SESSION 8 — “Being the Church,” a Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video. I’m posting this a week early because I am traveling next week.

Session 8 — Acts 4:1-22

Persecution will come . . .  that’s part of “Being the Church!”

Matthew 5:10, 5:12  Blessed are you!

Acts 22:4 Paul persecuted the Way, even to death!

Verses 1-3 — As Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were approached by hard-hearted men. The Sadducees didn’t believe in resurrection (Mt. 22:23) which Peter preached in Acts 3:15.

So they were greatly disturbed by John and Peter’s teaching!  The priests and temple guard accompanied them. They weren’t there to ask John and Peter questions — they brought the temple guard. Their purpose was to arrest them and jail them!

Verse 4 — But because of their words, and the healing of the man born lame in Acts 3 — 5,000 believed!

The 71 members of the Sanhedrin, who were like the Supreme Court of Judaism, were arranged in a half circle. In front of them were three scribes — one wrote down the words of them that favored acquittal, one wrote down the words of those who favored conviction, and the third wrote down the words of both. (Originated from the seventy elders from Numbers 11:16-17, who assisted Moses on rulings regarding the Mosaic Law.)

Verses 5-6  — Now, Peter and John stood before them, as well as the man who was healed (see Verse 10).

Verse 7 — By what power! In what name! The Sanhedrin demanded to know!

Verse 8 — Peter, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” began to speak. What? Wasn’t he filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2?

This is not evidence of a refilling. Jesus promises that being filled with the Holy Spirit is permanent (John 14:16). But the Spirit-inspired Luke frequently uses this expression “filled with the Holy Spirit” for a special moment of inspiration. The word “filled” is in the Greek aorist tense, which means “at that moment.”

Need more convincing? Listen to Jesus . . .

Mark 13:11 “When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.”

Ah! A moment of inspiration!

Verses 9-10 — Listen to the boldness! He asks, “Are we on trial for making a sick man well?” Well, then, let this be known to you:

By this name — Jesus Christ the Nazarene whom YOU crucified, whom God raised from the dead (again, this flies in the face of the Sadducees’ beliefs).

Again, Peter and John’s faith is in view, since the lame man was only looking for money and not healing. Christ’s character and fruit in them. For that reason, the man stands before them in good health.

Verse 11 — Peter reasons from the scriptures again — Jesus is the Stone the builders rejected (Psalm 118:22). And YOU rejected and crucified Him! But He is the chief cornerstone. On Him and Him everything else must be built and properly rest!

Verse 12 — And there is salvation through no other name under heaven by which we must be saved! We MUST be saved! We are not saved by good works, as the members of the Sanhedrin teach. We are saved by the One they rejected!

Verses 13-14 — The Sanhedrin observed the confidence — in the Greek, “boldness of speech” — of Peter and John. But how could that be? They are:

— uneducated AND

— untrained  (flunked rabbi school and went to apprentice with their fathers)

So how can they can reason in the scriptures with the expert Sanhedrin?

NOTE: Jesus also was untrained and uneducated (see John 7:15)!!!!

So they noted that Peter and John had been with Jesus. What does that mean?

It is evidence of being with Jesus (not just taught by Him, for they couldn’t reason in the scriptures until they were filled with Him, but now He is in them)! They certainly HAVE BEEN WITH JESUS, because Jesus and the Father made their abode in them when they were filled!

And what is worse, here is the man who had been healed. We cannot deny all of this!

Verse 15-17 — They order Peter and John and the healed man to be taken out. They could not refute Peter and John (Luke 21:14-15).

What would they do? A noteworthy miracle had been done! They could not deny this fact, with the healed man standing in front of them!

But they don’t want “it” to spread any further among the people, so . . .

Verse 18 — The command of the Sanhedrin — Do not speak or teach in this name any longer!

Verse 19-20 — Peter’s response:

—  Is it right in God’s eyes to give heed to you rather than God?

(He and John take their orders from God.)

— You be the judge

— Peter shifts the blame to the Sanhedrin BEFORE GOD, if they      silence Peter and John.

For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard!

Verse 21 — The Sanhedrin issue a few more threats and then release them.

— They’ve committed no crime

— The people are glorifying God for this miracle of healing

Verse 22 — The man’s healing is all the more miraculous since he was over 40 years old, lame from the time he was born! Lame for a lifetime, yet instantly healed completely and in perfect health!

SESSION 7 — “Being the Church,” a Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video. The video should be up June 20, 2017.

Session 7 — Acts 3 (whole chapter)

Verse 1 — Peter and John were going up to the Temple at 3 p.m., the hour of prayer during which many people came to pray. Peter and John were there every day, proclaiming Jesus as the Christ (Acts 2:46).

Verse 2 —A man who had been lame from his mother’s womb (he was more than 40 years old, per Acts 4:22) was brought every day to Gate Beautiful in order to beg for money to live on, from those who were entering the Temple. He begged because he had no income or means. There were no wheelchairs, no access for the disabled, no jobs for them in those days.

Verses 3-5 — He saw Peter and John, and asked for alms. But Peter and John fixed their gaze on him, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The man looked up, expecting alms.

He didn’t get what he asked for! He had no idea that Peter and John were ambassadors of the God of more than enough (see Matthew 14:19-20).

