CONQUERING THE GIANT

[SW409] 12/7/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

Conquering the Giant

Text: Numbers 13:25-14:45, etc.

Beloved, a promised land awaits you — the kingdom of heaven, within you (Luke 17:21)! It is  a place where you no longer fail and fall in your struggle against the giant of sin! 

The Lord promises that He will set you free slavery to the giant of sin (John 8:31-36) and purify your heart (Acts 15:9), if you will believe Him. Then His kingdom will be within you, and you will enter the kingdom of heaven at the end of your days! But no sinner will enter (1Corinthians 6:9-10).

I will show you that the response of the Jews to the Lord’s promise, as described in Numbers 13 and 14,  because the response of many of today’s believers and today’s churches is the same! What is their response? Unbelief, which is rebellion!

A little background —

After two years of traveling from Egypt, stopping at Mt. Sinai for eleven months and at various other places as the LORD commanded, Moses brought Israel to the border of the land that God promised them. 

At the LORD’s command, given through Moses, twelve men — one from each tribe of Israel — went in to spy out the land for 40 days. But when they returned, ten had a bad report, and only two had a good report about the land.

Numbers 13:25-27 —

All twelve of the spies came to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation, to report what they had found. Ten of the twelve spies said it certainly was a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD had promised! But then the ten sinned against the LORD, by saying they could not enter. 

Verse 28 

“Nevertheless,” said ten of the spies! “Nevertheless, the people in the land are strong, the cities are fortified and very large, and we saw the descendants of Anak (giants) there. And the Amalekites were also there.” Per Exodus 17:8-16, the Amalekites had attacked Israel in the wilderness as they traveled to the Promised Land, but because Moses held up the staff of God, they were defeated by Israel.

Verses 30-31 — 

After the people heard the bad report, Caleb had to silence them. Then, he gave them a good report, saying, “Let us go up at once and take possession of the land, for we are well able to overcome it.” (NKJV) But the ten who had given the bad report said, “We cannot go up against the people of the land, for they are too strong for us!”

Verses 32-33 — 

The ten spies continued their bad report to the people, saying, “The land is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. We also saw the Nephilim (giants), and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and in their sight.”

Numbers 14

Verses 1-4 — 

All the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and grumbled (complained) against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said, “It would have been better to die in the land of Egypt or in this wilderness! Why did the LORD bring us here to die? Our wives and children will become plunder.” 

Then they decided to go back to Egypt, and appointed a leader to take them there. 

Verses 5-9 — 

When they heard the words of the congregation, Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the whole congregation, interceding for them. Why did they need to intercede for them? Because the people had rebelled against the LORD by not believing His promise to them. Joshua and Caleb also tore their clothes before the congregation as a sign of mourning for the LORD’s rebellious people. 

Then they said to them, “This land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us — a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD, and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” 

Verse 10 — 

But the people refused to believe them, and they all said Joshua and Caleb should be stoned to death. But then, the glory of the LORD appeared in the tent of meeting, and all the sons of Israel saw it.

Verse 11 — 

The LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me and not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? I will smite them with pestilence (that is, kill them) and dispossess them.” And He offered to make Moses a nation.

Verses 15-17 — 

But the LORD’s offer to Moses was a test. The LORD knew his heart, but through this test, He would show Moses his own heart. And Moses interceded for His rebellious people, saying, “If you slay them, the people of the lands will say You could not bring this people into the land You promised them by oath, so You slaughtered them in the wilderness.” Moses asked the LORD to show His power to His unbelieving people, and all the nations, and show His great mercy to His people by forgiving them for their unbelief.

Verse 20, 22-30 — 

The LORD said the people had tested Him ten times, and had not listened to His voice. So though He spared their lives,  there was a price for their unbelief. He said, “They shall by no means see the land. But my servant Caleb, because he had a different spirit and has followed me fully, will come into the land, along with his descendants.” And Joshua would also enter the land, per Verses 30 and 38.

Then the LORD commanded His people to return to the wilderness by way of the Red Sea, and said that as He lives (He swore by Himself), He would do to them all they had spoken in His hearing. All who grumbled against Him, from 20 years old and upward, would die in the wilderness (just as they had feared). And He said that surely, all those who had seen His signs and wonders and still not believed Him would not come into the land (just as they had feared), except for Caleb and Joshua.

Why did He bring what they feared upon them? They complained against the LORD, disbelieving Him!

Verses 31-23 — 

The LORD promised that their children would enter the land. But the corpses of those who rebelled against Him would lie in the wilderness. So, He would keep His promise to bring Israel into the land. 

He always keeps His promises! But that rebellious and unbelieving generation would not enter the land. 

Verses 33-35 — 

Their children would be shepherds in the wilderness for 40 years — one year for every day the spies had spied out the land. Surely, He said He would do all this to “this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me.”  He also immediately judged the ten who had spied out the land and brought back the bad report, killing them with a sudden plague.

Verses 36-39 — 

But Joshua and Caleb, who had believed in and trusted the LORD, remained alive, and entered the land, after helping Moses lead the people in the 40 years in the wilderness.

When the people heard the LORD’s words, and the ten spies died by the sudden plague, the people mourned greatly. But it was not the mourning of repentance. How do I know they were unrepentant? Their hearts were revealed by what they did the very next day.

Verses 40-43, 45 — 

The LORD had commanded Moses to take them back into the wilderness for 40 years. But the next morning, some of the people decided to go into the land, in their own strength. 

Moses said, “Why are you transgressing the commandment of the LORD, when it will not succeed?” He warned them not to go up, or they would be struck down, for the LORD would not be with them, because they turned back from following the LORD.

But they went in! And they were conquered by the people of the land. The LORD was not with them, because they rebelled against His express command to go back into the wilderness for 40 years. 

The message for today’s believers and today’s church

O believer, from your own past experiences, you know that you cannot conquer the giant of sin, in your own strength. It is a giant, and you are a grasshopper! And as long as the Lord is not with you, you will continue to fall and fail. 

But if you will repent from your unbelief and rebellion and ask Him to fulfill His promise to crucify your sin nature and be filled with His Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5), sin will no longer be a looming giant, but a conquered foe!

Many preachers, teachers, prophets and church leaders spy out the land that the Lord promises. They see in the Word of God that it flows with all the spiritual provision they need. But their hearts are filled with unbelief. So they say, “Nevertheless!” 

They disbelieve God the Father and God the Son’s promise, thus rebelling against Him, saying, “Nevertheless, the giant of sin cannot be conquered! We are like grasshoppers before the giant of sin, and Satan also sees us as grasshoppers! Therefore we cannot enter!” 

They seem unable to see that by their bad report, they really are saying, “Jesus Christ  brought us all this way for nothing! We must remain slaves to sin!” 

The bad report of today’s spies has been brought back to their churches and announced from many pulpits. And many believers mourn, but it isn’t a mourning of repentance. It is a mourning of unbelief. 

They mourn that the Lord has been unfaithful to them, telling them they can enter the promised land of freedom from slavery to sin. They wail because they believe the bad report that they cannot conquer the giant of sin!

They see the unconquerable giant of sin looming before them! So they mourn that they will die in the wilderness, rather than entering the spiritual promised land into which God the Father and God the Son have promised to bring them! 

Some of their preachers, teachers, prophets and leaders have concluded that they can work at conquering the giant of sin in their own strength, and that gradually, believers can sin less than they have been sinning. But no sinner will enter the kingdom of heaven!

So they attempt to conquer the giant of sin in their own strength, but the giant of sin defeats them, because the Lord is not with them. No one can conquer the giant of sin, in their own strength! So they and those who believe them wander in their self-made wilderness!

But if they will repent and believe, the Father promises —

Ezekiel 36:25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

And Jesus Christ promises —

John 8:31 “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free . . . 34 Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Many of the corpses of unbelieving leaders and their followers have fallen and will yet fall in their self-made wildernesses! Why? They and their followers have rebelled against the Lord, refusing to believe that the Lord will destroy the sin giant by crucifying their sin nature and filling them with His Holy Spirit!

