RESTORERS OF RUINS

[SW220] 02/12/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“Restorers of Ruins”

Nehemiah’s name means, “Yahweh comforts.” Jesus Christ wants you to see that, when you are filled with the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, you will have a front row seat to watch Him work through you to restore ruins!

Texts: Nehemiah excerpts

Chapter 1 specific phrases:

v. 2 — I asked them concerning the Jews . . .

Has the Lord put it on your heart to be concerned about the state of your fellow human beings? Then He is calling you. It is a call to every Christian on the planet.

What is He calling you to?

v. 3 — The report: Great distress, broken down, burned . . .

You will hear a report that your fellow human beings are in great distress. They are in ruins — their walls and gates of protection are broken down by the enemy of our souls. Why? There are so many reasons, there were so many reasons for me, but the bottom line is sin. All have sinned and have fallen short of (lack) the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But He means to restore ruins, and put His glory in them!

v. 4 & 6 — I sat down and wept and mourned, fasting and praying, day and night;

All Israel and I and my father’s house have sinned . . .

The first step for restoration of ruins is for the restorers to weep, mourn, fast and pray day and night, and to confess the sin of those who are in ruins.

Even though Nehemiah was either born in captivity in Babylon, or just a child when captured, he confessed the sin of him and his fathers, though he had not sinned as they had. But he took upon himself their suffering, and carried his burden to the Lord, in prayer.  Sound like Anyone we know? It will be the description of you, when you become a restorer of ruins.

v. 8 — Remember the word, “If you return to Me . . .”

After weeping and mourning, fasting and praying, you may humbly remind the Lord of His promise that, if even you would repent and confess the sins of those who are in ruins, they would turn and He would gather them and bring them back to Himself.

v. 11 — Grant compassion with the king . . .

We serve a compassionate Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. If you go to Him on behalf of those who are in ruins, you will experience His great compassion for them; you will be inwardly moved, as He is.

Chapter 2 specific phrases:

v. 3 — City lies desolate, consumed by fire . , ,

Report to the Lord that you see the desolation, the burned-out ruins.

v. 4 — What would you request? I prayed to the God of heaven . . .

Pray to the God of heaven. He asked the blind man, “What do you want Me to do?” The man said, “Restore my sight!” And Jesus did. And He will show you favor, when you ask Him. Ask Him what?

v. 5-6 — Send me, that I may rebuild it, so it pleased the king to send me . . .

Ask Him to send you. If your cry is, “Here am I. Send me,” the Lord will do it. That cry is always the cry of those who are Spirit-filled, who readily see the ruins of other lives. They are outward-focused, compelled to bless others, to let Christ use them to restore!

v. 7-8 — Letters that they may allow me to pass through, letter to Asaph for timber for beams for gates, the wall of the city, and the house to which I will go.

Tell the Lord exactly what is needed to restore the ruins. You need help to get through Satan’s territory. You need strong foundation-building material — the very Word of God and the power of God — to rebuild gates, walls, and houses.

v. 9 — The king sent me with officers of the army and horsemen . . .

The King of kings will give you more than you ask for. He is the God of more than enough. He will send protecting angels with you, the very hosts over whom He is Lord.

v. 10 — Very displeasing to enemies . . .

Satan will be upset when he hears the news that restoration is on the way.

v. 11 — Night, told no one what my God was putting into my heart . . .

Without making it known, go about the ruins of each life, take note of the damage. Let the ruined ones speak. Be still. Let them pour out their hearts to you. God has put something in your heart, but it’s not time to tell them until you compassionately listen to them tell you about their ruins.

v. 17 — You see the bad situation . . . come, let us rebuild so we are no longer a reproach . . .

Society unfailingly disapproves of and shuns people whose lives are in ruins. But you will hear a word from the Holy Spirit, “You see the ruins. Come, let us rebuild!” And when the ruins are restored, there will be no more shunning. Instead, the world will want to know how the ruined one became restored. That’s the whole plan!

v. 18 —The hand of my God had been favorable. Let us arise and rebuild!

The hand of your God is favorable, Spirit-filled Christian. You will say, with the Holy Spirit, “Let us arise and rebuild!”

Chapter 3:

All build in unity . . .

It is not a superficial, outward unity, but an inward unity of heart that only God can work IN us (John 17:21, 26).

Chapter 4 —

v. 1 & 3 Enemy furious, very angry, mocking, casting doubt . . .