Verse 6 — Peter told the man that he didn’t have what the man was looking for. He had no silver or gold. “But what I do have I give to you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, WALK!” Peter had the power of God inside him, since He was filled with the Spirit at Pentecost!

Verse 7 — Peter seized the lame man’s hand and raised him up! And IMMEDIATELY the man’s feet and ankles were strengthened! IMMEDIATELY! No waiting, no rejection, but an instantaneous miracle that only God could do!

Verse 8 — With a leap — the formerly lame beggar was truly strengthened —the man stood upright and began to walk for the first time in his life! And as a lame man, he would have been banned from the Temple (Leviticus 21:18), so, for the first time in his life, he entered the Temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God! IMMEDIATELY! WALKING! LEAPING! PRAISING!

Verses 9-11 — ALL the people saw him walking and praising God, and were bewildered and dumbfounded. They knew this beggar. What had happened? It had to be God! And so what did the people do? They RAN together toward Peter and John!

Verse 12-15 — Peter’s response:

— It was not by John’s or my power or piety that the man is healed

— But my God and your God has glorified His Servant/Son Jesus (Isaiah 49:6) who you delivered and disowned in Pilate’s presence, even though Pilate wanted to release Him (Matthew 27:16-17)! He tells them frankly and bluntly that they killed God’s Son.

— He says “YOU put to death the Author of life (the first One to offer it)

— But God raised Him from the dead and we have seen Him risen! We are eyewitnesses!

Verse 16 — Peter explains how the man became healed:

— On the basis of John’s and Peter’s faith in the name of Jesus (not the beggar’s faith, for he was only expecting money).

— In the name of Jesus (John 16:24) until now, they had not asked in this way, but when they soon would, the Father would do it!
What did Peter mean? Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit had filled them! His character/reputation (His name), and His faith (one of the fruits of the Spirit, per Galatians 5:22-23), were literally in them!

Verse 17 — “But you acted ignorantly, and so did your leaders.” They thought they were serving God by killing Jesus (John 16:2), believing He was a blasphemer (Matthew 26:65) because He said God was His Father, thus making Himself equal with God (John 5:18).

Verse 18 — But God announced all of this through the mouth of His prophets in the Old Testament (Isaiah 53, Malachi 4:2, Zechariah, Abraham in Genesis 22:18, and many other references). His Christ had to suffer, and His suffering has been fulfilled.

Verses 19-20 — Therefore repent! Return! Your sins will be wiped away and God will give you times of refreshing (a moment in time, the Greek kairos, of revival), and once you have repented and returned and been forgiven, the Father will sends Jesus to be IN YOU — filled with the Holy Spirit!

And Peter, the one who flunked rabbi school and was advised to apprentice as a fisherman with his father, reasons in the scriptures, once again —

Verse 21 — Heaven had to receive Jesus, until it is time for His return (1Thessalonians 4:13-18, Acts 1:11), for the restoration of all things (Revelation 19:11-16, 21:1).

Verses 22-25 — Even Moses, whom the Jewish leaders revered, wrote of Him in Deuteronomy 18:15, saying those who did not heed Him would be utterly destroyed.

And all the prophets, from Samuel onward (Samuel by way of David, a who was a type and forefather of Jesus), announced these things. Nathan, in 2Samuel 7:12-16, spoke far beyond Solomon’s reign. Even God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 22:18 and 26:4 spoke of Jesus Christ. Paul confirms it in Galatians 3:26.

Verse 26 — For you first (the Gentiles — non-Jews — were offered Jesus on a large scale after He was first offered to the Jews) . . . For you first, God raised up His Servant/Son (see Romans 1:16, and the same for judgment in Romans 2:16)!

For what purpose? To bless you by turning you from your wicked ways!

What is God’s blessing for you, beloved? It is to turn you from your wicked ways.

It is not your best life now, money power, and success. Turn away from those who teach such things.

It is to be saved from the very wrath of God, reconciled to God, and then to be filled with His Holy Spirit so may become part of “Being the Church!”

JESUS, THE GOOD SHEPHERD

[SW287] 06/16/2017 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017

“Jesus, the Good Shepherd”

Text: John 10:1-15, 27-30

Which voice should you be listening to? The Good (beautiful, valuable, virtuous) Shepherd’s! If you are His, you know Him and He knows you. And you run from the voice of strangers.

Here is some background on this passage —

In those days, when a good shepherd was in the pasture with his sheep, and night was coming, he built a hedge of thorns as a pen, and led the sheep into it. Then he laid down at the entrance. He literally laid down his life, defending his flock against any beast that approached. So the shepherd himself was the door to the sheep pen.

And in the city, a good shepherd led his flock into a pen that held sheep from many other shepherds. A doorkeeper watched the door until the shepherds returned to call their sheep the next morning. And each flock knew its shepherd’s voice, so as each shepherd called, his own flock came to him.

Therefore, you should now be able to understand Jesus’ words in the first few verses of John 10.

