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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FREELY GIVE

[SW217] 01/22/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“Freely Give”

Text: Matthew 10:1, 8 and Matthew 28:19-20

You may freely receive so much — more than you can think or imagine — at no cost to you! What happens next? You freely give!

Matthew 10:1 is a “go out” command. Matthew 28:19 is a “going out” command. Jesus Christ always gives “go out” commands to His followers, never “stay in.”
Why? Because if you are His follower, you surely have received MUCH, at no cost to you. He doesn’t give freely to you so you can hold it for yourself. He gives so you can freely give, at no cost to anyone!

What may you receive from Jesus Christ? I made a list:

Salvation

His grace

Healing

Deliverance

Sonship

His inheritance

His authority, as in this passage

Himself in you

His Father in you

His Spirit in His fullness, in you

His presence in you

His power in you

His love in you

His zeal in you

His boldness

His eyes, so you see as He sees

His wisdom

His understanding

His enlightening of the Word of God

And when you receive these things from Him, you are no longer focused on yourself, your needs, your wants, your security, your plans.

You are outwardly focused, and God-focused. You hear from Him and do what you see Him doing and say what you hear Him saying.

He says, freely give! Go pour out what I have poured into you! Well, when He does, I can tell you that you cannot help but pour it out!

The lost, the lame, the blind, the weak, the straying sheep, the troubled, the oppressed, the depressed, the disheartened — all of these, you see as He sees.

And you are overwhelmed with His compassion, and compelled by His boldness to GO!

Please know that I am still being matured by the Lord, but He has freely given me all that I’ve listed above, praise His holy name! I can’t help but pour it out! Why would I want to stay in?

Just a couple of things He has done through me, because of what He has done IN me:

— A woman deeply hurt from the time she was three years old, who thought her sin was too great for God to forgive her, who thought she was nothing and less than nothing, whose mind was confused. The Lord told me to go and stand beside her, and be the Bible for her. She stood up, her mind cleared, she was saved, she and I prayed for reconciliation with her children. Even the daughter who was hurt the most, came back to her and lived right next door to her, until this woman went to be with the Lord!

— A woman whose lips had turned blue, because she was in status asthmaticus. Jesus directed me to lay hands on her upper chest, and within one minute, she breathed freely. The next day, she said, “I still feel your hand on my chest!” I said, “That’s the hand of Jesus that you are feeling.” We rejoiced together!

— My husband, Jeff, who had a massive heart attack in May of 2011. The doctors called it a widow-maker. The whole front of his heart was completely deprived of blood. The cardiologist on duty put a stent in his heart, but there was a lot of damage. It didn’t look good.

But the Lord gave me a word, and I gave it to Jeff. “I will give life to Jeff’s heart muscle by the Holy Spirit who indwells Jeff.” And then, on the third day (I love it!), the Lord woke me up in the morning and said, “Take your guitar, go to Jeff’s room in the step-down unit, and worship with him.” I called to be sure it was OK with the nurses. They said yes. I unpacked my guitar, began to play “Invitacion Fountain,” and Jesus entered the room! Jeff’s arms went up, even though he was tethered to some machines, his face lit up and he knew he had been healed!

He never had a pain or a complication from all that damage. The fact that his heart was healed was confirmed 41 days later, when his regular cardiologist tested his heart’s efficiency. It was normal!

Jeff said, “Jesus healed me,” and the cardiologist exclaimed “It sure wasn’t us that healed you!” The cardiologist became a true believer!

Jesus Christ doesn’t just work through me. He will work through you, too, IF you have freely received. Beloved, listen closely now. You cannot give what you have not received.

I have seen too many “stay ins” who sit in church pews all of their lives, never going out, even though Christ has commanded them to go out. Neighbors and friends do not even know they are Christians except perhaps by watching them enter and exit a church. They do not mention His blessed name, do not speak, do not go.

The Word of God says they are like the man who was given a talent and buried it (Matthew 25:18ff). He was judged as a wicked, lazy slave by his Master, for what he was freely given, he did not give. His inaction made him useless to his Master. And he was sent to the outer darkness, where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth (agony).

Matthew 25:29 says it all — to everyone who has freely received from Jesus, more SHALL be given, and they will have an abundance. But for those who does not have the humility to ask the Lord for what they need in order to go out, or who receive and yet do not give, eternal life with Him will be taken from them.

