HIS ENTRY INTO HEARTS

[SW225] 03/19/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“His Entry Into Hearts”

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, when the church celebrates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But He wants you to focus today on His entry into your heart.

Imagine the scene in Jerusalem! The people received Jesus as a king who they thought would free them from Roman rule, but He is a different kind of King who offers a different kind of freedom — complete freedom from sin’s rule in them, and it happens when He enters a human heart.

We all are born with a heart problem called sin, and only Jesus Christ can heal us.

Texts: Psalm 84:5-6, Mark 1:1-8

Psalm 84:5-6  — How blessed is the one whose strength is the Lord, and in whose heart are the highways!

Do you want to be blessed? Or do you want to be called “blessed” by the Lord? There’s a difference.

Do you want the Lord to give you stuff, or do you want to give HIM to others? Freely you have received — His command is “freely give.” (See Matthew 10:8.)

But to freely give, a place must be made for Jesus to make a triumphal entry into your heart.

Then your heart problem will be healed so you will be a blessing to others, just according to Psalm 84:5-6, making valleys of weeping into places of fountains, sources of satisfaction that never dries up.

How does Jesus make a triumphal entry in your heart?

— You must make a highway for Him

How do you make a natural highway?

— Clear trees and brambles and brush

— Cut down hills

— Break up the rocks

— Use the broken rock (gravel) for the base

— Level the highway’s base

— Pave it and mark it

Then you have a highway.

It is the same in your heart and mine. It is a highway of repentance, confession of sin, and forgiveness (Mark 1:1-3, Isaiah 40:4-5) —

— The trees and brambles are the things “not of God” that are in your heart. You know what yours are, just like I knew what mine were.

— The hills are your pride. Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up at the proper time (1Peter 5:6).

— The rocks are the hard places in your heart, where you have not yielded to Jesus.

Confess them to the Lord, repent and ask Him to forgive you.

Then you are ready for the next phase of construction:

— The broken rock (gravel) results when you fall on Him (Matthew 21:44).

— The highway base can then be leveled, because broken rock is easy to smooth and level.

— The final paving and marking is done by prayer; you say, “O Lord, come in!”

Then your heart’s highway is prepared for Jesus Christ to triumphantly enter!
And look at what happens to you!

— You are blessed because you receive Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire (Mark 1:8, Matthew 3:11), and Jesus and the Father come to dwell and rule and reign in you (John 14:23). Your heart problem is healed!

— Because you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you become a blessing — even fountains and springs of satisfaction for others — as you go (for you cannot imagine sitting, or seeking blessing only for yourself!).

— You go from strength to strength (Psalm 84:7), saying with the Apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

— You appear before God (Psalm 84:7), because your heart is pure and cleansed (Matthew 5:8, Acts 15:9).

— The early rains come and cover you, and the people, with blessings

Why should you care?

— Your heart problem is fatal. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

— Jesus is coming again, and He will look for you to be doing what He has asked all of His church to do (Matthew 24:45-51). You must be ready and at work!

Do not be like the people of Jerusalem who wanted Jesus to come and free them. They were only thinking of their own needs. Prepare the highway and make Jesus King in your heart!

Then He will free you from sin’s rule in you, and make you a blessing for others, because every heart has a problem, and needs His healing, through you.
Make yourself ready! Build a highway! Repent, confess your sin, and ask Jesus to forgive you.

He will surely enter your heart, you will go out and make fountains in places of weeping, and He will find you ready, when He returns.

Now I will pray for your hearts, and for your hurts.

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COMMENTARY ON JOHN 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why did He come? You will see.

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

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

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

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

“Sacrifice and offering You have not desired,

But a body You have prepared for Me;

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

My ears You have opened;

Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.

7  Then I said, “Behold, I come;

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

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

Your Law is within my heart.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MARK 10 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.

So what does the Holy Spirit want us to see in this chapter? The effects of blindness.

Verses 1-12 — Jesus is teaching. He does not only heal and deliver, but He teaches. Take heed of His words, and you will be blessed, indeed!

Of course, the blind Pharisees do not receive the truth that Jesus is teaching. The effects of blindness! They are only present because they very much want to make Him stumble in His words. So they ask about divorce. I am sure they were being convicted of their sin, as He spoke.