Verses 1-2 — Jesus said, Truly, truly! A very important truth is about to be spoken! The Jewish leaders were thieves and robbers, stealing people’s money and property, and robbing people of a true understanding of God’s heart. They taught that the only way to please God is by following the Law perfectly. But they themselves bent the Law for their own gain. So they entered the sheep pen neither by God’s ways, nor through Jesus Christ, God’s Son, whom they rejected and cursed and sought to kill. Their motive? Money, power and status. He said they had made His Father’s house a robbers’ den (Matthew 21:13).

But the one who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. That one does not sneak into the pen and steal. He is the shepherd himself, for he is the door of the pen. And the one who enters by the door also refers to the shepherds who have entered through Him, who He calls to lead the Good Shepherd’s sheep (see 1Peter 5:4).

Before I proceed, a little more background is in order —

In the natural, sheep are loyal to their shepherd and are not easily deceived. Many years ago, an experiment was done with a flock of sheep.

A shepherd gave his clothing to one who was a stranger to his flock. Then the stranger called the shepherd’s sheep.

Even though the stranger was dressed like their shepherd, the sheep knew the voice calling them was the voice of a stranger. So they did not come when he called. But when the shepherd called them, they gladly RAN to him!

IMPORTANT POINT: Do you gladly run to Jesus? Do you know His voice today?

You may say, “There are so many voices! How do I learn the voice of Jesus Christ?”

1. Through the Word of God! If you do not know the Word of God, then how can you know the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit? How can you know the voice of Jesus Christ? And if you do not know His voice, you WILL follow the voices of strangers. Such voices abound in the church and in the world today.
2. When you are filled with His Holy Spirit, you walk with Him continually. Satan ensures that distractions abound, but you discern that those distractions bear Satan’s character, not the Good Shepherd’s. And if you are one of His sheep, and walking with Him continually, you will steadfastly continue to walk with Him and fix your eyes on Him, the Author and Perfecter of your faith (see Hebrews 12:2).

Verses 3-5 — Now, Jesus refers to the pen in the city. He gathers His flock from among other sheep. How? The sheep hear His voice and follow Him! AND, even more wonderfully, the Good Shepherd knows the names of all of His sheep, and calls them by name and leads them out! Jesus knows the names of His sheep! PRAISE BREAK!

His sheep simply will not follow a stranger, but will run from him. Why? They do not know the voice of strangers.

IMPORTANT POINT: Do you run from the voice of strangers? Are you able to discern their voices?

Verses 6-9 — The people did not understand Jesus’ words, so He spoke to them again. He said, “Truly, truly, I AM the door of the sheep!” He is the one who lays down His life at the entrance of the sheep pen.

All the false Jewish teachers are thieves and robbers who do not have the Good Shepherd’s voice. So HIS sheep DO NOT HEED THEM. All those who follow false teachers are not yet His sheep and do not know His voice. Be sure you are not one of them!

Whoever enters through Him is His sheep, and that one is saved. And that one goes in and out and finds all he needs in order to live, because he is led by the Good Shepherd.

Verse 10 — The thief comes only to steal, then to kill, then to destroy by completely devouring, so there is no remnant of the sheep that he has stolen. This is the fate of those who follow the voice of strangers, beloved! Do you know the voice of Jesus? If not, you will be devoured, just as the people were at the time of Jesus, because the Jewish leaders were thieves and robbers.

Like all false shepherds, the Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus were children of their father, the devil (see John 8:44), and therefore, had his attributes — they came to steal the people, kill them, and devour them completely. They rejected Christ entirely, and twisted the truth of God for personal gain and status, purposely shutting their eyes tightly to the truth, thereby blinding themselves.

And I tell you, the intent of Satan is to have him join you in eternal destruction. He intends to steal you, kill you, and then devour you and leave no trace of you!

But the Good Shepherd has come to give you eternal life, superabundantly, until it overflows!

Strangers will tell you that these words are about God giving you wealth and health and every earthly treasure you ask Him for. That is a self-centered gospel, completely contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. So that is not the voice of the Good Shepherd. Avoid such men as these (2 Timothy 3:5)!

In contrast, here is what the Good Shepherd does —

He calls His sheep to be His witnesses here, with His eternal life abundantly in them, and His living water flowing from their bellies like flood-stage rivers, for the salvation of many!

Verse 11 — Jesus says, I AM the Good (beautiful, valuable, virtuous) Shepherd! Each time He says, I AM, He is saying He is God, the same God whose voice Moses heard in the burning bush in Exodus 3:14! And indeed, He laid down His life for His sheep, by going to the cross for us, to release us from the grip of Satan and those who speak his lies (again, see John 8:44).

And the Good Shepherd laid down His life so you may be forgiven, reconciled to God, and have eternal life!

Verses 12-13 — Jesus next unmasks the hired hands. You will know them by their actions. They are not shepherds, but are only interested in their paychecks. When they see Satan and his children come to steal and kill and eat the sheep, those hired hands will FLEE. They are self-centered, concerned only for themselves. They will save themselves from danger, but not the sheep! And Satan snatches the sheep and scatters them, putting to flight the ones he cannot snatch up.

Verses 14-15 — But again, Jesus says, I AM the Good Shepherd. I am not like them. I am not a hired hand. I am not a thief. And I know My own, and My own know Me.

How well do My own know Me? How well do I know My own? As well as the Father knows Me and I know Him! That’s an intimate relationship, with a capital “I.”

