MARK 12 COMMENTARY

This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.

Chapters 11-16 show us Jesus Christ’s heart that is completely obedient to His mission to die for us, compared with a heart that rejects Him, and therefore rejects God the Father. There’s nothing about physical healing in these chapters, but there is much about the incurable disease that ails our hearts, and how Jesus is able to heal us.

Verses 1-12 — Here we see evidence of the incurable disease and the resulting blindness. Jesus Christ was rejected by those who should have been able to easily identify Him as their Messiah. These were Jews who studied the Tenakh, the Hebrew name for the Old Testament. They knew it backward and forward. Why could they not see? Pride, desire for power and position, jealousy — in a word, sin.

Jesus refers to Isaiah 5 in the parable of the vineyard. God the Father rents His vineyard out to His own people, Israel. They are to tend it. But when He sends a slave (one of His prophets) to Israel to receive a harvest of souls on behalf of the Father, they beat him and send him away empty-handed. Why? I believe they have no souls to give to the Father, for they have already added much to the Word of God that not only blocks the way for others to enter into God’s kingdom, but they themselves do not enter (Matthew 23:13).

Then the Father sends another slave. They wound him in the head and send him away.

The next one, they kill, and so on. Some are beaten, some are killed.

Finally, the Father sends His BELOVED Son, Jesus Christ, saying, “They will respect my Son.” Note that Jesus Christ is the LAST one God will send. There will be no others.

But Israel’s religious leaders see God’s heir as a threat to their position, and they are jealous of Him. They think that if they kill Him, they will be the next in line to inherit the kingdom of God. How far from God they are, to think such a thing!

So they take Him and kill Him and throw Him out of the vineyard that is Israel. And it happened! At their order, Jesus, the Son, was illegally tried, scourged until he was nearly dead, and then nailed to a cross outside Jerusalem. He was the Stone the builders rejected, who became the Chief Cornerstone of God’s true church, birthed at Pentecost.

So what will God the Father do to those who nail His beloved Son to a cross? He will destroy those who reject His Son, and give the land of Israel to others. In 70 AD, Rome burned Jerusalem to the ground and destroyed the Temple, so Israel was scattered.

But what became of God’s vineyard between Christ’s crucifixion and the reestablishment of Israel in 1948, which happened according to prophecy (Isaiah 66:7-8 and elsewhere)? Did God’s vineyard simply cease? I believe giving it to others meant more than letting Rome overrun it. It meant that the all-Jewish followers of Jesus, who began the church, and Christians world-wide, have taken over the tending of His vineyard and continually present its fruit to Him.

Be assured of this: Israel will come back to Him in the end (Romans 11:25-27). Some already have. They are Messianic Jews, who see that Jesus is their Messiah, as did His first Jewish followers.

Jesus’ words about the vineyard anger the rejectors even more, because they understand the parable is about them. They want to seize Him, but they fear the large crowd. Perhaps the crowd will turn on them.

Verses 13-17 — They attempt to discredit Jesus another way, by trying to trip Jesus up (test Him) by their question about the denarius. They flatter Him. Then they ask Him if they have to pay poll taxes to Caesar. But He knew their hypocrisy. He knows everyone hates paying taxes to Rome, and being under Roman rule. Will His reply be affected by that? He knows their hearts, though they do not tell Him what they are thinking.

I tell you, He knows the hypocrisy of anyone who asks Him a question when they know the answer. He knows the hypocrisy of anyone who asks Him for something that is for their own personal gain. He knows what is in each one’s heart.

So He says that since Caesar’s image is on the money, the tax should be paid. Give Caesar what is his (the denarius was the Roman coin), but don’t forget to give God what is God’s (give tithes, offerings, and sacrifices). They wonder greatly at His response. It is impossible to argue with Him, for He is God in the flesh, possessing God’s wisdom, and able to see men’s hearts.

Verse 18-27 — The Sadducees do not believe in resurrection. So they think they will trip Jesus up by asking Him a resurrection question, regarding a woman who has been married and her husband has died, marries another, he dies, etc. Whose wife will she be in heaven? They do not believe in heaven!

So Jesus tells the Sadducees: 1) you are mistaken; 2) you do not understand the Scriptures; and 3) you do not understand the power of God. That’s because they do not believe in resurrection, which is clearly seen in the Scriptures they claim to understand. And what is worse, they do not understand that God’s power is resurrection power!

Then He explains that in the resurrection from the dead, we are no longer married to anyone.