At that time, Jewish men with roving eyes divorced their wives for the slightest thing — maybe the food was not hot when she served it. That way, they could marry the one that caught their eye. So they used the law Moses wrote (not God) regarding divorce, for their own selfish interests. Moses wrote that law because Israel’s hearts were hardened, even then.

Jesus says that law was written because their hearts were hardened. What does it mean to have a hardened heart? It means you follow the letter of the law, but you use it for self-interest.

A person (I’ll use the pronoun “he,” just to make it easier) goes to church and does good works like feeding and clothing the poor, singing in the choir and going to the church every time the door is open. Others admire him and say, “What a great guy!”  Yet he is secretly disobedient to God, sinning against Him in private.

And if a friend comes and speaks to him about the state of his soul, the friend is rejected and rebuffed. The great guy doesn’t want anyone to make him feel bad about what he is doing. He just wants to keep doing what he’s doing. It was the same with the Jews and divorce for selfish purposes, and Jesus was the Friend they rejected and rebuffed.

After Jesus reminds the Pharisees of why Moses made a divorce law, He uses the Word of God to remind them of the heart of God. Male and female, a man leaving his father and mother, the two (male and female) becoming one flesh. Then Jesus says, “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” That is God’s heart and that is a command.

The disciples privately question Jesus about what He means. If you are a man and divorce your wife so you can marry another woman, you commit adultery, He says. If a woman divorces her husband so she can marry another man, she commits adultery, He says.

Notice the reason Jesus calls divorce adultery, in this case. Lust. You have your eye on someone else. You lust after that one. So you divorce your husband or wife. That is adultery. That is exactly what the Jews (including some of the Pharisees) were doing at the time Jesus walked the earth.

Jesus says,”Let no man separate.” Let no man or woman separate. Husband, do not lust after another woman who will separate you from your wife, and wife, do not lust after another man who will separate you from your husband.

Instead, ask God, by His Holy Spirit, to fill and thereby purify your heart so you have no desire for anyone but your own spouse. Amen!

I do not believe that a man or woman whose husband is incurably unfaithful (after counseling is attempted), or abusive, is held to this commandment of Jesus Christ. Such situations have nothing to do with roving, lustful, adulterous eyes.

I support that belief with scripture, and Jeff’s and my case —

1Corinthians 7:15 and 7:24 speak of what happens when you are married and you become a believer. Your husband or wife does not believe, and they leave you. It is not a sin to let them go and to divorce them to avoid legal issues later. You are not bound to them, in the eyes of God. And when you come to the Lord, you remain in whatever condition you were in when you believed. If you are a divorced unbeliever who married another divorced unbeliever, you don’t leave them when you come to faith in Jesus Christ. He forgives those sins.

Jeff and I were both divorcees. We did not know the Lord. We got married. Then we became believers. All of our past sins were forgiven, praise God!

Jeff did not divorce his first wife because he liked me better. He didn’t even know me. Jeff’s first wife abandoned him. I did not divorce my first husband because I liked Jeff better. I didn’t even know Jeff. I divorced my first husband because he beat me until I bled internally. I didn’t have a roving eye, but I had a black and blue body! If we were adulterers in God’s eyes, Jesus never would have healed me, and He never would have filled Jeff and me with His Spirit.

Verses 13-16 — The Pharisees were so blind they couldn’t receive the truth Jesus was teaching.  Now the blindness continues, this time with the disciples. They do not see the kingdom of God that Jesus had told them about previously. They do not understand that little children are as welcome as any others. Everyone is welcome! They see the children as a bother, and rebuke those who bring their children so Jesus can touch them. Do you know what “touch” means? To put a light in them, to set them on fire (with His presence)! The disciples rebuke people for bringing their children so Jesus can put a light in them! Now that’s blindness, a blindness Jesus heals when He fills us with His Spirit. Then we understand, then we see.

So Jesus tells them they have it all wrong. Do not hinder them, let them come! The kingdom of God belongs to those who are like little children before Me! As a matter of fact, if you don’t receive My kingdom like a child, you won’t enter it at all.