If you have sat in a pew, not daring to go out, not feeling adequate to go out, I have a “GO” command from the Lord for you. GO TO HIM!

Tell Him you know you are not adequate (NONE of us are, until we ask Him for His authority and the infilling of His Holy Spirit). Tell Him that is why you have not obeyed Him. Confess it to Him, and ask Him to forgive you and that you want to receive what He freely gives. He will do it!

If you have not obeyed Him because you saw no benefit to yourself in going out, confess it to Him and ask Him to forgive you. Then tell Him you want to receive what He freely gives. He will do it!

I STAND IN AWE

[SW213] 12/24/2015 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“I Stand In Awe”

I have a song in my heart, a song of the gospel of Jesus Christ! It goes far beyond the manger . . .

Silent night, with velvet sky . . . a baby born to die —

John 10:17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.”

John 12:27   “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.”

His life was given . . . a debt to pay —

Colossians 2:13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,  14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

You were sent to save, Jesus, You were sent to save — 

Matthew 1:21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Acts 2:21  ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

Gift of God to all the earth

John 3:16   “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

To redeem mankind

1Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,  19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

The angels speak, the humble hear

Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;  11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

And You draw them near, so near, and You draw them near

John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

Unthinkable, Your sacrifice, on the cross it was done —

Hebrews 9:26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Philippians 2:5  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness. 8  And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

You rose and sent Your Spirit Lord, to fill each willing heart, You will, fill each willing heart — 

John 20:16 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.

Romans 1:4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Acts 1:5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” . . . 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.”

Acts 5:32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

For all You did, and all You are, O glorious, brilliant Morningstar —

Revelation 22:16   “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

I stand in awe, what can I do, but bow and praise and worship You!

John 4:23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.”

You, too, will stand in awe, if you have eyes to see and ears to hear. And you, too, will bow and praise and worship Him!

MARK 7 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.

Jesus is coming against Satan’s work in this chapter, all the way through. First, He calls out the Pharisees and scribes on their religion of tradition and legalism. They have a religious spirit (see comments below). Then, He frees a young girl who is not even present with Him but is afflicted by a demons. Then, He heals a man who is deaf and unable to speak.

He does not do these wonderful works in Jerusalem, but in non-Jewish cities. The mother of the child with the demon is not Jewish. The man who is deaf and mute lives in a non-Jewish region and is likely not Jewish.

Verses 1-5 — Before He does these miraculous things, Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees and scribes. Their tradition says you have to wash your hands not just with water and soap, but also do a ritualistic washing with special water. They do the same with pots and cups and pitchers. You’re not pure, or the object is not pure, unless you do both.

Think of it — they are confronting Jesus, who is performing all kinds of miracles that can only be done by God, about a bunch of rituals. They have a religious spirit which is demonic in nature. In John 8:44, He flat-out tells them that the devil is their father. They are truly blind guides of the blind (Matthew 15:14), because they don’t recognize their Messiah, their Christ, even with the evidence all His “God works!”

So they come right out and ask Him. They accuse His disciples of eating with impure hands.

Verses 6-13 — His answer? He says the prophet Isaiah was right! They are hypocrites, telling people to follow tradition, while they dishonor God the Son who stands before them. They go through the motions of honoring God with their religious observances and rules. They say honorable things about God.

But their hearts are far from God, or they would recognize Jesus as God the Son. So their worship of God is outward only — their hearts aren’t in it. They are not worshiping God in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

The highest commandment of God is to love Him. They neglect this highest command by not loving God the Son.

And they teach their rules and regulations as if they came from God, holding to those traditions, but they do not love God.

They go so far as to say, “Sorry, Mother and Father. I can’t help you financially. All of my money is dedicated to God.” By doing so, they dishonor their mothers and fathers. And they teach others to do the same. They make the Word of God null and void by overriding  it with their man-made rules and regulations. And they do many things like that, Jesus tells them.

Their hearts are far from God.

Important point: Christianity is a religion of the heart, not i-dotting and t-crossing.

Verse 14-16 Jesus then calls the crowd to Himself. He will teach them. Listen and understand. When Jesus speaks, you can’t just hear it; you have to understand it, comprehend it, and become wise from what He says.