When he sees the work begin, the enemy of our souls will be furious and very angry. He will mock and cast doubt. But you will listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and continue your work. You will run from the voice of the enemy. His voice is nothing like your Good Shepherd’s voice. Spirit-filled Christian, you know Satan is a liar and the father of lies. There is no truth in him. He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1John 4:4). Rebuke Satan, in the name of Jesus.

v. 6-8 — So we built the wall to half its height. The repair (healing) of the walls, further enemy threats . . .

You will reach the halfway point in completion of the restoration of the one who is in ruins. The report of the repair (I love that the Hebrew word means “healing”) reaches the enemy’s ears, and he threatens to attack and kill.

v. 9 & 14—  But we prayed to our God, remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight . . .

But you pray and fight! You are equipped with God’s own armor that He has tailored to fit you perfectly! You fight with the sword of Spirit which is the Word of God, and with prayer.

Chapter 6

v. 8 — The enemy spreads lies. But now, O God, strengthen my hands . . .

Satan will try to spread lies about you. But you will pray, and the Lord will strengthen you.

v. 10 — Enemy temptation to sin, I perceived God had not sent him

The enemy will tempt you to sin in order to escape enemy capture, but you will perceive that the one tempting you is really a mouthpiece for Satan (knowingly or unknowingly). So you will not sin.

v. 15 — The wall was completed in fifty-two days . . .

You, the restorer of ruins, will complete the rebuilding in a miraculously short period of time!

How wonderful! How exciting! Hear the promise from the Lord in Isaiah, for Christians who cease their inward focus and look outward, because they have asked the Lord to fill them with His Spirit and God’s actual love —

Isaiah 58:12  “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;

You will raise up the age-old foundations;

And you will be called the repairer of the breach,

The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.

Christian, put away your outward piety. The Lord is not impressed by it. Ask Him to clean you up on the inside, to fill you with His Spirit, and then your eyes will be opened to see the ruins around you. And you will have a front-row seat to watch Him use you to restore them!

I know about ruins, beloved. First I was in ruins from drugs, and God graciously restored me after I cried out in the middle of the night. Then, many years later, I was in ruins from MS — feet paralyzed, legs partially paralyzed, bladder paralyzing, knotted muscles no muscle relaxant could ease, severe tremors in my head, eyesight ever decreasing, and cognitive dysfunction — I could not think.

Are you in ruins? Pastor Doc was the restorer God used for my ruins. He asked about me, so the Lord gave him the report of my ruins. Then Jesus gave him a vision of me healed. Pastor Doc wept and prayed and fasted, He asked the King for all he needed to pass through enemy territory and rebuild me, and it was done in a miraculously short period of time!

Those in ruins, I have seen you. I have heard the bad report. I am always weeping, praying and fasting for you. And I will pray with you now.

π

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THE MARKS OF A TRUE PROPHET

[SW195] 07/17/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Marks of a True Prophet”

When people are trained to easily identify counterfeit money, they don’t study counterfeits. They study real money. In these days, we must know the true so we can discern the false.

What are the marks of a true prophet of God? How can we recognize one?

Texts:  Jeremiah 23:22, 1 Kings 22:7ff

Jeremiah 23:22 True prophets stand in the Lord’s council. That means they intimately know God. They stand before Him, and hear His words.

And they announce His words to His people. What words does God speak to His true prophets?

Repentance. That they would turn back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds. What? God’s people do evil things? Beloved, not all of God’s people follow Him.That’s why He sends prophets — to warn.

What else is the mark of a true prophet? He or she doesn’t stop speaking God’s words, even though the words they speak are rejected by God’s people. They continue, until they are murdered or die of old age.

The Lord told Jeremiah that the people would not listen. In Ezekiel 2, He told Ezekiel eight times that His people were a rebellious people, and that they were stiff-faced and hard-hearted.

Samuel didn’t leave out a word of what God showed him (1Samuel 3:17), even when Israel rejected the Kingship of the Lord over them (1Samuel 8:4-7). He also encouraged them when they saw their sin and feared God (1Samuel 12:19-25). But he continued to warn them as long as he lived.

And as long as the hearts of God’s people remain unchanged, they will continue to rebel. He sends His prophets to announce His judgment, but also to tell them that Jesus Christ is a Heart-Changer, if they will turn away from their sin.