But His answer goes beyond their foolish question. He proves to them that resurrection is real. Jesus reminds them of the burning bush, when God said, “I AM” the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Not “I WAS,” until they died and were annihilated. But “I AM,” which means He presently is their God. He cannot presently be their God unless they have risen from the dead and are alive and with Him. He is not the God of the dead, not the God of corpses (literal meaning of “the dead”), but the God of the living (those who have eternal life, and are with Him, and those who have His eternal  life in them, while they walk about on the earth)!

Verses 28-34 — Next comes an expert of the law of Moses, who heard the Sadducees trying to argue with Jesus. He sees that Jesus answered well. So he asks Jesus to tell him what the greatest commandment is. Jesus quotes the Shema. That is the foremost. He is One God, not many. Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And the second is this (“like it,” per Matthew 22:39). Love your neighbor as yourself.

Why does He say both? Why is loving your neighbor like loving God? Because it is when you love God with all that is in you, because His love is in you, that you are able to love others with His love, just as He loves you with His love. Think about that one. It is key to understanding God’s heart and yours.

The scribe tells Jesus He is right, and calls Him Teacher. That is a title of respect. He adds that doing these two things is what is important — all the burnt offerings and sacrifices in the world cannot please God, unless our hearts are His and our motive is His love in us.

Jesus sees that this scribe’s mind has grasped the truth of those commandments. So He tells him he is not far from the kingdom of God. All the scribe needs is to see that God is standing in front of him. He’s that close!

Then everyone is afraid to ask Jesus any more questions. He has defeated their attempts to trip Him up, and has driven home what is wrong with their hearts — they are mistaken, they do not understand the Scriptures, they do not understand God’s power, and they do not love God. The problem is in their hearts, and it is the problem of pride, hunger for power and position, and jealousy.

Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). If the Holy Spirit is now showing you that you have rejected Jesus like those Jewish leaders, seeking to be in charge of your own life, thinking you have some innate goodness that will get you into heaven, then come to Him now and ask Him to forgive you. No one comes to (can be reconciled with) the Father except through Him. We must agree with Him that our hearts need fixing, no matter how many good deeds we may have done in our lives. We must agree with Him that we need hearts that only He can give us.

THEN and only then, He is able to use us to bring others to Himself.

What a great gospel! He gives us what we lack, He takes away our sin, so we may be reconciled to God and be ambassadors of His kingdom, announcing this reconciliation to the whole world!

Verses 35-44 — I’m grouping these together because they are a study in contrast:

First, there are the Jews who are either unable or refuse to answer Jesus’ pointed question about God AND God the Son, who is part of God. Who is this “Lord” that is speaking to the LORD (God)? David calls this one “my Lord.” If the Messiah is to be the son of David, why would David call him “my Lord?” The son should be calling David lord, if he is a natural son of David.  But the Messiah is not David’s natural son (though Mary’s lineage is Davidic). He is the Son of God, the Lord who is the son of the LORD. Otherwise, David would not have called Him Lord. The large crowd loves it when Jesus confounds the Jewish leaders.

And Jesus tells them to beware of the Jewish leaders, who want to be seen, who want to be better than everyone else,  who separate themselves from the people by wearing long robes and expect special greetings as they walk around, and places of honor at banquets.

Church, how often do our leaders demand private jets and fancy hotels and special food, if they come to speak at a church or in a stadium? Are they not also taking from poor women who send them all their money and ask them to sell their homes and give them the proceeds? How often do we see leaders who want to be seen doing pious things like praying? And how many pray long and complex prayers, to impress us? These will receive greater condemnation at the judgment that is coming!

Now the contrast — the widow who has nothing, offers all she has. She is humble, she is not there to impress anyone. She just gives all she has. She is obedient. That’s what He wants from us. Obedience and compassion (mercy) are better than sacrifice (Mathew 12:7). The sacrifice pleasing to Him is when we humbly offer ourselves wholly to Him (Romans 12:1).

So Jesus calls His followers to Himself. See? She put her whole livelihood in the treasury. She gave her whole life for God the Father, trusting Him to take care of her needs. The rich (those who think they are rich) gave only a portion because they did not trust God, and even went so far as to sound a trumpet when they gave, so everyone was impressed. Matthew 6:2). Look at their pride!

If we are humble and obedient, and willing to give our whole heart to God, trusting Him, then God will surely fill us with His Holy Spirit, so we can do it. Then we will bear His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) and be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). Amen.

STRONG SUPPORT

[SW210] 11/27/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Strong Support”

God watches over you, to strongly support you, if your heart is completely His!

2Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.

— “The eyes of the Lord . . . His face, holy intimacy, His favor in view

— move to and fro . . . travel, run

— throughout the earth . . . over the whole earth

— that He may strongly support . . . fasten upon, strengthen, aid, encourage, help

— those whose heart is completely His . . . whose heart is perfect toward Him (KJV).”

My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus! (Philippians 4:19)
He goes before you and is your rear guard (Isaiah 52:12)!

He is your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of need (Psalm 46:1).

He takes you from strength to strength (Psalm 84:7)!

He is with you and will strengthen you (Isaiah 41:10)!

No weapon formed against you will prosper (Isaiah 54:7)!

You are kept by the power of God (1Peter 1:5)

I will be with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20)

These promises are for those whose heart is perfect toward Him, completely His . . .

But we have to look at the rest of the verse we began with . . . I cannot speak, “Peace, peace” when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14, Ezekiel 13:10).

“. . . You (Asa, king of Judah) have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”

In what did Asa (and in what does the church) act foolishly?

2 Chronicles 14:2  Asa did good and right, called on the Lord and not man, and Ethiopia’s army, which was nearly twice the size of Judah’s, was routed by the Lord.

After Asa’s victory, the prophet Azariah warns him . . .

2Chronicles 15:1   Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded,  2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.

2Chronicles 15:7 “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.”

2Chronicles 15:8   Now when Asa heard these words and the prophecy which Azariah the son of Oded the prophet spoke, he took courage and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He then restored the altar of the Lord which was in front of the porch of the Lord.

BUT WHEN ANOTHER ENEMY THREATENS . . .

2 Chronicles 16:1 The king of Israel comes to fight Judah. Asa does not call on the Lord, who gave him such a great victory over Ethiopia. Instead, he bribes Ben-hadad, the king of Aram. But the Arameans were Judah’s enemy, too, off and on, as was their custom.

2 Chronicles 16:7 So the prophet Hanani calls Asa out — he lied on his enemy to defeat his enemy! Don’t you remember Ethiopia, King Asa?

That was the foolish thing that Asa did. And he was enraged at Hanani and imprisoned him.

Asa’s heart was not completely the Lord’s.

Three years later, Asa died of a disease in his feet. He did not seek the Lord for healing, but the physicians.

Beloved . . .

—When you as a church leader seek man’s wisdom and man’s ways to make your church successful,

— or when you speak peace, peace when there is no peace, just to increase your numbers,

— or when you as a Christian seek natural means for provision, healing and deliverance instead of humbly asking the Lord for help,

. . . you sin as Asa sinned — he did not believe the Lord was able to rescue him; you do not seek the Lord’s wisdom, you do not believe He will increase your numbers, you do not believe He is your provision.

Asa did not repent before the Lord. He no longer sought the Lord, even for healing of the disease in his feet. But you can repent, right now!

The Lord wants His promises to be yours. But in order to do that, you must give your heart entirely to Him and no other.

How do you give your heart entirely to Him? Only the Father can do it, when you ask Him —

Ezekiel 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

1Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

This purity of heart, this devotion to God, comes when you are filled with the Holy Spirit!

When you ask the Lord to fill you, He will make you steadfast, immovable always abounding in the work of the Lord (1Corinthians 15:58)!

And His eyes will move to and fro across the earth, to strongly support you, because your heart is completely His!q Turn to Him today! Amen!

REST FOR YOUR SOUL

[SW178] 03/27/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Rest for Your Soul”

Rest! For your soul! It is a gift from Jesus Christ. I will show you how to receive it.

Matthew 11:28   “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

In v. 28, “rest” means intermission from labor, a refreshment to strengthen.

But in v. 29, “rest” means cessation of labor, refreshment, and re-creation.

Jesus does both. First v. 28, when you come to Him, and v. 29 when you take His yoke upon you. We’ll get to that later.

The word “come” isn’t a suggestion or invitation. It is an imperative command, urgent and authoritative. It is, “Follow!”

Why does He command it. He knows you have no rest, you are rest-less.

If you are rest-less, you are weary (fatigued from labor) because you are heavy- laden (loaded up, overburdened).

You are overburdened, fatigued.

What is your burden that fatigues you from the labor of carrying it?

Surely Jesus does not talk to us today of the yoke of legalism, “Do not handle, do not taste,  do not touch” (Colossians 2:21).What else is a burden to you? For you, Today, the Lord says your burden is sin. All sin, all rebellion against God. If you come to Jesus Christ, He will lift from you:

— bitterness
— addiction
— grudge-holding/unforgiveness
— anger (murder)
— and much more!