If you ask Him, He will help you understand it. How do I know that?

When I was on my journey to being healed by Jesus of MS, I asked the Lord to make His Word real in my heart, and He did. Later, when I was filled with His Holy Spirit, the whole Word of God became understandable, and I began to connect the dots (like that old childhood puzzle) until my view became much clearer and wider. It’s an ongoing process, even now.

None of these outward rules and regulations matter to God. What you wear, ritualistic washing, or food does not make you pure or impure. God looks at your heart. Impurity resides in the heart. Your heart is either pure or impure. If it is pure, purity will come out of you. If it is impure, impurity will come out of you, and you will be completely impure because of the contents of your heart.

Important point: Again, Christianity has to do with the heart, not outward rules and regulations. God’s purpose and goal and will is that your heart be purified by the Heart-Changer, when He fills you with His Holy Spirit. Then you obey Him from a heart that is filled with His love, and people notice that you have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). His Holy Spirit’s fingerprints are all over your heart. It is visible to everyone. Then you are Jesus Christ’s witness where you live and everywhere you go.

So if anyone has ears to hear and heed, let him hear.

Verses 16-23 — Jesus’ disciples aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit yet, so they don’t understand. He marvels at their inability to comprehend such a basic truth. So He teaches them privately. What issues forth from the heart either makes someone impure or pure. Christianity is a heart religion. God wants your heart — all of it — so He can make it pure and take out everything that isn’t like Jesus.

If you eat something, it is digested and excreted. So food neither makes you pure or impure, because digestion has nothing to do with your heart. Jesus comes against the Jewish laws about food, because they have turned those laws into a measuring stick for how good you are.

It is out of the heart that evil proceeds: evil thoughts, the desire to have sex before marriage, thefts, murders, adulteries, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. That’s what makes a person impure, and they will remain that way until they ask the Heart-Changer to remove all of that.

Verses 24-26 — Jesus travels to Tyre. But He can’t escape notice. News traveled quickly, even with no Internet, Facebook or CNN. The Healer and Deliverer is here! What good news! And if you are His disciple, He will use you even now to heal and deliver.

Syrophoenicians are especially hated by Jews (but not hated by Jesus), because they are non-Jewish and have been, through the centuries, the enemies of Israel.

How brave, how desperate this woman is, then! An enemy of Israel, a Gentile dog, comes and falls at His feet. That’s proskuneo — she worships Him. Unlike the blind Pharisees and scribes, she clearly understands that she is coming before God the Son.

She refuses to go away. She asks him to cast a demon out of her daughter, who is not even on the scene. That’s desperation. Are you desperate? God loves people who come to Him with desperate hearts, people who are willing to crouch low before Him, honoring Him and agreeing with Him that He is God and they are not.

Verses 27-30 — Now she will have to go toe-to-toe with Jesus. He tells her He was sent to Israel — God’s original children — first. So they are God’s children. Will the woman rob them of their food from Him?

She persists. Her faith is amazing. She knows that if He says so, her daughter will be set free from the demon. So she says, “Give me a crumb. All I need is a crumb.”

She answered well. All she needs is a crumb. Jesus says it’s done. And she believes Him and goes home and finds her daughter delivered, long-distance.

All you need is a crumb from His table. I’m living and well today because I persisted in asking for a crumb.

And distance means nothing in the spiritual realm. Jesus, and those who are filled with His Spirit, are able to heal from afar. Glory to God!

Verses 31-37 — Traveling from there, Jesus goes back to the Decapolis, where He sent the man delivered of 2,000 demons in Chapter 5. When the people hear He has arrived, they bring the deaf and mute man to Him and plead with Jesus to lay His hand on him to heal him.

Jesus doesn’t always heal by the same method. Sometimes He says, “Get up!” Sometimes He touches. Sometimes He makes mud and puts it in the eye sockets of someone who was born without eyes (see John 9). Sometimes someone touches His clothing and healing power flows from Him to heal them.

This time, He takes the man away from the crowd, away from all distractions — not for Jesus’ sake, but for the man’s. Jesus worked in crowds all the time.

Jesus puts His fingers in the mans’ ears. Then He spits on His hands and puts His spit-covered finger on the man’s tongue. Then He looks to heaven, sighs deeply, and commands, “Be opened!”