Another mark of the true prophet is that his message is rejected by God’s people:

— Sawing the true prophet asunder, as with Isaiah

— Hatred because the prophet does not prophesy good about them (1Kings 22:8)

— Closed hearts (2Corinthians 6:11-13)

— “Don’t judge me” (though it is God who judges and the prophet announces His judgment). Judging is for the church, too (1Corinthians 5:12,24 and 1Timothy 5:20).

— “Don’t speak out” (Micah 2:6)

— “Go back home” (Amos 7:12)

— “Get out of our way; let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 30:11)

So, the marks of  true prophets are that they will faithfully proclaim all the words of the Lord at all costs, and that they will be rejected and accused of judging by God’s rebellious people.

And that’s not just Old Testament stuff, beloved. John the Baptist lost his head for Jesus at the hand of Herod, and the Apostle Paul lost his head by way of the Roman emperor Nero, because Paul would not stop proclaiming the truth.

Peter was crucified upside down. All of the apostles were martyred but the Apostle John, who was tortured but survived, exiled so he may write the Book of Revelation to warn the churches and the world to repent.

Going back to Jeremiah 23:16ff, we see the marks of false prophets:

— They lead people into futility (fill them with false hopes)

— They speak a vision from their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord.

— They keep saying to those who despise the Lord, “Everything is fine, you will have peace.” To those who stubbornly rebel, they say, “Calamity will not come upon you.” Modern false prophets speak only of all the ways God wants to bless you, regardless of your rebellion against God.

— They run (with a message) without being sent by God. He does not speak to them, but they prophesy.

Lamentations 2:14  They see false and foolish visions, and have not exposed your sin, so as to restore you from your chains of capacity. What they say is false and misleading.

Paul warns Timothy of the conceit, lack of understanding, and depraved minds (minds given over to evil) of those who do not agree with the sound words of Jesus Christ — the doctrine of godliness, which means a transformed life, when hearts are transformed through the baptism of the Holy Ghost (see 1Timothy 6:3-5).

Knowing these things, how will you respond to them? Examine yourself and examine the prophets you like to hear. Are they true, or are they false? Do their words prick your conscience, or stroke your ego and feed your greed?

Seek true prophets, and heed their words, for they have been sent by God for your own good. If you obey and follow what the Lord says through them, you will have eternal life.

Seek no other blessing, but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness to be established inside of you (Matthew 6:33). There is nothing that can compare with fellowship with the Father and the Son, by way of the Holy Spirit, and all else that you need will be supplied by Him.

GOD OF THE VALLEYS

[SW190] 06/13/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“God of the Valleys”

Text: 1 Kings 20, Romans 8:37

Whether you are battling Satan’s vast armies on a mountain or in a valley, know that the Lord is God of the mountains and God of the valleys. If you listen to Him, He will give you the victory!

Sometimes, you are on a mountain, spiritually speaking. You are in a place where it’s difficult for Satan to come near, where you can see far ahead and see his strategy as he approaches. So you have an advantage over him. And it is easy to believe the Lord will give you victory.

But sometimes, you are in a valley, not of your own making (that is, sinning is not the cause), but a place where Satan comes against you again. It is a place where it’s easy for him to come near, where you cannot see far ahead and you cannot see his strategy as he approaches. The Lord challenges you and me to believe Him for victory, even in the valley.

In the text, northern Israel (Samaria) is in trouble. They have sinned against the Lord, to the point where the Lord caused a great famine of 3-1/2 years. The famine has ended, but they are still weak and vulnerable. Sin makes you that way. So —

Verse 1: Israel is besieged by Ben-hadad, king of Aram and 32 kings who join him. It is a huge army!

Verse 10-14:  Ben-hadad boasts that he will destroy Samaria, so that each of his men will not be able to gather up even a handful of Samaria’s dust. His goal is total obliteration, just as Satan plans to destroy you (John 10:10)!

Ahab warns Ben-hadad that he boasts of victory before the battle has been won, even while Ben-adad puts on his armor. But none can boast of victory until after the battle is won and it is safe to remove the armor.

Satan is a great boaster. But God is greater than your enemy, Satan.

A prophet of God comes. Despite the great multitude that has formed against Israel, the Lord says He will deliver Israel.

Why would the Lord deliver His own people who sin against Him? So they will know He is the Lord. By doing the impossible, they will know by personal experience that He is God and there is no other. He will do it so that they might turn back to Him and cast their false gods to the moles and the bats.