He commands you to come to Him. He will give you rest. It’s a gift from Him.

You are carrying a heavy burden. You are carrying sin. You are in a single yoke, a human yoke, made for a single human to bear. He wants to break it TODAY!

Isaiah 9:4      For You shall break the yoke of their burden
and the staff on their shoulders,
The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.

Hallelujah! It is Christ and Him alone who can do it. He was sent by the Father for that purpose.

When does He break the yoke of your burden? When you come to Him. When you respond to His imperative, authoritative and urgent command.

Why does He break your yoke? To give you rest (373, intermission from labor, a refreshment to strengthen).

Once He has broken your yoke, He commands you to take up HIS yoke.

Matthew 11:28   “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Take HIS yoke upon you. Didn’t He just break the one that was on you? Why would you want to take another yoke?

The yoke Christ is asking you to take up is the kind used with two animals — one animal is older, the other younger. The older teaches the younger what to do, whether they are attached to a plow or to a cart.

Some say Matthew 11:28-30 refers to a yoke designed for a human. Surely, that’s the one He’ll break, as I said above, but  if He commands you to take up HIS yoke and learn from Him, then He must be in it with you. Glory to God!

Why? Because it is the only way you will learn from Him. It is submission to Him, submission to the will of God. It is a yoke of submission, it means you have been crucified with Christ so He can live in you.

Then you have that cessation of labor, that re-creation that I talked about in the beginning of my message. Hallelujah! No more single yoke, no more burden of the sin nature you were born with.
In His yoke, He is the One who will continually teach you His humility and His meekness.

You submit to His yoke, and it will be easy to learn, because He is in it with you!

You gladly obey, because you have submitted.

But all of your life, He will show you how to be more and more like Him, going from image to image and glory to glory (1Corinthians 3:18)!

Oh, beloved! You will find rest for your souls, refreshment, cessation of your rest-lessness, and re-creation.

Re-creation — the old will go, the new will come.

You will be a new creature, with a new heart, a new life in Him, no longer heavy-laden with sin, but set free, indeed!

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:  Not free TO sin, but free FROM slavery to sin!!!!

It is rest from slavery to sin.

It is an inward change, where you rest and He works through you.

It is submission to His yoke, which is easy, carrying the burden He carries, which makes it light. He gives you the power to carry it.

What burden did AND does He carry? He carried a cross, it is true. He tells us to take up our cross and follow Him. That is submission, that is obedience. Taking up our cross is like taking up His yoke.

So what is the burden? I asked the Holy Spirit to show me.

It is that we will see as He sees. We will see the lostness of the world, and the hardness of hearts. We will see the vast fields white for the harvest. We will see the sheep without shepherds. You will feel the grief He feels, but you will also feel the joy He feels, joy unspeakable and full of glory!

You will be persecuted, as He was persecuted —

John 15:18   “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

The world will hate you, and the world that has wormed its way into the church will hate you.

But He is in the yoke with you, which makes seeing and experiencing all these things bearable. And you will walk in His power, and through you, He will free the captives, through us! So the burden is light and pleasant!

Beloved, do you see that it’s not about getting blessed?

It’s about blessing God by obeying His Son’s command. It’s about submission to God.

Certainly, the side benefit of following Jesus’ command is certainly freedom from slavery to sin and intimacy with God the Father and God the Son through God the Holy Spirit, and that is surely a blessing!

Are you in it for what you can get from Him, or are you in it to know Him intimately, to have a relationship with Him?

Come now to Him.

He will give you rest, like your first good night’s sleep in eons.

He will break the yoke of sin that’s on you.

You will take up His yoke, submitting to Him fully, no longer seeking what’s in it for you, but living to learn Him more and more.

He will teach you more and more deeply what it is to be humble and lowly like Him.

And you will find rest for your soul, that cessation from the labor of carrying your sin. Total cessation. Freedom from slavery to it.

Come now to Him. He says it urgently and authoritatively and imperatively!

ASK FOR RAIN!

[SW177] 03/20/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Ask for Rain”
Word:  The Lord is setting the stage for revival. It’s time to pray!

Text: Zechariah 10:1ff

Spoken to: The remnant that returned from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. Zechariah and Haggai prophesied to the rebuilders, encouraging them (Ezra 5:1, 6:4), for their natural AND spiritual restoration!

v. 1 Ask rain from the Lord at the time of the spring rain — it is spring, as of today!

