Have you had the witness of the Spirit, the “Abba, Father!” rising up in your heart, filling you with joy?

The Lord extends His grace to you today.  On the day we celebrate His resurrection from the dead, He offers you resurrection, if you will turn to Him:

1Peter 2:21 For  you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,  22 WHO  COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;  

1Peter 2:23  and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;  24 and He Himself  bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to  sin and live to righteousness; for  by His wounds you were  healed.  25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. 

JESUS’ LETTER TO LAODICEA

Oh, the grace of God, that His Son would come and speak to the church at Laodicea to admonish and correct, so they may become His witnesses!

[SW133] 03/21/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Jesus’ Letter to Laodicea”

Text: Revelation 3:14-22

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 that are 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 Laodicea:

The city of Laodicea was known as an extremely wealthy city — so wealthy that even after an earthquake hit in A.D. 60, they rebuilt the city without financial assistance from Rome.

Its wealth came from the textile industry. But it was also known for its medical school, where a salve made of spice nard was developed for treatment of the eyes and ears.

Laodicea lacked a water supply. Its water source was six miles north, delivered to them through a series of stone pipes (another sign of Laodicea’s wealth). But because of the miles the water traveled, it was lukewarm by the time it reached Laodicea.

Jesus’ words to Laodicea

Jesus identifies Himself as:

— the Amen (281 truth, firm, trustworthy),

— the faithful and true Witness (4103/228 trustworthy, true as in true to His nature, and 3144 judicial witness in view here).

He also identifies Himself as being the Beginning (746 the Origin) of the creation of God. He was with God in the beginning, before anything was created, and it was by Him that it was created (see John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16ff, Hebrews 1:2, and elsewhere).

In that passage in Colossians 1, Paul goes on to say that Jesus is the Head of the church. But in the church at Laodicea, its wealth has gone to its head! Praise God that He comes to such a church with righteous correction!

Jesus Christ has no good things to say about this church. They do not possess His character, His nature, His attributes. Yet it is God’s will that we possess them, and He is ready and waiting for us to ask Him to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 11:13)!

In Verse 15, Jesus gets right to the point. The Laodicean church is neither cold nor hot toward Him. They are lukewarm, like their water.

He wishes they were cold or hot:

— If they are cold, they do not claim His name. Because they do not claim to be His, their sins cannot harm or profane His name, His reputation.

— If they are hot, they are on fire for God, baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire, zealous to do God’s works, working out their salvation with fear and trembling, knowing it is God who is at work in them (Philippians 2:12-13).  Those who are hot adorn His reputation and live His gospel. They walk in the same manner as He walked (1John 2:6), and thus bring Him glory.

But the Laodiceans are lukewarm. They are casual, mediocre, with one foot in the worldly riches they enjoy and one foot in Christianity. They profane His name:

halal  (first letter a “het”); properly, to bore into so as to cause a wound, to break one’s word, to use a wedge to create an open wound, to defile, to pollute, to prostitute.

They are not faithful and true, but disobey Him by chasing after riches. He knows where their hearts are (Matthew 6:19-21):

Matthew 6:19   “ Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves  treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for  where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Because they are lukewarm, He will vomit them out of His mouth (Verse 16), violently expelling them out of Himself so they are no longer in Him — unless they repent.

They do not trust in the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Origin of creation. What do they trust in? Verse 17 says it: their worldly wealth. They are rich, they have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.

But the faithful and true Witness tells them they are:

— Wretched (5005 as in bearing a weight, and they are being weighed in His balance), despite their lack of financial burdens. The handwriting is on the wall. They have been weighed in the balance, and have been found wanting (Daniel 5:27).

— Miserable (1652 pitiable, needing mercy), despite their self-assurance.

— Poor (4434 one who crouches and cowers one who is beggarly, understanding their lack), despite their material wealth.

— Blind (spiritually), for they do not see their spiritual poverty, despite their famous eye salve, AND

— Naked (not clothed with Christ nor with readiness, with their lamps lit by the oil of the Holy Spirit), despite their renowned textile industry.

What do they need? He advises them to seek His riches (see Malachi 3:2-3)

First, Gold refined by fire — the Refiner requires it! They must be purified, and then they will possess His riches, the Holy Spirit. Their monetary wealth simply masks their spiritual poverty.