Just as Joshua and Caleb said, I say that you certainly should go in and possess the spiritual promised land. the kingdom of heaven, because the giant of sin will be conquered by the Lord.

If you believe Him and obey His commands, His glory and His presence will fill you! So He will not only be with you, but He will be in you! That is the spiritual promised land into which you will enter! I tell you the truth, when His kingdom is within you, you will be freed from slavery to sin and pure of heart!

As for those  preachers, teachers, prophets and church leaders who disbelieve Him, even now, the Lord judges them! He strikes them down by exposing their sin, and many have been and will yet be removed from their positions. 

But unless they repent and return to the Lord, they will also face Jesus Christ’s judgment at the end of things, because they have rebelled against Him by not believing His promises, and have taught their followers to disbelieve Him! And so will all in the church who rebel against Him by not believing Him!

Jesus Christ says that on the day of judgment, they will come before Him and say, “Lord, Lord, didn’t we? Didn’t we?” And He will say to them, “I never knew you; away from Me, you who sin!” (See Matthew 7:23.)

These things are written for our instruction, beloved! Paul writes to the believers at Corinth —

1Corinthians 10:6   Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 

Many wanted to kill Paul and the message the Lord commanded him and others to speak. Even today, many want to silence those of us in whom the giant of sin has been conquered, who have the kingdom of God within us, and who are urging others to repent and believe the Lord! But His Word will forever stand! And we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20)! 

Beloved, I exhort you to turn from your rebellion, turn away from your unbelief, turn back to the Lord, and believe Him! Believe that He will crucify your sin nature and thereby conquer the giant of sin, and will fill you with His Spirit and purify your heart!

I tell you the truth, there is a consequence if you disbelieve. The kingdom of heaven will not enter you, and you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. The Lord will send you out to wander in your self-made wilderness, and will see to it that what you have feared because of your unbelief will come upon you. He will do it so you will finally repent for your rebellion against Him!

Lord Jesus, may these words that You have directed me to speak be heard and heeded by those who are in today’s church. May they cry out to You to conquer the giant of sin in them, and ask you to establish your kingdom within them! Let it be so, I pray! Amen!

ISAIAH SESSION 36 — THE ENEMY’S THREATS AND LIES

Text: Isaiah 36

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be, “The Enemy’s Threats and Lies.” Those who love and obey Him and stick to Him like glue will find the Lord to be their Deliverer, every time, against evil. 

Hezekiah was such a king over Judah, after his apostate father died. 2Kings 18 records his love for the Lord, his faithfulness to Him, and his complete trust in Him. He was not like Hoshea and many of the kings of Israel, who continually went after false gods. The only flaw in Hezekiah’s character is revealed in Isaiah 39, which we will look at later.

I must note that some believe Chapters 36-39 were added to Isaiah, after the fact. But Isaiah is written on a scroll, and John Oswalt, commentator on Isaiah for the New International Commentary of the Old Testament, writes that there is not only evidence that these chapters are part of that scroll, but also that this chapter has a purpose.

He sees its purpose as a lesson in trusting in the Lord vs. trusting in man, and I agree. I also see, though, that it is a perfect picture of the threats and lies of the enemy — and for today’s church, that enemy is Satan.

Besides all that, since Isaiah was written on a scroll, someone would have had to take a scribe’s knife, cut the spot where Isaiah 35 ends, then insert Isaiah 36-39, and somehow reattach both ends of the scroll so no one would know it had been done! Rest assured, this narrative was written in the scroll at the dictation of Isaiah, per the Lord’s orders, right after what we know as Chapter 35.

One final note — a bit of history is needed here. The kingdom of northern Israel fell to Assyria in 724 BC. Twenty-three years later, all of the fortified cities of Judah had been seized by Assyria, and they were now approaching Jerusalem. 

I tell you the truth, O church, the Enemy is at your gates! Will you listen to his threats and lies, or will you remain steadfast in the Lord, trusting in him and him alone? Based on the church’s actions so far, I see that she is trusting in man, and listening to the lies of Satan — “Has God really said?” (See Genesis 3:1.)

Verses 1-3 —

Hezekiah had been king for 14 years, when Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them. Now he had reached the outskirts of Jerusalem. It was Hezekiah’s 24th year, really — the 14 is a scribe’s error, per John Oswalt.

Sennacherib sent the Rabshakeh (chief of the princes) from Lachish to Jerusalem. He was accompanied by a large army. 

The Rabshakeh stood by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway of the fuller’s field. Three of Hezekiah’s officials came out to meet him — Eliakim, who was over the royal household, Shebna the scribe, and Joah, son of the king’s recorder. 

It was the same place where Isaiah had met with Hezekiah’s father, King Ahaz, to warn him not to ally himself with the king of Assyria, but Ahaz disregarded the Lord’s words through Isaiah, and distrusted the Lord (2Kings 16:7). 

Verse 4-7 — 

Then the Rabshakeh began to question King Hezekiah’s confidence in the Lord. What is this that my king hears? The king of Assyria said, “I say your counsel and strength for the war (with us) are only empty words (words of the lips). Now on whom do you rely, that you have rebelled against me?”

The Rabshakeh continued with Assyria’s taunt, saying “You rely on the staff of this crushed reed, even on Egypt, and their Pharaoh.” He likened trust in Egypt to leaning on a crushed reed that pierces the hand, doing damage that would make a man unfit to fight. But King Hezekiah had not called upon Egypt for help, as northern Israel had done. 

Sennacherib continued his taunt, through his emissary. “But if you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar?’”

O church, Satan will mock and is now mocking the Lord, through his ambassadors. Whose voice are you listening to?

Here is the truth, which Satan and his ambassadors are completely unable to speak!The high places were destroyed after the temple was built. 

Why did King Hezekiah tear down the high places, during his reign? Because from the beginning, when Moses was leading the people, they were commanded by the Lord to be different from the nations around them, who worshiped their false gods on high places —

Deuteronomy 12:2 “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree.” 

Moses instructed Israel, at the Lord’s command —

Deuteronomy 12:3 “You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. 4 “You shall not act like this toward the LORD your God. 5But you shall seek the LORD at the place which the LORD your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. 

When rebellious kings — ones who disregarded and disobeyed the Lord’s commands — reigned in Judah, the high places were rebuilt by the people. Then, when obedient kings reigned in Judah, the high places were torn down. 

O church, I pray for obedient leaders for you, because many leaders are listening to Satan’s emissaries who mock Him, and even go so far as to call His existence into question. Others fashion Him into their own likeness, so they can worship themselves.

King Hezekiah’s restoration of temple worship to Jerusalem was an act of faith and obedience to the Lord. But the idolatrous Assyrians, who worshiped their many false gods on high places, assumed that the God of Judah was surely angry that the high places in Judah were removed!

Verse 8 —

Therefore, said the Rabshakeh, make a bargain with my master! Such are the words that Satan will always use, when he comes to a believer and questions the Lord’s commands, saying, “Did God really say you could not eat?” He also tries to make the Lord appear to be unstable and a liar.

Make a bargain with me, Satan will say! I will take care of  you! I will bless you! Do not believe the Word of God. Trust me, not Him!

The king of Assyria does the same, saying “I will give you 2,000 horses, if you have enough men left to put riders on them.” Thus, he called the military strength of Judah into question, because he assumed that King Hezekiah relied upon military strength, not the Lord.

Oswalt notes that, in the eyes of the Assyrians, the people of Judah appeared helpless, for the God of Israel had not defeated Assyria when they attacked and overran northern Israel. In the eyes of the Assyrians, the God of Israel was just one more of the many gods worshiped by men. 

But think about it — the only reason Assyria defeated northern Israel was the Lord gave them over to the Assyrians. Why? Because of northern Israel’s refusal to repent for their idolatry and their rejection of the messengers the Lord sent to warn them! It had nothing to do with a lack of power on the Lord’s part, and everything to do with their darkened hearts!

It is a wonderful truth that those who know the Lord and His Word are able to detect the lies of the devil! But many of today’s believers do not know Him, but only know about Him. And they do not know His Word at all. Thus, they become pawns, easily accepting Satan’s lies as truth.

