WAKE UP!

[SW157] 10/17/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Wake Up!”

Today, the Lord asks us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2Corinthians 13:15)!

Text: John 5:24-29
Judgment coming!
— Good, to resurrection of life
— Evil, to resurrection of judgment

How are you walking? (Ephesians 5:1ff)
— In love (His love), verses 1-2?
— Did you give yourself up? It’s the only way to walk in His love!
— Or in evil (verses 3-6)?
— Do you walk as a child of the light (verse 8)?
— Are  you living proof of what pleases God (verse 10)?
— Or are you sleep-walking? Wake up! (verse 14)
— Walk wise (v. 15)
— Redeem the time (v. 16)
— Be filled with the Spirit (v. 17-18). It is the Lord’s will!

If  you do these things, you will not be subject to the judgment Jesus spoke of.

The fruit? You will subject yourself to others, in the fear of Christ (v. 21):
— No more demanding my rights
— No more power plays
— No more one-upmanship
— No more willful disobedience of God, which is sin
— 1 John 2:6 and 4:17

Please go to the link to my video sermon on Youtube to see and hear what the Lord has to say about these things.

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HE LONGS TO BE GRACIOUS

[SW151] 08/22/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“He Longs To Be Gracious”

He longs to be gracious . . . He waits for you to turn to Him and to adhere yourself to Him, because He will surely receive you back to Himself, if you do it!

Text: Isaiah 30

Verse 18 — He longs to be gracious to you. I praise Him, because it is His very nature and character to be gracious and compassionate. But it is also His very character to be just and righteous. You will see all of these characteristics in this message.

He longs to be gracious to you. That means there must be times when He has to withhold His grace for some just and righteous reason, doesn’t it?

He waits on high — emphasizing His position versus yours, and His authority and power over everything that exists. But it also indicates distance between God and His people.

What does He wait on high to do? Have compassion. That means He had to withhold His compassion for some just and righteous reason, doesn’t it? The word is racham (7355), and the root has to do with birth. Compassion comes from the depths of His being.

It is as with Paul to the Galatians (Galatians 4:19); he again travailed as in a woman in labor, so that Christ would be formed in them. That means Christ wasn’t yet formed in them, doesn’t it, or that somehow they had lost their connection to Christ?

Here’s the question, then: Why did the Lord withhold His grace and compassion from Judah? Why does He withhold it from much of today’s church?

The answer is in Isaiah 30:1 and forward:

Verse 1 — Woe to the rebellious children! His children rebelled against Him. How? They execute a plan (literally, “weave a covering web”). But it is not His plan. They make an alliance, but it is not of His Spirit. They do not seek His counsel, but devise their own plans.

Verse 2 — We rebel when we turn to the world. Egypt is not only a country to whom Judah would eventually turn for protection from Babylon, but it is also an example for us.

For the church, Egypt represents the natural, turning to the ways of the world to try to keep the church-at-large from becoming extinct.

It is using management techniques, psychology, psychiatry, and sociology to try to keep the pews filled, trying to be an “attractional” church that entertains, a church where there is no mention of sin or repentance because it might make people feel bad about themselves.

Just as Nebuchadnezzar routed Egypt and destroyed the Jews who sought shelter there, Satan will also destroy those of us who seek the world’s wisdom and power to overcome him, instead of God’s wisdom and power. I am telling you the truth.

Verse 9 — For this is a rebellious people, false (literally, “lying”) sons, who refuse to listen to the instruction of the Lord.
That is what it is to rebel. We turn to the world and listen to its instruction. We seek its protection from Satan’s plan to destroy the church, instead of turning to the Lord.

Verse 10 — Much of the church, just as Judah in Isaiah’s day, does not want to hear true words from the seers (prophets) the Lord sends to warn them.

[NOTE: The idea that a person can hear from the Lord is totally rejected in most seminaries and by many pastors and their overseers, and thus, it is also rejected by the congregations. So in a way, it is even worse now than in Isaiah’s day, when men still believed prophets heard from God.]

Judah agreed that God sends men and women to warn them. They just didn’t want to hear it.

So they command prophets not to see visions. They command them not to prophesy what is right. “Speak to us pleasant words (literally “smooth things”),” ear-tickling words. Prophesy what we want to hear, even though it will keep us in our self-made deception.

And many pastors and their overseers oblige the people. The Lord is grieved.