What does it mean to receive the kingdom of God as a child? Complete trust in God. If a family functions as God designed it, a child trusts his father and mother completely. That requires a humble heart. The child knows he can’t fix what’s wrong, but if he brings it to his father or mother, it will be fixed. And the child seeks an innocent intimacy with his parents — appropriate hugs and kisses.

Jesus is saying you cannot be a child of God unless you trust God the Father, even to the point where you tell Him your greatest perplexities and problems, trusting that He will take care of them, and you, knowing that He is a perfect Father. That requires a humble heart. You know you can’t fix what’s wrong, but you know He can. A child of God seeks holy intimacy with God, a holy embrace between Him and His child.

The disciples can’t see that yet, because they are not filled with the Holy Spirit. The kingdom of God hasn’t come to them with power, yet. But it will.

Verse 17-27 — Now we see another kind of blindness. A rich young man comes up to Jesus, calling Him “Good Teacher.” Jesus immediately says only God is good. His implicit question is this — do you call me good because you know I am God the Son?

Jesus speaks the last six commandments. So do you do good things, rich young man? And the young man proudly says, I keep all six of them. I do good things. But notice that Jesus doesn’t ask him if he does the first four commandments, which relate to love for God.

Jesus feels love for ones who are physically blind, and He feels love for ones who are spiritually blind and don’t know it. This young man doesn’t see that God must be in you, working through you, in order for you to do the kind of good that God does.

Jesus knows what issue God has with the young man. He is rich. That is his idol. That is his god. So sell everything and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then you can come and follow Me! Jesus knows what the response will be — sadness and retreat, because the young man knows he can’t let go of all of his property. The young man’s riches are his god, but he is blind and can’t see it. The effect of his blindness is that he cannot enter the kingdom.

So he does not follow Jesus, and Jesus does not go after him, either. Instead, Jesus exclaims that it is hard to enter the kingdom of God. Even harder than a camel going through the eye of a needle. He means this literally. It looks impossible.

The entrance to the kingdom of God is not large and grandiose, with a wide path. It has just a small gate, and the way is narrow, and few find it (Matthew 7:14). Few! It is hard to enter. You must be humble.

The disciples are not humble, so they do not understand. Then no one can be saved, they imply, when they say, “Then who can be saved?”

Then Jesus tells us that what looks impossible to man is possible for God. All things are possible with God!

IMPORTANT POINT:  Jesus means this in every way — All things are possible with God. With God, it is possible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, for the proud to be made humble, for the spiritually blind to see, for the incurably sick to be healed and for the demon-possessed to be delivered. With God, it is even possible for a human heart to be filled with God’s actual love!

Verses 28-31 — As usual, Peter (and the rest of the disciples) try to figure out what Jesus means, and Peter takes a stab at it. We’ve left everything! That’s not what Jesus is talking about. The requirement for a humble heart, in order to enter the kingdom of God, is the point He’s making. It isn’t about giving up things. It’s about giving up YOURSELF!

But He tells them (and you) that if, for His sake and the gospel’s sake, you leave your house and your family (He doesn’t mean permanent separation from family) and your work, you will receive 100 times as much now — houses, family, houses, and jobs. All of the coming church will share what they have, every church member will be your brother or sister or mother, every child of a child of God will be like your own, everyone’s home will be your home! That was true of the early church, but as you may have noticed, that is not true in today’s church, because there are proud and spiritually blind ones among us.

And you will also endure persecution, but ultimately, eternal life! It’s a narrow way. Unless you love the world system, it will not love you and it will come against you, even violently (John 15:18-20). They can kill your body, dear one, but you’ll simply go on to be in heaven forever.

But many who are first will be last. The first to have the offer was the Jews. The Pharisees are blind. The young man is blind. The effect of their blindness is that they will not be the first to enter. But the humble ones are able to see, so they will be the first to enter.  And the last to see will be the last to enter.

Verses 32-45 — Now Jesus walks ahead of His disciples, not with them. He is on a mission to get to Jerusalem. They follow, astonished at His behavior and His words. And they are both alarmed and in awe. And with greater detail than ever, Jesus once again tells them that He will be killed and rise three days later.