Verses 9-10 —

The Rabshakeh continued, “How then can you repulse (turn away the face of) one official of the least of my masters’s servants and rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?” We are far stronger than you! Our gods are stronger than your God! Give up!

And then Rabshakeh added that he came up with the Lord’s approval to destroy the land. He lied, saying, “The Lord said to me, Go up against this land and destroy it.”  

This was propaganda of the most evil sort. The Lord did not send him, and he did not have the Lord’s approval. The Lord allowed Assyria to destroy only northern Israel because of their idolatry and refusal to repent before the Lord! 

But Satan’s emissaries will say to the church, Come and bargain with me! The Lord sent me to destroy you. He will not save you. But I will save you from destruction! Just ally yourself with my master, and I will make you prosper. 

Many churches and believers ally themselves with the world, believing this lie. Only repentance can bring you from the brink upon which you are teetering, O church!

Verses 11-12 —

Hezekiah’s envoys then requested that the Rabshakeh speak in Aramaic, which they understood, instead of Judean (Hebrew), the language of the people. Why? So the people on the wall, who were looking on during this whole exchange, would not understand Rabshakeh’s words. 

You see, the conduit of the upper pool was so close to the wall of Jerusalem that the words spoken between Hezekiah’s and Sennacherib’s envoys could be heard on the wall. So, all of the Rabshakeh’s threats and the words of his king would be heard by the people of Jerusalem, if he spoke in Hebrew!

I tell you the truth, Satan knows church-speak, and he will use it to deceive! How? He employs the many false prophets, pastors, teachers and leaders who are among you. Paul prophesied and exhorted the leaders of the church at Ephesus —

Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

Sad to say, there are few who are Spirit-filled overseers. Thus, there are few who shepherd the church of God which Jesus Christ purchased with His own blood. And Satan is speaking to sheep without a shepherd.

So, the Rabshakeh replied that his master sent him to speak not only to Hezekiah’s envoys, but to all the people who were on the wall. And he added this threat — the people of Jerusalem were doomed to eat their own dung and drink their own urine. The Assyrian army would besiege them and deprive them of food and water. 

I tell you the truth, Satan wants as many believers as possible to hear his taunts and lies and threats, so they might fear him and obey him. But those who know the Lord intimately do not listen to his taunts. They know the Lord is greater than Satan. They submit themselves to God, resisting the devil, so the devil must flee (James 4:7)!

Verses 13-17 —

So, the Rabshakeh ignored the request of Hezekiah’s envoys, and spoke in a loud voice in Judean, addressing the people who were on the wall. He issued a series of lies —

— The king of Assyria is a great king. 

— He has sent me to tell you not to let King Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you.

— Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, when Hezekiah says, “The Lord will surely deliver us, this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”

  Do not listen to King Hezekiah. Instead, listen to my king, and make peace with him. Come out to me, said the Rabshakeh to the people listening on the wall. You will eat of your vine and fig tree, and drink the waters of your own cistern. Of course, there will come a time when I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 

Satan tells the church through his emissaries —

  — I am greater than the Lord. The world of which I am prince is too powerful for you. 

— Do not trust in the Lord to deliver you from my attacks. Do not listen to those who say, “Repent and obey the Lord! Trust in the Lord!” 

— Make peace with me. Ally yourself with me and the world I control. I will prosper you where you are, for the time being. 

— Then I will take you away to the place I live. It is just like the kingdom of God. You will eat and drink and be merry there! 

All lies! But many in the church swallow them, hook, line and sinker!

Verses 18-20 —

Then the Rabshekah accused King Hezekiah of lying when the King said, “The Lord will deliver us.” None of the gods, in all the lands we have conquered, have been able to deliver the people in those lands from the hand of the King of Assyria!

Where are those gods? Their lands belong to us, now. What makes you think the Lord will deliver you? He is not greater than any of the other gods we have already conquered, that He would be able to deliver you from the hand of the King of Assyria!

Satan’s emissaries will say the same to you! Look at all of the denominations we have overwhelmed! They now call good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20), just like their master! They worship a Christ of their own making, not Jesus Christ. They do not know Him, or they would not do what they do and say what they say.  

Verses 21-22 —
The people of Judah obeyed King Hezekiah, and did not listen to the Rabshakeh. They were silent and did not answer him a word for Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.” Jerusalem stood firm and did not answer the threats of the King of Assyria, nor believe his lies. Why? They loved and obeyed their king. 

In today’s church, those who love and therefore obey the King of kings are those who trust in Him alone, and they know His voice (John 10:27). They know the Lord intimately. 

Therefore, they do not obey the words of Satan’s emissaries. They know Satan and his children lie — it is their native language (John 8:44). May the unfaithful learn from those who remain faithful!

Then Hezekiah’s three emissaries came to Hezekiah, with their clothes torn, and told Hezekiah the words of the Rabshakeh. Why did they tear their clothes? The King of Assyria had blasphemed the living God! So, they humbled themselves before the one true God. 

Next time, I will show you Hezekiah’s response to the words of his emissaries, after the Rabshakeh issued his threats and lies, and defamed the name of the living God, and after the king of Assryria sent messengers with a letter that repeated the threats and lies the Rabshakeh had spoken regarding the Lord. 

Lord, may Your church see herself in this passage and repent from listening to the threats and lies of Satan, who blasphemes You every day. May she turn back to You, repent for her sin against Your Father and You, and trust in You alone. Amen.

PROPHESYING WHAT IS RIGHT

[SW408] 11/30/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

Prophesying What Is Right

Text: Passages from Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc.

The Lord said to me, “Say what the false prophets say, and what My people say, and what I say. Use all of My Word.” When His servants say what He says, they prophesy what is right. 

Why does the Lord want me use both the Old and the New Testaments? It is just as Paul, says to the Corinthian believers, and just as he instructs Timothy —

1Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them (the Jews in the wilderness) as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

2Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.

So today, I will use the whole Word of God to show you that many false prophets say the same things now as they did then, and that believers respond in the same way now as they did then. And I will show you that the Lord says the same things to all of them now as He did then!

What is it to prophesy falsely? Jeremiah describes it —

Lamentations 2:14  Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions; and they have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity, but they have seen for you false and misleading oracles (literally, seductive words that cause banishment).

In the Old Testament, false prophets said —

“Turn to the false gods worshiped by the countries that surround you, but continue to outwardly worship the Lord. That way, your sin will not be judged by the Lord.”

So, God’s people responded —

 “We like what the false prophets are saying! We can please our lusts with the false gods — and thus worship the god of self — but still go to our synagogues and to the temple. Because we outwardly worship the LORD, there will be no consequences for the sin we are doing.”

But the LORD said —

Jeremiah 18:11 “So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity (misery, harm) against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.”’

The false prophets said —

“You do not need to repent. You are God’s people! There is no need to turn back! He would never cause you to be miserable. He will not let anything bad happen to you!”

So, God’s people said to the LORD’s prophets who warned them to repent —

Isaiah 30:10 “ . . . You must not see visions; you must not prophesy to us what is right. Speak to us pleasant words, prophesy illusions. 11 Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”

Do you see it? They knew the prophets of the LORD were prophesying what is right, or they would not have said, “You must not see; you must not prophesy what is right.” But just as with many of today’s believers, they did not want to see and did not want to hear what they knew was right. They wanted to continue doing the sin they loved to do, with no consequences.

Therefore, the LORD said —

Isaiah 30:15 “In repentance (returning to Me) and rest (setting your eyes on Me alone) you will be saved, in quietness (settling down with Me) and trust (in Me alone) is your strength.” But you were not willing . . .”

The false prophets said —

“Peace, peace! You are at peace with your God. There is no need to be afraid that He will judge you for your sin.”

So God’s people said —

“We like the words of the false prophets! We like the message of ‘Peace, peace.’ We are at peace with God. That sounds good to us! There must be no consequences for the sin we are doing.”

But the LORD said —

Jeremiah 6:14  “They (the false prophets) have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.”