Second, white garments so they may be clothed and the shame of their nakedness not be revealed — it is a picture of those whose sin has been washed away and whose hearts have been purified. The Launderer requires it! Their beautiful textiles cannot cover their shame. They must be clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27), and clothed with power from on high:

Luke 24:49 “And behold,  I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but  you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Third, eye salve to anoint their eyes so they may see — Not the eye salve they manufacture, but the salve that Jesus Christ supplies, by the Holy Spirit, to give them a revelation of Him and to let them see with His eyes!

Those who He loves (5368 phileo has affection toward), He disciplines (Hebrews 12:4-6). He does not use agapao here — God’s actual love, the same love with which the Father loves the Son — as He did with the church at Philadelphia. It is a lesser love than agapao, but because He has affection toward them, He calls them to repent, saying,

“Therefore (because of your spiritual condition), be zealous (have ardoer, burn with holy passion) and repent (turn away from your riches and say, “Against You only, O God, have I sinned!” Turn away from your love of money, and love Him!

This church’s condition is perilous, because He has nothing good to say about them AND He is not IN the church at Laodicea. He is not present with them. He is outside, knocking. How ironic — the One who opens doors faces hearts shut to Him!

The painting, The Light of the World (1853–54) is an allegorical painting by William Holman Hunt representing the figure of Jesus preparing to knock on an overgrown and long-unopened door, illustrating Revelation 3:20 According to Hunt: “I painted the picture with what I thought, unworthy though I was, to be by Divine command, and not simply as a good Subject.” The door in the painting has no handle, and can therefore be opened only from the inside, representing “the obstinately shut mind”. Hunt, 50 years after painting it, felt he had to explain the symbolism. (Wikipedia)

He doesn’t expect the church to open its doors to Him, because He speaks to individuals — “if anyone hears My voice . . .” If anyone does, He will come into him. He will enter them, He will dwell in them. And they will have holy intimacy with Him— He will feed them with His Word and His presence, and they will feed Him with worship and ministry to Him, in an endless, joyous exchange!

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches!

For today’s church

The Lord’s words sting. But remember, He disciplines those whom He loves.

Many churches in developed countries, and particularly in the U.S., are materially wealthy. They are rich and have become wealthy, and are in need of nothing.

Many churches who preach hyper-grace* and prosperity are materially wealthy, tickling the ears of their attendees:

2Timothy 4:3 For  the time will come when they will not endure  sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,  4 and  will turn away their ears from the truth and  will turn aside to myths.

Thus, many of these same churches are, like Laodicea, in a perilous condition. They are lukewarm. They remain slaves to sin. Thus, they profane the reputation of God the Father and God the Son by sinning against God, boring through Him so as to wound, driving a wedge into Him with a sledgehammer.

They are:

— Wretched (5005 as in bearing a weight, and they are being weighed in His balance), despite their lack of financial burdens. The handwriting is on the wall. They have been weighed in the balance, and have been found wanting (Daniel 5:27).

— Miserable (1652 pitiable, needing mercy), despite their self-assurance.

— Poor (4434 one who crouches and cowers one who is beggarly, understanding their lack), despite their material wealth.

— Blind (spiritually), for they do not see their spiritual poverty, despite their famous eye salve, AND

— Naked (not clothed with Christ nor with readiness, with their lamps lit by the oil of the Holy Spirit), despite their renowned textile industry.

Go quickly to the Refiner, O lukewarm ones! He will refine you, cleanse you, and you will discover HIS riches — true life in Him and freedom from slavery to sin! He will clothe you in white and purify your heart! His Spirit will give you a new heart, one that is on fire for Him!

Do you hear Him knocking? Open the door, repent, be baptized in the Holy Spirit, be zealous, full of ardor and holy passion for Him and for His reputation!

Then go forth, clothed with power from on high, as you ought to be, as it is necessary to be, as you must be, as you are responsible to be, as you are indebted to Christ to be, for you owe Him! You were bought with a price and are not your own (1Corinthians 6:19)!

* The term hyper-grace has been used to describe a new wave of teaching that emphasizes the grace of God to the exclusion of other vital teachings such as repentance and confession of sin. Hyper-grace teachers maintain that all sin, past, present, and future, has already been forgiven, so there is no need for a believer to ever confess it. The conclusion of hyper-grace teaching is that we are not bound by Jesus’ teaching, even as we are not under the Law; that believers are not responsible for their sin; and that anyone who disagrees is a pharisaical legalist. In short, hyper-grace teachers “pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality” (Jude 1:4).

THE LIGHT HAS COME

[SW120] 12/21/2013 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2013
“The Light Has Come”

The Light has come! It is a He! Come out of your darkness and into the Light which is Jesus Christ!

