GOD’S EXCLAMATION POINT!

[SW375] 4/20/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“God’s Exclamation Point!”

NOTE: The Lord prompted me to begin with a brand new song He gave me this past week. It is called “You Are Christ, Our Savior,” and if you click on the YouTube link on the right of my blog page, you can watch it, as well as the message!

Text:  1Corinthians 15:1-6, 2Corinthians 1:20, etc. 

God exclaims, “YES! Jesus Christ, My Son has risen, just according to My Word! Therefore, be assured that ALL of My promises are, ‘YES!’ The promise of My Spirit is ‘YES!’  Now, you must become the AMEN to My ‘YES!’”

The believers at Corinth had begun to believe false teachers who told them there is no resurrection from the dead. So Paul wrote the truth to them, so they would not believe those false teachers  

1Corinthians 15:1  Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain (emptily, not from the heart).

1Corinthians 15:3   For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep (that is, their bodies have died) . . .

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the final proof that all of God’s promises are YES! If Jesus Christ had not risen on the third day after He was crucified and entombed, then God’s promise of His Christ would be a lie. But Jesus Christ rose!

Jesus Christ’s resurrection means that when you believe into Him, He heals your relationship to God! It is the pearl of great price which allows you to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13:45-46)! When you believe into Him, you pass out of death, through the Door which is Christ (John 10:7), and into life, eternal life — His eternal life in you, here and now and eternal life with the Father and the Son when your body dies and you are in heaven 

John 5:24   “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

Glory to God! Rejoice with me, because all of God’s promises are YES!

But there is more to God’s YES than passing out of death and into life! All of the New Testament’s apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers spoke of both the resurrection (88 times) and the Holy Spirit (142 times) in the Book of Acts and in the Epistles. 

Why? It was to confess, as Jesus Christ’s witnesses, that His resurrection is the undeniable proof that He is the Christ, the exclamation point, the YES of God’s promise spoken through His prophets, including Moses, who prophesied of Jesus Christ from thousands of years before He walked the earth! 

And it was also to confess, as Jesus Christ’s witnesses, that His resurrection led to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so that they and you and I become the AMEN to God’s YES of the infilling of the Holy Spirit! 

Luke, who wrote the Book of Acts, and all the writers of the Epistles confirm with their words that Jesus Christ’s resurrection set into motion the rest of God’s promises. Paul writes to the believers at Corinth —

2Corinthians 1:20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. (KJV)

What does Paul mean? All of God’s promises are indeed YES for those who are in Christ Jesus, the one proven to be the Christ because He was, indeed, raised from the dead! 

But your purpose and mine, after we are saved, is to become the AMEN to the remainder of God’s promises — those that follow and are established upon God’s fulfilled promise of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. God speaks through Ezekiel of the promise that makes you the  AMEN —

Ezekiel 36:26  “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh (one that responds to Him). 27 And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” (KJV)

Paul began his letter to the believers at Rome with God’s YES, the resurrection of the Christ —

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 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. 

But he also continued to the YES of God’s promise of His Holy Spirit —

Romans 8:3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned (to death) sin (the sinful nature) in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

The sin nature stands condemned to death! All you need to do is ask your Father in heaven for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), and the sin nature’s death sentence will be fulfilled with a glorious YES from your Father and a joyous AMEN from you!

Paul met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, and on Straight Street in Damascus, he became the AMEN by way of the Spirit-filled disciple named Ananias —

Acts 9:11 And the Lord said to him (Ananias), “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying . . .”

Acts 9:17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Then, Paul was able to boldly say —

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh (body), I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

His sin nature’s death sentence was fulfilled when he was filled with the Holy Spirit! Then Paul became the AMEN to God’s YES!

Therefore, Paul prays that the troubled believers in Ephesus be filled with the Spirit —

Ephesians 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

It is my prayer, also, for the apostate church of today! Beloved, I testify that Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (fulfilling the prophecies), and that He was buried, and that He was raised from the dead on the third day, according to the scriptures. 

And I testify, by my own experience, that you must be filled with God’s Holy Spirit in order to fulfill the purpose for which you were created, for Jesus Christ commands you to become the AMEN to God’s YES!

Therefore, respond to God’s YES with a YES of your own, asking your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), so that you become the AMEN to God’s YES that Christ commands you to become (Acts 1:4-5, 8).

God has been perfectly faithful to do what only He can do, first for us (salvation), and then in us (sanctification, the infilling of the Holy Spirit)! 

Jesus Christ has been faithful to prove God’s promises are true, and that God has been faithful to do them. But have you been faithful? Have you become the proof of all of God’s promises by not only believing into Jesus Christ but also obeying His command to wait for to the promise of the Father? Have you become the AMEN?

