MARK 15 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.

In Chapter 15, you and I see the fulfillment of Jesus Christ’s purpose here on earth. He came to bear our sins on a cross, and then to rise on the third day, ascend to heaven, and pour out the Holy Spirit to free us from sin’s power when we experience our own personal Pentecost. We see the blindness of the Jewish religious elite. Yet Pilate, whom history reveals as a cruel man, cannot find any reason to crucify Jesus. What a contrast!

Verses 1-5 — The blind Jewish religious elite bind Jesus and take him to Pilate. Why do they take him to the Roman governor? Why don’t they kill him themselves? They are under Roman rule, and have lost their legal right to sentence someone to death. Pilate is amazed (marvels, wonders, admires) that Jesus doesn’t respond to a barrage of harsh accusations from the chief priests. He was as a lamb led to the slaughter, never opening His mouth (Isaiah 53:7).

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus Christ lives what He preaches —“ Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). When Jesus Christ is large and in charge in your heart, you will be able to do the same.

Verses 6-15 — The Romans traditionally honored the Jewish Passover by releasing a prisoner at that time. Barabbas is a murderer in Roman custody. The crowd begins to ask for a prisoner to be released. Pilate suggests that Jesus Christ, whom he calls “King of the Jews” be released. He calls Him “King of the Jews” because he is aware that the Jewish elite envies Christ. The chief priests stir the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released, and they cry out for the King of the Jews to be crucified.

IMPORTANT POINT: You may be guilty of reading this account matter-of-factly. I did that at first. Then I had a vision of Him on the cross. I awoke weeping uncontrollably. Now I read this account and remember the vision He gave me — the amount of blood, His torn body, His heaving chest, and the love in His eyes.

Jesus is scourged. That means he is whipped with a multi-corded whip On each cord are sharp pieces of metal or glass. As Jesus is struck and the whip is pulled back, skin and muscle are stripped from Him. His bones are exposed. Arteries are torn. He bleeds profusely. The purpose of scourging is to bring the victim to the very point of death, but not kill him.

IMPORTANT POINT: Ask the Lord to reveal to you the extent of His sacrifice. We will never know fully, but He will show you enough to make you weep.

Verses 16-21 — In this terrible condition, Jesus was taken into the palace, and 600 Roman soldiers gathered around Him. They put a crown of thorns on His head and they dressed Him in a purple robe, mocking the King of kings and Lord of lords. They beat Him, and pretended to honor Him. Then they took everything off except the crown of thorns and sent Him out to be crucified.

With flesh and muscle hanging from Him, He was given the cross bar to carry. But He was still bleeding profusely, so was unable to carry the cross bar the whole distance. So a bystander bore His cross the rest o the way, to the hill called Galgotha (also known as Calvary).

Verses 21-32 — Do you want to see David’s prophecy of what Christ experienced on the cross? Go to Psalm 22:6-18. David sees His bones exposed. Do you know that HIs appearance was so marred that it was hard to tell He was human? Go to Isaiah 52:14.  And in Isaiah 50:6, Isaiah prophesies that His beard would be pulled out.

IMPORTANT POINT: This Psalm was written approximately 1,000 years before Christ was crucified. Does the Lord know the future that far in advance? Yes. He knows the end (of things) from the beginning (of creation). Does He reveal it to His prophets? Yes. Why? So we know He is God and He is all-knowing (omnicient) — there is nothing that He does not know, past, present and future. Do not try to hide from Him, but come into the Light of Christ and be cleansed!

Unrecognizable! Imagine the pain, the weakness from blood and fluid loss! He was nearly dead before He reached Golgotha. And this is the punishment that was due to us, for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5). It should have been us! Oh, the mercy of God!

The Romans put a sign on the cross, to show what crime Jesus had committed, in Hebrew, Latin and Greek (John 19:19). In Hebrew, it was:

Yeshua (Jesus)

Hanaseray (the Nazarene)

Wimelek (King)

Hayahuda (of the Jews)

Look at the first letter of each Hebrew word — YHWH is YAHWEH, the name of God, which He gave to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14).

So Pilate saw to it that the Jews knew they were crucifying God. That is why, when they read the sign, the Jewish religious elite protested (John 19:21). They did not want to be guilty of putting God to death!

