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.

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GOD’S GREAT PROVISION

[SW179] 04/03/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“God’s Great Provision”

Text: Genesis 22

A foreshadowing of God’s great, amazing provision — His one and only Son, Jesus Christ!

What better time to contemplate such a thing! It is GOOD Friday, the church’s observance of His crucifixion. Why is it GOOD? Because of what happened three days later! He rose! Hallelujah!

Exegesis of Genesis 22 —

vv. 1-2  The Lord calls Abraham responds immediately. He hears God’s voice and says, “Here I am.” So should it be for all of us!

The Lord gave the command for Abraham to do what seems out of character with God, for it was never in His mind to have children burned as a sacrificial offering to Him (Jeremiah 7:31, 32:35). Only those who worshiped other Gods did such things!

So why did He ask?

He gave this command so Abraham would act out prophecy. Hebrews 11:17-19 reveals the mind of God and of Abraham, as he offered his one and only son, the one who was to continue the promise that Abraham’s descendants would bless the earth (see v. 18). Abraham believed that, even if Isaac was sacrificed, God would raise him from the dead. The Lord’s request and Abraham’s response was a type, a symbol of something.

Go to the land of Moriah, which means, “seen of God.”

And there, offer your son, your one and only Son, whom you love1 God recognizes Isaac as the only seed of Abraham, the one through whose descendants the world will be blessed.

Where have we heard that? John 1:14! John 3:16! For God to make this extreme sacrifice, our need must be great, beloved!

Do you already see the parallel to God the Father offering God the Son — His one and only eternally existent, sinless Son?

vv. 3-4 Abraham made preparations, and began the journey to the place the Lord had shown him when the Lord spoke to him. He saw it in the distance, on the third day.

v. 5-6 Now Abraham and the lad (adolescent, teen) went to worship, leaving his two servants behind. Abraham told his servants that both of them would return. See Abraham’s confidence in God! Note: Isaac carried the wood on his back — he was not a little child, but an adolescent, old enough to carry a large load of wood.

Do you see that Jesus Christ also carried a large load of wood on His back, even His cross?

v. 7-8 “My father!” Isaac asked about the lamb for the sacrifice. There was none. What would they offer?

Abraham didn’t say, “You!” Rather, he said, “God will provide FOR HIMSELF the lamb. Provide — that is see. God will see to it! Abraham was confident of it. He believed God, he knew His faithfulness. And they walked on.

Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Go to Isaiah 53. God saw to it that this sinless Lamb of God bore not only a cross, but our sin, taking the punishment we deserved! And it pleased the Father to do it!

v. 9-10 Isaac willingly accepted being bound and laid on the altar. Abraham was ready to kill and offer his son. It was the same to Abraham as sacrificing himself, for Isaac was his true seed, the promised son.

The Lamb of God, the Son that the Father promised us, willingly accepted being bound, beaten and mocked, for our sake!

v. 11-12 The angel of the Lord (God’s voice) called from heaven. “Abraham, Abraham!” The obedient Abraham said, “Here I am.” Don’t do it! “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” From Me! It is the Lord who is speaking.

I know you fear God —- literally, I know you are a fearer of God, one who worships, reveres, has confidence in, trusts, and loves (see Easton’s Bible Dictionary).

v. 13-14  A ram, a grown lamb, a sacrifice provided seemingly out of the blue, seen by Abraham as he raised his eyes from the altar on which his one and only son laid. A provision by God! On the mountain of the Lord, the mountain where it shall be seen, Mount Moriah!

Do you see it? Jesus Christ, the grown Lamb of God, the one and only Son of God, offered in place of us, a wrath-bearer, taking upon Himself what we deserved!

And it took place on the mountain called Moriah. Many scholars believe Moriah,  the mountain where Isaac was bound and prepared to be offered, is the very mountain where the Lamb of God was provided by the God the Father!