Jesus Christ gives both promise and a warning to His disciples, and to you — 

John 14:23 “. . . If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode (permanent dwelling) with him. 24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

Many in today’s church were eager to be saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to Him, and to have their past sins forgiven. They gladly celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Resurrection Sunday! And that is good and right! I rejoice with you!

But I tell you the truth, many reject Jesus’ command to become the AMEN to God’s YES. They do not realize that they are saying to their Father in heaven, “I am thankful for Your ‘Yes’ that gave me salvation through Christ, but I do not need to become the ‘Amen’ to Your promise.”  But to receive God’s salvation and refuse His Holy Spirit is to disobey your Father in heaven, and to disobey Jesus Christ.

Therefore, now is the time to repent and believe and obey! Ask Him to make you the AMEN to His YES, as Jesus Christ commands, through the infilling of the Holy Spirit! 

Lord Jesus, I celebrate Your resurrection, your salvation, and the great work of Your Spirit in making me the AMEN to all the promises of God the Father! I pray that many would obey You today. Let it be so. Amen.

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ISAIAH SESSION 3 — THE LORD ALONE WILL BE EXALTED

Text: Isaiah 2

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

In the days of Isaiah, God’s people are headed for disaster —  exile (separation from His presence), and even death and condemnation. Oh, but if they will repent as I did, the Lord and I will rejoice and sing (Zephaniah 3:17)!

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. He gives Isaiah visions, and words with which to paint a picture of what the Lord has shown him.

And He sends me to the church today, though I am only a pastor and teacher. But by His grace, I am what I am. As I read Isaiah, I see what the Lord showed him, as if the Lord was showing it to me. If I were going to give this a title, I would call it, “The Lord Alone Will Be Exalted.”

NOTE: My thanks to John Oswalt, author of the commentary on Isaiah in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament. He provides an excellent commentary on Isaiah that I will use from time to time, to help me teach as clearly as possible. 
Verses 1-2 —

First, we see the phrase from Isaiah 1:1 repeated. One vision is complete, and this phrase introduces another.

Isaiah is given a vision of the last days. When are the last days? When the LORD has revealed all false gods for what they are, when He has executed His wrath on those who refused Him. I believe Isaiah will describe Jesus Christ’s millennial reign here, per Revelation 20:6. 

At that time, it will be fully known that there is just one true God. The mountain of the house of the Lord (as opposed to the high places where Israel and the world have worshipped idols) will be established as the only true place where the only true God can be worshiped. 

Do you see His mountain, the house of the Lord, majestically standing above all the others, dwarfing them so that they are like low hills? The contrast of the hills of the false gods versus the mountain of His house emphasizes that they are nothing in comparison. And again, remember that hills were the locations of cult worship of false gods.

“And all the nations will stream to the house of the LORD.” The word “stream” gives us a picture of a great flow of humanity, and the word means sparkle, flow, as with the sheen of a running stream. 

Does this mean that all will stream into His temple in Jerusalem, where the LORD has established His house? Or is there also a spiritual meaning, that they will stream into the LORD’s spiritual kingdom? 

I think both. The LORD is not limited to geographical locations, but He established His house in Jerusalem, when He first brought His people there. So, in that day, peoples will come to the place that has been despised by the world, Jerusalem, and to the LORD’s temple, to bow down to and worship the one true God and His reigning Son. Thus, all who come and bow down will enter His spiritual kingdom!

Verse 3 —

And many peoples will come and say, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. The LORD specifies once again that peoples will know that His is the only mountain, the only house, and He is the only true God, even the God of Jacob (Israel). 

Why will all peoples come to His mountain, His house? So that He will teach them His ways, and so that they walk in His paths. They will no longer want to walk any other way. They will seek Him then, for at that time, the unmasking and destruction of all false gods will have been accomplished by Him. They will no longer rely on those gods, for they will see them for what they are!

They will know that from Jerusalem, the instruction of the LORD will go forth. From there, the word of the LORD will be heard and known by the peoples of the earth. 

Oswalt writes that unless the Lord teaches, we cannot learn His ways, but He cannot teach us unless we come to Him. So, we must first come, and then He will teach us. Good stuff!

In this day, we do not yet see rivers of humanity streaming to Jerusalem, but we have seen billions come to faith in Jesus Christ, through those who are filled with His Spirit and are thus His full-time, permanent dwelling places, His temples —

2Corinthians 6:16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God . . .

So, until the last day, they will come to the Lord who is in us, and learn from Him!

Verse 4 —

And He will judge between (vindicate or punish) the nations (peoples), and will render judgments for (correct and convict) many peoples. He is the only Righteous Judge (2Timothy 4:8). What will be the result of His judgment? Repentance!

They will break into pieces their weapons of war against Him and melt them down. They will make their swords into plowshares (hoes) and their spears into pruning hooks (pruning knives). They will cease to fight against Him.

Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war. 