Verses 33-37 — Jesus speaks Psalm 22:1. He should not be able to speak, because crucifixion makes the victim unable to draw a breath. The bystanders think He is calling for Elijah. But He says He could appeal to His Father who would put at His disposal 12 legions of angels (see Matthew 26:53).

[NOTE: A Roman legion was 6,000, multiplied by 12 = 72,000 angels!]

But had He called out for the legion of angels, there would be no salvation for you and me; you see, He knew He had to bear the agony of the cross in order to take our sin. Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).

A medical view of death by crucifixion can be found by going to this link: http://www1.cbn.com/medical-view-of-the-crucifixion-of-jesus-christ.

Jesus then uttered a loud cry, and died. John records that the Roman soldiers saw that He was dead, but pierced His side to make sure (John 19:34). He was pierced for your transgressions, and mine!

Verse 38 — The veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This was a thick tapestry mounted high and extending down to the floor of the Temple. Behind it was the Holy of Holies, where the ark was kept, where the cherubim were positioned. It was the place of the presence of God.

The significance of the tearing of the veil is extremely important. No one could have torn it by hand because it was too thick. No one could have reached the top and torn downward, because its top was too high. It was torn by the finger of God.

IMPORTANT POINT: Until the tearing of the veil, God’s immediate presence had only been experienced by the high priest when he entered the Holy of Holies, and then only after he was cleansed and purified ceremonially. But the tearing of the veil shows you and me that there no longer needs to be separation. God’s presence is available to everyone, if we turn to Him and ask Him to forgive us, cleanse us, and fill us with His Spirit, the same way as at Pentecost in Acts 2! Then His presence is IN us!

Hebrews 10:19-22   Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest [Sue’s note: Jesus Christ] over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Verse 39 — Even the Roman centurion, a pagan, was able to see how Jesus died, the manner, the strength He had to even speak, and the wounds from the severity of His scourging, he recognized Jesus as the Son of God.

Verses 40-41 — Women stood by, even though most of the disciples had scattered. These had ministered to Him, cooking for Him, providing shelter for Him, providing funds for His ministry in Galilee and in Jerusalem.

John records that he stood before the crucified Christ with Jesus’ mother, Mary, and that Jesus commanded him to care for her (John 19:26-27). All this as He bled profusely and could not draw a breath. Surely, this was the Son of God!

Verses 42-47 — The reference to Sabbath was a special sabbath, not a Saturday but another day of the week which Christians believe to be Friday. It was a special sabbath because it was part of the Passover.

Though He was crucified between two thieves, Jesus was buried with the rich. Joseph of Arimathea, a rich Jewish religious leader who had become a disciple of Jesus Christ, offered his tomb for Jesus’ burial (see Isaiah 53:9 and Matthew 27:60), and boldly went before Pilate to ask for His body.

Pilate granted Joseph’s request. Jesus’ body was prepared for burial, placed in the tomb, and a stone rolled over its mouth,, while the two Marys looked on. He was permanently sealed in the tomb — or so it seemed. But He is the Son of God, and with Him, all things are possible, including resurrection of Himself from the dead! I believe the power of His command rolled away the stone, when He arose!

If you want to know a few more prophecies fulfilled by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, go to this link: http://www.khouse.org/enews_article/2011/1765/

The final chapter of John, Chapter 16, is next — RESURRECTION!

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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!

WATER!

[SW153] 09/16/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Water”

(NOTE: These are notes and scripture references. I urge you to watch the video on Youtube, because it is an interpretation of John 4 that I believe will speak to your heart. The video message will be available later today. The link is in the right-hand column on my blog site.)

I announced last time that I would discontinue this video ministry, to make myself available for other ministry as needed, but the Lord showed me that I can vary the days I speak a video message. So I will continue.

Breath — Last time, I spoke about the breath, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, a breath that is breathed into dry bones.

The Lord instructed me to continue with a few other symbols of the Holy Spirit:

Water — Living water which flows from the bellies of those who are filled to overflowing.

Fire — Purifies our hearts and make them completely and entirely God’s, with no other rival.

Oil — That which keeps a flame burning.

So today, I speak about water.

You are thirsty with a thirst that nothing has quenched. Your sins leave you dry, the gods you’ve worshiped leave you dry, preachers who preach ear candy leave you dry. Jesus Christ has living water for you today, and you will never thirst again.