Isaiah 9:1    But there will be no more  gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He  treated the  land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the  Gentiles.  2   The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.

Why was it dark? Israel had divided into two kingdoms: the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom. In the north, King Jeroboam had golden calves made, and the people worshiped them instead of the God of heaven, the only true God, the God over every other God, the One who makes Himself evident in all He has created.

Because of their rebellion against God, He brought Assyria upon them to overtake them and take them into exile, scattering them around the known world so they would not be able to reassemble into a people. It was a dark and gloomy time, and the Assyrians were very cruel to their captives. Zebulun and Naphtali, regions of Northern Israel, were the first to be taken. After Assyria removed a people from their land, they “seeded” it with those who followed other gods. And so, it became a land of the Gentiles, of those who do not believe in God.

It is the same today. We have rejected the God who made us, we have followed the gods of this world rather than the one true God who makes Himself evident in all of creation, and He has allowed our Enemy, Satan, to have his way, just as the King of Assyria had his way with Northern Israel.

But God’s purpose in all of this was redemption. His purpose is always redemption! Read again verse 1! He says that He shall make this rejected land, these rejected people, glorious! It is the same today. How?
A great light, and those two words together mean that it is a light that has never been seen before. It is not a light man can create, it is not the light of the sun or the light of the moon. It is a never-before-seen, amazing, restorative light that will bring people out of their darkness!

He will break their yoke, the one cruelly applied by Assyria. He will break the rod and staff with which they have been beaten.

And the light is a He! This is the true meaning of Christmas. The Light is a He!

6 For a  child will be born to us, a  son will be given to us;
And the  government will  rest  on His shoulders;
And His name will be called  Wonderful Counselor,  Mighty God,
Eternal  Father, Prince of  Peace.
7 There will be  no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the  throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with  justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

A child is this Light! A Son is this Light! A Son, a one and only Son, a monogenes (Greek), not a created being but One who was with the Father from before time began. A Son who is Part of the Father! He will establish His kingdom, and He is full of wonders, Counselor, Mighty God (His very Son, a part of Him), Eternal Father in that many children would come to the Father through Him, and the Prince of Peace, ruling over it. What good news to those who have had no peace, have been under Assyrian rule, and today, under the rule of Satan. The Prince of Peace!
This Light is all these things. This Light is a He. This light is Jesus Christ:

John 1:4  In Him was life, and the life was  the Light of men.  5  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not  comprehend it . . . 9   There was  the true Light  which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.  10 He was in the world, and  the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
He enlightens every man. That means He shines on them. Light comes from Him and shines on them. He is the One who breaks the yoke. He is the One who lifts the burden. He is the One who breaks the rod and the staff. This One was sent so that, if we agree with God that we have rebelled against Him, and agree that this One is who He says He is — Jesus Christ, the Son of God — then God will receive us back to Himself, and we will come into the Light!

John 8:12   Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “ I am the Light of the world;  he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

He who follows Christ will have the light of zoe (Greek), life as God has it, eternal life here and now! We will carry this Light in us. He will dwell in us.

Jesus says to all those who follow Him (called the “church”):

Matthew 5:14   “You are  the light of the world. A city set on a  hill cannot be hidden; 15  nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a  basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”

When Jesus says we are to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8), that is a noun. We tend to think of witnessing, that is, telling how He has worked in us. That’s fine, but we are to be the noun! We are to be lights who carry His Light. People are to see His light in us!
We are to be cities on hills. Think of a city at night, situated on a hill, with all the land flat around it. That city cannot be hidden. Our light is to be like that. It is to shine on everyone in the room, just as the Light brought His light and shined it onto everyone when He walked the earth.

But what has happened? Why is it that like David Wilkerson, I go into many churches and there is no light at all? They may be big, but they are completely dark, listening to ear-tickling messages that tell them it’s OK to sin (if sin is mentioned at all). Why do people follow these ministries of darkness?

John 3:19 “This is the judgment, that  the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for  their deeds were evil. 20 “ For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”

They run from the true Light because they want to continue in their sin. Beloved, sin separates us from God. We cannot be the Light we have been called to be if we have darkness in us! He knocks on the door of such churches, because they have not allowed Him inside. They think they are rich, but they are naked and blind and poor and miserable!

John 3:21“But he who  practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

If we will come into the Light, then we will become Lights. And there is no way we can be glowing with the fire of God unless God is in us!

Jesus came to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire, so that there is a great fire inside us, one that sends a glow out to everyone around, just as faces glow when they stand next to a bonfire. He wants you to have a bonfire in you, O church!
But you must come into the Light!