The blindness of the disciples is once again obvious. James and John want preferential treatment, when Jesus reigns on the earthly throne they are expecting. He will come into Jerusalem on a white horse, and the Romans will be defeated. Their behavior is not humble. They think they deserve to have their request honored by Jesus. Their self interest is clearly in view. It will be to their advantage to have the King’s ear.

He tells them they don’t know what they’re asking. Can they take His cup — a baptism of death? Blindly they say, “We are able.” They don’t know what He’s talking about.

But He tells them they will experience a baptism of death. It will happen at Pentecost, when they die to all of their pride and self-interest. That’s the baptism they will undergo. That’s the cup they will drink. For James, his physical body will die when he is martyred for his faith, with a sword. John will live on, to receive the Revelation before his physical body dies a natural death.

Again, He admonishes them that none is better than any other of them. They must be humble, serving one another, not trying to “best” one another, not trying to jockey for position.

Do you want to be first, He says? Then be a slave to everyone, just as I am!

I did not come for you to serve Me, but to serve you by dying for you, in your place, taking your punishment upon Me; rising again, that you may have eternal life; and pouring out the Holy Spirit, so your spiritual blindness may be healed!

Verses 46-52 — Bartimaeus (whose name means “son of one who is highly prized”) is blind, but he can see before he sees! He knows that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ. How do I know that? The crowd says, “It’s Jesus the Nazarene,” but he calls Him by a Messianic title: Jesus, Son of David. Have mercy on me!

Everyone wanted him to be quiet, to leave the Master alone. They spoke sternly and harshly to Bartimaeus. But he kept shouting!

Keep shouting! Pay no attention to persecution from those who are yet blind.

He will have mercy on you, when you see Him for who He really is, and cry out for mercy and refuse to stop crying out!

Jesus heard him calling, and said to the crowd, “Call him here.” And the crowd said, “Take courage (comfort, be of good cheer), stand up! He is calling for you!”

When you refuse to stop calling out to Him, He will call for you and you will be of good cheer. Bartimaeus’ continuous calling out was an indication of his faith. He knew he was coming to his Healer!

He threw aside his cloak, which was probably everything he owned. He was a blind beggar. The alms he received were likely stored there. But he didn’t care! He jumped up! He didn’t just slowly rise. He jumped! And he came to Jesus, feeling his way through the crowd. Can you see it! He was desperate!

Jesus asks a seemingly foolish question. The man is obviously blind, yet Jesus asks him what he wants Jesus to do for him!

What do you want Jesus to do for you? He wants you to tell Him, just like when I had MS and I had to tell Him what was wrong in my brain and spinal cord, what needed to be healed and recreated. It was an act of faith to tell Him. And so it was for Bartimaeus, the blind man who could see, even before he was healed!

And the man said, “Rabboni (Teacher, a title of respect), I want to regain my sight!”

And Jesus says, “Go! Your faith has made you well.” Does that mean the faith Bartimaeus exhibited had some kind of healing power? No! It means that his faith brought him to the One who heals. So, in that sense, his faith made him well. When?

Immediately! Immediately! No waiting! When you have faith, when you know Who you are coming to, the Christ, the Son of God, when you know He is able to heal you and you are so desperate that you’ll throw away everything when He calls your name —

immediately! At that moment, not when he had faith, but when he stood before Jesus and healing power went forth from Jesus. Immediately!
I challenge you, because I love you with God’s own love — if you say, “I can’t wait until Jesus heals me,” you are not yet desperate, and I will tell you that He is waiting for you to come to Him.

Immediately he regains his sight. His response? Does he just walk away? Does he just say, “Thanks, Jesus, now I have my life back.” No! He immediately began following Jesus on the road. Will you?

 

LOVING HIS APPEARING

[SW212] 12/18/2015 message notes by
Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Loving His Appearing”

Have you loved Jesus Christ’s appearing? If you have, you will not fear when He returns. And He will award you with a crown of righteousness!

But if you have not loved His appearing, you will not be ready for His soon return.

Text:

2Timothy 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

“Appearing” means brightness, manifestation. It refers to what has already taken place — Jesus Christ’s presence and power when He walked the earth, and His light that He shed on all mankind (John 1:9). But it also refers to His brilliant return from heaven to earth, which will be like lightning flashing across the sky (Matthew 24:27).