Judah (and many churches today) would say — Get out of the way! We’re on the broad path that leads to destruction. Don’t bother us. Turn aside.

We don’t want to hear any more about the Holy One of Israel. We don’t want to hear that HE is righteous and just, and that WE are not.

We don’t want to hear that WE have deserted the HIM, the One who is totally separated from the world, who says through His prophets that WE are not separated from the world, but SHOULD BE.

We don’t want to hear that we are wrong to put our trust in the world instead of Him.

Verse 12 & 14 — And so the Lord says (and I paraphrase), “Since you have rejected Me, I will let you be broken shattered, broken to pieces.”

Verse 15 — “I told you through my prophets that you would be saved by repenting and resting, trusting and relying on Me. But you were not willing.”

Verse 18 — “Therefore, because you have not trusted Me but have rebelled against me by relying on man and refusing to listen to those I send you, I am in the position of longing to be gracious to you.”

“I am not now gracious to you. I have had to withdraw My grace because of your rebellion. I long, I wait from on high, since you do not want to hear My words, I have withdrawn from you.”

Verse 19 — This was a cause for weeping among the people of Judah. It should be a cause for weeping among the people of the church of today.

But what will happen when you cry out in repentance to Him? HE WILL SURELY BE GRACIOUS TO YOU.

What will happen when He hears the sound of your cry of repentance? HE WILL ANSWER YOU.

He longs to be gracious. The turning point is your repentance. If you cry out —

Verse 20 — He will no longer hide Himself from you.
Your eyes will BEHOLD HIM.

Verse 21 — Your ears will HEAR HIS INSTRUCTION

Verse 22 — You will contaminate and call unclean (“not of God”) all the false things you trusted in.

Verse 23 — THEN He will bring the rain of His Spirit that will make you fruitful.

Verse 26 — THEN He will bind up the fracture in your relationship with Him and heal the bruise He has inflicted on you because of your rebellion against Him.

God wouldn’t do that, would He?

Maybe that’s just for the Old Testament. We’re under grace now. But so was Judah, before they rebelled, beloved!

And in Hebrews 12:8 the Spirit-inspired author tells us that we are bastards and not children of God if we are not disciplined by the Lord.

Here is His grace to the errant, rebellious church — He will bind you up, He will heal you, if you will return to Him. Hallelujah!

He withholds His grace and compassion from you until you:
RETURN
REPENT
DO ACTS IN KEEPING WITH REPENTANCE (verse 22)

And then He will:
RECEIVE YOU BACK
RECREATE YOU
REVIVE YOU

When you cry out in repentance:
HE HEARS
HE ANSWERS
YOUR EYES BEHOLD HIM
YOU HEAR AND HEED HIS INSTRUCTION
YOU THROW AWAY UNCLEAN THINGS THAT YOU HAVE RELIED ON (ACTS IN KEEPING WITH REPENTANCE)

And this yields:
FRUITFULNESS
HEALING

But many would say that sin (willful rebellion against God) is no longer an issue to the Lord, and there is no way we can stop willfully rebelling, but that because of Jesus Christ, God forgives all willful rebellion — past, present and future. That is flat-out false teaching, beloved. It contradicts the Bible.

What does Paul mean in Romans 6:1-2?

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?  2  May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

What does he mean in Galatians 5:24?

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

What does Peter mean in 1 Peter 4:1-2?

1Peter 4:1   Therefore, since  Christ has  suffered in the flesh,  arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because  he who has  suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,  2  so as to live  the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the  will of God.

What does Jesus mean in John 8:31-36?

John 8:31   So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly  disciples of Mine; 32 and  you will know the truth, and  the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”34   Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 “ The slave does not remain in the house forever;  the son does remain forever. 36 “So if the Son  makes you free, you will be free indeed. He does what only God can do — He sets us free from slavery to sin.

This freedom from slavery to sin was very costly — it cost the Father the Cross, the sacrifice of His Son’s physical body on it. Dare we say He cannot set free from slavery to sin? I do not dare!

I know you will cite other passages that seem to indicate we cannot help but willfully rebel. But you cannot cite them only, and ignore these.

Beloved, the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and to have compassion on you. Return to Him now. Cry out now, and call unclean the things that you have trusted in. Trust in God alone. He will hear and answer!