Can you say that today? Do you know Jesus by experiencing Him literally inside of you? Do you know Him as well as He knows the Father? Do you know Him as well as the Father knows Him? Intimately, personally?

If you see that you do not know Him that way, then cry out to Him. At all costs, cry out to Him to know Him! Cry out to Him for forgiveness! Cry out to Him to be filled with His Spirit so you are able to discern the voice of Satan! He will answer! He answered my cry!

Beloved, He laid down His life for you!

Verse 26 — The unbelieving Jewish leaders come against Jesus at Hanukkah. He tells them they do not hear His voice because they are not of His sheep. It was their choice to remain in the darkness rather than come into His Light (John 3:19-21). They have chosen to shut their eyes tightly, blinding themselves.

Verses 27-29 — Then He repeats what He said before — My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish (the meaning of “destroy,” in John 10:10). And no thief, none of Satan’s children, will snatch them like that wolf in John 10:12.

Why? God the Father gives Jesus Christ’s sheep to Him. And the Father is greater than Satan and those who belong to him. So no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Does that mean you can continue to sin (willfully disobey God) and not worry about being snatched? Do not be deceived! Paul says, “May it never be!” How can we who have died to sin live in it any longer (see Romans 6:2)?

The Good Shepherd’s sheep follow Him. They do not disobey Him, which is sin. They have been saved from their past sins and have followed His command to stay and wait for the promise of the Father, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and thus, they have died to sin. Jesus has freed them from slavery to sin!

Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd over all who lead His people (again, see 1Peter 5:4). But many are led by men who do not have the Chief Shepherd’s voice. And those who listen to them are troubled, confused, distressed and cast down, because they are  sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).

I tell you today, Jesus Christ feels great compassion for you. And He calls you today to Himself. Do you hear His voice?

SESSION 6 — “Being the Church,” a Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video.

Session 5 was the “before and after” — The frightened Peter, the bull-headed Peter, now reasoning in the Scriptures, what that means, why he can. Repentance, the gospel, the kerygma —

  1. The prophecies of the Messiah, the Christ, are fulfilled in Jesus: His Davidic descent, His ministry, His death and His resurrection

2. Jesus has been exalted to the right hand of the Father

3. The Holy Spirit is the sign of Christ’s present power and glory

4. Christ will return to judge

5. Therefore, repent!

NOW Session 6 — Acts 2:42-47

A picture of the church —

v. 42 Steadfastly continuing in:

— The apostles’ teaching (not just anybody’s, for false teachers quickly appeared on the scene). But they clung to what the Apostles taught.

— Fellowship (koinonia), per 1John 1:3-4 —

1John 1:3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.

This is fellowship with the Father and the Son, not potlucks, beloved. As they gathered, all filled with the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son and the believers fellowshipped TOGETHER. They supped with one another (see Revelation 3:20).

— The breaking of bread, that is, the Lord’s Supper/Communion. Why doesn’t that mean taking meals together? Because Verse 46 says they took meals together AND broke bread. So breaking bread means the Lord’s Supper.

— Prayer without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:17), God in them! O Father, let your kingdom come! Do in others what you have done in us, so it may be so!

Verse 43 — Fear (reverential awe of God and what He had done) was occurring in every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done by the Apostles (later, we will see that other Spirit-filled Christians also performed signs and wonders)!

Verse 44 — All who believed were TOGETHER, all things in common because they were of the same Holy Spirit, and the Spirit gave them unity of nature with God, just as Jesus prayed in John 17:21-23! They became partakers of the divine nature (2Peter 1:4)!

Verse 45 — They sold excess property and possessions, sharing the proceeds with others (see Acts 4:34-37).

Verse 46 — Every day they continued to teach in the Temple, the mind of Christ in them (1Corinthians 2:16),  unanimous (Philippians 2:7-8), and taking the Lord’s Supper as well as meals together, from one Spirit-filled believer’s house to another’s house. And they did it with gladness (joy unspeakable and full of glory, per 1Peter 1:8) and sincerity of heart (see 1Corinthians 11:23-30)!

v. 47  They praised God continually, and had favor with all the people, but not Jewish leaders (see 4:3)! And their number was added to, day by day!

How does this compare with your idea of church? Are you of the same nature as Christ? Are you able to gather with others and fellowship with the Father and the Son in a holy intimacy, so that you are able to sit at the table and sup with Jesus, and He with you? Or do you just get together to eat food and chitchat? Oh, beloved, be baptized in the Holy Spirit, as He lovingly commands!

JESUS, THE EYE-OPENER!

[SW286] 06/09/2017 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017

“Jesus, the Eye-Opener”

Text: John 9:1-17, 24-41

This is an account of several kinds of blindness, and of Jesus Christ, the Eye-Opener, for everyone who will receive Him. We will see the blind, and the formerly blind. And we will see those who blind themselves by shutting up their eyes.

First, I need to explain that the rabbinical writings say that, if a child is born with a birth defect, he either sinned in his mother’s womb or his parents sinned, resulting in the defect (per Exodus 20:5 and 34:7).

Just prior to John 9, Jesus had just left the Temple, having shed HIs light on the hearts of the scribes and Pharisees. They had railed against him, especially when Jesus told them He was the I AM, always existent, even before Abraham. They had tried to stone Him, but He was hidden (concealed) from them, and went out of the Temple.