Isaiah 57:20  But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud. 21 “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

The LORD did not just warn His people once, but again and again —

Jeremiah 29:18 ‘I will pursue them with the sword, with famine and with pestilence; and I will make them a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse and a horror and a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, 19 because they have not listened to My words,’ declares the LORD, ‘which I sent to them again and again by My servants the prophets; but you did not listen,’ declares the LORD.

The false prophets said —

 “The LORD will continue to protect you, because you are His people. The LORD will not destroy Jerusalem as His prophets are saying. After all, this is the temple of the LORD!”

So God’s people said —

“That sounds good to our ears! And the false prophets even said it three times! We are impressed! We are protected from our enemies, because God is here, in His temple! There must be no consequences for the sin we are doing.”

But the LORD said — 

Jeremiah 7:4 “Do not trust in deceptive (lying) words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’”

The false prophets said —

“We will continue with our false words that are from our own imagination (Jeremiah 23:16). If you flee to Egypt to escape the Babylonians who are about to overtake Jerusalem, you will be safe. The LORD will protect you there, for you are His people.”

So God’s people responded —

“We like what you are saying! The LORD will protect us when we flee to Egypt, for we are His people! There must be no consequences for the sin we are doing.”

And God’s people said to Jeremiah —

Jeremiah 43:2 . . .  You are telling a lie! The LORD our God has not sent you to say, ‘You are not to enter Egypt to reside there’; 3 but Baruch the son of Neriah is inciting you against us to give us over into the hand of the Chaldeans, so they will put us to death or exile us to Babylon.”

But the LORD said —

Jeremiah 42:10 ‘If you will indeed stay in this land, then I will build you up and not tear you down, and I will plant you and not uproot you; for I will relent concerning the calamity that I have inflicted on you.”

Jeremiah 42:13But if you are going to say, ‘We will not stay in this land,’ so as not to listen to the voice of the LORD your God, 14 saying, ‘No, but we will go to the land of Egypt, where we will not see war or hear the sound of a trumpet or hunger for bread, and we will stay there’ . . . 16 then the sword, which you are afraid of, will overtake you there in the land of Egypt; and the famine, about which you are anxious, will follow closely after you there in Egypt, and you will die there.

Prophesying what is right does not provide a life of luxury and comfort. For 40 years, Jeremiah prophesied what was right. During those years, the false prophets and the Jewish kings and the Jewish priests ordered him to be imprisoned, beaten, put in stocks, thrown into a cistern, and more. (See Jeremiah 20:2, Jeremiah 38:6, and many other passages.) 

And after 62 years of prophesying what is right, Isaiah was brutally sawn into pieces, one piece at a time, until he was dead. They thought they had silenced him.

But the words the LORD gave him lived on.

After Babylon had exiled many of God’s people, the LORD told Jeremiah to make a wooden yoke for his neck, representing the Babylonian captivity. He instructed Jeremiah to wear it as he prophesied what is right. 

But the false prophet, Hananiah, said —

Jeremiah 28:2 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 ‘Within two years I am going to bring back to this place all the vessels of the LORD’S house, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon . . . and all the people.”

So God’s people said —

“Hananiah’s words sound good to us! Everyone who has already been carried into exile by Babylon will return home within two years! And Hananiah says, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel,’ just like the LORD’s  prophets. There must be no consequences for the sin we are doing.”

But the LORD had already said through Jeremiah 

Jeremiah 25:11 “This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

Jeremiah 29:10   “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.’”

Today, false prophets say to sinning believers — 

“God is not angry with you. You cannot help but sin. You do not need to repent and confess your sin to the Lord. All of your sin, past, present, and future, has already been forgiven.”  

And they say, “When God looks you, He sees you as holy and righteous, regardless of your sin. So, you not bound by Jesus Christ’s teaching. You are not responsible for your sin. And we have even more good news for you! God wants to make you rich and successful!”

So today’s sinning believers say —

“We like what these false prophets say! Look at the vast number of followers of these false prophets! Some of them even appear to be quoting from the Bible, and use just a few words from it, to prove what they say! Their words please our lusts for more of everything. So we do not need to repent, because we are forgiven, no matter what we do! There must be no consequences for the sin we are doing.”

But Jesus Christ, God the Son, says —

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me,  you who practice lawlessness.’”

And Jesus Christ exhorts all believers, then and now, regarding their sin and the consequences of it —

Mark 9:43 “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, 44 where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. 

45 If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than having your two feet, to be cast into hell, 46 where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. 47 If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into hell, 48 where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”

Remember what the LORD said to His rebellious people —

Isaiah 30:15 “In repentance (returning to Me) and rest (setting your eyes on Me alone) you will be saved, in quietness (settling down with Me) and trust (in Me alone) is your strength.” But you were not willing . . .”

Beloved, are you willing to repent for your sin and return to the Lord? Are you willing to set your eyes on Him alone? Are you willing to settle down with Him, as in a marriage? Are you willing to trust in Him alone? You will not be saved if you do not do it. You will have no strength, if you do not do it.

So repent! Confess  your sin to Him. Ask your Father in heaven to fill you with His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) so your sin nature is crucified (Galatians 5:24), your heart is purified (Acts 15:9), and you become a partaker of God’s divine nature —

2Peter 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 

Beloved, who will you believe? The Lord, or today’s false prophets?

Lord Jesus, through the words You have given me, may many believers repent and turn back to You, and cry out to be filled with Your Holy Spirit. Let it be so, I pray. Amen.

ISAIAH SESSION 35 — HIS BLESSING FOR THOSE WHO OBEY

Text: Isaiah 35

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be, “His Blessing for Those Who Obey,” in contrast to Isaiah 34’s “The Punishment of the Defiant.” This chapter describes Jesus Christ’s coming, the coming of the Lord at the end of things, and the coming of the Lord’s Holy Spirit into believers, here and now. Do you see it? His blessing is a life-giving, heart-changing spiritual blessing!

And this chapter also describes the Father’s promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, when He and His Son and His Spirit come to fully and permanently indwell believers who obey Jesus Christ’s command to be filled! When you are filled, you indeed will say, “Yes! Even now, it has been done in me!”

Beloved, I exhort you to seek from Him the spiritual blessing of His Spirit, which Jesus Christ commands you to seek! If you obey, you will receive His blessing, here and now!

Verses 1-2 — 

The wilderness and the desert will be glad! Arabah (desert) will rejoice and blossom like the crocus! All that was barren will blossom. Blossoms are a sign of fruitfulness, and fruitfulness produces gladness and joy — there is a harvest, there will be food and drink! 

The wilderness and desert are often used in the church to describe a believer’s condition when they are sinning against the Lord. But when His kingdom comes in you, there is no more barrenness, but spiritual fruitfulness! You bear His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23)! It is a cause for great joy and celebration by you, and in heaven!

The desert that was inside of you will blossom profusely when you are filled. Beloved, then you will rejoice with rejoicing and shouts of joy — even joy indescribable, and full of glory (1Peter 1:8)! 

The glory of Lebanon will be given to you, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. Who created Lebanon, Carmel and Sharon? The glorious and majestic Lord! Isaiah sees a picture of what it is like to be filled with His Spirit, for you will see and experience the glory of the Lord, and the majesty of our God, within you!

Here and now, when you are filled with His Spirit, you are filled with His glory! It is not like the glow of the glory of the Lord that appeared on Moses’ face each time he met with the Lord, and then faded —

2Corinthians 3:12   Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 

2Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (NIV)

And when you see Him, in that final day —

Ephesians 5:27 . . . that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory (glorious, filled with His glory), having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

1Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Those who refuse Him, and believers who continue to sin against Him and reject the cure for their sin nature — the infilling of His Holy Spirit — will see His glory and majesty at the end of things. But for them, it will be too late. The door will be shut (Matthew 25:10). 

Verses 3-4 —

Encourage the hands weakened by wrestling with the enemy of your soul! And strengthen the tottering knees weakened from prayer for deliverance! Ah! He has come even today to deliver you from your sin nature by crucifying it (Galatians 5:24)! 