— Ask rain not from man, but from the Lord! He is the only One who has what we need — His life, His heart, His love and His power in us!

— So if we ask the Lord, He will give us showers of rain

Joel 2:23 NIV    Be glad, O people of Zion,
rejoice in the LORD your God,
for he has given you
the autumn rains in righteousness.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.

Showers of blessing (Ezekiel 34:26)!

— And we who are His people will be fruitful and have abundance once again. What abundance? The Holy Spirit. What fruit? His fruit. When His fruit is manifested, many souls will be saved.

Rain represents blessing and revival. The need to pray for it means something has been amiss between God and us. The next verse tells us what is amiss.

v.v. 2-3a False gods, false shepherds

— We have looked to dead, inanimate things that cannot answer us (Psalm 115:4-8), rather than to the living God. We have listened to ear ticklers, so we are wandering sheep without a shepherd. We have not heeded the voice of the Good Shepherd.

v. 3b But the Lord has visited his flock! He is our true Shepherd!

— Why does He use the past tense? Because in heaven, where He dwells, He sees the end, and He sees the beginning. He sits above time, so He says He has visited, even before we see that He has visited.

— Visit means He will go to see, avenge, care for, deliver to keep, and remember!

When we went astray, He left us to our own devices. But He has not forgotten us. At the appointed time, He returns to us — that’s what “remembered” means.

— He will make us like HIS majestic horse in battle.

— Horses were a superior instrument of warfare battle in those times.

— They were a symbol of swiftness, sure-footedness, power.

— No longer will we trust in men or natural horses. Instead, we will be like the Lord’s horses! Swift. sure-footed, powerful in His power! And He never loses a battle!

v. 4     His Cornerstone —  His Christ
His tent peg — His support
His bow of battle (He trains our fingers for battle, and makes us able to bend               a bow of bronze (Psalm 144:1, 18:34)
His rulers — no longer chosen by men, but by Him

v. 5     We will be as mighty warriors (2 Cor 10:5)
We will tread down the enemy (1John 4:4, James 4:7)
We will fight, for the Lord will be with us (2 Chronicles 20:15, 20)

v. 6    The Lord will strengthen us (make us firm so we prevail against the Enemy)
He will deliver us (save us out of the miry clay we’ve been in)
He will bring us back to Himself
He has racham toward us (tender mercy, like a mother toward her child)!

It will be as though He never rejected us (cast us off, moved us away from Him), though He did reject us when we followed false gods and false shepherds.

Why? Because HE is our God.

He will visited us, go to see  us, avenge us, care for us, deliver us to keep us, and remember us!

v. 9 Our exile from His presence caused us to remember Him, and now, He will remember us.

v. 10 He will bring us back from sin (Egypt).

v. 11 We will cross over and out of the sea of distress (trouble, anguish) and not drown in it.

He will strike the waves in the sea, as in the Exodus, so that even the mightiest waters dry up.

The scepter will depart Egypt — sin will no longer rule us.

Assyria’s (in this case, a typology or symbol of Satan as well as a real kingdom) pride will be cast down, it will fall down, Satan will fall down.

v. 12 Again, He says I will strengthen you in Me.

— Not in our own strength

— And He says, “They will walk in My name,” as representing Me, having My character and nature. He declares it!

We will, indeed, become partakers of the divine nature, and that will permanently repair the rift between us and our God. HALLELUJAH!

Beloved, a warning from the Lord — when He sends the rain, do not try to manage it or manipulate it. Just stand by and let Him work in hearts. Simply rejoice as you watch Him!

And remember, it will no longer be necessary to work real hard to be like Jesus — He will do the heavy lifting. All we have to do is agree with Him as we walk with Him!

Ask rain from the LORD at the time of the spring rain! He is coming to visit us once again, to free His people and bring them back to Himself!

Come back to Him even now, this very moment! Cast away your idols and false shepherds to the moles and the bats! Now is the time!

YES AND AMEN

[SW176] 03/13/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Yes and Amen”

All the promises of God are yes and amen, if you are in Christ Jesus. The question is, do you believe ALL of them?

2Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (KJV)

We receive from God promises from the beginning to the end:

— From the head of the serpent (Satan) being crushed (Genesis 3:15)

— To Jesus Christ’s promise that, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 22:20)

In order to receive ALL of God’s promises, you must understand:

—  the PROBLEM that made His promises necessary,

— the PURPOSE of those promises,

— the PROMISES themselves,

— the PRAYER of Jesus Christ that activated those promises,

—- and the PROOF that those promises have been and are still being fulfilled to all who will believe His promises.