What is the cause of war? Why do nations fight amongst each other? I could speak of world politics and false religions, but ultimately, the cause is the sin nature with which everyone is born. And He is the only One who can put that nature to death and make you a partaker of His divine nature! Then there will be His peace, not peace as humans define it!

Some come now, through those who announce His gospel. Some believers seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and then His peace is in them. But ALL will come, in that day.

Verse 5 —

In contrast to Isaiah’s vision of that day, the LORD must call His own people, for they are rebelling against Him! Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD. If the Lord must beckon them to walk in His light, then they are not presently walking in His light, but in darkness. It is the same today. Come, O believer!

Verse 6 —

Because His people are walking in darkness, the LORD has abandoned them. He has thrust them off. 

Why has the LORD abandoned the house of Jacob? Because they are filled with influences from the east. They have not only followed the false religions of the east, but they are completely filled with the falseness and evil of false gods.

You become what you worship (Psalm 115:8). Thus, they have become soothsayers, sorcerers, things that are an abomination to the LORD because they involve consultation with Satan. 

And they trade with the children of foreign gods. Paul warns the Corinthians —

2Corinthians 6:14   Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

Verses 7-8 —

Not only are His people filled with the falseness of the false religions of the east, but their land has been filled with the things the world relies upon and worships — silver and gold, treasures, horses, chariots. 

It is a picture of self-exaltation by humans. It is a picture of human pride and self-sufficiency. They play God, defiantly saying, I will fight with my own strength, I will make a god in my own image! Paul writes —

Romans 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

And because of their self-exaltation, their land is also filled with idols, and His people worship the work of their hands. Humans make their idols out of wood, stone, and metal. They make them with their own fingers. They make them out of their own imaginations. 

Verse 9 —

So, regardless of position or wealth, all those who exalt themselves will be humbled and abased. Both “humbled” and “abased” mean “humbled” in the original Hebrew. So, I see that they will be humbled and humbled. When the Lord speaks the same word twice, it means that the humbling will be sudden. I believe that this time of humbling will be in the days when His wrath is poured out (Revelation 15:7 and forward).

When they are suddenly humbled by the Lord, they will see their pride. Their apostasy (willful turning away from the Lord) will become obvious to them. 

But they will not respond as they should, even though they now see their folly. There is no evidence that they will repent. So, Isaiah says, “But do not forgive them,” LORD.  The day of His grace will be gone — it will be the day of His wrath. So, their sin will not be forgotten by Him. They will be punished by Him. 

Beloved, there will come a time when the LORD no longer grants forgiveness. That is why Isaiah says, in Chapter 55, “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call on Him while He is near.” The Book of Revelation reflects that, after the LORD has done everything to bring all men near, and they yet refuse Him, He will execute His wrath upon them (Revelation 16:1 and forward).

At the end of things, every knee will bow, and every tongue — even that of the rebellious — will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10). The unrepentant rebellious have no choice but to bow and confess His Lordship, and confess that He would have been their salvation, if they had not rejected Him. But it will be too late for them.

Verse 10 —

In the days when His wrath is poured out, it will be too late to repent. The rebellious have not worshiped, feared and obeyed Him. They have not submitted to Him in recognition of His greatness and His right to rule in their hearts. 

So, when He appears, they will attempt to hide in caves and hide in the dust (in holes, per Verse 19). They will try to hide from the terror of the LORD. That phrase means His appearing will startle and cause them to physically shake. And they will try to hide from the splendor (gloriousness) of His majesty, which they will now see. 

He will come as their enemy, and they will have no defense against Him.

Isaiah repeats this phrase “The terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty” three times (Verses 10, 19, and 21). It is God’s mercy that Isaiah repeats it, for if His people will tremble at His words and repent while it is still today, He will forgive them. 

Hebrews 4:7  He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.”

Verse 11 —

In His great mercy, the LORD continues to give His people a wider view of what will happen if they do not turn back while it is still today. In that day when it is too late, the proud will be brought low, and the lofty will be humbled.

Verse 12 —

That day when it is too late will be His day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty, and everyone who is lifted up. The reckoning is this — all such ones will be suddenly humbled by Him, and will be judged.

Verses 13-16 —

The LORD now gives Isaiah another picture to paint. Who are the proud and lofty and lifted up by their own estimation?

— The cedars of Lebanon and the oaks of Bashan (those who think they are like valuable, towering trees, thus counting themselves as far greater than the LORD whom they disobey)

— The lofty mountains and the hills that are lifted up (again, those who think they are far greater than the LORD)

— Every high tower, and every fortified wall (those who rely on their own protection as being greater than the LORD’s protection). I believe this passage also refers to those who exalt their own intellect, per Paul’s words to the wayward Corinthian believers who were listening to false teachers —

2Corinthians 10:4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

— Against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all the beautiful craft (against everything that the prideful rely upon for provision; again, these ships are the work of their own hands)

Verses 17-18 —

Isaiah repeats the phrase from Verse 11, at the LORD’s prompting, The pride of man will be humbled, and the loftiness of man will be abased, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. 