If you are in sin, He may give you a word that you will be victorious. He will tell you that He will free you from your addiction to drugs or alcohol or whatever keeps you in chains.  He will tell you that He will cause His justice to prevail when injustice is done to you, even though you are sinning against Him.

He will tell you that He will give you victory over these things so that you know by personal experience that He is God and there is no other, and will turn back to Him.

For those who follow and obey and love God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ makes us victorious in every battle against our Enemy. Satan may boast but we know he is a liar and the father of lies. And we have God’s armor as our protection during the battle (Ephesians 6:10ff). And He who is in you is greater than Satan (see 1John 4:4)!

Verse 15: There were only 7,000 — the only ones left of ALL the sons of Israel — against Ben-hadad’s army AND the armies of the 32 kings that were with him. Victory looked impossible!

There is only you, against Satan and his vast army. Victory looks impossible. But when God says you will be victorious, He will do it!

Verse 19-21: This battle took place in the mountains of northern Israel. And the victor was Israel, just as the Lord had said through the prophet. Little Israel pursued Ben-hadad’s multitudes, and Ben-adad fled on horseback. There was a great slaughter of his army.

Verse 22:  But the prophet said the king of Aram would come again, at the turn of the year. The Lord instructed Ahab to strengthen Israel.

For those who follow and obey and love Jesus Christ, God does not promise that you will not have other battles against Satan. But strengthen yourself! Exchange your strength for His (Isaiah 40:31).

Verse 23, 26: Ben-hadad’s servants told him that Israel’s gods were gods of the mountains. His army would win if they fought Israel in the valley.

They were pagan, and pagans think gods are assigned to lands and areas. So the army of Aram, which Ben-adad restored to its original numbers, went to the valley of Aphek to fight against Israel.

Verse 27-28: Israel was like two little flocks of goats against Ben-hadad’s multitude. How could they be victorious?

But God heard the words of Ben-hadad’s servants. And because they said He is not God everywhere all the time, but only a god of the mountains, the Lord said He would give Israel victory.

He had a great purpose than defending His own name, His own reputation. He would give Israel victory so that Israel, His own sinning people, would know He is God and there is no other.

Verses 29-30: And it happened just as the man of God had told Ahab. Israel was victorious. But King Ahab continued to disobey God, and he was ultimately killed in battle (1Kings 22: 37).

The wages of sin is death, beloved. If you are sinning against God, like King Ahab, and you do not turn back to God, it will kill you.

Because of His great mercy,  the Lord gives you victory. He does this to show you that He is God, so you will turn from your sin and the gods of this world, and come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

If you do not turn from your sin, you will face His judgment seat one day, and be condemned to hell. He takes no pleasure in that, but He has no choice, if you reject Him.

For those of you who follow and obey and love Jesus Christ, victory is assured in every battle. These promises are yours:

Isaiah 54:17      “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.

Psalms 34:22      The LORD redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

Romans 8:37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Amen! Let Your sinning people return to You, Father, and let your saints be assured that You are with them on the mountaintop AND in the valley!

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.

Rebuilding – Consecrated and Cleansed

[SW143] 06/28/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — Consecrated and Cleansed”

Always when I preach, it is as much a message to be worked in my own heart as it is one that is to be delivered to you. And that is so today!

I tell you, He who has begun a good work in you will perfect it until Christ comes (Philippians 1:6)! So let the work begin, Lord, in me, in your church, in all believers!

“God’s work!” we say, as He consecrates us and we are baptized in water as a sign of it.

“God’s work!” we cry, as He cleanses our hearts and fills us with His holiness, bringing us into holy intimacy with Him!

In Nehemiah 12:27-30, the completed wall was dedicated, and the priests purified themselves.

It was God’s work.

It began with Nehemiah’s intercession, seeking the Lord’s heart and petitioning Him on behalf of His distressed people.

We have talked about the steps that follow. Now we are at the conclusion.

The dedication of the wall in today’s passage was an outward act done as a sign of an inward conviction, a recognition on Israel’s part that the wall they had worked on was God’s wall, and it was completed only by His provision.

It is like that when we are baptized under the new covenant (God’s promise fulfilled), the one Jesus instituted. We are God’s workmanship:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We could not save ourselves. He saved us and bought us with a price (1Corinthians 6:20) — the blood of His Son.

We acknowledge we are God’s, and no longer our own. He wants us to be His. He wants us to be His children. He made us for that purpose. Step into that purpose!