And the man instantly hears and speaks. Word gets around, even though Jesus told everyone not to speak of what He had done.

What made the crowd superabundantly, exceedingly astonished beyond measure? A demon caused the man to be deaf and mute. When Jewish exorcists drove out a demon from a person, the demon had to first say its name. This demon made this man mute, so the demon couldn’t speak the demon’s name through the man’s mouth. The demon did that on purpose, knowing that Jewish exorcists would therefore not be able to deliver the man. But that didn’t make any difference to Jesus; He was able to cast out demons regardless of whether they could say their names, or had made their victims mute. The man’s ears and mouth HAD to be opened when He spoke, “Be opened!.” The crowd had never seen anyone who could cast out a demon without having it speak its name through the mouth of its victim.

Important point: When He speaks, it must be done. No demon can disobey His command. No sickness is too great. No heart is too dark that the Heart-Changer can’t change it, instantly. Do you believe Him?

STORMS

[SW211] 12/11/2015 message notes by
Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Storms”

Storms (troubles) come to all of us. You want your storm to be stilled, but you must first understand the cause of the storm. Then you will know how to cry out to your Father in heaven, and He will rescue you!

Please know that Jesus Christ has rescued me out of each of the storms described in Psalm 107.

So why do storms come into your life?

The Holy Spirit tells us, through the psalmist —

vv. 4-9

Cause: Unbelief/lack of trust in God, referring to Numbers 13:31-33, when all but two spies said Israel was not strong enough to defeat the giants in the land.

Result: Desert wandering/humbling

The cry to the Lord: Help my unbelief, change my heart! A broken and contrite, crushed and crouching heart, He will not despise (Psalm 51:17).
The Lord’s response: Deliverance!

Your response: Thank Him for His lovingkindness and His wonders, on your behalf! Continually. Forever.

Don’t do as I did, when the Lord delivered me from drug addiction. I just woke up in my right mind, and went on my merry way without a thought of Him! Thank You, Jesus, for forgiving me, Lord, when I turned to You many years later!
vv. 10-15

Cause: Rejecting God’s wisdom/Word

Result: Chains, labor, darkness, shadow of death

The cry to the Lord: Forgive me, Lord! Change my heart!

The Lord’s response: He brings you out!

Your response: Thank Him for His lovingkindness and His wonders, on your behalf! Continually. Forever.

Well, that’s what happened because I didn’t turn to God after He healed me of drug addiction. I went on, unchanged, not wanting to hear His name mentioned in conversation. But a time came when I found myself in chains and in the shadow of death, and I no longer rejected His wisdom and His Word.

vv. 17-22

Cause: Rebellion/sin

Result: Sickness, just as when I was stricken with MS, an incurable disease!

The cry to the Lord: Forgive me, Lord, Change my heart! Heal me!

The Lord’s response: He sends His Word and heals you, and delivers you from the pit!

NOTE: Example in Isaiah 38: 21 — the poultice of figs to heal King Hezekiah’s boil! For me, “You’re sinking in a sea of doubt.”

Your response: Thank Him for His lovingkindness and His wonders, on your behalf! Continually. Forever. Yes, Lord, yes. Now I do!
vv. 23-31

Cause: A test of faith that has nothing to do with rebellion, sin, unbelief, or rejection of God’s Word and counsel.

The Lord Himself raised up a strong wind.

Result: All their wisdom was swallowed up.

The cry to the Lord: Don’t You care that we are perishing? (Mark 4:38)
Save us, Lord! (Matthew 8:25)

Now the Lord wants to fill you with His Spirit (which had not yet happened to His disciples in this passage), so you won’t cry, “Don’t You care?” You know He does; you just ask what He wants you to do. If it’s just “sit tight,” then you do it. You trust Him to bring you through.

The Lord’s response: He calms the winds and sea.

Your response: Thank Him for His lovingkindness and His wonders, on your behalf! Continually. Forever.

vv. 39-42 Princes (those who do not think they need to cry out) end up in misery, chains, captivity. But He sets the needy (who know they need to cry out) in an inaccessibly high place (seated with Him in heavenly places, per Ephesians 2:6)!
Glory to God!

v. 43 Consider, give heed!