The Lord directs Isaiah to say to those with anxious (diligent) heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance. The recompense of God will come, but He will save (free, deliver) you.” He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), and if you do it, He will deliver you from your sin nature, and free you from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36), here and now!

The defiant will be punished at the end of things, as the Lord has said in Isaiah 34 and previous chapters. But those who obey the Lord and love Him will be saved, at the end of things!

Verses 5-7 —

These scriptures describe Jesus’ earthly ministry, and the ministry of those who are filled with His Spirit —

Then the eyes of the spiritually and physically blind will be opened! And the ears of the spiritually and physically deaf will be unstopped! 

The spiritually and physically lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the spiritually and physically mute will shout for joy!

I tell you that physical healing occurs frequently in countries other than the United States. Why? In this country, many do not believe His miracles are “for today.”

I learned that His miracles did not cease at the end of the apostolic period! He healed me in the middle of the night from progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), eighteen years ago! My irreversible tremors immediately disappeared, I was able to walk normally, all my paralyzed parts were instantly restored, and my ability to think was returned to normal! I glorify Him for what He has done!

And He healed Jeff of massive damage to his heart muscle after a “widow-maker” heart attack eight years ago. How? The Lord instructed me to go to his room in the step-down unit from the ICU, and worship with my guitar and voice. As soon as I began to sing and play, Jesus entered the room, and Jeff’s heart was completely healed! To this day, his heart’s pumping efficiency is right in the middle of the normal range! I glorify the Lord for what He has done!

But so much more, Jeff and I thank the Lord for filling us with His Spirit, for surely, He has given us new hearts that love to obey Him, and made us His witnesses here! That is a far greater blessing than the physical healing we have experienced at His hand!

Waters have broken and will yet break forth in wildernesses! Streams have begun to flow and will yet begin to flow in desert places!

Jesus Christ broke forth in the spiritual wilderness that Israel had become, with streams of His living water (John 4:10). And today, from the bellies of those who are filled with the Holy Spirit, flow rushing, flood-stage rivers of living water (John 7:39) —

John 7:37  On the last and greatest day of the Feast (of Tabernacles), Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (NIV)

The transformation is profound — deserts to blossoms and fruit, blind seeing, deaf hearing, lame leaping, those who cannot speak shouting for joy! Living water in dry places! That is what the Lord does, in and through those who are filled with His Spirit!

And there are more contrasts in Verse 7 — scorched land a pool, the thirsty ground transformed to springs of water! Forsaken places where jackals made their home are now a resting place where there is nothing to fear!

Verse 8 —

A highway is there now, a roadway, and will yet be there at the end point of the narrow way, at the end of things. It is not a rocky, rough path, but a highway that is easy to travel, for those who love and obey the Lord.

It is called the Highway (Pathway) of Holiness. Who can travel this road? Not the unclean, those whose hearts are polluted with and defiled by sin. No fools — perverse ones who do perverted things that are contrary to the Lord — will walk on it.

The Highway of Holiness is and will yet be for the one who walks that way, the one who walks holy and blameless, the church filled with His glory (again, Ephesians 5:27), whom He makes holy and blameless and spotless and pure! 

The Highway of Holiness is for all who are filled with His Holy Spirit, just as He has commanded of all believers (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5). It is the only way any of us can walk holy before the Lord!

Verse 9 —

No lion will be there, nor any vicious beast.  They will not be found there. Nothing will attack and devour those who are on the Highway of Holiness. 

Satan is the roaring lion who now prowls about in the church, seeking to devour those who are not filled with the Holy Spirit (1Peter 5:8). But he will not be on the Highway of Holiness! I have shown you Satan’s end, throughout the previous chapters of Isaiah. 

And Satan has nothing on you now, if you have been filled with His Spirit, for you are already walking on the Highway of Holiness. Satan will tempt all believers, even those filled with the Spirit, but if you are filled, you no longer have the sin nature that Satan loved to manipulate. You will stand firm!

Romans 8:23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
Again, who will walk on the Highway of Holiness? The ones that walk holy because they are filled with His Holy Spirit. The redeemed, those who He gathers at the end of things, those whom He has made holy on the inside, will walk there.

Verse 10 —

And the ransomed of the Lord will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will suddenly come upon gladness and joy and possess it forever, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. 

Jesus, speaking to His disciples regarding the Holy Spirit whom He would send to them, regarding His divine joy which would fill them —

John 15:11 “These things (about the Holy Spirit) I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

You will be filled with His joy, not human joy! And He says that no one will take it from you (John 16:22)!

In that day, at the end of things, every tear will be wiped away —

Revelation 21:4 “and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” 

Oh, beloved! Have you obeyed His command to stay (Luke 24:49) and wait (Acts 1:4-5)? 

Only then can you walk holy. Only then can you walk on the Highway of Holiness. 

Only then will living water flow from your belly. Only then will you see and experience the glory of the Lord, here and now, and at the end of things! 

Only then can you be His witness here (Acts 1:4-5). Only then can you walk as He walked in the world (1John 2:5), and be as He is (1John 4:17)!

1John 2:5 But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: 6 Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.

1John 4:17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like Him.

I exhort you, beloved, to obey the Lord’s command to be filled with His Spirit. That is His blessing for those who obey. His blessing is not natural, but spiritual, and is given so you glorify the Father and His Son. 

If you disobey Him, you will fear, indeed, on that day. Why? You have disobeyed His command, and therefore, you have neither been His witness, nor have you walked on the Highway of Holiness. 

If you obey Him, you will not fear in the day of judgment (1John 4:18), but will rejoice, and will hear Him say —

Matthew 25:21 . . . “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”

Lord Jesus, may many seek Your blessing. Let it be so, I pray. Amen.

TRUE WORSHIPERS

[SW407] 11/23/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

True Worshipers

Text: John 4:23-24, etc.

The Lord led me to speak from this scripture this week. On Tuesday night, I shared with Jeff what I had seen in it. And he said, “He makes us His worshipers.” How wonderful that by the infilling of  His Holy Spirit, He will make you what you cannot be, in your own strength — a true worshiper! 

God the Father seeks (literally, desires, requires) true worshipers who worship in Spirit and in truth. There is no way that you can become a true worshiper, in your own strength. But if you will simply ask your Father in heaven for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), He will make you what you cannot be! He will make you a true worshiper! Then, He alone is glorified by what He does in and through you!

True Worship Defined

What it is it to truly worship God the way He desires and requires? True worship is continual, so this is not a description of what you do “when” you worship God. You continually worship Him, whether you are in His Word or at your job or in a store or walking in your neighborhood.

— First and foremost, you obey Him, because He permanently and fully indwells you. Your obedience is worship, in His eyes.

— You spiritually lie down before God the Father and kiss toward Him and His Son, Jesus Christ.

— You have holy, intimate, joyous and unending fellowship with the Father and the Son.

— You pray without ceasing — with every breath you take. 

— You sit at the feet of Jesus, continually pouring out at His feet the love He has poured into your heart to overflowing, and He pours it back to you in an endless exchange.

— You do not sin against Him any more. Your heart is continually tender and responsive to all of His desires and commands. Your obedience is worship, in His eyes.

— You continually rejoice when the Potter spins you on His wheel, for you feel His hands mold and shape you more and more into His image. This, too, is obedience, and is worship, in His eyes.

There is much more, but these examples show you the high bar that God the Father sets. It is something no one can reach on their own. But He will make you reach it, if you ask Him. Then He alone is glorified, because it is nothing that you yourself could do!

Verse 23 —

Jesus Christ says the hour has come for true worship. He says that true worshipers of God the Father are those who worship in Spirit and in truth. The high bar is set, a bar you cannot reach on your own, but one He will make you reach, if you ask Him to do it.

Jesus specifies that God the Father desires and requires as His worshipers no other kind of worshiper but true worshipers. Therefore, there must be those who are not true worshipers, ones who do not worship God the Father in Spirit and truth, as He desires and requires. 

Beloved if you are not worshiping God the Father as I have described, then ask Him to make you a true worshiper of God — one who worships in Spirit and truth, the way God desires and requires. 