CONVICTION OF SIN

[SW140] 05/17/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church —  Conviction of Sin”

Beloved, unless we publicly convict church members regarding their sin, we will not have victory against Satan, and the Lord will not rebuild 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 — Intercession

Chapter 2 — Christ’s provision

Chapters 2 and 3 — His Inspiration and Strength

Chapter 4 — Spiritual Warfare

Chapter 5 — Conviction of sin

Chapter 6 — Discernment

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance

Chapter 10 — Consecration

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

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! But we cannot blame Satan for all that has caused the church to become broken down. Lust is at the root of all sin (see James 1:14-15).

What sent Judah into exile? The same thing that sent Samaria into exile — sin.

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.

Didn’t their leaders warn them about sin, and remind them of the commandments of the Lord? They did not, but were more interested in gaining the praise of the world and the people than in gaining the praise of their God:

Lamentations 2:14 Your  prophets have seen for you
    False and foolish visions;
    And they have not  exposed your iniquity
    So as to restore you from captivity,
    But they have  seen for you false and misleading oracles.

Review of Nehemiah 1-4

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

The Enemy insulted, threatened and mocked the Jews, because he heard they were rebuilding and repairing (the original Hebrew word means “healing”). He tried to plant doubt and fear in the hearts of the rebuilders. But Nehemiah and others prayed, the people were armed for defense and watchmen were appointed, and the Enemy’s plans were foiled. Praise God!

Nehemiah 5

Enemy attacks aren’t the only threat to rebuilding, though. Sin is also a threat, just as it was for Judah when God sent them into captivity.  God will not fight for us if we stubbornly rebel against Him. Sin separates us from God:

Isaiah 59:1   Behold,  the LORD’S hand is not so short
    That it cannot save;
     Nor is His ear so dull
    That it cannot hear.
2 But your  iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
    And your sins have hidden His  face from you so that He does not hear.

He will not hear the prayers of sinners, even those who are His own people:

John 9:30 The man [born blind and healed by Christ] answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes.  31 “We know that  God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.”

Nehemiah knew very well that sin among the people was the cause of their exile, and that God kept the Israelites from having victory at Ai until the sinner had been convicted and the sin cleansed from the camp. When Joshua fell on his face after Israel’s defeats, hear the word of the Lord to him —

Joshua 7:10   So the LORD said to Joshua, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face?  11 “Israel has sinned, and  they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things.  12 “Therefore the  sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their  backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst.

What was the sin for which Nehemiah rebuked the people of God? Usury.

God commanded them not to charge interest or make a profit on their fellow Israelites — that is usury. From the New Living Translation —

Leviticus 25:35    “If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and cannot support himself, support him as you would a foreigner or a temporary resident and allow him to live with you.  36 Do not charge interest or make a profit at his expense. Instead, show your fear of God by letting him live with you as your relative.  37 Remember, do not charge interest on money you lend him or make a profit on food you sell him.  38 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.”

Famine was still in the land during Nehemiah’s time. Poorer Jews could not afford grain from their richer brothers. So the richer brothers used the law of supply and demand to satisfy their greed, and the poorer ones were driven to mortgage their fields, vineyards, and houses so they may eat. Some of the poor borrowed from the rich, and were charged interest, to the point where they had to sell family members into slavery to pay their debts. Nehemiah and his house did no such thing (Verse 10), but acted in obedience to God, lending without interest. He did not place burdens on the people nor domineer them, but fed them from his own table, for he feared God (Verses 14-18).

When Nehemiah heard the outcry of the poorer Jews, he was very angry with the rich (Verse 6). He contended with them, rebuking them for their sin PUBLICLY, holding a great assembly against them (Verse 7).

For today’s church

God has not changed. There is sin in the camp of the church. We cannot forcefully stop Christians from sinning, but if we faithfully warn and exhort them to ask the Lord to crucify the sin nature they were born with, the Lord will rebuild the church, just as Jerusalem’s walls were rebuilt by Nehemiah and the people of Israel who returned from captivity.

Beloved, sin is the elephant in the room in the church. It’s large and it stinks, and yet we simply ignore the fact that it is there!