Text:  John 4 — the condition of the woman at the well (and of you, beloved), and the solution.

The nature of living water:

Zechariah 14:8   And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.

These are waters that never dry up! In Israel, rivers and streams often flow in the winter but dry up in the summer. But the living water of the Holy Spirit is an endless source of life!

Zechariah 10:1        Ask  rain from the LORD at the time of the spring rain —
The LORD who  makes the  storm clouds;
And He will give them  showers of rain, vegetation in the field to each man.

Zechariah 10:12 “And I will strengthen them in the LORD,
And in His name they will walk,” declares the LORD.

It is water that strengthens, water that transforms you so that you become God’s representative, walking in the name of Jesus Christ, as His ambassador, obeying God, walking as Christ walked when He was on the earth. The strengthening rain, the living water, the Spirit! He is what is required to make it so!

Water! The Holy Spirit, who was poured out at Pentecost, with a fisherman named Peter preaching repentance in Acts 2, for repentance is the first step:

Joel 2:12 “Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“ Return to Me with all your heart,
And with  fasting, weeping and mourning;
13      And  rend your heart and not  your garments.”
Now return to the LORD your God,
For He is  gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.

and then . . .

Joel 2:28  “It will come about after this
That I will  pour out My Spirit on all mankind; [all who ask, Luke 11:13]
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
29      “Even on the  male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

And the day that Peter preached, and in the days that followed, thousands upon thousands were transformed, healed of their rebellion against God, and reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ! Peter had flood-stage living water flowing from his belly!

Poured out! Water! Rivers in the spiritual desert of Judah’s exile in Babylon, and also in the desert of today’s Christianity!

Only our God, the one who called forth the generations from the beginning, can help us, and He will gladly restore and revive the fallen-away church, if she will turn. Here is His promise:

Isaiah 41:18  “I will open  rivers on the bare heights
And springs in the midst of the valleys;
I will make  the wilderness a pool of water
And the dry land fountains of water.
19      “I will put the cedar in the wilderness,
The acacia and the  myrtle and the olive tree;
I will place the  juniper in the desert
Together with the box tree and the cypress,
20      That  they may see and recognize,
And consider and gain insight as well,
That the  hand of the LORD has done this,
And the Holy One of Israel has created it.

These cannot grow in a dry desert . . . they require water! But  He promises water:

Isaiah 44:3  ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will  pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants;

For today’s church:

Who is the Source of living water? Who will relieve you of the dryness that I know you feel? Who is the One who will take you out of your desert, out of your wilderness, the place of dryness that results from sin?  Jesus Christ!

What is your sin, you ask? Rather than idols made of stone or wood or metal,  the idolatry of self is your sin. (I was the same way, before I received the Holy Spirit’s living water.) And most pastors build their sermons around you and your sensual desires. That may make you feel good for a moment, but then you find you are still dry. Theirs is a deceptive stream; it dries up quickly. You are still in your idolatry. If your pastor does not speak of sin and righteousness and judgment and repentance from sin, you remain a slave to sin.

Jesus Christ is in the business of making people free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36), and that is by the Holy Spirit, the living water:

John 7:37   Now on  the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me,  as the Scripture said, ‘From  his innermost being will flow rivers of  living water.’” 39 But this He spoke  of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Who receives the living water of the Holy Spirit? He who believes in Christ, not just in a mental assent that Christ lived and died and rose again, but who obeys Christ out of love! He who has repented and asked God to do it! That one will have living water flowing from his belly like a flood-stage river!
Jesus Christ was sent by God the Father for this reason:

Isaiah 42:7      To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.

This water, the Holy Spirit, will open your blind eyes and  deliver you from your prison of selfishness and rebellion against God, and make you an oasis for the lost (Isaiah 42:7). He who gives you sight and freedom will do the same for them, through us!

And there is another purpose for His living water:

Acts 1:8 “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be  My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and  Samaria, and even to  the remotest part of the earth.”

The living water of the Holy Spirit gives you power to be a witness that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God, that He came and died and rose again, because His Holy Spirit will fill you with His presence and His love and His holiness and His power, and that will trigger repentance in others!

You cannot be the church without His living water!

The cure for your dryness, the exit from your desert, is before you now. Jesus Christ will give you living, overflowing water that will never dry up, living water that will make you a witness that Christ is real. People who see God’s power in you and living water flowing form you will repent and believe.