Just as with the dedication of the wall, baptism yields worship — gladness, thanksgiving, and songs of praise!

Then came the purification of the priests, the people, the gates and the wall  (Verse 30). It was outward, it was external — they performed a cleansing ritual established through Moses.

Under the new covenant, God Himself cleanses us inwardly, purifying our hearts so they are wholly His.

When Jesus walked the earth, He chose His disciples, setting them apart to Himself. And He does that with us today. But then He said (and still says today), “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (see Matthew 5:48).

Peter repeated God’s call when he quoted Leviticus 11:44ff in 1 Peter 1:14-16, “As children of obedience, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior, because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”

We are consecrated and set apart with water baptism.

But there is a greater work, one that makes us more than conquerors in Christ Jesus, victors who are no longer slaves to sin:

Malachi 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

If we do not ask for the greater work to be done, we will be as Eliashib, inviting Tobiah (the ways of the world) in, and finding that he displaces everything that feeds worship in us (see Nehemiah 13).

We will be as those who went out and married the world (13:23ff).

We will violate the Sabbath (13:15ff), Christ’s sabbatismos (Hebrews 4:9), the true Sabbath rest of God, where we rest from our own works.

We will distance ourselves from our God by continuing to willfully disobey him (Isaiah 59:2).

But if both consecration AND cleansing are done, then we will hear the Holy Spirit say, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul” (Acts 13:2). These are the keys to effective service.

He will continue to mold and shape us as we go, but our hearts will be ever willing and not resistant.

The church as a whole and we individually must let Him to a complete work in us, consecrating ourselves to Him 100% and asking Him to purify our hearts.

Then the rebuilding of the church (and you and me) will be complete.

Our cry must be as David’s in Psalm 51:10-13.

Then we will hear and walking the way He continues to show us (Isaiah 30:21), obedient from our hearts.

REBUILDING – REPENTANCE AND CONFESSION

[SW142] 06/21/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — Repentance and Public Confession”

Beloved, if we speak all of God’s Word to the people, they will repent and publicly confess their sin. Then the people are ready to be dedicated and purified!

Jesus is showing me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:

Chapter 1 — Intercession

Chapter 2 — Christ’s provision

Chapters 2 and 3 — His Inspiration and Strength

Chapter 4 — Spiritual Warfare

Chapter 5 — Conviction of sin

Chapter 6 — Discernment

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance/Public Confession of Sin

Chapter 12 — Consecration

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

First we intercede standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild.

Then we act upon the inspiration of God, the heart of God which we have sought and got!

But in the midst of the building, the Enemy who is Satan will mock, despise and attack us.
How do we defeat him? Spiritual warfare! But remember that we cannot blame Satan for the sin that has caused the church to become broken down.

The next element necessary to the rebuilding is discernment. We cannot fight Satan without it, and only God can give it. Mankind’s natural discernment will never work — we see its results every day in the headlines.

Now we come to the next step in rebuilding the church:

If we speak all of God’s Word to the people, they will repent and publicly confess their sin, which prepares them for dedication and purification!

It is one thing to complete the wall, but more is required to complete the process of rebuilding — the wall must be dedicated/consecrated, and purified.

And so it is with God’s people, both then and now. Our hearts must be consecrated, our hearts must be purified so they are wholly the Lord’s! And only He can do it!

Nehemiah 8 and 9

It was the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of Tishri, the Jewish calendar’s seventh month, which would be October in the Roman calendar. A day of ruach, a day of blowing, a day for the wind of the Spirit to blow through the people, by way of the public reading and interpretation of the Word of God by the priests and scribes!

It was the Feast of Trumpets, the first of the Ten Days of Awe (a time of reflection and repentance), leading up to the Day of Atonement (peace with God), and followed by the Feast of Tabernacles (rejoicing over God’s provision in the wilderness and now, in the harvest).

Oh, beloved! When we reflect and repent, and ask for the atoning blood of Jesus Christ to cover us, we will rejoice over God’s provision that kept us in our own wilderness wanderings, and His provision in coming to tabernacle literally inside of us!

When Ezra brought the law before the people, to read and interpret it, they all were attentive. Their ears were to it, spiritually.

Their hearts were open to not only physically hear it, but heed it (James 1:22-25).
They once again revered the Word of God, after they strayed from it, sinned, were sent into exile by God, and then brought back into to the land by Him!

Ezra didn’t give a 20-minute sermon, beloved!