Do you see Him on the mountain? YHWH yireh, the root of which is of ra’ah, which means to see! If you really see it, you will bow down and worship God the Father and God the Son right now!

v. 15-18  The Lord promises that Abraham’s confidence in Him yields great reward! He repeats His promise from Genesis 12 and 15, but adds that Abraham’s descendants will be as the sand on the seashore, and that they will possess the gates of their enemies.

Beloved, if you believe in and are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are a recipient of this promise (see Romans 9:8)!

Why did the Lord promise? Because Abraham obeyed, knowing the Lord so well at this point in his life, and loving Him, that he trusted Him even with his one and only son.

Isaac is not mentioned again until Genesis 24, when Abraham’s servant is sent to bring a wife for Isaac. Well! What a picture of Christ, three days in the grave and risen, and His bride, the church, being prepared now by the Holy Spirit for Him.

So what will you do in response? While you were yet a sinner, Christ died for you!
While you were yet hostile toward God, He sent His Son! (See Romans 5:8, 10). He demonstrates His own love for us by doing so.

Do you see the Descendant of Abraham, Jesus Christ, through whom the whole world is blessed, when men and women repent, confess their sins, and receive what He has done?

My brother, my sister, fellow believers, and those who are just now believing, will you respond to this grace of God, this love of God, this sacrifice of God on your behalf, this Son who bore our sins?

Confess your condition, confess your rebellion, confess your sin. He will save you who are just now believing!

And brothers and sisters in Christ, your response is Romans 12:1. Christ’s extreme sacrifice requires your extreme commitment, completely and entirely committing yourself to Him! That’s your part of the deal. Then you are able to speak Galatians 2:22 with the Apostle Paul.

Then Christ will live in you and through you, for the glory of God and the salvation of many! Hallelujah!

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!

GIVER OF ONE HEART

[SW164] 12/12/2014 message notes by Sister Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Giver of One Heart”

The Lord God will give us one heart and one way so that we will not turn away from Him any more. He is the Giver of one heart!

Text: Jeremiah 32:37-41

I love to subtitle this section “I will,” because only God can do what He prophesies through Jeremiah in this passage! [In no way can we do it on our own or “work it up.”]

What will He do?

Verse 37 — Gather us from the place He put us in His anger, wrath, and great indignation, and bring us back to an intimate relationship with Him! And we will dwell in safety (a place of refuge and trust)! Selah!

Verse 38 — We will be His people and He will be our God (Him alone!).

How will He keep us from straying again? He tells us in Verse 39 and forward.

NOTE: This prophecy was fulfilled at the time of Nehemiah, in the natural. But the people still strayed afterwards, even in Nehemiah’s day (see Nehemiah 13). So this prophecy must go beyond Israel at the time of Nehemiah. Indeed, it is a Messianic prophecy as well — a prophecy of what God will do through His Son’s sacrifice and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

It is then that . . .

Verse 39 — He will give us one heart (echad leb), “one” meaning united, alike. He will give us one heart — HIS.

He will give us one united, alike way (derek), “way” meaning path or road — HIS way. This way is the highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8), the narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14). Beloved, all of us have gone astray, everyone to His own way, but GOD will give us HIS way, if we ask Him! But to ask Him means we have understood that our own way is wrong and leads to disaster and death.

Why will He do this?

Verse 39 — So we fear Him (revere and are awed by Him and hold Him above all other things). Fear also pertains to worship. We will worship Him and Him alone — not ourselves, and not the world. We will do this ALWAYS! Our fear of Him will not diminish. It is for our own good and the good of our offspring.

Verse 40 — He will make an EVERLASTING covenant (the first one was broken by Israel, per Isaiah 24:5), promising that He will  not turn away from us and promising to put the fear of Him in our hearts (second mention, so this is extremely important), so we will not turn away from Him. We must enter into this promise through Jesus Christ! It was established in His blood, on the cross! You were bought with a price so high we will never be able to fully comprehend it. You are not your own.