Beloved, most of today’s church cannot claim to be witnesses of Him, but His offer is open NOW. Repent, turn from your idolatry of self, cry out to God and receive His living water!

JOY INEXPRESSIBLE!

[SW137] 04/19/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014

“Joy Inexpressible!”

He is risen! (He is risen, indeed!) We do not physically see Jesus Christ, but He has revealed Himself to us, and He and the Father have come to dwell in us!

Joy is in the hearts of all who believe! And that joy began a long time before Christ rose from the dead . . .

Imagine the joy of Moses, when he received the creation story from God, and heard that the Enemy of our souls would be defeated:

Genesis 3:14 The LORD God said to the serpent . . .
    15 And I will put enmity
    Between you and the woman,
    And between your seed and her seed;
     He shall  bruise you on the head,
    And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

Imagine his joy as he prophesied of a coming prophet who would be like him, used by the Lord to set free the captives —

Deuteronomy 18:15   “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.”

Imagine the joy of David, who in the Spirit calls the Messiah “Lord, ” and speaks of His victory —

Psalms 110:1  The LORD says to my Lord:
        “ Sit at My right hand
        Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
(also see Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:42-45)

And even from the beginning of the Psalms, David speaks what he hears from the Lord in the Spirit, prophesying about the Son of God:

Psalms 2:6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
    Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

    12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry
    and you be destroyed in your way,
    or his wrath can flare up in a moment.
    Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Imagine the joy of Isaiah, when the Lord spoke through him and he prophesied of the Messiah —

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.
    4 For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders . . .
    6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
    And the government will rest on His shoulders;
    And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor,  Mighty God,
    Eternal  Father, Prince of  Peace.
    7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace . . .

And —

Isaiah 53:5    But he was pierced for our transgressions,
        he was crushed for our iniquities;
        the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
        and by his wounds we are healed.
        11  After the suffering of his soul,
        he will see the light[of life] and be satisfied;
        by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
        and he will bear their iniquities.

Imagine the joy of Jeremiah, when the Lord spoke through Jeremiah, and he gladly prophesied —

Jeremiah 23:5   “Behold, the  days are coming,” declares the LORD,
    “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
    And He will reign as king and  act wisely
    And  do justice and righteousness in the land.
    6 “In His days Judah will be saved, and  Israel will dwell securely;
    And this is His name by which He will be called,
    ‘The  LORD our righteousness.’”

And —

Jeremiah 33:15 ‘In those days and at that time I will cause a  righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute  justice and righteousness on the earth.”

But they did not yet fully see how it would come to pass, nor did they see the Messiah face-to-face —

Jesus says:

Matthew 13:16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 “For truly I say to you that  many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

And the Apostle Peter says:

1Peter 1:10  As to this salvation, the prophets who  prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries,  11 seeking to know what person or time  the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.  12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who  preached the gospel to you by  the Holy Spirit sent from heaven — things into which  angels long to look.

Imagine the joy of Mary, when Jesus spoke to her in the garden at the tomb —

John 20:15 Jesus  said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she  said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”  16 Jesus  said to her, “Mary!” She turned and  said to Him in  Hebrew, “ Rabboni!” (which means,Teacher).  17 Jesus  said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to  My brethren and say to them, ‘I  ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 18  Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.

Imagine the joy of the disciples, when Jesus came to them —

John 20:19   So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for  fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and  said to them, “ Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this,  He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then  rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  21 So Jesus said to them again, “ Peace be with you;  as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

Imagine the joy of the Apostle Paul, who saw the risen Lord on the road to Damascus and in later visions —

Romans 1:1    Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle,  set apart for  the gospel of God,  2 which He  promised beforehand through His  prophets in the holy Scriptures,  3 concerning His Son, who was born  of a  descendant of David  according to the flesh,  4 who was declared  the Son of God with power  by the resurrection from the dead, according to the  Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord . . .  

And imagine the joy in everyone who even this day confesses that they are sinners in need of Jesus Christ’s forgiveness and cleansing, and receives all of what the cross represents —

1Peter 1:6  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now  for a little while,  if necessary, you have been distressed by  various  trials . . . 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and  full of glory,  9 obtaining as  the outcome of your faith the salvation of  your souls.