I know that the sin nature of many is alive and well in the church, or we would not constantly sin against the Lord, striking each other with wicked fists, satisfying our own egos at the expense of others, backbiting, evil speaking, playing power games, always seeking God’s blessing while we disobey Him, doing everything Paul describes:

1Corinthians 6:9   Or  do you not know that the unrighteous will not  inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived;  neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor  effeminate, nor homosexuals,  10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will  inherit the kingdom of God.  11  Such were some of you; but you were  washed, but you were  sanctified, but you were  justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

We have been set apart (sanctified), we have been justified (forgiven of our past sins because of our faith in Christ), just as Israel was set apart and justified in the eyes of God (and will yet be, when they recognize that their Messiah has already come).

But like the Corinthians, today’s church is full of sin, and again, in some churches they welcome continuous, willful disobedience against God (see 1Corinthians 5)!

Beloved, few leaders of today’s churches preach in the Holy Spirit. If they did, they would preach about sin and its consequences, so as to bring church members to repentance. It is not just those who do not know Christ who need to repent, but also those who are Christians, as Jesus shows us in Revelation 2 and 3, and as Paul and Peter and James and the rest warn the church in their letters to the churches!

Again, when Nehemiah heard the outcry of the poorer Jews, he was very angry with the rich (Nehemiah 5:6). He contended with them, rebuking them for their sin PUBLICLY, holding a great assembly against them (Nehemiah 5:7).

God has not changed. Paul PUBLICLY exhorts the sinning Corinthian church about their sinning brother who is having sex with his father’s wife (1Corinthians 5:1-2, 5). Paul instructs Timothy to publicly exhort (1Timothy 5:20). I exhort the church of today PUBLICLY for having sex with the world!

Will we sell ourselves to the world from which we were delivered (Verses 8 and 9)? I hope to hear the silence that comes before weeping in repentance!

Some pastors will say to their congregations, “Stop sinning,” but not reveal to the poor sinning Christian the way God has provided — a new heart, purified by the fire of the Holy Spirit — because we don’t believe that God can do it!

Church that has stolen the truth from her members, give back to them the inheritance that is theirs — freedom from slavery to sin!

Nehemiah 5:13 I also shook out the  front of my garment and said, “Thus may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not fulfill this  promise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied.” And  all the assembly said, “Amen!” And they praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this  promise.

Amen! I praise the Lord, for Nehemiah (and a few in the church today) dare to exhort against sin and point to the Way to be set free — Jesus Christ:

John 8:31   So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly  disciples of Mine; 32 and  you will know the truth, and  the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, ““We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”

John 8:34   Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you,  everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 “ The slave does not remain in the house forever;  the son does remain forever. 36 “So if the Son  makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

JESUS’ LETTER TO SARDIS

[SW131] 03/07/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Jesus’ Letter to Sardis”

Jesus Christ writes a love letter of powerful admonition to a dead church, because only He has the power to resurrect it.

Text: Revelation 3:1-6

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 Sardis:

Sardis, 60 miles inland from Ephesus, was the first city to mint coins of silver and gold, and was known as a wealthy capital city. This city boasted a large temple to Artemis, a fertility goddess. It was never able to fully recover from an earthquake that struck it in A.D. 17.

Jesus’ words to the church at Sardis:

He identifies Himself as the one who has, holds and possesses, the seven Spirits of God. That is, He holds and possesses the complete power of God (completeness indicated by the number seven), the oil of the Holy Spirit that lights the lamps on the lamp stands that are the churches.

The oil of the Holy Spirit is the life and light of the church.

Jesus Christ holds what Sardis lacks.

[NOTE: Some refer to Isaiah 11:1ff here, but I see that passage as the description of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, and those who will be filled with His Spirit after He comes and dies and is resurrected, ascends back to heaven and is glorified.]

And He also has, holds and possesses the seven stars, the messengers, of the seven churches in Revelation that represent Christians, denominations, and the church-at-large throughout the ages.

As I prepared this message, I saw that Jesus does not rebuke Sardis for the things He rebukes the others for:

Ephesus, for leaving their first love, Pergamum and Thyatira for eating food sacrificed to idols, for committing sexual immorality, or for following or tolerating false doctrine.

He says, “I know your deeds.”  He always knows what His churches are doing and have done. He walks among them, reproving, correcting, encouraging.

But Sardis does not do the deeds of the others:

Ephesus (toil, perseverance, intolerance of evil)
Smyrna (their Christlikeness is obvious, for they are persecuted and suffering)
Pergamum (held fast His name and did not deny His faith)
and Thyatira (love, faith, service, perseverance, now more than ever)

The deeds of the church at Sardis are that they have a reputation for being alive (that is, that they have zoe, the very life of God, life as God has it, full of love and power), but they are dead.