What is it to love His appearing, then?

I can look back now and say I love God’s promise of Christ’s appearing in Isaiah 9, a great Light to a people living in deep darkness. I was in darkness, but then I saw His great light!

I love God’s promise of Christ’s appearing in Isaiah 60, to know that a light would come and shine upon me, and that His glory and light would even be upon me, so kings would come to the brightness of my rising, the appearing, the manifestation, the brightness of His glory literally inside of me! Glory to God!

I love His appearing as Simeon and Anna did, when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem, to be presented and dedicated to the Lord (see Luke 2). They were waiting, the Lord had promised Simeon that he would see it in his lifetime, and God was faithful to His promise. And Anna, who had waited and fasted and prayed, joyfully proclaimed that this little child was the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ!

I was glad when He spoke to me in the night when I had no strength to continue. I was addicted to drugs, beaten until I bled, and He healed me of my addiction.  But I did not love Him then, nor did I thank Him then. But now I can say that I love His appearing to me on that night, 35 years ago.

I loved His appearing when He came to me in the middle of the night 14 years ago, when His presence was manifested to me as He spoke to me and said I was sinking in a sea of doubt. I reached up, and cried out to Him, and shortly after, His presence was manifested to me even more, as He healed me of the incurable disease called MS! Oh, His glory moved all through me!

Not long after that, I loved His appearing when He manifested Himself in a vision to me. I looked up and saw Him on the cross, covered with His own blood. He looked down at me with a love that no words can describe. I saw what He had done for me, in living color. I awoke sobbing, with a deep understanding of His sacrifice on my behalf, and on behalf of all mankind.

I will love His appearing when He brings revival to the church — not a jumping and hollering revival, but a falling-on-your-face and weeping revival as His holiness and majesty is powerfully manifested to the church, and He heals her of her sin.

And I love the promise of His appearing once again, like lighting flashing across the sky. Everyone will see it! That time is coming soon!

What will happen then? Some will be judged and punished. Those who love His appearing will not fear judgment, though, because God has filled them with His perfect love, poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5, 1John 4:18).
Praise God!

Then those who love His appearing will receive a crown of righteousness. It won’t be because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done in us! Praise His name!

Therefore, I love the promise of His soon appearing! I am ready!

What is God’s heart in this scripture? That you be ready!

Why wouldn’t you be ready? If we look at the whole chapter, it’s about standing firm in the truth which is in Christ, and on the Word of God, amidst a time when many are turning away from it.

Paul gives a solemn charge to Timothy, and to all who preach and teach. As he writes, Paul stands before God and Christ, spiritually. He swears it, by Christ’s appearing and His kingdom.

What is Paul’s charge? Preach the Word. Don’t make excuses for it. Don’t apologize for it. Don’t water it down. Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and instruction.

Why? The time has come now when many do not endure sound doctrine, but want only messages that make them feel good when they hear them (ear-tickling messages). And they pile up around themselves heaps of teachers who will teach that way. They turn aside to false teaching, taught by those who have no conscience, who do not love His appearing, but the appearance of money in their coffers. That’s the truth!

But we who love His appearing will be sober, watchful in all things, and will be about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49), evangelizing and ministering, doing what God has ordained and empowered us to do.

We will fight the good fight against the prince of the power of the air, Satan. We will keep the faith despite the tremendous pressure to cave in and dumb down our message.

Beloved, if there is no sword, there is no conviction, there is no surgery, there is no healing.

It is the double-edged sword of God’s unadulterated Word that pierces, divides, and exposes so hearts are convicted and heart surgery can be done by the Holy Ghost. I love to watch Him operate! Don’t you?

He operated on me, and the outcome was LIFE, ABUNDANTLY, ’TIL IT OVERFLOWS TO OTHERS!

ALTAR CALL:

Ask Him to do heart surgery on you this morning! Ask Him to forgive you, then ask Him to fill you with the Holy Ghost, and you, too, will love His appearing. He will manifest Himself to you:

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

In Matthew 24 and elsewhere, He commands you to be ready. Let Him fill your heart with His love today, so you love His appearing, because you know you will not face judgment and punishment when He comes. Then you will be ready!