He is risen, indeed, and He is alive today! He reveals Himself to those who believe, who love and therefore obey:

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.”

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “ If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”

Oh, it is indeed joy beyond anything we can think or imagine, when God the Father and God the Son enter a human heart to dwell there, by the Holy Spirit! There are no words sufficient to describe it!

Even though we have not seen Him in the flesh, as did Mary and the disciples, we see Him and FEEL HIM in our hearts! His joy is in us, His peace is in us! His Spirit makes us cry out, “Abba, Father,” because we know beyond any doubt that Christ has risen and God has adopted us as His own and has become our Father!

Oh, beloved, do you have this joy indescribable? Do you know beyond any doubt that Christ has risen and you are now a child of God? Have you had the witness of the Spirit, the “Abba, Father!” rising up in your heart, filling you with joy?

The Lord extends His grace to you today.  On the day we celebrate His resurrection from the dead, He offers you resurrection, if you will turn to Him:

1Peter 2:21 For  you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,  22 WHO  COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;  

1Peter 2:23  and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;  24 and He Himself  bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to  sin and live to righteousness; for  by His wounds you were  healed.  25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. 

REBUILDING – PROVISION

[SW136] 04/12/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church —Provision”

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.

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

Chapter 1 — Interceding

Chapter 2 — Requesting Christ’s provision

Chapters 3 and 4 — Possessing God’s strength and wisdom

Chapter 5 — Convicting regarding sin

Chapter 6 — Discerning

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repenting

Chapter 10 — Consecrating

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

Ezekiel 22:26-31 describes the spiritual condition of Israel that led to the Babylonian exile of Judah (southern Israel) about a hundred years after Samaria (northern Israel). Judah had sinned greatly against the Lord, and refused to listen to the prophets the Lord sent to them, who warned them to repent. And so God sent them into exile in Babylon for 70 years.

Nehemiah 2

Having heard the report that the remnant in Judah was under great distress and reproach, Nehemiah interceded for the sons of Israel, asking the Lord to forgive, and reminding Him of His promise that, if they would return to Him, He would return them to Israel. He asked the Lord for mercy when he went before King Artaxerxes.

It was not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit that Jersusalem and its walls and temple would be rebuilt (Zechariah 4:6). Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, in Spirit-filled believers, will the church be rebuilt.

As intercessors for today’s church, we ask the Lord Jesus Christ, head of the church, to have compassion on His church. Unlike Nehemiah, thought, we do not deal with a pagan king as an intermediary used by God — we go to the King of kings and Lord of lords, the One who is above all things:

Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —  all things have been created through Him and for Him.  17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

The earth is His, and all that is in it (Psalm 24:1)!

He preserves His promise to those who love and obey Him (Nehemiah 1:5)!

We can come before Him and ask whatever we will, and He will do it:

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. 13 “ Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that  the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything  in My name, I will do it.”

The Lord sees our sadness of heart over the brokenness in the church (Nehemiah 2:2). But we are not afraid, as Nehemiah rightfully was afraid of the pagan king. No, perfect love casts out fear of punishment:

1John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but  perfect love casts out fear, because fear  involves punishment, and the one who fears is not  perfected in love.

And so:

Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Oh, our King lives forever! As we sit at the table with the Father, Son and Spirit, the Son will ask us, “What would you request?”

Our desires are Your desires, Lord Jesus. We have come to do Your will, O Lord; Your Law is written in our hearts (Psalm 40:6)!

We will say, “Send me to Your broken church, that we may rebuild it” (v. 5).

“Whom shall We send, and who shall go for Us?” Isaiah said, “Here am I! Send me!” He saw the Lord highly exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. His heart was cleansed by the coal of fire touching His lips, in Isaiah 6!

It will please the King of kings to send us (v. 7), and we will return to Him at the appointed time.

Our fathers were in the church, and we want to bring it back to what it was in those days. The church was with Christ at one time, but now all but a remnant have been exiled from God’s presence.

What must we ask our King for?

— First, authority. We must have authority to pass through Enemy territory, from the One who is greater than our Enemy, Satan:

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I have given you authority to  tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that  your names are recorded in heaven.”

Beloved, in today’s church, few have asked for Christ’s authority to pass through Enemy territory. Therefore we are blindsided and ambushed, deceived and destroyed.