Verses 1-2 — As He walked out, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples mused about who committed sin. They were blind to His need, and instead, had their eyes on the rabbinical teachings they had heard. So they asked Jesus, Who sinned? The man in his mother’s womb, or his parents, that he would be born blind.

PRAISE BREAK! Blind from birth! Beloved, it is the condition of us all, spiritually! We are all blind to the things of God, when we are born. But Jesus is the Eye-Opener, who opens our blind eyes so we can see Him! In Luke 4:18, Jesus proclaims that Isaiah’s prophecy from Isaiah 61 is fulfilled, for He came for “recovery of sight to the blind!”

Verse 3 — Jesus immediately corrected His disciples. Their blindness was caused by their lack of understanding, and the rabbinical teachings. (That would change at Pentecost!)

He said this man’s blindness was neither from his sin nor from his parents’ sin. He was born in that condition so that the works of God could be displayed in him.

Do you see that Jesus already knew what was going to happen? Glory to God! He always knows, even now! Will you trust Him?

And beloved, God has also prepared works in advance for us to do — works of God (see Ephesians 2:10)!

Verses 4-5 —  Jesus said we (Jesus, and all who believe) must work God’s works while it is day, because there will be a time when darkness comes and we can no longer work. [NOTE: That will happen when the Restrainer, who is the Holy Spirit, and those whom He indwells, are no longer in the world (see 2Thessalonians 2:7).]

It was a rebuke to His disciples for their blindness to the need of the man born blind. But it is also a rebuke to the church today, for the same reason.

And He repeated that He is the light of the world (see John 8:12), while He is in the world. He was speaking of His life on the earth, but also, His life indwelling the hearts of believers after his death, resurrection, ascension and glorification.

He is the Light of the world. His light makes it possible for us to see things which cannot otherwise be seen (even our own hearts, as in John 8). And for those who see nothing, like this blind man, Jesus Christ brings natural sight, and then much more!

Verses 6-7 — Right after saying, “I am the Light of the world,” He spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to the man’s eyes. Then He said, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.” He did not say, “and you will receive your sight.”

The man obeyed, and came back seeing! The Eye-Opener had opened the eyes of a man born blind! No such thing was ever done in history (see Verse 32)! But the man would soon see even more!

Medically speaking, Jesus had to not only repair the man’s eyes, but also make the proper connection in his brain — immediately — so it could receive and process sight!

Verses 8-14 — Those who knew him and had seen him were perplexed. It’s him! It couldn’t be him! But He said, “I am the one!” They must not have seen Jesus apply the clay to his eyes, because they asked him how his eyes were opened.

He told them — Jesus made clay, anointed his eyes, and told him to wash in the pool, and he received sight. He did not know where Jesus had gone — he did not have his sight until he returned and Jesus had left the scene.

They did not glorify God! They did not rejoice! They were blind to the Eye-Opener! They did not repent, nor did they seek Jesus.

Why? They shut up their eyes! I say that because of what they did next.

What did they do? The people brought the man to the Pharisees. Why? It could be because the man spoke of Jesus, and the Jewish leaders had agreed that whoever spoke of Him would be put out of the synagogue — ostracized, banished, unable to have contact with family and friends, and jobless (see Verse 22)!

Or it could be because it had been a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made clay and opened the eyes of the man born blind (Verse 14). To work by making clay and opening eyes must not be done on the Sabbath!

They blinded themselves! They looked at the Pharisees’ rules and regulations in stead of the Eye-Opener!

Verses 15-17 — Now it was the Pharisees’ turn. Rather than rejoicing that the man born blind was now able to see, which was a miracle never performed in all of history (see Verse 32) , they interrogated him. They did not repent, nor did they seek Jesus, to learn from Him.

They had shut their eyes to the Eye-Opener who had just worked a miracle so that they might stop shutting their eyes and perceive God’s works and glorify God!

They asked the man how he was healed. As he explained, their response was this: Aha! It was a Sabbath, and Jesus both made clay AND healed! He did work on the Sabbath! Sinner! He does not keep the Sabbath. He is not from God! But some of the Pharisees asked how a sinner could perform such signs (see Verse 33).

The blind Pharisees asked the man formerly blind what He thought of Jesus, “since He opened your eyes.” “He is a prophet,” the man said.

There was yet more to see, for the man born blind, because Jesus is much more than a prophet. And the Pharisees continued to reveal their willful blindness, by their actions. (Jesus spoke to them about their blindness in Matthew 23:26.)

I’ll paraphrase Verses 18-23. The Pharisees next called the man’s parents before them. They testified that their son was born blind but was now able to see, but they didn’t want to mention Jesus.

Why? Again, if anyone confessed Jesus to be the Christ, they would be “put out of the synagogue.” They were afraid!

Verse 24 — So they called the man back again. “Give glory to God” was invoked having the same meaning as “swear by God!” They said they knew Jesus was a sinner.

Verse 25-26 — The man said, sinner or not, I don’t know. But I know I was blind, and now I see!

PRAISE BREAK! Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see!