MARK 4 COMMENTARY

Now Jesus speaks of another kind of healing, even more important and earth-shaking than physical healing of an incurable disease! He teaches how to be healed in your relationship with God. It’s broken, but He will heal it.

Verses 1-2 — Jesus attracts large crowds, especially when He is teaching. Again, He gets into a boat by the sea and sits down. Everyone gathers on the shore. Jesus attracts large crowds when He is teaching through someone who knows Him intimately, too.

He teaches in parables (symbolism in stories) because the Jews have blasphemed the Holy Spirit. It is an important turning point. He taught plainly and directly, but now he teaches in what seem like riddles to some of his hearers.

Verse 3-8 — He speaks of things the crowd understands. Many work in the fields.

If seed falls by the road, where feet have compacted the soil, it simply lies there. Birds come and eat it.

If seed falls in rocky soil where the soil is shallow, a plant springs up, but its roots can’t go down through the rocks. So when the sun rises, the plant withers and dies.

If seed falls on thorns, plants will come up, but their fruitfulness will be choked out by the thorns. The plants may stay alive, but just barely. So they cannot produce what they should produce.

If seed falls on good soil, it grows up, it is productive, it increases. Every seed multiplies its production, creating a 30 or 60 or even 100 times greater harvest.

Verse 9 — Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear. Huh? “Ears to hear” means more than natural ears hearing a sound. It means ears to hear and heed what is said, ears to hear and understand the parable just spoken by Jesus. Hear, He says to such ones. Do you want to understand the words of Jesus? Then ask Him for ears to hear.

Verse 10-11a — Well, His followers have not experienced Pentecost yet (see Acts 2). So they do not understand.

And Jesus says something strange to them. He tells them they have been given a gift. He is speaking of their future, when they will understand His words. The gift is this — they will understand the mystery of the kingdom of God, because they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).

It is not that the kingdom of God remains a mystery. It is a mystery revealed, for all who have ears to hear. It is a mystery revealed, for all who understand what Jesus is saying.

The kingdom of God that the Jewish leaders are looking for is a kingdom where one of King David’s descendants rides into town on a white horse, whips the Roman Empire, and sets the Jews free from slavery to Rome. Wrong!

His kingdom has to do with the heart. The kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21).

It is also established in heaven. God and Jesus Christ are seated there, even now.

When I say “within us,” I mean that when you are “saved,” you receive a measure of the Holy Spirit in you, enough for you to be recognized by God as one of His children. Yet you still have trouble obeying God.

But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, God the Father and God the Son come to live permanently within you, filling your heart completely with the Holy Spirit (John 14:23). Then your heart belongs completely to God, Jesus Christ rules and reigns in you, and it’s easy to obey.

That makes it possible for Jesus to use you to work His powerful works and to make you a witness to the world that the Bible is true and Jesus Christ came to take away mankind’s sin and fill their hearts with His Spirit, just as the Bible says.

So He sets up His kingdom in the hearts of those with ears to hear, and they go out with the power of God within them.

They work mighty works, speak powerful life-giving words, and people see that God is real and that they need Jesus Christ to save them from their sins. That’s called “repentance.”

Miracles (works of power that defy known natural laws) yield repentance.

Repentance yields salvation. That’s fruit. Thirty, sixty, a hundredfold. There’s no end to the fruit you will produce.

And the fruit is also within the one who is filled with the Spirit, because that one has the characteristics of Jesus Christ. That’s fruit, too. Thirty, sixty, a hundredfold. There’s no end to the fruit you will produce.

Verse 11b and 12 — BUT . . . Jesus tells us in the last half of Verse 11 that those who are outside will hear and not understand. It will remain a mystery to them. They will not comprehend what He is saying.

Why? Because they don’t have ears to hear. They hear audibly, but their hearts are packed down soil, or their hearts are shallow soil, or their hearts are thorny soil. So they have no understanding. Their hearts are hard, because Jesus isn’t Who they expected, and because He tells them they are wrong about many things. So they see but they do not see the truth, they hear but do not understand.

If you see and see the truth, if you hear and understand, you will turn (repent) and be healed in your relationship with God.