But they are physically alive, because He writes to them. In what way are they dead?

Paul describes to Timothy that some churches will be:

2Timothy 3:5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied  [720 disavowed, rejected, renounced] its power [1411 dunamis, miracle-working power].

The church at Sardis is spiritually dead (except for a very small remnant), dead in that they do not have the Holy Spirit’s oil to light the lamps on their lamp stand.

They are like the five foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1ff) who had a reputation for being part of the church, but when their lamps ran dry, they had no supply of oil for light.

Whatever they are doing in Sardis, it is without God’s Holy Spirit. But they look good on the outside. They do have a reputation for being alive.

Perhaps they have great orators or a beautiful place to worship. Perhaps they are very busy with social justice, but are not proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ as they work. Their works are devoid of the power of God.

And thus, their deeds are lacking, incomplete, they are not satisfying when viewed through the eyes of God the Father, who is the God of Jesus Christ (“My Father and your Father, My God and your God,” per John 20:17).

Jesus does not call the deeds of the first four churches incomplete and unsatisfying to God, though there are extremely serious problems in all but Smyrna thusfar.

Jesus Christ comes with a love letter, a wake-up call that warns them to turn back to Him, to be brokenhearted over their sin of unbelief, and crushed, for the Lord will not despise a broken and contrite spirit (Psalm 51:17).

Wake up (1127/1453 as from death), He says!

Ephesians 5:13 But all things become visible when they are  exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.  14 For this reason it says,
“ Awake, sleeper,
And arise from  the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”

Church at Sardis, wake up, be resurrected, and you will see the light Jesus Christ is shining on you to expose your deadness so you cry out and repent and ask Him to resurrect you! Then His light will shine from you!

Wake up from spiritual death! Resurrection is required! Oil is needed so your lamps are lit and your deeds are acceptable in the sight of God!

How can they be resurrected? Repentance. Individual repentance. Individual resurrection. His command for that is coming right up.

Once they are resurrected, they must strengthen (4741, make fast, establish, confirm and fix in place) the things which remain, which were about to die. Their church as a whole is in ruins, spiritually, and it is about to die.

First, church at Sardis, wake up from death, and be resurrected! Then cry out for the oil you need to light the lamps of your lamp stand. Then you’ll have the Holy Spirit’s power to rebuild your ruins.

You will have the power you have been denying and rejecting! It is God’s power through God’s Holy Spirit:

— the power to become established and fixed and strong,
— the power to speak the truth in love to a dark and dying world,
— the power to do God’s works,
— to bring people out of spiritual captivity
— and starvation
— and nakedness and into
— freedom and fullness,
— clothed with Christ’s readiness,
— their hearts wholly His, beating in time with His!

Remember — bring to mind — what you received and heard! Bring to mind the gospel which you have forgotten and deserted. Keep it, protect it, guard it, and don’t let go of it. And REPENT — turn to Me, saying with all of your heart, “Against You only, O God, I have sinned!”

If you don’t, you will be one who is caught with unlit lamps when Christ suddenly returns:

Luke 12:35   “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. 36 “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. 37 “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. 38 “ Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the  third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

Luke 12:39   “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.”

Keep your lamps lit. Only I, Jesus Christ, hold the Holy Spirit who can light you up and clothe you with readiness!

Otherwise, Satan will break into your house, as he has in Sardis, sowing seeds of unbelief, and you won’t know when Christ is coming!

O church at Sardis, you are saying, “Peace and safety,” but sudden destruction is at  your door unless you return to Him:

1Thessalonians 5:2 For you yourselves know full well that  the day of the Lord  will come  just like a thief in the night.  3 While they are saying,“Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.  4 But you, brethren, are not in  darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;  5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;  6 so then let us not  sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.

There are a few (small, little) in Sardis, a very small number, who have not soiled their garments with the sin of unbelief, who are faithful and believe. These will walk with Him in white, for they cling to Him and thus they remain worthy because of Him.

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

For today’s church:

Many are as Paul describes to Timothy —

2Timothy 3:5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied  [720 disavowed, rejected, abnegated] its power [1411 dunamis, miracle-working power].

Many have denied, renounced, and rejected God’s power, His miracle-working power, His dunamis!