Verse 27 — The Pharisees persisted. How did He open your eyes? The man said he had already told them BUT THEY DID NOT LISTEN. He asked them if they wanted to become Jesus’ disciples, too (for this man had become one, though he had never seen Jesus!).

Verse 28-29 — The Pharisees reviled (angrily reproached and disparaged) the man.

You are Jesus’ disciples! Aha! But we are disciples of Moses. We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man (Jesus) is from.

By their own words, they judged themselves. They claimed God was their Father, But if God was their Father, they would have loved Jesus, and would have known He came from His Father (John 8:42).

Verse 30-33 — The man now responded to their charge that Jesus was a sinner (back in Verse 24). Here is an amazing thing! You don’t know where He is from, but He opened my eyes. (They had shut up their eyes, per Matthew 13:15, making themselves blind!)

Then the man began to teach them. God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is God fearing and does His will, God hears him.

The only thing God will hear from a sinner is that very sinner repenting in prayer! But for those who know and love Him, who love His Son, those who have had their past sins removed, and those who have asked to be freed from slavery to sin, and those who have been set free from its slavery? Oh, He hears every word!

So, since the miracle done in this man was never done before in the history of time, and it is something only God can do, then Jesus cannot be a sinner. And Jesus must be from God. Otherwise, Jesus could not do anything!

Verse 34 — How did the Pharisees respond? They cursed him. You were born ENTIRELY in sins! It is a reference to the rabbinical teaching I spoke of at the beginning of this message.

They were offended. How can you, a sinner, teach us! So they banished the man formerly blind.

Verse 35 — Jesus sought the man out, after He heard that they had banished him.

It was so the Eye-Opener could make him REALLY see! There was more, and Jesus sought him out to give it to him!

NOTE: Some of the Pharisees were with Jesus (see Verse 40).

So Jesus asked the man formerly blind, Do you believe in the Son of Man? “Son of Man” is a Messianic title used in the Old Testament.

Verses 36-38 — The man immediately said, Oh, who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him! Jesus told the man that he had both seen the Son of Man (right now, with his natural eyes), and that the Son of Man was talking to him at that very moment!

And the man immediately said, “Lord, I believe!” Then he worshiped (Greek proskuneo) Jesus Christ, bowing down, kissing toward Jesus, crouching and prostrating himself before Him.

Glory to God! This man had been touched by the Eye-Opener, so he was able to see in the natural. But now, the man saw that Jesus was not merely a prophet (Verse 17), but the Messiah, the Christ!

Verse 39 — Jesus’ next statement was aimed at the Pharisees, who had closed (shut up, screwed shut) their own eyes so they did not have to acknowledge that He is the Son of God.

Jesus said it was for judgment that He came into the world. That is, when people encountered Him as He walked the earth, the condition of their hearts was revealed by their actions. Their own actions judged them — either they came into the Light, which is Christ, or hated Him (see John 3:19-20).

Verses 40-41 — The Pharisees asked Him if they were blind, too. Let Jesus’ answer convict your heart —

Jesus said, If you were blind, you would have no sin (physically blind, as this man had been, or spiritually blind, but not intentionally shutting the eyes).

What was their sin? They had rejected the Father’s Son. They had rejected the Eye-Opener who had shed light on their hearts so they may repent. They had refused Him, they had shut their eyes tightly so they would not have to look at His Light. They were blind spiritually, though they thought they had spiritual sight.

Their own actions judged them. If they had received Him, their eyes would have been opened by the Eye-Opener. But by their rejection, they revealed their self-induced blindness.

How true it has been, from the prophet Isaiah even to this day:

Matthew 13:14 “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,

‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;

You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;

15  For the heart of this people has become dull,

With their ears they scarcely hear,

AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES,

Otherwise they would see with their eyes, Hear with their ears,

And understand with their heart and return,  And I would heal them.’

The Eye-Opener is looking at you, now!

Do you believe He is who He says He is? Or have you screwed your eyes shut and hated the Light that shines on you and reveals your heart?

Do you not know that what He reveals, He heals?

Are you like the Pharisees, looking for a way to discredit Jesus and those for whom He stretches out His hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders? Or do you believe that He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)?

If you have shut your eyes intentionally, I pray you will be convicted by the Holy Spirit right now! I pray He show you that you have blinded yourself. Ask Jesus Christ, the Eye-Opener, to open them — and your heart! He will gladly do it, if you will turn to Him right now.

If you have discredited Jesus by disbelieving His miracles performed today, then now is the time to repent and ask Him to forgive you.

I tell you the truth, you will stand before Him one day. He and I want Him to be able to respond this way to you — that He knows you, and says to you,“Well done, good and faithful servant! Come, join in the joy of your Master!”

SESSION 5 – “Being the Church,” a Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video. The video for Session 5 should be out by 6/7/17!

Session 5 — Acts 2:14-41

Today, a before-and-after of the Apostles!

BEFORE . . .

Afraid (John 20:19)

Lacked understanding (Matthew 16:22, Peter’s rebuke of Jesus, Acts 1:7)

Asking for preferment (Matthew 20:20)

Earthly kingdom (Acts 1:6)

Fishermen who flunked rabbi school!

AFTER . . .

Bold! Unafraid! Full of God’s wisdom! Understanding the kingdom of God! Completely outward-focused, no selfish ambition.