But what will happen to the idols to which the proud have looked, the idols they made with their own hands? They will completely vanish, for they are nothing and always have been nothing — 

Psalms 115:4-8 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands. 5 They have mouths, but they cannot speak; they have eyes, but they cannot see; 6 They have ears, but they cannot hear; they have noses, but they cannot smell; 7 They have hands, but they cannot feel; they have feet, but they cannot walk; they cannot make a sound with their throat. 8 Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them.

Verse 19 —

Again, Isaiah repeats, Men will try to hide in caves and in holes of the ground. Why? Because He will appear, in all of His majesty, and they will feel His terror, for they have become His enemy, and have no defense against Him.

He will arise, and make the earth tremble, in that day. The world will shake violently, the world will be filled with dread and terror. 

All that can be shaken will be shaken, including the spiritual realm between us and the kingdom of heaven. It is where Satan dwells, his temporary lair —

Hebrews 12:26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Verse 20-21 —

What will be the response of the rebellious, now filled with terror, now shaking violently? They will cast away their idols of silver and their idols of gold to the moles and the bats. Those false gods, which they have made for themselves to worship, will be shown to have no power at all. But it will be too late!

They will cast them away, as they attempt to hide in their caves, and in clefts of rocks, where bats dwell, and as they attempt to hide in their holes in the ground, where moles dwell. But it is impossible to hide from the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty, and there is no escape from His judgment.

Verse 22 —

So, what is the cure for the pride of man, for his self-exaltation? What is the cure for man’s idolatry of self, which leads him to fashion gods of his own liking and in his own image? 

Isaiah says, Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils. Why should man be esteemed? 

Cease and desist from your idolatry of self. You are nothing apart from the LORD. It is He who breathed life into you! You did not make yourself live. 

Why should man be esteemed? Why do so many highly regard themselves, their wisdom, their knowledge, the ways of man, business practices to grow churches, psychology, psychiatry, and sociology? 

The reliance upon such things by today’s leaders of the church reflects that they think they are wiser than the LORD. They believe they can build a successful and prosperous ministry by the work of their own hands! How foolish that the creature thinks he is greater than his Creator!

But how can you stop regarding man? It is human nature, the sin nature in you. But the LORD is the Heart Changer! If you ask Him to do it, He will crucify your sin nature, and give you His, instead. 

Then you will not exalt yourself any more. He will fill you with His Holy Spirit, and you will rely on His strength, His wisdom, His knowledge, and His ways! Amen! Let it be so, Lord!

Next time, we will see that the LORD will break His people, and tell them why He is doing it. Stay tuned!

PERFECT FAITHFULNESS

[SW374] 4/13/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“Perfect Faithfulness”

Text: Isaiah 25:1, 52:10, 53:1, 4-6

There is no other god worshiped on the earth, no other religion that makes this claim — God came down to save us from His wrath and reconcile us to Himself. All other religions require man to attempt to obtain “god status,” or to appease an angry god, or to somehow reach a “god.” But the God of heaven sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to reach down to us and die on a cross for us! 

What kind of God would do such a thing? One who is perfectly faithful —

Isaiah 25:1  O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.

What has He been faithful to do?

Isaiah 52:10  The LORD will lay bare his holy arm (His power), in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.

He bares His holy arm for all who will believe the message I and others bring (Isaiah 53:1). You will see His salvation, if you will believe. He does not desire any to perish, but that all would come to repentance, turning to Him (2Peter 3:9).

He bares His holy arm not to strike, but to heal, if you will come to Him! If you refuse, you have chosen to face His judgment, for you have rejected the salvation He has provided in perfect faithfulness, at immeasurable cost to Himself. 

In the sight of all the nations (all the peoples of the earth), He reveals His Son as the source of salvation. But some are offended, believing that they are good, when none of us is good — not even one (Romans 3:10)! He sent His Son so that, after you are saved and reconciled, you obey His command to be filled with Him and His goodness. Only then are you truly good!

At what cost does all the world see that salvation comes through God? There could not have been a higher cost. He offered His son, to carry our sin —

Isaiah 53:4-6  Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace (with God) was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity (sin) of us all.

And it pleased God to do it . . . 

Isaiah 53:10  But the LORD was pleased to crush Him (striking Him with a firm blow), putting Him to grief (wounding Him); if He would render Himself as a guilt offering . . . 

That is God’s perfect faithfulness! If you are not awestruck, you are not listening. 