This covenant is not like the old one (Jeremiah 31:32, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 8:8, Hebrews 12:4).

It is established through Christ’s death (Luke 22:20, 1Corinthians 11:25).

It is for Israel by faith and not works or genetics, and also for all of us who are not Jewish but become Abraham’s offspring through faith in Christ (Romans 9:6-8).

Christ took our sin on Himself on the cross, and when He was glorified, He made  the Holy Spirit available in a whole new way — the Holy Spirit does not simply “come upon” us so we can be used by God, but fully dwells “in” us when we are filled with the Holy Spirit!

If we ask our Father, He will give us the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) and we will become united in heart and in way with our God.

This unity of heart and way is exactly what Christ prayed for in John 17:20-21! Jesus was saying, “Now, Father, I pray You fulfill what You prophesied through Jeremiah!”

It is so much more than miracles (Acts 1:5, 8), because the disciples already had been given authority by Jesus to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons.

It is the power to obey, power over sin, the power to walk as Jesus walked (Acts 4:13) — the greatest of miracles!

Will you believe it? Jesus Christ says you will either come into the light of His truth, or you will hate the light (John 3:19-21). It is time for you to come into the light, time to become united in heart and way with God.

Do not delay, for the hour is late! Agree with God that your heart and your way are not right, and He will bring you into His presence, into holy intimacy with the God the Father and God the Son, by the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

LEAPING BELIEVERS!

What is the purpose of being a leaping believer? That everyone may see our joyous celebration of the freedom only Jesus Christ can give!

[SW150] 08/15/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Leaping Believers!”

Text: Psalm 30, Acts 3:1-10

Psalm 30

Verse 1 – I will extol You, O, Lord, raising Your name high, like a banner! You have drawn me up out of the water, lifted me up, like a bucket is lifted up from a well. You pulled me up out of the Enemy’s plans and schemes!

Verse 2 – O Lord, MY GOD, You are MY God, and I am Yours! I cried to You, and You healed me!

Verse 3 – I was ready for Sheol, the place of the unrighteous dead! You kept me alive! You keep me, so I don’t go down into that pit!

Verse 4 – A characteristic of those who are His, and obey Him, and are therefore godly: They sing! They give thanks!

Verse 5 – You anger was for a very short space of time, when I did not commune with You because of my sin. I broke the holy intimacy You deserved.
[For myself, I had no relationship with you, no holy intimacy with you at all; I willfully rebelled against you.]

And You had every right to be angry, because You created me for that purpose.

But I have returned to You! Your anger is gone, and Your favor is forever!

I wept during the time I was away from You [for myself, during the time I did not know you]. It was like a dark night, but morning came, Your light shone upon me once again, and now, I cannot help but SHOUT with joy!

Verse 6 – Now I declare I will not be moved, because I have returned to You. Lord, You have made me secure! I will never be moved!

Verse 7 – Your favor, Lord, makes my mountain stand strong. I could not do it in my own strength. I was afflicted and weak.

But through my weakness, Your power dwells in me (2 Corinthians 12:9). If I said I was strong in my own strength, You would not make Your power dwell in me.

When I had made You angry by sinning and thus breaking my relationship with You, I was dismayed, because You did not let me see You.

Verse 8 & 9 – I called to You, I cried out to You, I made supplication to You, asking for mercy, asking for favor . . .

I cried, “How can I praise You and declare Your faithfulness if I am dead?”

Verse 10 – In my distress, I said, “Hear, O Lord! Heed my cry! Be gracious to me! Help me!”

Verse 11 – And You turned my mourning into DANCING!
I no longer wear mourning clothing, because You have clothed me with gladness! (Isaiah 61 — the oil of gladness, a type or symbol of the Holy Spirit!)

Verse 12 – Why have You rescued me?