THE PROBLEM THAT MADE HIS PROMISES NECESSARY:

In one word, it is waywardness (backsliding, turning away). This is not a surprise to God. From before time began, He had already prepared the solution (Revelation 11:8).

Here’s what the people of God said (and still say), and the Lord’s response —

Deuteronomy 5:27 (Moses quotes the people) ’Go near and hear all that the LORD our God says; then speak to us all that the LORD our God speaks to you, and we will hear and do it.’

Deuteronomy 5:28   (Moses says) “The LORD heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken.
Deuteronomy 5:29 ‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!”

Speaking the right words isn’t enough. There’s something wrong with our hearts. You and I need a new heart in us, so we will revere and honor and obey the Lord!

Jeremiah 29:11 was spoken to Jewish captives in Babylon who were captives because of their wayward hearts.

Go to Psalm 81:11-13. Just like Israel, you say you will obey, but then you don’t. If you say you never sinned, you do not tell the truth (1John 1:10). We were all born rebels, Adam’s kids who inherited his rebellious nature. So when you hear that oh-so-popular phrase, you may truly say, “I was born that way.” But God says you don’t have to stay that way!

It’s a sickness in your heart, for which only God has the cure — and He will gladly do it!

And you must be healed! Why? Waywardness is deadly, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

But God does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9).

THE PURPOSE OF HIS PROMISES

The purpose of God’s promises — all of them — is redemption, here and now, AND on the day of judgment (Ephesians 1:14, 4:30).

He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the ransom for which you were held captive by Satan, because of your sin.

He offers His marvelous grace — forgiving your sin — through Jesus Christ. That’s a promise many of us celebrate! Your past sins are forgotten by God when you confess them, turn from them, believe in Jesus Christ, and ask the Lord to forgive you.

But beloved, there is more that He promises.

If you don’t believe the “more,” it is because of what you’ve thought, and what you’ve been taught, things that do not match up with the Word of God, beloved.

Many will teach you that your sin nature, your inborn rebellion, doesn’t die until you are on your deathbed.

But what is the good of that? How can you be the witness Jesus promises He will make you, if you wait to be clothed with power from on high (Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49)? Being a witness requires you to live and walk and talk!

And why, then, does Paul pray for the Thessalonians to be sanctified through and through (1Thessalonians 5:23), made completely holy on the inside by being filled with the Holy Spirit? If it was only for the deathbed, there would be no need for Paul to pray that way.

THE PROMISES HE MAKES TO YOU

What does the Lord promise He will do with our waywardness?

These promises are throughout the Bible, but go to Ezekiel 36:22-27!

Will you believe it today?

Will you say “Yes” and “Amen” to this promise of God?

Or would you rather pick and choose what you believe God can do?

It is a life and death choice, beloved.

THE PRAYER THAT ACTIVATED THE PROMISE

John 17! Jesus prayed there, and the pivotal heart-changing verse is —

John 17:26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

It is by way of the love of God filling our hearts to overflowing, and by way of Christ Himself in our hearts via the Holy Spirit, that the promise of Ezekiel 36 is fulfilled!

THEN you are His witnesses!

THEN you are set free, indeed —- no longer a slave to sin (John 8:31-36)!

THE PROOF OF GOD’S PROMISE

The Book of Acts! When the day of Pentecost came, the men and women in that upper room were transformed! They no longer argued among themselves about who was the greatest. They were no longer confused about nearly everything that Jesus taught them! They were set free from their selfishness, from their waywardness, once and for all!

Jesus spoke of the Jewish leaders in Matthew 13, quoting from Isaiah 6 —

Matthew 13:15      FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,
AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES,
OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES,
HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN,
AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’

Is your heart dull, that is, calloused over? Have you stopped up your ears and screwed your eyes shut because you’ve always thought and been taught the promise of a new heart can’t possibly be true?

Then turn today and be healed of your waywardness! You were born that way, but you don’t have to stay that way!

God’s promises say that He will change your heart! Ask Him, and He will do it!

SEEKING HIS HAND

[SW175] 02/27/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Seeking His Hand”

When someone is in chains, they are totally bound — legs, arms, neck.

But there’s one chain that has a lock on it, and when it’s unlocked, the prisoner is set free from those chains.

I tell you, Jesus wants to set some prisoners free today, and there’s a particular chain the Lord wants to break so all the rest fall to the ground!

Text: Psalm 78:12-33, 40-43

Israel longed for the things of Egypt (Numbers 11:1-6).