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!

GREATER THINGS

[SW174] 02/20/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Greater Things”

What did Jesus mean when He said those who believe in Him would do greater things? You’ll be amazed to find out!

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and  greater works than these he will do; because  I go to the Father.”

The keys here are “GREATER works he will DO” and  “BECAUSE I go to the Father.”

What possible greater thing (the word “works”  isn’t in the original Greek) could you do that Jesus did not do while He was on the earth?

What possible greater thing could be done by you BECAUSE He went to the Father?

What hadn’t Jesus Himself done while He was on the earth, but was something you as a believer would be empowered to do when He went to the Father?

We know that when Jesus went to the Father, He was glorified and poured out the Holy Spirit. The Spirit had not yet been given. (John 7:37-39). It was a new way of having the Spirit — He was to be you permanently, not just with you or upon you or “in” you for a specific task until it was done, like Bezalel (Exodus 31:2-3).

In that upper room in Acts 2, the 120 experienced a personal Pentecost. They were filled with God the Holy Spirit.

In order to  understand the greater they would do, you must understand what GOD worked in those who experienced a personal Pentecost that day. It is what empowered them to do the greater thing promised by Jesus.

The Holy Spirit purified their hearts (Acts 15:9), so those who were filled no longer had divided affections. God no longer had any rivals in their hearts.

Jesus prayed for the Father to put His love in them AND Him in them (John 17:26), so they would be filled Jesus Himself and with God’s actual love and love with God’s love — the same love the Father has for the Son. And that happened to those 120 in that upper room, when they experienced a personal Pentecost.

Jesus promised that because they were truly His disciples, they would continue in His word and know the truth by experiencing it, and the truth would set them free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36). And that happened to those 120 in that upper room, when they experienced a personal Pentecost.

He promised that they would become partakers of His divine nature (2Peter 1:4), having His character literally residing in them. And that happened to those 120 in that upper room, when they experienced a personal Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit worked such a change in those who were filled, that they became Jesus Christ’s witnesses here, even to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8)!

So, with all of that in mind, what is it that the disciples were empowered to do, and what is it that you and I are empowered to do, when we experience a personal Pentecost?

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and  greater works than these he will do; because  I go to the Father.”

He said it would be a greater thing that we would DO, a “God thing” that we would do, one that God in the flesh did not do while He walked the earth. And it was BECAUSE He went to the Father that we would be empowered to do this greater thing.

There is only one thing that Jesus did not do while He walked the earth that we are now able to do BECAUSE He went to the Father.

It is a greater thing than healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, casting out demons, making the blind see and the deaf hear and the lame walk, which He and His disciples did when Jesus walked the earth.

The only thing Jesus did not do while He walked the earth, but we are now able to do, is described in Acts 8:17, 9:17 and Acts 19:1-7 —

Acts 8:17 Then they  began laying their hands on them, and they were  receiving the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after  laying his hands on him said, “ Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be  filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 19:1   It happened that while  Apollos was at  Corinth, Paul passed through the  upper country and came to  Ephesus, and found some disciples.  2 He said to them, “ Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No,  we have not even heard whether  there is a Holy Spirit.”  3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “ Into John’s baptism.”  4 Paul said, “ John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people  to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”  5 When they heard this, they were  baptized  in the name of the Lord Jesus.  6 And when Paul had  laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began  speaking with tongues and  prophesying.  7 There were in all about twelve men.

Beloved, when you experience a personal Pentecost and your heart is purified, God’s actual love fills your heart, and you are no longer a slave to sin, and you are a partaker of the divine nature, the greater thing you are empowered to do, the one thing Jesus did not do while He was on the earth, is to baptize others in the Holy Spirit.

Those three scriptures show you that baptism in the Holy Spirit happens when you lay hands on a fellow believer. BUT It may also happen while you are speaking the gospel of Jesus Christ —

Acts 10:44   While Peter was still speaking these words,  the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the  message.

When you experience a personal Pentecost and are filled with and baptized in the Holy Spirit, you are empowered to lay hands on others or even to speak the gospel with such power that they, too, are baptized in the Holy Spirit and filled to overflowing!

Why? So their hearts are purified just like yours, no longer having divided affections.