Many are walking in their own power, and many fall and will yet will fall.

And so, the deeds of many churches are incomplete, lacking, not satisfying in the eyes of God the Father!

Wake up from your spiritual deadness!

Ephesians 5:13 But all things become visible when they are  exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.  14 For this reason it says,
    “ Awake, sleeper,
    And arise from  the dead,
    And Christ will shine on you.”

In the Interlinear (Greek-to-English) Bible:  “Awake, sleeping one, and stand up from among the dead ones, and Christ will shine on you.”

Wake up, be resurrected, and you will see the light Jesus Christ is shining on you to expose your deadness so you cry out and repent and ask Him to resurrect you! Then His light will shine from you!

You lack the oil of the Holy Spirit, O lamp stands, and your lamps are going out!

Wake up! Get the oil you need, and then fan the flame! Rebuild your ruins.

Keep your lamps lit! Ask Him to clothe you in readiness for His second coming!

Otherwise, He will come like a thief, and you will not have time to get the oil you need. And the door will be closed:

Matthew 25:10 “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were  ready went in with him to  the wedding feast; and  the door was shut. 11 “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘ Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12 “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 “ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

For those who have not soiled their clothes with the sin of unbelief, Jesus Christ says:
— you are clothed in readiness,
— your lamp is well supplied by the oil of His Spirit, and
— you will walk with Him in white,

for you have been made worthy through His blood and you have clung to Him, despite all the unbelief around you.

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!

WALKING IN THE SPIRIT

Walking in the Spirit, your heart and your will totally God’s. I present to the church a possibility, something only God can do. Will you believe?

[SW115] 11/16/2013 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2013
“Walking in the Spirit”

The scripture: Romans 7:24-25, 8:1-13

NOTE:

The Apostle Paul writes to the churches in a particular way —
he writes of what can be as though it is.
He writes of the life that is possible for Christians to lead,
if his readers have faith,
and then challenges them to believe and live it out,
just as he believed and lived it out!

Keep that in mind as we look at these verses in Romans.

God’s great desire and purpose: That we become like Christ, conformed to the image of His Son, and thus become His witnesses.

Mind set on (5427) — mental inclination (a bending of the body or head in a bow, a disposition)

According to (2596) — by, after the manner of, to the uttermost in intensity. The controlling principle.

The Spirit (4151) — The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the third Person of the Trinity, the One who makes us holy — in a word, Christlike.

OR

The flesh (4561) — (by implication) human nature, with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions, carnally minded. The human nature, corrupted and weakened by sin.

I either walk to the uttermost with intensity, controlled by my own self-interest,
a slave to sin and all the harm it does to me and others,

OR

I walk to the uttermost with intensity, controlled by the Holy Spirit,
whose only interest is bringing honor to the Father and the Son,
free from slavery to sin and gladly a slave to righteousness!

If I look at these verses in Romans 8
without knowing that Paul speaks of possibilities
and then challenges the church to believe and live them out,
I’d have had to say that at that time,
I was not really a Christian.

But thank God, he speaks of the life it is possible for Christian to live!

When I first believed in Jesus and spoke words at an altar
He began to change me,
but I was still a mixture.

Some sins that I used to do B.C.,
I no longer did.
Some I still did.

My own interests were most important to me,
though now I had a desire to know God,
and I prayed to know Him more.

Was I really saved? Yes.
I believed God was my Father,
and Jesus was my Savior.

I had entered the kingdom,
but was not yet transformed.
I was an infant in Christ.

Was I walking to the uttermost in intensity, controlled by the Spirit? No.

I sometimes heeded/did what He was saying to my heart.
But most of the time I continued in my sins.

Was I really “converted?” Yes.
God’s Spirit was changing me, but it was a slow process.

Was I really “born from above?” Yes.
He corrects and teaches His children.
I knew He had begun to correct and teach me.

So how did I come to believe the possibilities
Paul challenges the church at Rome to believe? When did my heart become completely God’s?

It was when I surrendered my will to God,
when all I wanted was to know God intimately,
when I didn’t care what it took or cost me to get there,
I just wanted to know Him, really, really know Him!

From then on, I walked to the uttermost in intensity, controlled by the Holy Spirit.

And what it is it to walk according to/by/in the Spirit?

Walking in the Spirit means living in the Spirit,
filled with God to the highest degree that could be expected in a human,
your heart that is completely God’s.