Verse 14 — Peter reasons from scripture before thousands, by the Spirit’s wisdom and power! Give heed to my words, he declares!

Verse 15-20 —We are not “drunk, but what you see is according to the prophet Joel (see Joel 2:28-32)!

—In the last days, the Lord has, this very day and from this moment on, poured out His Spirit. On whom? On all mankind! Sons and daughters are prophesying, young men are seeing visions, old men are dreaming dreams.

— There are no limits on whom He will baptize with the Holy Spirit, as the Lord Jesus Christ has baptized us! Even male and female servants/bondslaves whose debt is paid but who continue to serve out of love)! And they shall prophesy!

— And the Lord will give signs and wonders, blood and fire and smoke, as the day of judgment approaches! The sun will be darkened, the moon will be red, just in advance of that day!

Verse 21 — Since this day of judgment is coming, call on Him! Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved! You must call on the name!

Verse 22 — God attested that Jesus is the Christ, through miracles, wonders and signs which He performed among you. Surely, you know it is true!

Verse 23 — But God foreknew and had a predetermined plan. What was it? To deliver His Christ over to you. Beloved, Jesus had to die to save us (Isaiah 53:10-12), even those of us who are not Jews (Isaiah 49:6). That is why His Christ was delivered over to the Jews!

Verse 24 — And so, according to God’s plan, you nailed Him to the cross by the hands of the Romans, and put Him to death.

Verse 25 — But just according to His Word, and prophesied by His prophets, God raised Him — the final proof that He is the Christ! (See Romans 1:4.)

And now, Peter begins to reason from the scriptures in even greater detail!

Verses 26-33 David spoke of Him —

From Psalm 16:8-11 —

No decay for the Holy One

David wasn’t speaking of himself — he’s in a tomb

David was prophesying (Mark12:36, Luke 20:42)

He was speaking of Christ’s resurrection, of which we are eyewitnesses

Jesus is resurrected, Jesus is the Christ

He has ascended to heaven.

He has been exalted to God’s right hand

The proof?

He has poured out the Holy Spirit, which you both see and hear!

Verses 34-35 — Peter reasons again, using David —

The LORD said to my Lord (Psalm 110:1, Matthew 21:43) “Sit at my right hand.”

God will make (and now has made) His enemies a footstool for His feet.

Verse 36 — All of you, know for certain that the scriptures are fulfilled in Christ, this One whom you crucified! He is both Lord over all, and the Christ of God!

THEREFORE —

You must be saved! He is the Christ. You crucified Him.

Verse 37 — The result? They were pierced to the heart (see Hebrews 4:12). “Brethren, what shall we do?”

Verses 38-39 — Repent! And be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (see John 20:22), a portion in view, but not the baptism of the Holy Spirit. God offers you, the ones who killed His Son, the promise of forgiveness — His promise is for everyone who will repent!

Verses 40-41 — Peter continues to solemnly testify, and exhorted them to be saved from “this perverse generation!” Those who had received (taken seriously and heeded) Peter’s words were baptized. How many? ABOUT 3,000!

The church was being the church! So, how do you personally measure up to this? Have you said you can’t possibly go out and evangelize? You aren’t smart enough? You don’t know enough of God’s Word? Well . . . look at what an untrained, uneducated, but Spirit-filled fisherman did, in the power of the Holy Spirit, with Christ in him, the Father in him, and the Holy Spirit in him, in His fullness (see John 14:23)!

Surely, when you are filled, He will teach you and mature you, using His Word. But He will give you exactly what to say (Luke 12:12, Mark 13:11)!

So, what are you waiting for?

JESUS, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

[SW285] 06/02/2017 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017

“Jesus, the Light of the World!”

Text: John 8:1-12

Jesus is the Light of the world! Those who follow (obey) Him will no longer walk in darkness (sin), but will have the Light of eternal life! And if they continue in His word, He will make THEM lights of the world (Matthew 5:14)!

John 1:9   There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens (sheds His rays upon) every man.

He sheds His light on all people! Upon whom does He shed light, in this passage?

What is the purpose of His light? The effect?

Verses 1-2 — Jesus spent the night alone on the Mount of Olives, and went at dawn into the Temple in Jerusalem. Everyone was coming to Him, because they had heard His words and seen His signs.

So He sat down (a teaching posture) and began to teach them.

Verses 3-4 — Suddenly, the scribes and Pharisees appeared on the scene, with a woman in their custody. They set her before Jesus, in the center of the Temple court. “Teacher”, they called Him! “This woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act!”

Jesus knew their hearts. He knows all men. He knows what is in man. (See John 2:24-25). Not long before this passage, He told them that He knew they wanted to kill Him (7:19).

This was a trap, to force him to rule against Rome or against God’s Law. Why do I say that?

If Jesus said she should be stoned by the scribes and Pharisees, they would report to the Romans that Jesus said, “Stone her to death.” But the Jewish people were under Roman law, and it was illegal for them to put someone to death.

OR . . .

If He refused to order her to be stoned, He would contradict the Law of Moses, given by God.

Even putting those two issues aside, it would have been highly unlikely to catch the adulteress in the very act. But it certainly would have been possible if the scribes and Pharisees had arranged the tryst, through the adulterous man. Again, it was a trap.