What must He do in you? Jesus explains, when the woman at Jacob’s well asks, “Are you greater than our father, Jacob?”

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water (natural water from Jacob’s well) will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well (literally, a fountain) of water springing up to eternal life.”

The water which He will give is living water, a reference to the Holy Spirit. He gives it to those who are thirsty, and when you drink it, He makes you a fountain. It is then that you become a true worshiper, one who worships God the Father in Spirit and in truth, as He desires and requires. 

Jesus again speaks of His living water —

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

So, if you see that are not yet a true worshiper, you will do as I did! You will become thirsty to know the Lord intimately. And He will answer! Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6)! 

Then you will be a true worshiper, the kind God the Father requires and desires. And when you come to Him and drink His living water, He will make you what you cannot possibly be, in your own strength, by filling you with His Holy Spirit!

Jesus’ letter to the believers at Laodicea is addressed to those who are not yet true worshipers. He stands at the door. He is not inside. They do not see their spiritual condition. 

The believers at Laodicea do not see that they must be filled with the Holy Spirit so they become true worshipers who worship in Spirit and truth, as God the Father desires and requires. So in His great mercy, Jesus Christ says 

Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”

Revelation 3:22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Oh, His great mercy to them! If a believer at Laodicea hears His voice and opens the door, He will come in to them and dine with them and He with them. 

O believer, O church, do you hear His voice? 

Beloved, He will come in to them! That is the holy intimacy that comes when He fully and permanently indwells you, beloved. So, if anyone hears His voice and opens the door, He promises that He will make them true worshipers who worship in Spirit and in truth, as God the Father requires and desires! 

Verse 24 —

True worship, worship in Spirit and in truth, is a requirement, Jesus Christ says. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth. So, worshiping in Spirit and truth is essential and absolutely required by God. He only seeks worshipers who worship that way.

What is the opposite of worshiping in Spirit and truth? It is to do as His people often did, in the Old Testament. He spoke to them through Isaiah — 

Isaiah 29:13  Then the Lord said, “ . . . this people draw near with their words 

and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, 

and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.”

They outwardly  drew near to worship at the time when they were required to worship. They outwardly drew near with their words. But He knew that their words were empty, because He knew their hearts were far from Him. They offered words of praise, but it was merely lip service in His ears, for they left the synagogue and returned to their false gods and idols, whose root is the god of self.

Do you see it? Their hearts were far from Him! It is the condition of your heart that determines whether you truly draw near to God the Father, and truly worship Him as He desires and requires. And beloved, He knows the condition of your heart! 

Thank Him, beloved, for He is showing your heart to you today! It is His mercy to you, just as it was to His people at the time of Isaiah! 

If you agree with what He sees in your heart and ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit, He will make you a true worshiper of Him, one who worships in Spirit and in truth. He will make you the kind of worshiper He requires and desires.

Your heart will no longer be far from Him, because when His Holy Spirit fills you, your sin nature is crucified and your heart is purified. Sin is no longer in you, so you no longer sin against Him. If you ask Him to do it, He will do it. 

Then it will no longer be a matter of what you do “when” you worship God. You will continually, truly worship Him in Spirit and in truth, by the Holy Spirit who indwells you fully!

The heart of the woman at Jacob’s well was revealed to her by Jesus Christ. He reveals your heart to you today, because you must worship God in Spirit and in truth. So, while it is today, ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit, and He will make you a true worshiper who worships God the Father and God the Son in Spirit and in truth. 

Lord Jesus, You have made this message beautiful. May it go forth in Your power, I pray. Amen!

ISAIAH SESSION 34 — THE PUNISHMENT OF THE DEFIANT

Text: Isaiah 34

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be, “The Punishment of the Defiant.” The Lord will have a day of vengeance against those who defy Him.

Vengeance is not revenge, but impartial judgment of those who are the LORD’s enemies. Who are the LORD’s enemies? Edom, and all who rebel against Him, and those who despise His people, are His enemies.

But even today, some in pews and some in pulpits — even some leaders of a wide range of denominations — defy Him, too, by denying His truths, thus making themselves His enemies. Shall any of us who see it be silent and not warn them, so they do not face the same end as those of whom I am about to speak?

Some background on Edom

This bit of background will help you understand Isaiah 34 and its relationship to today’s church. As I have inferred, prophecy of judgment goes beyond Edom, beloved!

The Lord gave Esau, Jacob’s brother, a second name — Edom. It was because Esau did not value his inheritance from the Lord, and thought nothing of it. Therefore, the Lord despised Esau, thinking nothing of Esau. 

It is the same today, for those who do not value their inheritance in Christ, but continue to sin against Him —

Ephesians 5:5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

A little more on Esau — he and his sons went to live in the hill country of Seir. His offspring developed into the nation of Edom. Jacob and his offspring eventually became the nation of Israel. 

In the single-chapter book of Obadiah, the Lord pronounced judgment on Edom. They were greatly despised by Him, for they were arrogant of heart (see Obadiah 2 and 3). They had no regard for their brother-country, Israel, and did injustice toward them.They did not defend Judah, but stood aloof on the day that Judah and Jerusalem were plundered by their enemies (Obadiah 11). 

So, in the Lord’s eyes, Edom was His enemy. In His eyes, they were like those who plundered Israel. Therefore, He said to Edom, “As you have done, so it will be done to you” (Obadiah 15).

In today’s church, many believers are plundered by the enemy of our soul, Satan, because false teachers please the sin nature of such believers, stoking their greed and self-centeredness, and saying that the Lord has no cure for their sinful hearts. So, in the Lord’s eyes, they also are His enemies. Therefore, as they have done, so it will be done to them.

Now you have some background on Edom, and understand that what happened in Isaiah’s day pertains to you. So, I will teach Isaiah 34, as the Lord has shown it to me.

Verses 1-2 — 

Draw near and listen, Edom and all the nations — that is, the peoples of the earth that rebel against and defy the LORD and hate His people. Draw near and listen, all the earth, and all it contains. This is not a call to be witnesses, or a call to repentance, but a call to be sentenced. Therefore, what follows pertains to the end time. 

For the LORD’s indignation (rage) is against all the nations, and His wrath (hot displeasure, fury) against all their armies. He has given them over (assigned them) to slaughter. 

To give them over means that they can no longer be redeemed. He will receive any who will turn to Him, but in the end time, some will continue to choose to defy Him, despite having heard the truth. They will experience the judgment of the seven bowls of wrath (see Revelation 16).

I speak to those who are living today. For all who defy the Lord — both sinning believers and pagans — there will be a day of judgment, a day when repentance is no longer an option, a day of sentencing.

Verses 3-4 —

Isaiah sees a graphic picture of the destruction of the nations, at the end of things. Their slain will be thrown out like garbage, and their corpses will give off their stench. And the mountains will be drenched with their blood. It will be a day of great slaughter.

Not only the physical stars will dissolve, but also the hosts of heaven, the pantheon of false gods which the stars represented to pagans, and to Jews (and today’s believers) who worship their gods. He will first judge the hosts of heaven. Then He will punish the defiant.

The sky will be rolled up like a scroll. The writer of Hebrews says this of Jesus Christ, quoting from Psalm 102:25-27  

Hebrews 1:10 “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; and they all will become old like a garment, 12 and like a mantle you will roll them up. Like a garment they will also be changed (no longer powerful, but destroyed), but You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.”

All the hosts of heaven will wither away, as a leaf withers from the vine and falls to the ground, or as a leaf withers from a fig tree and falls to the ground. All false gods will be shown to be emptiness and nothingness, and will fall, under His judgment.

Why will there be a great slaughter of all who defy Him? The Lord is just and righteous. He offered them life, but they have chosen to defy Him. Therefore, they will bear the punishment of the defiant.

Verse 5 —

Therefore, the LORD says His sword is satiated (bathed) in heaven. In what is it bathed? The blood of those who defy Him.  And it will descend for judgment upon Edom, who despised His people Israel, and for the rest of those He has devoted to destruction. 