It is living a life of intense following after Christ,
but in His strength, not yours.
No longer trying to be good,
but overwhelmingly conquering willful disobedience to God.

It means you have no desire for anything but Him,
and your heart is entirely His domain.

It is learning, learning, learning Christ
more and more and more,
and heeding what the Spirit says.

It is no longer being tugged and controlled by
your needs,
your wants,
your old ways,
your “gotta have it nows.”

But now controlled by the Holy Spirit,
wanting to and having the power to walk in Christ’s ways.
wanting what God wants,
which is for you to be like Jesus.

That’s when you become His witness.
Not that you simply go and tell people about Jesus,
But that He is unmistakably in you,
so what you say can’t be denied.
You live what you speak of,
and even those who know nothing of God,
know He is in you.

So what’s the big deal?
Why not continue walking to the uttermost in intensity,
controlled by the flesh?

Isn’t salvation enough?

Jesus Christ loves you enough to save you,
and loves you enough to change you
so you can stay that way.

Look at verses 6 and 7 —
The mind set on the flesh is death.
But the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace (shalom/eirene) —
peace with God, wholeness, reconciliation —
you no longer disobey and are no longer hostile to Him.

Christian, Paul tells you that you are under obligation (3781) —
you are debtors, you are indebted to God —
to live to the uttermost intensity controlled by the Spirit,
to have your mind bowed down before Him.

Not by TRYING to set your mind on Him,
but totally surrendering to God’s will,
asking Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit,
so your heart is completely His.

Is it a perfect walk?
Do I always heed the Spirit’s warnings,
when He tells me a test is coming?

I’m asking Him to work it more and more.

But it’s not about perfect performance.
It is about a heart completely His.
No ifs, ands or buts.

A heart that is completely His!!!!
Gloriously His,
delightfully His,
joyously His!

When the Lord shows me things
from the watchman’s wall,
He asks me to explain His heart,
and then to say what I see.
I see many who believe in Jesus,
and who are children of God,
but who, like Israel,
go their own way,
and keep on sinning.

If what I am saying is not true,
there would be no cruel treatment of pastors,
no church splits over the color of carpeting,
no power struggles,
no politics,
no gossiping,
no adultery,
no divorce.

The resistance to God’s message of complete wholeness —
a heart completely His, in a moment of time, separate from salvation —
is quite intense.
Many are offended to learn
that there is something else God wants to do in them.

Prayer is a must!
Through prayer, we can tear down strongholds
and everything that exalts itself
against the true, full, intimate knowledge of God.

The fault is not only with those who sit in our pews,
but also with those who are afraid to tell them the truth,
for fear people may leave the church,
or for fear they might be crucified by them.

This is the truth, beloved.

I am bold because I have only One to whom I am obligated,
One who is the source of all I could ever need.

If that is not true of you, pastor,
ask the Lord to make it so.

Then go and speak these things,
these uncomfortable truths.
Ask the Spirit for His encouragement,
for a steel rod in your backbone,
and follow Him intensely.
Teach others what He teaches you.
And you will be a good shepherd.

Some will heed what you say, and some will not.
But say it, and leave the rest to God.

Correct sin,  just as Christ instructs in Matthew 18.

If you let it lie there, it will only fester,
like an infected wound,
until the whole head is sick, and the whole body is faint.

Heed the word of the Lord today!
Believe it! Live it! Teach it! Preach it!

O church, you will overwhelmingly conquer sin if you take heed!

BLESSED

Let Jesus’ words go deep today — you will be blessed, not just blessed but supremely blessed, experiencing God’s protection and favor. It all starts with the realization of your spiritual condition.

[SW110] 10/06/2013 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2013
“Blessed”

Jesus loved His disciples, as He loves you, O church.
You follow after Him, you admire Him,
you are friends with Him.

But because He loves you, He will reveal truth to you,
just as He did to His disciples and the crowd that drew near
and listened to the Sermon on the Mount.

As Oswald Chambers taught, “Never apologize for your Lord. The words of the Lord hurt and offend until there is nothing left to hurt or offend . . . if the Spirit of God brings to your mind a word of the Lord that hurts you, you may be sure that there is something He wants to hurt to death.”

AND “The summing up of our Lord’s teaching is that the relationship He demands is an impossible one unless He has done a supernatural work in us.”