In God’s great love, mercy and perfect faithfulness toward those He created, He sent a part of Himself to the earth — His Son, Jesus Christ, who spoke wondrous words and did wondrous miracles that proved He is God the Son. Then He bore the iniquity of us all, upon His body! No other “god” does such a thing— only the God of heaven, who is perfectly faithful to do what He has promised! 

On this Palm Sunday, I pray you will grasp the enormity of what God has done, the perfect faithfulness with which He did it, and the outcome for all who will believe into His Son!

You and I do not receive what we deserve. It is a selfless act, a self-giving act from a selfless and self-giving, perfectly faithful God. He does not demand that you sacrifice your children in the fire, nor blow yourself up in order to kill infidels, nor sexually violate innocent children so that you prosper, nor vainly attempt to strive to reach godhood. He requires that you believe His message. Then you will see the arm of His salvation!

He was the only acceptable, perfect, sinless offering with no spot or blemish, whom John the Baptist announced —

John 1:29, 36 . . . “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

36. . . and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and  said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

That is God’s faithfulness. But what does He require of you, considering what He has done? When you have seen His arm and believed, and have been saved and reconciled, Peter tells you what you must do —

1Peter 1:17   If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 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.

Conduct yourself in fear — literally, be afraid because you have experienced the saving power of the One who offered His Son in perfect faithfulness! 

If you truly understand the magnitude and cost of God’s offering on your behalf, you will quickly obey Jesus Christ’s commands — Believe (John 3:16)! Stay (Luke 24:49)! Wait (Acts 1:4-5)! 

Why must you not only believe, but stay and wait? Because He requires you to follow in His footsteps, and die to sin so you live to righteousness —

1Peter 2:21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 24 . . .  and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

When you stay and wait, you will surely die to sin — your sin nature will be crucified — and live to righteousness because He will fill you with His Holy Spirit and His divine nature, which is righteous! That is the healing for which He commands you to stay and wait!

Again, Peter exhorts the church —

1Peter 4:1  Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 

Beloved, it is not a time for Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts! These things represent the worship of pagan fertility goddesses, Ashtoreth, and in Europe,  Eostre (EES-tra). That is why “Easter” involves eggs and rabbits — symbols of fertility! 

I tell you the truth, when I privately exhorted one pastor about Easter egg hunts at his church, he told me, “We are taking back the egg!” What a strange statement to the ears of Jesus Christ! How I pray for that one, and for all churches and believers!

O believer, next Sunday is Resurrection Sunday, a celebration of the Christ who endured unspeakable suffering, died on a cross to save you and reconcile you, rose on the third day, ascended to His Father and sat down at His right hand, and poured out His Holy Spirit. 

Celebrate God’s perfect faithfulness by responding in faithfulness to the One who was faithful to you! Respond by obeying Jesus Christ’s commands to stay and wait! Obey the One who will heal you of your sin nature and fill you with His divine nature (2Peter 1:4)!

Now the Lord has commanded me to exhort you as Paul exhorted Timothy, regarding God’s perfect faithfulness —

Timothy 2:11 It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

If you have crucified your sin nature (Galatians 2:24), you will live with Him. If you endure (suffer death to your sin nature), you will also reign with Him. 

But if you deny Him by refusing to obey His commands, He will deny you. When you stand before Him in the day of judgment, He will say to you, “I never knew you!” (See Matthew 7:23, 25:12.) 

If you are faithless and do not believe He is able to crucify the sin nature in you and fill you with His divine nature, know that He remains faithful to His own righteous, just and holy nature. Therefore, you will face His judgment, for He cannot deny His own nature.

If you find this message offensive, you are one for whom I pray. I was the same as you, for the first 42 years of my life. 

I tell you the truth, I have seen God’s perfect faithfulness, I have seen His salvation and His sanctification! In faith, I stayed and waited, and now I am entirely His, my sin nature is crucified and His nature is in me. He fully indwells me (John 14:23)! He has done it so others will see Him in me, and will honor and revere Him, and believe His message!

Lord Jesus, You are the salvation which Your Father has shown to the whole earth. May many open their eyes to see the wonder that You have done, and may the hearts of many believers be pricked by Your words. Amen!

ISAIAH SESSION 2 — CHOOSE THIS DAY

Text: Isaiah 1:18-31

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

In the days of Isaiah, God’s people are headed for disaster —  exile (separation from His presence), and even death and condemnation. Oh, but if they will repent as I did, the Lord and I will rejoice and sing (Zephaniah 3:17)!

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. He gives Isaiah visions, and words with which to paint a picture of what the Lord has shown him.

And He sends me to the church today, though I am only a pastor and teacher. But by His grace, I am what I am. As I read Isaiah, I see what the Lord showed him, as if the Lord was showing it to me. If I were going to give this a title, I would call it, “Choose This Day.”
Verse 18 —

First, the Lord extends a merciful offer. Come, let us reason together (let us be right), says the LORD. Let Me correct what is wrong in you. Your sins are like a scarlet stain, very visible! But you will be white as snow (pure)! Your sins are a red stain, like crimson, very visible. But I will make you like (pure white) wool. He will remove all the sin stains from His people when He purifies them.