By their own choice, they have continued to defy Him. When the Lord’s long-standing offer for forgiveness has expired, they will continue to defy Him. As the bowls of wrath are poured out, they will do this —

Revelation 16:21 And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each,  came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.

Verses 6-7 

His sword is filled with blood and is covered with fat, the blood of lambs and goats, and kidneys of rams. This reference is not literal, but points to the sacrificial slaughter of animals, established by the Lord in the Law of Moses. A death had to take place to atone for sin. 

And now, His enemies will be sacrificed because they have refused to repent for their sin. In Bozrah, a city of Edom, and in the land of Edom, there will be a great slaughter.

But this slaughter also pertains to the end times, a slaughter of all who defy the Lord. John describes the sword with which Jesus Christ will strike down the nations and execute God’s wrath   

Revelation 19:15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

What is the sword? The Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). And it is His words by which everyone will be judged, says Jesus Christ —

John 12:48 “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.”

The reference to wild oxen, young bulls and strong ones symbolizes the leaders of the nations who will fall with the common people of the nations. In a graphic view that the Lord gave Isaiah, he saw that their land will be soaked with their own blood, and their dust will be greasy with their own fat. Again, they have chosen to defy the Lord. The lesson? All who choose to defy Him will fall!

Verses 8-9 —

The Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense, for the cause of Zion. Who are the true citizens of Zion? His people who love and obey Him, and remain true to Him. Edom and the nations have despised and attacked them.

Even today, Jews who believe in God, messianic Jews who have received their Christ, and Christians are persecuted, their houses of worship bombed, or believers are shot to death in mass shootings. It happens in many countries, but even in this country, it is happening more and more. 

But in the day of His judgment, the defiant ones will receive what they have chosen to receive. What will they receive?

The streams on the earth will be turned into pitch, and its loose earth into brimstone, and its land will become burning pitch. It is an echo of the LORD’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, where homosexuality had permeated the whole city, young and old, from every quarter (Genesis 19:5). Their land was reduced to pitch and brimstone (Genesis 19:24-28, Deuteronomy 29:23). 

It will be the same for those who defy and rebel against Him today, including believers who rebel against Him by continuing to sin, as Paul warns the believers at Corinth —

1Corinthians 6:9   Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Verse 10 —

The fire will not be quenched day or night, and its smoke will go up forever! From generation to generation it will be desolate. None will pass through it forever and ever. The Lord repeats this vision later —

Isaiah 66:24 “Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind.”

Jesus warns sinning believers —

Mark 9:47 “If your eye (or hand or foot, in prior verses) causes you to stumble (sin), throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, 48 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.”  

Verses 11-12 —

What will dwell in hell, with those who defy the Lord? All of the animals mentioned here are considered unclean, according to the Law of Moses given by the Lord. An unclean animal eats things that contain diseases and toxins. If a human eats such an animals, they expose themselves to those diseases and toxins. The LORD first speaks of the pelican and heron, and the owl and the raven.

Plumb lines and plumb bobs are used to ensure a wall is vertically straight. But the Lord will stretch a plumb line of desolation over those who defy Him and measure them with the plumb bob of emptiness — they will receive desolation and emptiness, for they have chosen to be crooked and not straight.

The nobles of the defiant will be as nothing. No one there will be proclaimed king, nor will any of its princes be considered anything at all, in the hell which they have chosen. Who is in charge of hell? Satan.

Verses 13-15 —

In all of the cities of Edom, and in the lands of all who have defied the Lord and hated His people, thorns, thistles, and nettles will come up. The picture is of desolation, and untended soil. Their cities will be desolate and untended. 

Their cities in hell will be the haunt of jackals (who eat everything, even poisonous snakes) and an abode of ostriches (Hebrew-to-English, owls). 

The LORD adds to the list of unclean animals that will dwell with those condemned to hell.  Demons will also dwell there (hairy goats, night monsters). They will find a resting place in hell. 

Every demon and unclean thing will gather in hell, with its own kind. But there will be no rest for those He has condemned to exist with such creatures until the Great White Throne judgment, when they are thrown into the lake of fire (see Revelation 20:11, 15).

Verses 16-17 —

Seek from the book of the Lord and read — not one of these will be missing, none will lack its mate. All who have chosen hell will be surrounded by such things. Why? For the LORD’s mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered all that is unclean, all that is demonic, and all that defies Him there.

 

He has cast the lot for them (judged them), and His hand has divided it (hell) to them by line — the line of desolation, from Verse 11! Hell shall be their possession forever and ever. 

“From generation to generation” does not mean they will bear children. It means eternity. Beloved, hell has no exits! 

Do you see that this scripture also pertains to today’s sinning believers who rebel against and defy the Lord, and do not value their inheritance in Christ? It is possible for you to lose your salvation, by your own choice (Hebrews 10:26, Revelation 3:5, and elsewhere). 

Therefore, I warn you today to repent and ask the Lord to forgive you and fill you with His Holy Spirit. Then you will no longer sin against Him, for He will crucify  your sin nature (Galations 5:24) that defies Him, rebels against Him, and lusts after the things of the world. And then you will partake of His nature —

2Peter 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Lord Jesus, may Your church hear and understand the warnings You have given me to speak. Let it be so, I pray. Amen.

PAUL’S HEART, MY HEART

[SW406] 11/16/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

Paul’s Heart, My Heart

Text:Acts 20:26-32, etc.

The Lord led me to this scripture. As I meditated on it, I observed some things, but I knew I was not seeing what He wanted me to see. So I prayed! Then He said to my heart, “Show them Paul’s heart.” Paul’s heart is my heart, beloved. And our hearts are the Lord’s heart! 
Background

Paul received the Lord’s heart for believers after Paul met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. He stayed and waited in the house on Straight Street, as he was commanded by Jesus, and then was filled with the Holy Spirit, when Ananias laid hands on him. 

So, Paul rejoiced to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ around the known world. He rejoiced to proclaim the grace and mercy of God for salvation and then, the Lord’s essential empowerment and heart purification that He provides when believers are filled with the Holy Spirit. 

It is the same for me! I rejoice that the Lord would use even such a one as me! But unlike Paul, I travel the whole world by way of the internet instead of by land. I also speak and teach the gospel locally. 

Paul rejoiced when people believed into Jesus Christ through his ministry, but had great concern for those who believed. Why? He knew they needed to be filled with the Spirit in order to discern whether or not the teaching that they hear is true. He always urged them to be filled. It is the same for me.

Paul’s concern did not end until they were filled. The believers at Ephesus were no exception. He warned them in love, and with tears. It is the same for me. Once you are filled, I know that you will be able to discern truth versus error. He will show you, as you walk with Him!

Paul was with the Ephesians for three years, as he confirms in Acts 20:31. It was a pagan city, like Corinth. Ephesus was the site of one of the seven wonders of the world — the temple to the false goddess Artemis, called Diana by the Romans. Her worship required men to have sex with the temple priestesses. And there was much witchcraft in the city, as well.

Despite the paganism of the city, when Paul was passing through the upper country and came to Ephesus, he found about 12 disciples who had received John the Baptist’s baptism of repentance, but had not been baptized with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 19:1 and forward). Oh, beloved, he knew what their hearts needed!

He had a heart for them, a heart filled with God’s divine love (Romans 5:5), a love that compelled him to urge them to be filled with the Holy Spirit, as Jesus Christ commands (2Corinthians 5:14, Acts 1:4-5). He knew they needed what he himself had needed!

So, he told them about the baptism of Jesus Christ — a baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11)! And they were immediately baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus, and were filled the Holy Spirit when Paul laid hands on them!

It is the same for me, beloved! After I was filled, the Lord assigned me to speak to believers. My heart knows what your heart needs, because it was the same thing that my heart needed! I have a heart for you, a heart filled with His divine love. So, I am compelled by God’s love to urge you to be filled with the Holy Spirit, as Jesus Christ commands.

After two years of extraordinary miracles and ministry in Ephesus, Paul purposed in the Spirit (committed himself, in obedience to the Spirit’s leading) to go to Jerusalem, and ultimately, Rome (Acts 19:21 and forward). He continued in Ephesus until the third year, assigning Timothy, a Spirit-filled disciple, and also the Spirit-filled married couple, Priscilla and Aquila, to shepherd the work there.