Matthew 5:1-16

All this (verses 3-9) leads to this (verses 10-12), but also this (verses 13-16)!

Blessed — 3107 a prolonged form of the poetical version of this word.
That is, not just blessed, but supremely blest in a prolonged way;
endowed with divine favor and protection.

Blessed are you if you are:

Poor — 4434 a beggar (as cringing), i.e. pauper
in spirit — 4151 rational soul, the vital principle, mental disposition, mind.

For yours is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you if you:

Mourn – 3996. to grieve in feeling and/or in action; mourn, bewail.

For you will be comforted (3870), encouraged, entreated, exhorted, urged
(a reference to the Paraklete, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit).

Blessed are you if you are:

Gentle — 4239, mild, humble, meek, understanding your spiritual condition.

For you shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are you if you:

Hunger — 3983 to pine; to be famished (extreme hunger); to crave.

and thirst – 1372 to thirst for (lacking the liquid necessary to sustain life).

for righteousness — 1343 to be made innocent, holy.

For you will be satisfied — 5526 gorged (supplied food in abundance): filled!

Blessed are you if you are:

Merciful — Actively compassionate
(with God’s actual compassion and love in your heart).

For you shall receive mercy.

Blessed are you if you are:

Pure in heart — 2513 clean, clear, not adulterated/mixed with any other material,
pure in 2588 thoughts, feelings, the middle, the innermost being.

for you shall see God — 3708 experience; passively, behold, perceive, take heed.

Blessed are you if you are a:

Peacemaker — 1518 peaceable, bringing about peace by reconciliation.

(From the Expositor’s Bible Commentary: “Our peacemaking includes the promulgation of the gospel of reconciliation to God through Christ. It must also extend to seeking all kinds of reconciliation . . .

“Making peace is not appeasement: the true model is God’s costly peacemaking.”

For you shall be called sons of God.

IF you have realized your spiritual poverty,
IF you have mourned and have been comforted,
IF you have become humble and meek,
IF you have hungered and thirsted for righteousness
and have been filled abundantly,
with the Holy Spirit!

IF you have and receive God’s compassion, His very love filling your heart,
IF you are pure in heart and have experienced God,
IF you seek to reconcile others to Him . . .

THEN it will lead to this:

Blessed are you if you have been:

persecuted — 1377 caused to flee, pursued, caused to suffer.

for the sake of righteousness — 1343 because you have been made innocent, holy.

For yours is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people:

insult you — 3679 to defame, i.e. rail at, chide, taunt; suffer reproach, revile, upbraid.

and persecute you — 1377 cause you to flee, pursue you, cause you to suffer.

and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.
For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Why are you blessed
when you are persecuted and insulted and defamed,
when you are caused to flee and to suffer?

Because it is proof that Christ is in you!
And you rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer as He did!

IF you have realized your spiritual poverty,
IF you have mourned and have been comforted,
IF you have become humble and meek,
IF you have hungered and thirsted for righteousness
and have been filled abundantly,
with the Holy Spirit . . .

IF you have and receive God’s compassion, His very love filling your heart,
IF you are pure in heart and have experienced God,
IF you seek to reconcile others to Him . . .

THEN you will also be to the world:

Salt that does not lose its saltiness (no more admixture, but purity)!

Light because Christ is in you, shining from you!

Cities on the hill, unmistakable and very visible day and night!

Lamps lit with Christ, shining and giving light to all who are in the house!

Shining so all men can see GOD’s work in you and His works through you,
and glorify your Father in heaven.

But have you, O Christian, and have you, O church:

Have you realized your spiritual poverty,
have you mourned and have been comforted,
have you become humble and meek,
have you hungered and thirsted for righteousness
and have you been filled abundantly,
with the Holy Spirit?

Have you received God’s compassion,
Have you experienced God coming into you,
His very love filling your heart?

Are you pure in heart and have experienced God,

Do you seek therefore seek to reconcile others to Him . . .

The Lord says most have not, but that there is time, here and now,
to make amends to your God!

Turn now from your sin and the Lord will no longer be
a distant, foggy image to you!

Mourn over your spiritual condition, and the Comforter will come!

Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit TODAY,
be made humble and meek!

Be filled because you have hungered and thirsted for righteousness!

Be filled with God’s compassion and love!
Be filled with God’s purity in your heart!

And you will most assuredly want to reconcile others to Him!