We cannot ask for Christ’s authority over Satan if we are disobedient. But if we will ask Him to change our hearts, so we love and obey Him, He will surely grant us the authority we lack!

— Second, timber. Nehemiah needed natural wood.

We need the whole message of the Cross, from the bounty of the King. What is the whole message?

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. We all know that one.

Why was that necessary? He was, indeed, a sin offering to cover our past sins.

But the message of the Cross goes beyond that — it is the rest of the story, the part which must be in place for the church to be rebuilt.

God sent Jesus Christ that we may have His Spirit, His heart, His love,  His nature, with our old, rebellious nature crucified, in a moment of time!

That is the timber by which the church will be rebuilt — the whole message of the Cross! We must ask Him to put steel in our backbones so we boldly speak it!

In today’s church, beloved, the message of the Cross is the message of the “CRO.” It is half the message. It leaves out the “SS” which is Sin Sickness. That is a disease only Christ can heal, and that by way of His work on the cross and afterwards, when He rose from the dead after three days. He ascended to the Father, was glorified, and poured out the Holy Spirit, who fills us with God’s holiness and gives us a new heart, a new nature!

Yes, we continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, but we no longer resist as the Lord molds and shapes! We have given up our rights to ourselves! We are dead, and now He lives in us (Galatians 2:20).

We must return to building on the one foundation, Christ, so our work will not be found by Him to be wood, hay and straw.

1Corinthians 3:11 For no man can lay a  foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver,  precious stones, wood, hay, straw,  13  each man’s work will become evident; for  the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test  the quality of each man’s work.  14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will  receive a reward.  15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

As the Nehemiahs for today’s church, we call that all pastors once again build on the foundation which is Christ!

When we ask the Lord for the authority and the whole message of the Cross, He will go beyond what we have asked. He will send with us (Verse 9) officers of the army and horsemen — angels, ministering servants:

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said,
“ SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES
A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?
14 Are they not all  ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

They will assist us when the Enemy hears of the church’s rebuilding and is displeased that we seek her welfare, just as Sanballat and Tobiah were displeased!

But our Lord has won the victory. Satan has nothing in Him (John 14:30). And we walk in Christ’s victory, when we have called the Father to do the whole gospel in us (Luke 11:13)!

Jesus Christ WILL have a church glorious, without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:27). But just as with Nehemiah, He wants those who love and obey Him to participate in the church’s rebuilding (Ephesians 4:11), even to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

Will you join me, O remnant, and rebuild the church? The One we go to for provision will certainly provide.

Next week, we will celebrate His victory, on Resurrection Sunday. Then we will return to Nehemiah and learn the next step to rebuilding.

THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE

[SW124] 1/18/14 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014

“The Resurrection and the Life”

When we turn from our sin and believe into Him, Jesus Christ makes us stand up from our mere existence and enter into His life!

Elijah raised the dead, Elisha raised the dead, Jesus raised the widow’s son at Nain as he was being carried to his grave, and Jesus gave the disciples the authority to raise the dead (see Matthew 10:8). So what is different about the story of Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11? All these were raised the same day they died.

We will see that Lazarus was dead in the tomb for four days. The Jews always buried their dead the same day they died. And Jews believed that after three days, the spirit left the body of the dead one and there was no hope of resurrection. We will see that Jesus waited until there was no hope, and then resurrected Lazarus!

I will speak of Lazarus’ resurrection, of the resurrection now available to all who believe into Jesus Christ, who enter through Him into life as God has it, eternal life, here and now. And I will talk about the final resurrection, at the end of things.

John 11

Lazarus was sick, even to the point of death. Martha and Mary sent a messenger to ask Jesus to come to Bethany to heal him. How did Jesus reply?

John 11:4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for  the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

And so He stayed two more days before coming to them. Then He told His disciples it was time to go to Bethany, where the Jews had threatened to kill Jesus.

He said to them,

John 11:11 . . .“Our  friend Lazarus  has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.”

The disciples didn’t understand that Jesus meant Lazarus was dead, so He had to speak it plainly to them in Verse 14.  In the next verse, He told them that they would believe because of what was about to happen.

When He arrived, Martha met Him:

John 11:21 Martha then said to Jesus, “ Lord,  if You had been here, my brother would not have died.  22 “Even now I know that  whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”  

She would never have said Verse 21 if she had believed Verse 4. She could not imagine how Jesus could possibly raise Lazarus, dead four days in a tomb.

Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha replied that knew that he would, on the last day, a reference to the end times when God will bring this current world to an end and establish a new heavens and a new earth.

Jesus replied:

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “ I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me  will never die. Do you believe this?” 

What did Jesus mean when He said I AM the Resurrection and the Life?

Resurrection (386) means to stand up again. It is resurrection from death. When He says I AM, He is saying He is God in the flesh, the One who spoke to Moses from the burning bush in Exodus 3.

I AM the Resurrection and the Life! He is the author of life (New Living Bible), the prince of life (Acts 3:15)!

Until Jesus Christ, there was no possibility of having resurrection and life. It was He who made it possible. God was doing the new thing that He described so many times through Isaiah!

He sent the perfect sacrifice, part of Himself, His very Son, to this earth so we may be resurrected here and now, and also in the last day. No one else could do it but His sinless Son.

Jesus Christ is the Prince of life as God has it, the Ruler of it, and the Author of it! It can come from no other source, no other god.

So when, in Verse 25, Jesus asked Martha if she believed that He was the I AM, that He was the Author of both Resurrection and Life, she did not answer His question:

John 11:27 She  said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” 

She answered that she believed He was the Christ and that He had come from God. But she did not believe that He was the Author of Resurrection and of Life, that nothing was impossible for God, and that those who live and believe into Him — who enter in, who turn from their sin and enter Jesus Christ, the Door — will never die but have eternal life. She believed God would do what Jesus asked Him to do, but she did not believe for the resurrection of Lazarus.

I tell you that the church is in the same state. We believe Jesus is the Christ, we believe that He was sent from God. But we do not believe He can resurrect us here and now into new life, life in Him, born from above.

We do not believe that we can have eternal life here and now, but that all these promises are for “after we die.” And we miss His great plan! His great plan is to give us a resurrection here and now, for us to be born again not only so we can enter the Kingdom of God, but so that we can have His kingdom set up in us, here and now, His life in us here and now, so we become witnesses of His greatness and mercy and power and life that has filled us to the full!

I return to John 11. Martha calls Mary to come to Jesus, and she says the same thing Martha did — if You’d been here, Lazarus would not have died. It was again a statement that she did not believe Verse 4. She did not see that He is the I AM, the Author of Resurrection and Life, and that when we enter into life in Him, we have been resurrected here and now, from mere existence to life as God has it, even eternal life.

In Verse 33, Jesus sees Mary weeping, and the Jews that followed her from her home. He was deeply moved, beloved. You must understand what this word means, beloved!

Deeply moved (1690) means to snort with anger, to be moved by anger. It was a righteous anger, a holy anger against the unbelief that was all around Him. He was troubled (5015), He was disturbed. But all of their unbelief, and all of the unbelief in today’s church, will not keep God from accomplishing His plan. It goes forth, regardless of the weakness of our faith.

Beloved, we must be like the man whose son had fits, who said to Jesus, “I believe! Help my unbelief,” in Mark 9:24. He asks us to do that today!

He asks where Lazarus has been laid, and then, in Verse 35, He weeps. He was not sad over the death of Lazarus, because He was doing just what the Father told Him to do — wait four days, until Lazarus’ situation is hopeless, and then go and reveal the Father’s glory and be glorified by it, Son! He had no reason to weep out of sadness that Lazarus died. He knew what He was about to do. He is the I AM, the Author of Resurrection, and the Author of Life!

He wept because of their unbelief. It is the same today, in the church. He weeps when you say He cannot do what seems impossible to you.

The Jews (and the church) misinterpret Jesus — we say He wept because He was sad. Some ask, “Why didn’t He come sooner? He healed the man born blind. Couldn’t He come and heal Lazarus?”

But they do not realize, though He has told them, that Jesus Christ does not initiate anything on His own. He has no plans of His own. He only does what He sees the Father doing, says what the Father is saying, and obeys Him. God the Father and Jesus Christ who is God the Son are glorified, beloved, when we only do what the Father is doing, say what the Father is saying, and obey Him.

Jesus ordered the stone to be removed. And again, Martha answered in unbelief, saying Lazarus rotting body would stink.