A great riot against Paul rose up in Ephesus, started by those who made themselves rich by making idols of Artemis. Paul was a threat to their pocketbooks, because many Ephesians were coming to Christ through his ministry! Soon after, Paul brought together his disciples, exhorted them, and began his journey to Jerusalem, sailing to Miletus, a port city about 60 miles south of Ephesus.

But here is Paul’s heart, and my heart — the Lord’s heart that He has given us. Even as Paul traveled, the believers at Ephesus were in his prayers, and he remained greatly concerned for them. His concern was so great that he called for the elders of the church to meet him in Miletus, after he arrived there.

You are continually in my prayers, beloved. I am greatly concerned for you, for I know you need what I needed. The Lord’s desire and command is that you be made steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (1Corinthians 15:58), by being filled with His Holy Spirit! 

Paul loved the believers at Ephesus with God’s love. That was Paul’s heart. He knew those who he loved were in danger, for they were not yet filled with the Holy Spirit, and therefore had no ability to discern truth from error. So, he knew he needed to warn them again and again, and exhort them to be filled! 

It is the same for me. I love you with God’s love. That is my heart. I know you are in danger, if you have not been filled with the Holy Spirit as Jesus commands. If you are not filled, you have not yet obeyed His command, and cannot discern truth from error. So I warn you again and again, and exhort you to be filled!

Compelled by the love of God! That is Paul’s heart, and my heart. Paul remained so concerned about the endangered believers at Ephesus that he called the church elders at Ephesus to himself, after he arrived at Miletus. He spoke to them frankly and bluntly, as he was required to speak (Ephesians 6:20).

With that background, I will speak from today’s scripture.

Acts 20:26-32

Verse 26 —

Paul testified to the Ephesian elders that he was innocent of the blood of all men. 

What did he mean?  Like Ezekiel, he had sounded the trumpet to warn of danger to the believers at Ephesus. If there were any who disregarded his warning and began to follow false teachers/preachers/prophets/leaders, their blood would be on their own heads. The Lord commanded Ezekiel regarding His rebellious people 

Ezekiel 33:8 “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. 9 “But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.”

Verse 27 —

He did not shrink from declaring the whole purpose of God to them — not only salvation through Jesus Christ, but sanctification through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That is the whole purpose of God, and he was not afraid to speak it to them, night and day!

But declaring that purpose required that Paul tell them they desperately needed what he himself had needed. Some of the Ephesians were offended, because they were told by false teachers that they were in need of nothing. So he encountered great resistance just as many resist that truth today. 

It would have been so much easier for Paul if he had yielded to them and remained silent about their need! But Paul loved them with God’s love! So he could not sit idly by while they were in grave danger.

It is the same with me, beloved. It would be so much easier if I just yielded to the urging of many preachers, teachers, prophets, and leaders in today’s church. They and their followers are offended because they believe they are in need of nothing. But I love you with God’s love, so I cannot sit idly by while you are in grave danger!

Verse 28 —

The elders were appointed as overseers of the church, at the Spirit’s leading. But his words in Verse 32 revealed that they were not yet filled with the Holy Spirit.

So, he warned them to be on guard for themselves and for all the flock. He exhorted them that they must shepherd the church of God which He (Christ) purchased through His own blood. 

Why did he exhort them so strongly? Why do I exhort you so strongly?

Verses 29-30 —

Paul knew by the Spirit that after he left, savage wolves would come in among the believers at Ephesus, not sparing the flock. Even from among their own selves — that is, among the elders at Ephesus — men would arise speaking perverse (twisted) things, to draw away the disciples after them. 

These men appeared to be sheep of the flock of Jesus Christ, but inwardly were ravenous wolves. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said 

Matthew 7:15   “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

Paul loved the believers at Ephesus with God’s love. He warned them because he did not want them to be devoured! 

It is the same for me, because in today’s church, there are many false prophets who are dressed like sheep, but inwardly seek to devour those who they draw into their ministry. And so I exhort you, just as you will see Paul exhorted the Ephesian elders.

Verse 31 —

Because they were in danger, Paul commanded the Ephesian elders to be on the alert, remembering that night and day for three years, he did not cease to admonish (literally, warn) each one with tears. Paul’s concern was so great that he wept over their grave danger. 

It is the same for me. I continually warn believers and teachers, pastors, prophets, and leaders about the dangers of false teaching. I weep for those who refuse the whole purpose of God, knowing that false prophets will come in, and even rise up from among them, destroying them.

Verse 32 —

Paul commended the elders to (literally, set them before) God, and set them before the word of His grace (His divine influence on the heart and its reflection in the life), which is able to build the elders up (build them into a house for the Holy Spirit) and to give them the inheritance among all those who are sanctified (made holy on the inside). 

If all the elders had been made holy by being filled with the Holy Spirit (that is, entirely sanctified, per his prayer for the believers at Thessalonica in 1Thessalonians 5:23, Paul would not have had to set them before God. They would not have needed to be made a house for the Holy Spirit, for the Father, Son, and Spirit would already fully indwell them. They would have the inheritance, because they would be sanctified entirely — made holy on the inside. That is the inheritance, beloved! 

If all of the elders had been sanctified entirely, Paul would not have feared for them and called them to him at Miletus to warn them of the coming danger to themselves and the rest of the believers at Ephesus.

If all of the elders had been sanctified entirely, they would be good shepherds under the leadership of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Paul would not have had to warn them about savage wolves. They would never allow false teachers to come in among the flock and devour them. They would never make a shipwreck of their faith by following false teachers (see 1Timothy 1:19).

So, in his closing benediction, Paul presented the Ephesian elders to God, the One to whom they would be held accountable, so they would seek to be built up (that is, to be house-builders). 

Again, how would they become built up? First, by making their own hearts a house for the Father, Son and Spirit by being sanctified entirely. Then would be house-builders, exhorting all of the Ephesian believers to make their hearts a house for the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son. 

But Paul’s concern did not stop there! Paul wrote to Timothy while he was in prison in Rome. He urged Timothy to remain in Ephesus so he may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines which they confidently asserted were true (see 1Timothy 1:3, 7).

But Paul’s concern did not stop there! He wrote the Letter to the Ephesians

while he was in prison in Rome. Paul wrote that he prayed that the eyes of their hearts would be enlightened (made to see), for they were spiritually blind to the impending danger of false teaching (Ephesians 1:18). He exhorted them to be filled with the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ, who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:23). 

But Paul did not stop there! In his letter to the Ephesian believers, Paul prayed for Christ to dwell fully and permanently in their hearts (Ephesians 3:17), and prayed  for them to be filled up with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19). 

Oh, beloved! Paul knew the danger they were in! Therefore, compelled by the divine love of God that had filled his heart when he was entirely sanctified, he warned them again and again.

It is the same for me. My concern does not stop with a single word to the leaders of today’s church. I constantly pray for them to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so they may become house-builders. I exhort them and all believers to be filled!

But my concern does not stop there! I instruct false teachers not to teach strange doctrines which they so confidently assert are true. And I warn believers that they must be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to discern whether teaching is true or false.

But my concern does not stop there! In many places, my warning is rejected. But even if I am rejected just as Jesus was driven out of synagogues and just as John Wesley was driven out of the pulpits of the Church of England. I will continue to speak. Jesus Christ and John Wesley continued to preach in the fields, and I preach on the internet and teach and exhort locally!

I pray that the eyes of believers be enlightened (made to see), and for Christ to dwell fully and permanently in their hearts — that is, I pray that they would be filled up with all the fullness of God!

Oh, beloved! I pray these things for you today! Do not be deceived by the false ones who have come in and are among you. As Paul exhorted the believers at Corinth, I exhort you today —

2Corinthians 11:4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

2Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Lord Jesus, I pray that believers heed the words You have given me, see the danger they are in, and ask their Father in heaven to fill them with the Holy Spirit, so they will not be deceived. Let it be so, I pray! Amen.