They forgot the oppression and the hard master they served there.

They forgot what the Lord had done for them:
— The plagues He set upon Egypt that resulted in their freedom, and
especially, the night the firstborn of Egypt were killed, but Israel’s
firstborn did not die. Death passed over them.
— Deliverance at the Red Sea
— The manna, bread from heaven
— Water from a rock, enough for a million of them
— The pillar cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, to lead and protect them
— The promise of the Promised Land

How could they forget? Or more importantly, why did they forget?

Numbers 11:33-34

Greediness!

They sought His hand and not His face (His presence).

Hey, Lord, I’m hungry. Feed me. But it has to be the kind I desire.

What is this? Manna? You expect me to eat this stuff?

I want meat, like I had in Egypt. I never should have left.

As Richard “Stonefingers” Johnson wrote in a song, “I Want To Go Back:”

I want to go back to Egypt.

That pillar of fire’s light keeps me awake all night.

I want to go back the slavery I once knew, something I can hold on to.

This desert is hot, a picnic it is not, I miss the cool Nile breezes and the shade.

This promised land’s a dream, that I have never seen.

Who does God think He is, to make me live like this, out here with all these scorpions and snakes?

If I was in charge, I’d stop this forward march, and hustle my way straight back to Egypt.

Israel didn’t trust God. They demanded from Him, saying “Fulfill our own desires (Psalm 78:18, Numbers 11:8-20).

Even today, there are pastors who encourage people to complain to God, demand what they want from Him, to seek His hand, to ask for material blessings continually.

But these pastors do not tell them that their hearts are selfish and that, by demanding that God fulfill their desires, they are rejecting what He has already supplied, and rejecting God Himself!

These false teachers feed on greed — the greed of the people who want their ear-tickling message. It even works in underdeveloped countries, which amazed me.

But fallen human hearts are the same everywhere — greedy, selfish, and desperately in need of transformation by God’s Holy Spirit!

May the Lord bring upon them something that will make the ears of all who hear tingle (vibrate, quiver with fear) not tickle (see 1Samuel 3:11, 2Kings 21:12, Jeremiah 19:3).

What is the cure for greed?

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

Hallelujah! By what has He granted that we become partakers of His nature and escape the corruption and lust of this world?

2Peter 1:2  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in  the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;

Knowledge — full knowledge, the knower having an experiential relationship with the One whom he knows. He knows God because he has experienced God, by being filled with the Holy Spirit!

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 . . .”

Matthew 6:33 “But  seek first  His kingdom and His righteousness, and  all these things will be  added to you.”

Nowhere in the gospels does Jesus say, “Demand what you want from God. He’s here to meet your lusts and desires.”

Romans 5:5 and hope  does not disappoint, because the love of God has been  poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

The Holy Spirit! Father God gives you a new heart when you are filled with the Holy Spirit! He is the One who makes you a partaker of the divine nature. It must be done in you in the same way it was done in Peter in the upper room in Acts 2!

— Father God’s love, the very same love with which He loves His Son! In you, filling your heart!

— Knowing Father God deeply and experientially and intimately because He is in you!

There is no other way to know Him but through Jesus Christ, His Son (John 14:6).

And there is no way to receive unless you are willing to offer yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing, for that is your spiritual act of worship (see Romans 12:1). The sacrifice in view here is a whole burnt offering. But you get to live after sin has been burned out of you, after the Refiner has come and purified!

Then you will no longer have greed in your heart, even greed toward God, wanting Him to give, give, give you what you lust for. You will always approach God with your needs, humbly and contritely, but with confidence.

No greed — once that chain is broken, the rest fall to the ground!

As Charles Wesley wrote:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray-
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
Is that chains that I hear falling, in the name of Jesus?

There is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain!

GOD’S PROTECTION

God promises to go before you as a warrior, and to defend you from your rear, where you cannot see! Find out how!

[SW168] 01/10/2015 message notes by Sister Susan J. Wynn ©2015
“God’s Protection”

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.

God’s Almighty promise is that He will go before you —

Go before = halak to walk continually, be conversant, lead, march, run

As you go, He continually is with you, ahead of you!
— He is Almighty God, and nothing and no one can overcome Him or defeat          Him
— He leads you, and you walk in His way
— He converses with you, He talks with you as you follow Him
— He is on the march, a mighty warrior leading his troops
— He protects you from what lies ahead of you
— He moves obstacles out of your way
— He exposes and destroys enemy plots and traps

And He is your rear guard!