So that I would sing Your praise from the depths of my being, and not be SILENT. And O Lord, MY GOD, I will give thanks to You forever!
——————————————————————————————————–
Beloved, that was King David, in the Old Testament. A dusty old book? I don’t think so! Look what the Spirit of God did through Peter and John:

Acts 3

Verse 2 – Lame from birth, the man had never walked, just like everyone who doesn’t yet know Jesus Christ. We’ve never walked with the Lord. We are lame from birth.

And this man lame from birth was more than 40 (Acts 5:22)! I myself was 45! Beloved, it’s never too late!

We came to the Beautiful Gate, not even asking for healing, but crying for help, begging for natural provision, from anyone who would hear. We were spiritually impoverished and didn’t even know it.

Verse 3 – When we first saw Your servants, we begged them for natural provision, just like the others who passed by. We did not look up. We did not know Jesus Christ’s provision which He made on the cross.

Verse 4 – But they commanded us to look at them.

Verse 5 –  We looked at them.

Verse 6 – They said they were not rich in natural wealth, but in the name of Jesus Christ, walk!

Verse 7 – They helped us to arise, and immediately, our atrophied feet and ankles were made strong! Our atrophied spirits were made alive and whole, as they were originally meant to be!

Verse 8 – We didn’t just stand — WE LEAPED UP! The power of God coursed through us, because Your servants were filled with Your Holy Spirit!

We stood for the first time in our lives. WE LEAPED UP, physically and spiritually, and entered into life in Jesus Christ!

And for the very first time ever, we entered the presence of God, and we could not help but continue to LEAP and walk and PRAISE GOD!

Verse 9 – Everyone saw us walking and praising!

THIS IS THE PURPOSE OF OUR LEAPING AND WALKING AND PRAISING GOD: THAT EVERYONE SEE THE JOYOUS CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM THAT ONLY JESUS CHRIST CAN GIVE!

Verse 10 – And they knew we were the lame ones who used to beg for natural provision, who had never walked with Jesus! And everyone was filled with wonder and amazement. It is for Your glory, Lord!

And we continue to LEAP and walk and PRAISE GOD!

O Lord, You have turned our mourning into DANCING, loosed our garments of mourning and clothed us with GLADNESS!

And we cannot help but SING and PRAISE YOU and we cannot be SILENT! We give thanks to our Lord FOREVER!

To the church:

Do you leap? Do you shout? Do you sing? Do you praise? Do you give thanks publicly? Are you unable to keep silent?

This is the testimony of the true church of Jesus Christ.

If you do not leap, if you are silent, if you are mourning, if you are begging for natural provision, O Christian, you must humble yourself and cry out and ask the Lord God to help you!

You must establish communion with Him. You must have holy intimacy with Him. You must confess the sin that separates you from Him.

He is angry with you because He has provided Jesus Christ to die for your sin from you and be raised from the dead on the third day to send the Holy Spirit to set you free from slavery to sin!

He will draw you up out of the sin you’re drowning in, lifting you up like a bucket is lifted up from a well. He will pull you up out of the Enemy’s plans and schemes!

He will be your God, and you will be His child!

When you cry to Him, He will heal you!

He will immediately make you able walk with Him. He will also heal you physically, as he did the man at the Beautiful Gate.

You will come into His presence, LEAPING and walking and praising God, just as we do.

Do not judge leaping, dancing, shouting, singing, praising believers, calling us fanatics! Let Jesus Christ show you why we leap, so you may leap, too! ASK HIM TO MAKE YOU A LEAPER, SO EVERYONE CAN SEE YOUR JOYOUS CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM THAT ONLY JESUS CHRIST CAN GIVE!

GO TO THE LOST

When Jesus says, “Go to the lost sheep,” it is a command, and we are compelled by the power of His words to do it!

[SW144] 07/05/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Going to the Lost”

Text: Matthew 10:1-8, 14-15, 40-42

We are compelled to go after a single lost sheep until we find it, and then bring it back, rejoicing. We are compelled to light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully for a single lost coin until we find it (see Luke 15). Then we and all heaven rejoice!