Verses 19-20 —

But His people must choose —

— If they consent and obey (if they become willing and obedient), they will eat. What will they eat? The best of the land, provided by Him.

— If they refuse and rebel, they will be eaten. What will eat them? They will be devoured (consumed) by the sword of their enemies.

Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Eat or be eaten. It is a choice each believer must make. If you consent and obey, He will provide you with the best food of the land. If you consent and obey, you will partake of the Bread of Life. Glory to His name, for His great mercy!

But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured (eaten) by your enemy, Satan. Do you see the contrast? Peter warns believers —

1Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

If Judah and Jerusalem continue to refuse and rebel, they will be consumed by their natural enemy, Babylon. Indeed, they did choose to refuse and rebel, and Babylon invaded them and ate them with their swords. The invasion began 76 years after Isaiah was murdered by Jews who refused and rejected the Lord’s warnings that Isaiah faithfully spoke.

Verses 21-23 —

The LORD describes those who refuse and rebel continues. Look at the contrasts and the imagery, in His words to Isaiah 

— Faithful, but now a harlot (prostitute)

— Full of justice and righteousness, but now, full of murderers

— Silver that has become dross (impure)

— Drink (choice wine) no longer full strength, but diluted with water

The LORD continues—

— Your rulers are rebels and companions of thieves (as Jesus said when He cleansed the temple in Matthew 21:13, the temple was no longer a house of prayer, but a den of robbers)

— Everyone loves a bribe and chases after rewards of a bribe (money, possessions)

— The Lord says, They do not judge the fatherless righteously, nor does the widow’s plea come before them. They provide for no one but themselves. And spiritually speaking, the fatherless are not told about the Father who will gladly receive them, and the widow is not told about the Husband who would gladly receive her!

Verse 24 —

Therefore, because His people have chosen to refuse and rebel, the LORD GOD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel declares something. He is LORD, He is GOD, Israel belongs to Him, the Mighty One. 

How foolish to come against the Mighty One, their LORD, the one true God! But they have chased after false gods that are the works of men’s hands and imaginations. They love the sensuality of the cult worship of false gods (Jeremiah 5:31).

His people have become His adversaries! So He will relieve Himself of them, He will avenge Himself against His people who have become His foes. Indeed, they will go into exile in Babylon.

Verse 25 —

He will turn (stretch out) His hand upon them. He will inflict extreme punishment upon them through King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. 

But His exile is an expression of His mercy to His people. By their exile, by their separation from Him, by their punishment, He says, I will smelt away your dross as with lye (which attaches to impurities so they can be skimmed off during smelting), and will remove all your alloy (admixtures). They will no longer worship other gods. He will purify them!

Verse 26 —

After I have exiled you, He says, in that day, I will restore your judges (leaders) as at the first. I will restore your counselors (advisors) as at the beginning. They will be made righteous before Me! 

And all of you who have undergone My purification will be called the city of righteousness, a faithful city. You will be right like me, and faithful like Me! And He and I will sing, when He does this in His people!

The LORD gives a prophecy of the coming Purifier, His Son —

Malachi 3:2  “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi (and all believers) and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.”

Verses 27-28 — 

The LORD says, all who consent and obey will be redeemed (bought back), for I am a LORD of justice. I redeem the repentant! What is more, I redeem them with righteousness, for I am the LORD of righteousness, the Righteous Judge (Psalm 7:11, 2Timothy 4:8)! I will buy you back from Babylon.

But it is a different story for those who refuse and rebel! He says, Transgressors (those who commit apostasy, turning away from the LORD) and sinners (those guilty of disobeying Him and refusing to repent) will be destroyed (ruined) together. Those who forsake Him will be consumed (perish).

Verse 29 —

The LORD says, When I judge you who refuse and rebel, you will be ashamed of the oaks which you have desired. The oaks were “sacred” trees that were part of a fertility cult, where false fertility gods were worshiped via sexual acts.

It is the same in many false religions today. Satan knows the most powerful drive in humans is sexual. So he puts it in the minds of the foolish to create such gods out of their own imaginations.

And the LORD says to those who refuse and rebel, you will be embarrassed (you will blush) at the gardens which you have chosen. Again, these are places of “sacred” springs or wells where fertility cult worship was performed.

Verse 30 —

The LORD says, when I judge you who refuse and rebel, you will be like an oak whose leaves fade away (wilt). I will disgrace you. Because you love those oaks, I will make you wilt. Because you love those “sacred” springs, I will make you a waterless garden, incapable of producing anything.