Why? So His love is in them, just like it is in yours, just like Jesus prayed to the Father.

Why? So they, too, are no longer slaves to sin, just as He promised in John 8:31-36.

Why? So they, too, become partakers of the divine nature

Why? So they, too can be Jesus Christ’s witnesses, even to the ends of the earth.

Why? So they, too, can lay hands on others so they are filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit!

Jesus did not baptize people in the Holy Spirit while He was on the earth because it was not yet time.

AFTER He went to the Father and was glorified, it was time! Pentecost happened! And it is still happening today, in individual believers, beloved.

It’s what Paul was praying in Ephesians 3:14-19.

It’s the point to which apostles and prophets and evangelists and pastors and teachers seek to bring every Christian. It is God’s plan for building the church —

Ephesians 4:13 . . . until we all attain to  the unity of the faith, and of the   knowledge of the Son of God, to a  mature man, to the measure of the stature  which belongs to the  fullness of Christ.

Beloved, as Jeff once prophesied, God does not want a full church; He wants a filled church. God does not want a full church building. He wants believers who are filled!

Have you experienced a personal Pentecost? Is your heart pure? Are you filled with the same love God has for His Son? Are you no longer a slave to sin?

You must love and obey Jesus before the Holy Spirit will come and fill you to the full (Acts 5:32).

Are you still struggling with sin, Christian, pastor, church leader?

Then confess your sin, ask Jesus to forgive you! Repent!

Then ask, seek, knock, and He will purify your heart, fill it with His love, free you from slavery to sin, and give you His divine nature!

And you will be able to do something greater than what Jesus did when He walked the earth! It will be for His purpose. And you will become one of His ambassadors here, just as the Apostles and all of the church from that Acts 2 Pentecost, and for all time until Jesus returns!

Beloved, Jesus didn’t die and rise again so you could receive whatever blessings you demand from the Father’s hand.

He died and rose again so you would have a pure heart, one that obeys because it is filled with the very same love that the Father has for the Son, and so that you would be a vessel through which He would baptize many in the Spirit, to be His witnesses everywhere!

THE LESSER LIGHT

DSCN1259

[SW172] 02/07/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015
[NOTE: Much more on the video message; just click on the link to the right of this post.]

“The Lesser Light”

Christ is the great Light who was with the Father before anything was created. And  you were created to be a lesser light who reflects Him.

Text:  Genesis 1:16

Genesis 1:16 God made the two  great lights, the  greater  light  to govern the day, and the lesser  light  to govern the night; He made  the stars also.

As I began to read through the Bible again this week, the Holy Spirit used this verse to stir my spirit. Someone needs to hear this message today. It will free them, it will encourage them, it will challenge them, and God will empower them through it.

The greater light is the sun; the lesser light is the moon. Does the moon have any light of its own? Does it produce light by itself?

No, the moon simply reflects the light of the sun shining on it. It is not a great light in and of itself. But it reflects to such a degree that it sheds light on a dark night when that moon is full.

Well, there’s a lot there! But here’s the difference between Genesis 1:16 versus Jesus Christ and  you. Jesus is the greater Light, but He was not created — He was with the Father before anything was created (John 1:1-2), and the Father assigned Him to create (Hebrews 1:2). And you, beloved, are created to be the lesser light.

When the moon is fully lit outwardly by the sun, it shines brightly. So do you, when you’re full. Your purpose is to shine in the darkness of today’s world, but unlike the moon, you were created to shine 24/7.

When the sun is no longer seen physically, the moon still reflects it. That lets everyone in the world know that the sun is still shining. Otherwise, the moon would not be lit.

The lit moon is evidence of the sun’s existence.

It’s the same with you. The world can’t see Jesus Christ, even though He lives. But He’s still here, and we who reflect Him are evidence of the fact that He is.

The moon has no ability to light itself. It must be lit by the sun.

You have no ability to light yourself up with the Son of God. But the Son lights you up so you reflect Him.

The comparison changes a bit now. Even when it is fully lit by the sun, the moon can only OUTWARDLY reflect the sun’s light. It has no light inside of it.

But when you are full of Jesus Christ, full of the Holy Spirit, you shine brightly FROM WITHIN.