Going to the lost. Many in today’s church think He is saying, “Go to those who do not believe in Me,” but Jesus says, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel!”
God’s people? Lost? It is the same now as it was then. Many of God’s people were and are lost sheep.

Today, Jesus not only commands us to go to the lost sheep of Israel who do not see that He is their Messiah, but also to go to the lost sheep of the church.

Notice that the disciples did not question Jesus (What do You mean? We do not see any lost ones!). Nope. They knew there were lost sheep in Israel.

What signs do I see that there are lost sheep within today’s church? Many sheep in the church are:
— distressed     — oppressed     — depressed
— confused        — compromised     — afraid
Or worse:
— lulled to sleep OR
— slaves to sin, when Jesus came to set us free, indeed!

Why are the sheep lost? Do they not have apostles and prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11)?

Israel had priests and experts in the law of Moses, but Jesus found fault with them. He declared to them that they did many things to misguide His people.

He finds fault with the leaders of today’s church, too, who do many things to misguide His people.

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

We should not be surprised. Jesus spoke of false shepherds, wolves among the flock (Verse 16). There were wolves in sheep’s clothing within the fledgling church (Acts 20:29-31).

But we in today’s church have not been on guard as Paul commanded by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Acts 20:29.

And the people are biblically illiterate and therefore cannot discern — few know the Word of God. They are sheep that do not know the Good Shepherd’s voice.

As a result, they follow the voice of strangers, and even love it, as in Jeremiah’s day:

Jeremiah 5:31 The  prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so!

What can be done? We obey the command of Jesus Christ, and go to them!

What does He give us as we go to the lost sheep of the church?

(Not as we sit, but as we go!)

In Matthew 10:1, He gives us authority over evil spirits to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness (also see Luke 10:19).

Why does He give us such authority? So people will know the kingdom of heaven draws near!

He commands us that as we go, we are to preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He commands us to preach repentance (Mark 6:12).

Then the authority comes into play, as the evidence that the kingdom of heaven is near: we heal, raise, cleanse and cast out.

These are the accompanying signs (Mark 16:17), the attesting miracles that show the lost sheep that God and Christ are the true reality and not just philosophical ideas to which they give mental assent.

But we cannot preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand unless the kingdom of heaven is in our midst — within us. And when the kingdom of heaven is within us, we will have His authority, and we will heal, raise, cleanse and cast out.

FREELY we have received, and FREELY we give (Verse 8).

What do we FREELY give? FREEdom to the captives (Isaiah 61), to the lost sheep of the church!

We do it not give in our own power or by man’s wisdom, but in God’s power and wisdom and might! The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us!

What will be the result of our going to seek the lost sheep of the church? One of two things will happen, Jesus says:

#1 — We will not be received, and so we must do as He commands in Verse 14. Beloved, this will happen much in today’s backslidden church. It happened to Christ Himself, as He walked the earth! The consequence:
15 “Truly I say to you,  it will be more tolerable for the land of  Sodom and Gomorrah in  the day of judgment than for that city.”

#2 — We will be received, welcomed, accepted, and those who do it will receive a reward:
Matthew 10:40   “ He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
41 “ He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet [that is, as a prophet sent by the Lord] shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man [that is, a righteous man made righteous by the Lord] shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 “And  whoever in the name of a disciple [as a disciple of Christ] gives to one of these little ones [prophets and righteous men] even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” [my interpretation in brackets]

Beloved, I am praying for today’s church to receive those whom Jesus is sending out even now.

I am praying that the lost sheep of the church will be found and carried back with rejoicing.

I am praying that the lost coin will be found and cause great rejoicing, in heaven and on the earth!

I am praying that many in the church will ask for the kingdom of heaven to be within them — that is, asking for God the Father to fill them with His Holy Spirit.

THEN they will receive authority. THEN they will proclaim that the kingdom of heaven has drawn near and their hearers must repent.

And I am expecting to see the attesting signs.

Amen, Lord. Let it be so!