Verse 13 — Jesus goes on to explain. He lets us know that if we understand this parable, we will understand all His parables. The Bible opens up in a wonderful way, when You are filled with its Author. You understand it.

Verse 14-15 — The seed is the Word of God (the Bible). When it is sown in a heart with packed-down soil, Satan comes like a bird, and snatches it up.

Verse 16-17 — When the seed is sown in a heart with shallow, rocky soil, there is an immediate joyous response. But it has no firm root. So when trouble comes, the Word in rocky hearts withers like a shallow-rooted plant withers. And the Word which started to grow there dies. The shallow, rocky heart doesn’t want to be harassed or killed. So those with such hearts go away.

Verse 18-19 — When the seed is sown in a heart where the worries of this world and deceitfulness of riches and desire for other things is present, these worries and greediness choke out the Word that has begun growing. It becomes unfruitful. The Word sprang to life in their hearts. It didn’t wither, it didn’t get snatched away. But it becomes unfruitful. The plant has grown, but there is no fruit.

Verse 20 — When the seed is sown in a heart that is not packed down or rocky and shallow or crowded with other things, that heart is good soil. And the fruit I wrote about is produced.

Verse 21-24 — Is Jesus changing the subject? Not really. Those whose hearts contain good soil, who hear and understand the Word, will be like lamps on a lamp stand, They will shine brightly, and not be hidden. To those who have ears to hear and understand, Jesus says, “Hear!”

If you hear, you will receive much wisdom and truth and power from God. And He will give you more and more.

Verse 24-25 — This sounds awfully harsh, Jesus. If you have, more will be given. But if you don’t have, what you have will be taken away from you. What do You mean?

The ones who don’t have are the ones who don’t have ears to hear. They do not understand the kingdom of God. They have their own kingdoms in view — like the Jews assuming they’ll be in charge after Christ comes in on a white horse and whips the Roman Empire. Then they’ll rule and reign in Israel. And THEIR kingdoms will surely be taken away from them.

Verse 26-29 — Jesus continues to teach what the kingdom of God is. It appears out of nowhere. And you don’t have to work really hard to make it grow. It just does, seemingly all on its own.

And it produces fruit, without you having to work hard to produce it. The fruit just happens. And then you harvest the fruit. God does the work THROUGH you.

God does the work in human hearts. Because the kingdom of God has been set up in your heart, you have a front-row seat so you can “oooh” and “aaah” over what God does.

Verse 30-32 — So the kingdom of God is within you. It starts small and miraculously grows. Then it is a shelter for all who come into its shade. They have to come near to come into its shade. But if they do, their hearts will become good soil, and they will bear much fruit. The kingdom of God is like that.

Verse 33-34 — Mark re-emphasizes that Jesus only speaks in parables, but explains everything privately to His disciples. He must, until they have the kingdom of God within them, and the Holy Spirit fills them. Then they will have the Explainer inside themselves.

Verse 35-41 — Jesus wants to go to the other side of the sea (of Galilee). It’s dark. A few boats set out, including the one Jesus is in. A fierce storm suddenly comes up. Boats are being swamped. The disciples are experienced fishermen who have worked the sea for many years. But this storm scares them. They think they’ll perish. Meanwhile, Jesus is asleep. So they wake Him and scold Him. Don’t you care about us? We’re going to die!

No big deal to Jesus. He just rebukes the wind. Hush, be still. It must obey, because Jesus said it. So the sea becomes calm.

Then Jesus rebukes them, because they haven’t understood yet that He is God in the flesh, and has power over everything. They’ve seen Him do all kinds of miraculous things. They’ve seen Him do the impossible. So why are they afraid? They do not yet understand. But they will, after Pentecost.

So they still do not understand that He is God. They are amazed that the wind and sea obey Him.

Well, dear reader, if Jesus can calm the wind and the sea, He surely can heal you in your relationship to God, giving you a heart with good soil. And He surely can heal your physical body. Do you believe Him?

YES AND AMEN

[SW176] 03/13/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Yes and Amen”

All the promises of God are yes and amen, if you are in Christ Jesus. The question is, do you believe ALL of them?

2Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (KJV)

We receive from God promises from the beginning to the end:

— From the head of the serpent (Satan) being crushed (Genesis 3:15)

— To Jesus Christ’s promise that, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 22:20)

In order to receive ALL of God’s promises, you must understand:

—  the PROBLEM that made His promises necessary,

— the PURPOSE of those promises,

— the PROMISES themselves,

— the PRAYER of Jesus Christ that activated those promises,

—- and the PROOF that those promises have been and are still being fulfilled to all who will believe His promises.

THE PROBLEM THAT MADE HIS PROMISES NECESSARY:

In one word, it is waywardness (backsliding, turning away). This is not a surprise to God. From before time began, He had already prepared the solution (Revelation 11:8).

Here’s what the people of God said (and still say), and the Lord’s response —

Deuteronomy 5:27 (Moses quotes the people) ’Go near and hear all that the LORD our God says; then speak to us all that the LORD our God speaks to you, and we will hear and do it.’

Deuteronomy 5:28   (Moses says) “The LORD heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken.
Deuteronomy 5:29 ‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!”

Speaking the right words isn’t enough. There’s something wrong with our hearts. You and I need a new heart in us, so we will revere and honor and obey the Lord!

Jeremiah 29:11 was spoken to Jewish captives in Babylon who were captives because of their wayward hearts.

Go to Psalm 81:11-13. Just like Israel, you say you will obey, but then you don’t. If you say you never sinned, you do not tell the truth (1John 1:10). We were all born rebels, Adam’s kids who inherited his rebellious nature. So when you hear that oh-so-popular phrase, you may truly say, “I was born that way.” But God says you don’t have to stay that way!

It’s a sickness in your heart, for which only God has the cure — and He will gladly do it!

And you must be healed! Why? Waywardness is deadly, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

But God does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9).

THE PURPOSE OF HIS PROMISES

The purpose of God’s promises — all of them — is redemption, here and now, AND on the day of judgment (Ephesians 1:14, 4:30).

He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the ransom for which you were held captive by Satan, because of your sin.

He offers His marvelous grace — forgiving your sin — through Jesus Christ. That’s a promise many of us celebrate! Your past sins are forgotten by God when you confess them, turn from them, believe in Jesus Christ, and ask the Lord to forgive you.

But beloved, there is more that He promises.

If you don’t believe the “more,” it is because of what you’ve thought, and what you’ve been taught, things that do not match up with the Word of God, beloved.

Many will teach you that your sin nature, your inborn rebellion, doesn’t die until you are on your deathbed.

But what is the good of that? How can you be the witness Jesus promises He will make you, if you wait to be clothed with power from on high (Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49)? Being a witness requires you to live and walk and talk!

And why, then, does Paul pray for the Thessalonians to be sanctified through and through (1Thessalonians 5:23), made completely holy on the inside by being filled with the Holy Spirit? If it was only for the deathbed, there would be no need for Paul to pray that way.

THE PROMISES HE MAKES TO YOU

What does the Lord promise He will do with our waywardness?

These promises are throughout the Bible, but go to Ezekiel 36:22-27!

Will you believe it today?

Will you say “Yes” and “Amen” to this promise of God?

Or would you rather pick and choose what you believe God can do?

It is a life and death choice, beloved.

THE PRAYER THAT ACTIVATED THE PROMISE

John 17! Jesus prayed there, and the pivotal heart-changing verse is —

John 17:26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

It is by way of the love of God filling our hearts to overflowing, and by way of Christ Himself in our hearts via the Holy Spirit, that the promise of Ezekiel 36 is fulfilled!

THEN you are His witnesses!

THEN you are set free, indeed —- no longer a slave to sin (John 8:31-36)!

THE PROOF OF GOD’S PROMISE

The Book of Acts! When the day of Pentecost came, the men and women in that upper room were transformed! They no longer argued among themselves about who was the greatest. They were no longer confused about nearly everything that Jesus taught them! They were set free from their selfishness, from their waywardness, once and for all!

Jesus spoke of the Jewish leaders in Matthew 13, quoting from Isaiah 6 —

Matthew 13:15      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.’

Is your heart dull, that is, calloused over? Have you stopped up your ears and screwed your eyes shut because you’ve always thought and been taught the promise of a new heart can’t possibly be true?

Then turn today and be healed of your waywardness! You were born that way, but you don’t have to stay that way!

God’s promises say that He will change your heart! Ask Him, and He will do it!