He is here to redeem you today, to reconcile you to God! Will you agree with Him that you are rebelling against Him? He will come in and cleanse your heart and purify you and fill you with His love and His life and His presence and His nature, and there will be no doubt, in the mind of any person, that you have been with God and that God is real. This is the purpose of the church. We have failed, we have made God small and Jesus weak so we can make Him relevant to the world. Jesus is not weak! He is Almighty God! He did not think like us or act like us when He was on this earth. But if we let Him come in and start a bonfire in us, we will think and act like Him! Hallelujah (praise God)! O church, hear and cry out to God, and He will hear and redeem you and make you a Light!

LOSING HEART

2Corinthians 4:1   Therefore, since we have this  ministry, as we  received mercy, we do not lose heart,  2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Losing heart. It means to fail in heart, to become faint, in the original Greek. And it is a common affliction of those who have been sent by God to call the church back to Him. Back to Him? Yes. We have adopted man’s ways to try to attract people to Jesus, and we have advertised God as a Blesser without the required obedience. He does bless — His eyes move to and fro around the earth to strongly support . . . who? Those whose hearts are completely His, beloved. There’s where the rubber meets the road.

Why do the hearts of His messengers fail? Opposition! The calls of these men were not, “go and teach the power of positive thinking” or “preach only the attractive words Christ spoke” or “talk about the positive promises of God while forgetting to mention His warnings.” I tell you the truth — even today, human hearts that have not yet been purified and filled with God’s actual love will react to the words of God just as in Isaiah’s and Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s day.

These fearless men of God were to go and speak the truth to rebellious people whose hearts were not entirely God’s. At His servants’ preaching, a very small number heard and turned back to God. But the Lord warned His servants the prophets that the words He gave them to speak would make most hearts insensitive, fat. He said their ears would become dull, heavy. He warned them that His people’s eyes would become even more dim, besmeared. He commanded them to keep speaking, lest the people see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return to God and be healed. He told Isaiah to speak to His people the very words I’ve just written. Look it up in Isaiah 6.

It doesn’t sound like a very positive assignment from God. It doesn’t sound like what is being preached from most of our country’s largest and most successful churches. Church historians say that Isaiah was sawed in half for His obedience to the Lord’s command to speak. Thus the hearts of God’s people were revealed. They could not see or hear or sense in their hearts that Isaiah spoke the very words of God. So they killed him.

Even so, today the church reveals her heart when she actively opposes and/or coldly listens to the message of repentance toward God and single-minded seeking to be filled with His Spirit, in a moment of time, after salvation and water baptism. And so the church continues with internal conflicts between members, favoritism, churches splitting apart over the color of carpeting, and worse — sins of pornography and adultery and even pedophilia. As a pastor, I have seen these things, even among lay leaders and preachers, dear ones.

Woe! Alas! It is the cry of the ones the Lord sends to speak to His people. We aren’t glad to say what we must say. But we say it because God commands us, and we know there will be a few who are convicted by the Holy Spirit and turn back to the Lord. God’s heart is for them to turn — His purpose is to redeem His people, not judge and destroy them. But they will self-destruct if they do not turn. God shows us what will happen. We see it and weep.

Woe! Alas! It is an expression of grief, pity, concern. And in our grief, it is easy to lose heart. Our hearts become so broken for God’s people and so tired of rejection that we really want to give up and simply let them go their own way. But we cannot — we are compelled to speak, by the very love of God that has been poured out in our hearts. We want them to be reconciled to God, for He has given us His heart. We feel what He feels.

You may say I’m crazy, foolish, lacking common sense and human reason, as the Corinthians accused Paul:

2Corinthians 12:11   I have become  foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for  in no respect was I inferior to the  most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody.

They said Paul was crazy because he was compelled by the love of God to speak the truth — to call the church at Corinth to be reconciled to God (2Corinthians 5:20), to warn them not to receive the grace of God in vain (2Corinthians 6:1), so that they ultimately appear before Him empty-handed (that’s the original Greek meaning of  “in vain”). Woe! Alas!

It is that way with Jeff and me — and we surely are nobodies by the world’s and the church’s measurements. I am not sure what forum the Lord will use, in continuing to have us speak. Jeff and I have suspended the video ministry because we believe this is a flesh-and-blood gospel. We need to be physically in contact with those to whom we speak, so that by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, some might catch a glimpse of Jesus Christ and recognize that we are sent by God to turn them back to Him. I will continue to pour out the words God gives me in my blog. And we will continue to pray for the church to return to God.