Verse 31 —

The LORD says, when I judge you who refuse and rebel, your strong men will become like tinder, like the refuse of flax, which is useless and is shaken out. The writer of Hebrews warns the Jewish believers who had been scattered because of persecution —

Hebrews 12:26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

The LORD says, When I judge you who refuse and rebel, your strong men will become as a spark, and your work and your strength will burn together. And there will be none to quench them (see Jesus’ words in Mark 9:43-46). 

Eat or be eaten. Consent and obey or refuse and rebel. Turn, beloved! The LORD and I want to rejoice over you with singing!

Lord, may Your people hear the truth of Your words. May they see that You will forgive and restore them, if they consent and obey. But may they also see that You will ensure their destruction and they will perish, if they refuse and rebel. Amen.

THE CUP OF SEPARATION

[SW373] 4/6/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“The Cup of Separation”

Text: Matthew 26:36-39, 42, 44

Last time, Jesus Christ asked you if you are able to drink the cup of persecution that He drank and be baptized with His baptism. In this passage, you will see that He had to drink a cup that only He could drink. And I will show you how that cup relates to you.

But first, you must know what He knew, before He drank that cup. Then you will understand His prayer in the place called Gethsemane. 

From before anything was made, Jesus Christ knew that He would be slain —

Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (KJV)

Thus, John the Baptist announced Him as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).

Jesus Christ knew that He had authority to lay down His life, and also to take it up again —

John 10:17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

Jesus Christ knew that His Father sent Him to die —

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.”

Jesus Christ knew that He would be tortured mercilessly, and then die on a cross —

Mark 10:33 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. 34 “They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.” (Also, see Matthew 20:17-19, Mark 8:31 & 9:12, Luke 18:31-33, John 13:33 & 13:36).
Jesus Christ knew what He would endure as He hung on the cross — 

From a prophecy given by the Lord to King David, 700 years before Roman-style crucifixion was invented—

Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws . . . 16 For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones . . .

Isaiah 52:14 Just as many were astonished at you, so His appearance was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men.

Jesus Christ knew that He would take upon Himself the punishment we deserved, for our sin —

Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being (peace with God) fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity (sin) of us all 

to fall on Him.

Jesus knew He would gladly do it all —

Hebrews 12:2b . . . Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame . . . 

The joy set before Him was that He could see all who would be saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to God by believing into Him, and then, all who would obey His command to stay and wait so they would be His witnesses here, walking as He walked in this world, and being as He is (1John 2:6, 4:17).

So, why was His soul deeply grieved to the point of death in the garden at Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives? 

Matthew 26

Verses 36-38 — 

Jesus was about to pray, and took James, John and Peter with Him, to a place that was a distance from the other disciples. He began to be grieved and distressed of mind. 

And He told them that His soul was deeply grieved (overwhelmed with sorrow), to the point of death. He asked them to remain with Him and keep watch with Him. He knew His death was imminent, but He also knew all I have told you, and more. 

Verses 39, 42 and 44 — 

And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, and said, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” It was a cup far worse than the physical torture He knew He was about to endure! 

What overwhelmed Him with sorrow to the point of death? Separation from His Father, for the first time in eternity. 

Why would He have to be separated from His Father, for the first time in eternity? It was because He carried the sin of all mankind upon Himself. And sin causes separation from God. The LORD says through Isaiah —

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities (sins) have made a separation between you and your God . . . 

When He took the sin of the world upon Himself, the separation happened. At that moment, as recorded in Matthew 27:46, He cried out from the cross, just as David had prophesied —

Psalms 22:1  “My God, my God, why have You forsaken (left) Me? “

Yet He said three times, “Yet not as I will, but as You will!” He had come to do His Father’s will, even though it would cause a temporary separation of Him from His Father. It was just as David prophesied —

Psalm 40:7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of Me. 8  I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within My heart.”

And the writer of Hebrews confirms that David was prophesying about Jesus Christ —

Hebrews 10:7 “Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God.”

Beloved, when He prayed three times, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will,” it was so you would know that it was not possible; He had to endure separation from His Father.  

Think of it! Jesus was never separated from His Father until He was on the cross. And after He died, He was no longer separated from His Father, and after He rose and spent forty days ministering to His disciples, He rejoined His Father in heaven, sitting at His right hand (Mark 16:19, Acts 2:33, etc.). 

Why did He do it? Oh, it was not His will, but His Father’s will! He had to drink a cup that briefly separated Him from His Father, in order to save you, reconcile you, AND make you the righteousness of God in Him! That is God’s will! Paul exhorted the believers at Corinth —

2Corinthians 5:21  He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we (“might” is not in the original Greek) become the righteousness of God in Him (Christ).

You will say, “What? How can I be righteous like God?” You were born with a sin nature, as a child of Adam. But when you do your part and drink the cup that separates you from the sin nature, and separates you to God, He will fill you with His righteousness, and you will be the righteousness of God, in Christ!  But you must say, “Not my will, but Your will, Father!”