He read from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) from dawn until midday. His fellow priests and scribes stood with him. He was on a podium, above the people so they could see and hear. All the people stood up when he began, and did not sit down until he was done.

Then, after Ezra had read and interpreted the Word of God so the people could understand it, he blessed the Lord, the great God.

What else can we do when we read God’s Word and hear its interpretation with open hearts? We all simply bless the Lord for His greatness, His faithfulness, His love, His justness, and His righteousness!

All the people said, “Amen, Amen,” while lifting up their hands (v. 6).

And then they bowed low with their faces to the ground. Why? I believe the presence of the Lord was there, and when we sense Him, we bow in humility and submission, we bow under His great kabod, His majesty and the weightiness of His presence.

All of them wept when they heard the Word of the Lord (v. 9). They grieved, because they were convicted of how they and their fathers had grieved the Lord. What a picture of the true fear of God, true worship in Spirit and in truth!

They were convicted of their unfaithfulness, having been reminded through the Scriptures of the Lord’s great faithfulness.

But the Feast of Trumpets was not only a day to begin reflection and repentance, but a day of rejoicing and feasting because the Day of Atonement, the time of making peace with God, was coming!

So Nehemiah urged them to eat and drink and share with those who did not have anything prepared. It was a holy day, a day set apart. And beloved, Nehemiah reminded them, “The joy of the Lord is your strength!”

It is our fortress. It is not our joy, but His!

John 15:11 “ These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your  joy may be made full.
John 17:13 “But now  I come to You; and  these things I speak in the world so that they may have My  joy made full in themselves.”

It is not our strength, but His!

It is not our life, but His!

It is not our love, but His!

They rejoiced as they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, and then, in Nehemiah 9:1, on the 24th day of the month, on the appointed day,they mourned and fasted. I tell you, this is the appointed day!

They publicly separated themselves from all foreigners (so they would not worship the things that the world worships), and stood and confessed their sins publicly.

For three hours, the Torah was read, and for three hours after that, the people confessed.
Then the Levites invited them to bless their God, and began to speak of His faithfulness, of all He had given them, of how He had provided for them and made them able to go in and possess the land, fighting against their enemies as they went in.

And the Levites recited all the ways the people had rebelled after faithful Abraham, whose heart the Lord found faithful before Him (v.7). As Abraham stood before the Lord, even seeing His angel, he was found faithful, full of faith in the goodness and mercy of God!

The people’s sins were many:

Verse 16 —
They acted arrogantly,
became stubborn,
would not listen,
and refused to listen,
They forgot the deeds of the Lord,
tried to go back into slavery in Egypt,
and made a golden calf and worshiped it.

Verse 26 —
They became disobedient and rebelled against the Lord.
They cast His law behind their backs.
They killed the prophets who admonished them so they might return to Him.
They committed great blasphemies (acts of contempt) against the Lord.

The Lord let their enemies have at them, they cried out, He delivered them, they sinned again, He punished them by exiling them, He delivered them because He promised He would bring them back in 70 years from Babylon. He kept delivering all who returned to Him, for His own name’s sake and because of His great hesed, His faithfulness as a husband to His people!

The Lord delivered them from captivity in Babylon, but they were still slaves to the King of Persia, in their own land. This speaks to me of the believer who is still a slave to sin.

The solution?

The people must be consecrated (Chapter 12), and purified (Chapter 13). We still have two messages to go, before we see the whole picture the Lord showed me!

The word to today’s church, today’s Christian:

The whole Word of God must be spoken and accurately interpreted.

The people must have ears to hear it, to heed it and not just physically listen, and revere it.

When the Word of God is spoken and the people have ears to hear it, they will repent. Let he who has an ear hear what the Spirit says!

The church must give the people a means to repent openly, to confess their sins publicly, before the whole congregation.

Let us have Ten Days of Awe, when every believer recaptures the fear of the Lord, the awe of Him, when they once again see His faithfulness and their unfaithfulness.

Peace with God will result, through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ!

Then, the rejoicing will begin, for on the mountain of the Lord, it has been provided (Genesis 22:14, the Akedah) —

—We have Christ, who not only is the means of making peace with God and establishing a face-to-face relationship with God, but also
—We have Christ who also makes the way for our hearts to be filled with His Spirit so our hearts are consecrated (made holy) and made entirely His, no mixture of affections, so we walk in His ways and thus, in His power!

Oh, believe God and not me, a rebuilt church and revival will result!