Verse 5 —The scribes and Pharisees then referred to this Law:

Leviticus 20:10   “If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”

Yes, that is the Law given to Moses by God. But this was a setup!

It is true that the man and woman found in the act were both guilty of adultery, but at least on her part, she was entrapped by their plan and her own sinfulness.

Verse 6 — The scribes and Pharisees wanted to have grounds for accusing Jesus. They couldn’t see how He could escape their trap.

But what did He do? He did not rule for or against Rome or the Law of Moses.

He shed His light on their darkened hearts! It was so they might repent and receive His light in themselves!

He said nothing, but stooped down and began writing on the ground. What was He writing? Many theories have been put forth, but some years ago, I searched out “writing on the ground.” Here’s what I found, in the original Hebrew-to-English translation, the Interlinear Bible:

Jeremiah 17:13 “O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You will be put to shame. “Those who depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD.”

I believe He was writing their names in the earth, and the scribes and Pharisees being scholars, I believe they understood the significance of His action. He had just spoken of living water in John 7:37-39. And the Pharisees had rejected Him (7:47-48).

Verse 7 — They persisted in asking Him. So He stood up and said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Of course, they had sinned by rejecting Him, and by entrapping the woman and attempting to entrap Him). The Light of the world exposed their darkness, publicly.

Beloved, not one of us who believes in Jesus is sinless, never having sinned in our lives. We believe in Him and are saved, but all HAVE sinned and lack the glory of God (Romans 3:23) until He comes in and fills us with His glory and . . . I’ll get to that in a minute.

Verse 8 — “He who is without sin among you . . .” Jesus didn’t wait for their response, but stooped down and continued writing on the earth.

Verse 9 — But WHEN they heard His words, at that very moment, they were convicted of their sin. The Light of the world revealed their darkness.

They left, one-by-one. The older and wiser were first to leave, followed by the rest.

Jesus and the woman were now alone, and the woman was in the center of the Temple court.

Verse 10 — What did Jesus say to the adulterous woman? He asked her, “Where are they? Did no one condemn you (to death)?” Her condemners had disappeared!

Verse 11 — She said, “No one, Lord.” Her accusers had left!

And here is the very great news of Jesus Christ — “I DO NOT CONDEMN YOU, EITHER. GO. FROM NOW ON, SIN NO MORE.”

He did not condemn her, but  commanded her to go and sin no more. His light was shed on her for her salvation.

I see two truths here:

Truth #1 — It is possible to repent and then be forgiven by the Lord, for all sin and blasphemy but one. The unforgivable sin is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit by saying His works are done by Satan.

[NOTE: Here is what Jesus says to the Jews who had just openly attributed His work to Beelzebul (another name for Satan):

Matthew 12:31   “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”]

Truth #2 — Jesus COMMANDED the woman to go and sin no more. How is that possible? Don’t all believers have to live like the man in Romans 7, a state that Paul calls “wretched?” Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ, the answer is NO (see Romans 7:24-25)!

Verse 12 — There was no pause between His words to the adulterous woman “Go. From now on, sin no more,” and this verse. He continued His teaching, after His words to her.

So the woman was perhaps starting to walk away, when she heard Him teach that He is the Light of the world and that . . .

“If you follow (are an obedient disciple of) Me, you will not walk in the darkness (sin) but will have the Light of life!”  Life as God has it, eternal life! You will not walk in sin anymore!

PRAISE BREAK!

How can that be?

In John 8:31-36, Jesus sheds His Light on slavery to sin, and freedom from it!

Verses 31-32— If you continue (wait for) His word, you are truly disciples of His. And you will know (experience personally) the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Free from what?

Verse 33 — That’s exactly what some of the Pharisees and scribes ask. They are not slaves (though their fathers were, in Egypt, and in Assyria, and in Babylon, and they are now enslaved by Roman rule)! What do you mean, “You will become free?”

Verses 34-35 — Free from sin! If you commit sin (willful disobedience to God), you are a slave to it. And one who is a slave to sin does not dwell in the house (the kingdom of God). But the one who continues in His word (waits for it) and personally experiences the truth, is a son, and he will dwell forever in the kingdom of God.

Verse 36 — So! Therefore! Here is the conclusion of the matter —

If the Son sets you free (liberates you from slavery to sin), you will be free, indeed (really free, certainly free, absolutely and truly free)!

How does He set us free from slavery to sin? It happens when we ask our Father in heaven to give us/fill us with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13)!

Beloved, has the Light of the world shone on you today? What is His Light revealing in you?

Do you still walk in the darkness of sin? Then believe that Jesus Christ is who He says He is. Repent and receive Him as your Savior!

Has His Light has shown on you, believer?  Has it revealed that you do not shine? Has it revealed that you are still a slave to sin?

You are free to choose to continue to sin. But for both believers and those who are not saved, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

So repent, just as Jesus taught in the Gospels! Repent, just as Jesus commanded five of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3! Ask Him to forgive you, and ask for His Light!

How? Pray to your Father in heaven, for the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). Pray for Him to baptize you with fire and fill you! Pray for Him to purify your heart (Acts 15:9)! He will joyously remove your darkness and fill you with His Light!