The Lord showed me something that will touch someone today.

In Florida, I was called upon to give my testimony of healing at a church. I prepared, I prayed, but after I gave it, I felt like I had failed.

You see, I was not used to giving my testimony. So I was awkward about giving it.

I felt I missed what the Lord had wanted to say through my testimony. And I was very sad the next morning, as I sat on the couch in my morning prayers and meditations with Jesus.

From my couch, I could see the sun rising and the moon setting. As the moon faded in the light of the sun, I said to the Lord, “Make me disappear like the moon, so all people see is You.” I wept, I prayed, and then I went to Jeff. I told him how I felt, and he said this:

“I did not see failure last night. That is not what I saw. What I saw was the lesser light proclaiming the greater light.”

I felt a great release, and my sadness left me. I am a lesser light. Christ is the great Light. I reflect His light, from the inside of me, because I am full of His light. But I am yet a lesser light.

So I don’t have to be perfect in my presentation of the gospel, or in sharing my testimony.

The greater Light will shine from this lesser light, and by His shining from me, I am His witness. Even though the world can’t see Him, they can see Him in me.

It is so that they will not be able to deny that He is alive, though they can’t see Him.

Jesus is the great Light, the never-before-seen light that came into the world —

John 14:19 “  After a little while  the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me;  because I live, you will live also.

Isaiah 9:2  The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.

He is the Light of the world —

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

But He says we are, too —

Matthew 5:13   “You are the salt of the earth; but  if the salt has become tasteless, how  can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

Matthew 5:14   “You are  the light of the world. A city set on a  hill cannot be hidden; 15  nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a  basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may  see your good works, and  glorify your Father who is in heaven.

But the disciples didn’t reflect Jesus Christ when He walked with them on the earth. They argued about who was the greatest, they were confused by what Jesus spoke to them.

But after Pentecost, they were full of His light. They became His witnesses. Even the Sanhedrin had to admit that it was obvious they had been with Jesus. But Jesus was no longer on the earth.

How could they be with Jesus when He was no longer physically with them? He was in them. He said:

John 16:7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the   Helper will not come to you; but if I go,  I will send Him to you.

He was speaking of the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit would come, if they would wait in the city until they were clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49).

Even then —

2Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face,  beholding as in a mirror the  glory of the Lord, are being  transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from  the Lord, the Spirit.

The reflection of His light in us will grow brighter and brighter!

Philippians 2:14   Do all things without  grumbling or disputing;  15 so that you will  prove yourselves to be  blameless and innocent,  children of God above reproach in the midst of a  crooked and perverse generation, among whom you   appear as  lights in the world,  16 holding  fast [forth] the word of life, so that in  the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not  run in vain nor  toil in vain.

Before Pentecost, before the disciples were baptized in the Holy Spirit, the disciples grumbled and complained.

After Pentecost, they proved themselves to be just as Paul said — children of God above reproach, lights in the world, holding forth the word of life to a world in desperate need of His light, the light that will reconcile them to God, remove God’s wrath, and give them eternal life with God.

Before, and after. What a change!

Altar call:

If you are lit up with Christ, don’t expect to do everything perfectly. It is necessary for the greater Light to be reflected in a lesser light, so that we are the evidence that He IS, living here and now in you.

I boldly rejoice in my weaknesses —

2Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for  power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather  boast  about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  10 Therefore  I am well content with weaknesses, with  insults, with  distresses, with  persecutions, with  difficulties,  for Christ’s sake; for  when I am weak, then I am strong.

Are you a lesser light so the greater Light can be seen? Examine yourself. Ask God if you are.

And if you don’t get a response, ask Him what He needs to do to make you His lesser light. He’ll not only show you, but reveal to you that He is ready and waiting to change you. All you have to do is agree with Him.

Do you believe that you are something? Do you boast in your ministry, in what you have done?

Galatians 6:3 For  if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Become nothing. Decrease YOUR ministry, and He will increase HIS (John 3:30). And you will see a marked change. You will see His light shine from you, and from the ministry that HE, the greater Light, does through you, the lesser light.

We must get right, to be that lesser light.

We must get right, to be filled with His great Light.

Amen.