And so Jesus was deeply moved again, in Verse 38. He snorted with righteous anger, was moved with anger.

I tell you, beloved, it does not make any difference how long you have been in your “mere existence,” how rotten you have become, how much you have decayed,  Jesus is able to raise you up, to make you stand up, to resurrect you and give you eternal life, here and now! Hallelujah!

The stone was removed, and Jesus called for Lazarus to come out. And he did! He could not help but do it, because the I AM, the Author of Resurrection and Life, commanded Him to come out!

We must see that this is for us, for today. He is still the I AM, the Author of Resurrection and Life.

In Ephesians 1:18-23, Paul prays for the Ephesian church to realize this. All of the blessings of God had been made theirs when they believed into Jesus Christ, turning from their sin and entering through the Door which is Christ. But they had no power. They were not full. If they were, Paul would not have prayed:

Ephesians 1:18 I pray that  the eyes of your heart  may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the  hope of His  calling, what are  the riches of the glory of  His inheritance in  the  saints,  19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  These are in accordance with the working of the  strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He  raised Him from the dead and  seated Him at His right hand in  the heavenly places, 21 far above  all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every  name that is named, not only in  this age but also in the one to come.  22 And He  put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as  head over all things to the church,  23 which is His  body, the  fullness of Him who fills all in all. 

What do these words mean? Paul is praying for them to grab onto resurrection power, the power God used to raise Christ from the dead (Verse 20)! They have not yet done it.

Paul prays for them to be filled full, full of the Holy Spirit (Verse 23)! They are not yet filled, as evidenced by Paul’s exhortations — you were this, but now you are to be that. You were sinners, but now you are to turn from it. They had not come into life.

They had been awakened, they were converted, but they had not come into the fullness, the full meaning, of this resurrection and life, and that is to have the Author of these things in them, ruling and reigning, when they are filled with the Holy Spirit, when they have surrendered their rights and entire selves to God (Romans 12:1-2), a whole burnt offering, the old burned up by the baptism of fire Christ gives!

As Paul exhorts in Ephesians 5:14, and this is the literal translation,

“Arise, sleeping one, an stand up form the dead ones, and Christ will shine on you.”

Some of those in the church at Ephesus were still sleeping! They had not experienced nor do they ask for the resurrection power and life that the Author died to give them.

It is the same in the church today. Many have not come into the fullness of God, many have the head knowledge Martha and Mary and the Jews had, many have missed the truth that there is a here-and-now resurrection, and here-and-now eternal life, as well as when our bodies fall away and we are free to soar up to be with the Lord, as Paul implies in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8. While we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (from being literally with Him in heaven), and that when our bodies fall away, we are at home with the Lord, literally with Him in heaven.

But there is a final resurrection, even of our bodies, from the I AM, the Author of Resurrection and Life!

1 Thessalonians 4:13   But  we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who  are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do  the rest who have  no hope.  14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,  even so God will bring with Him  those who have fallen asleep  in Jesus.  15 For this we say to you  by the word of the Lord, that  we who are alive  and remain until  the coming of the Lord, will not precede  those who have fallen asleep.  16 For the Lord  Himself  will descend from heaven with a   shout, with the voice of  the archangel and with the  trumpet of God, and  the dead in Christ will rise first.  17 Then  we who are alive  and remain will be  caught up together with them  in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always  be with the Lord.  18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Comfort means “encourage!” Encourage each other! Look! Those who have entered into life in Christ, who die before He returns, will rise again. Their resurrection bodies will be as different from the original as a seed is from what it produces (see 1 Corinthians 15:37 and 44). But there will be a resurrection from the seed of our dead bodies that are in the ground!

And for those of us who are still alive when Christ returns, we will be snatched up in the air, and will rise to meet Him, and shall always be with Him! This is the final resurrection!

If you are looking at this video and you see Christ and come to Him, come all the way in. Do not stop at mental assent, at head knowledge, at agreeing that the Bible is true. Ask Him to work His resurrection power and eternal life here and now, in you!

His grace is here for you today, you who are like Martha and the rest. God’s plan will go forth, regardless of the unbelief of the church.

But hear His voice today! Enter into life in Christ, and be resurrected so you can give glory to God and to Christ, just as Lazarus’ resurrection did, back when Jesus walked the earth.Then you will be His witnesses. That is your purpose here!