— No one will attack you from the rear, because of His presence. Enemy              defeat is assured!
— The Enemy’s most subtle attacks are from that position, but God is there!
— He defends you at your weakest point, because you cannot see behind              you as you walk forward
— He makes sure you stay focused as you march forward
— You will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it,” when you turn to the right or the left (Isaiah 30:21).

You can’t lose, with God before you and behind you!

Let’s look at a King who had these promises, so we might learn a truth:

2Chronicles 17:4 Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, sought God.
— He treaded God’s way,
— frequented God’s presence,
— followed God
— Worshiped God,
— diligently inquired of God.

He did not seek the Baals or golden calves, like Ahab, King of northern Israel, who was one of God’s chosen people, but in name only.

2Chronicles 18:1 But Jehoshaphat took his eyes of God and tried to manipulate his circumstances.

He made an alliance with wicked Ahab, arranging a marriage between Ahab’s daughter and Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram (2Chronicles 21:6), to secure peace with Northern Israel.

The prophet Jehu rebuked him (2Chronicles 19:2-3), saying, “ Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD and bring wrath on yourself from the LORD? But   there is good in you, for  you have removed the Asheroth from the land and you have set your heart to seek God.”

Then, in 2Chronicles 20 —
— A huge army came against Judah (20:1)
— Jehoshaphat prayed to God (20:6-12)
— A prophet gave him a word that the Lord will fight for Judah (20:17)
— Jehoshaphat sent forth worshipers before his army (20:21)
— The Lord sent an ambush, without the involvement of Judah’s army,
and his enemies ultimately killed each other off (20:22-23)

What a great victory! The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, going before him, and being his rear guard, just as God promises in Isaiah 52.

But then:

2Chronicles 20:35-37
— He again took his eyes off God and tried to manipulate his circumstances by making another alliance with King Ahaziah, Ahab’s son who now reigned in Northern Israel.
— So he built ships with the rebellious King of Israel

But a prophet came and said, “The Lord destroys your works,” and indeed, the Lord destroyed what Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah had built.

The Lord says to us that if we take our eyes off Him, and try to manipulate our circumstances by making alliances with the world, with backsliders, with compromisers, He will not go before us nor be our rear guard.

Why? Is God a liar? May it never be! He is not a man, that He should lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2).

Look at Isaiah 52 again:

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.

AND THEN comes Isaiah 52:12, His promise to go before us and be our rear guard!

Jehoshaphat took his eyes off the Lord and made alliances with those who rebel against God in order to manipulate his circumstances. If you do the same, God will not go before you or be your rear guard. What you build will be destroyed by Him, O church, O Christian!

Paul quotes Isaiah 52:11 to the Corinthian church:

2Corinthians 6:14    Do not be  bound together with  unbelievers; for what  partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?  15 Or what  harmony has Christ with  Belial, or  what has a  believer in common with an  unbeliever?
16      Or  what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are  the temple of  the living God; just as God said,
“ I WILL  DWELL IN THEM AND  WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
17      “ Therefore,  COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
“AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you.
18      “ And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be  sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.

How do we keep from straying, from being bound together, from making alliances that lift His protection off us, so He will not go before us and be our rear guard, be our Father, and make us His sons and daughters? We must read on!

2Corinthians 7:1   Therefore, having these promises,  beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of
God. (NOTE: “Let us” is not in the original Greek. So this is a command, not a suggestion.)

This is a word for us, the answer to our waywardness. King Jehoshaphat sought the Lord most of the time, and trusted Him most of the time. But he could not perfect (complete) holiness. He could not completely fulfill or accomplish or finish it. He kept taking his eyes off God and trying to manipulate his circumstances, making alliances with the wicked that made God lift His protection off him.

When God the Father sent Jesus Christ to die and be raised again, to ascend back to Him and be glorified at His right hand, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit in a new way, so when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we are able to walk in the promise of protection because our hearts no longer wander!

We have the promise that He will make us holy, set apart for Him, when His Holy Spirit indwells us, but also the promise that He will make us no longer slaves to sin, to wandering, to manipulating our circumstances, to taking our eyes off God. Holiness is completed in us, so that we hate sin and backsliding and compromise just as He commands, and will not make alliances with those who rebel against Him — the world, and those in the church who give God lip service but their hearts are far from Him.

If you have been as Jehoshaphat, come into the truth today. Ask the Lord to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire, and He will come and cleanse your heart from waywardness. And surely, the Lord will go before you always, and always be your rear guard!