Paul exhorted the believers at Galatia —

Galatians 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh (sin nature) with its passions and desires.

Paul exhorted the believers at Rome —

Romans 12:1   Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

He paid a great, immeasurable price so you would be saved from God’s wrath, forgiven of your past sins, and reconciled to God. Those are the mercies of God! Your first response to His great mercies is to turn to Him and believe into Him. 

But in view of His great mercies, Jesus commands you and Paul beseeches you that you must also say, “Not my will, but your will, Father,” and ask Him to crucify your sin nature, separating you from sin, and to Him! Then, you are no longer separated from God the Father, but the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit dwell within you fully and permanently (John 14:23). 

He bore the wrath of God that you deserved (Romans 3:25). He was sinless, but He took your sin upon Himself! He willingly and gladly did it, because He saw all those who would be saved. Even though it meant separation from His Father while He hung on the cross, He did it so His Father would be glorified, honored, praised, and revered.

But He also paid that great, immeasurable price so that when He rose and ascended and was glorified and poured out His Holy Spirit at Pentecost, you would respond by obeying Him, staying and waiting to drink the cup of separation from your sin nature, so you are entirely separated to Him, and holy as He is holy.

He was merciful beyond merciful to you and me! He did for us what we did not deserve! So, like me, you are obligated to obey His command to stay and wait, so the sin nature you were born with is crucified. 

Then He will make you pure and spotless —

Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious (glory-filled) church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

What is your response to what He has done for you? Do you say, “Thanks, Jesus,” and continue to sin? May it never be! Paul writes to the believers in Rome —

Romans 6:1   What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

Have you died to sin? O believer, if you are still sinning, you must know that your sin separates you from God! Drink the cup of separation from sin and separation to Him! Ask Him to crucify the sin nature in you. Then it will be dead, never to rise again. 

Instead of the sin nature, you will be a partaker of His divine nature — pure, filled with His glory, spotless, entirely separated to Him, holy as He is holy (2Peter 1:4, Leviticus 19:2, Matthew 5:48, 1Peter 1:15-16)!

Do you see it? He continues His mercy to you beyond the cross. O believer, you cannot continue willfully disobeying Him and expect to enter the kingdom of heaven. Do not be deceived (1Corinthians 6:9-10)!

His hand of mercy extends to you today, in this command to you —

Acts 1:4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

When you say, “Yet not my will, but Your will,” Jesus Christ says this will be true of you —

Acts 1:8 . . . “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.”

Obedience to His command is the only sufficient response from you, beloved, now that you truly understand all that He did on your behalf!

Repent, turn completely way from your sin and to Christ, and believe into Him! He will surely forgive your past sins, save you from God’s wrath and reconcile you to God. 

Then, drink this cup of separation from your sin nature, and you will be separated to Him! When you have done it, He promises that He will be with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20)!

Lord Jesus, may this glorify the Father and You, and prick the hearts of many. May they respond by doing the words you have spoken through me, I pray. Amen!

ISAIAH SESSION 1 — HOW GOD SEES REBELLIOUS BELIEVERS

Text: Isaiah 1:1-17

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. In the days of Isaiah, God’s people are headed for disaster —  exile (separation from His presence), and even death and condemnation to hell. 

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. He gives Isaiah visions, and words with which to paint a picture of what the Lord has shown him.

And He sends me to the church today, though I am only a pastor and teacher. But by His grace, I am what I am. As I read Isaiah, I see what the Lord showed him, as if the Lord was showing it to me. If I were going to give this a title, I would call it, “How God Sees Rebellious Believers.”

In today’s church, it is rare to hear frank and blunt warnings about sin. It is rare to hear admonishments for Christians to repent and return to the Lord. But as with Isaiah, He is still sending His apostles and prophets and evangelists and pastors and teachers to warn and admonish (Ephesians 4:11). The ones who do these things are truly His. I am sent by Him because the church is in danger, just as Jerusalem and Judah were, in Isaiah’s day. 

NOTE: In this study, “God’s people” refers to both Israel and the church.

Isaiah’s name means “Yahweh (the LORD) Saves.” His father was Amoz, a brother of Amaziah, who was King of Judah before Uzziah. So, Isaiah was of royal lineage.

He prophesied in Judah and Jerusalem for at least 61 years — first, during the reign of King Uzziah, who reigned for 52 years. It is likely that Isaiah began prophesying near the end of his reign.

Then Isaiah prophesied to Jerusalem and Judah for all 16 years of the reign of King Jotham, all 16 years of the reign of King Ahaz, and all 29 years of the reign of King Hezekiah. These alone add up to 61 years!

Isaiah’s frank and blunt words were not received well by most of God’s people. They did not want to hear such things (see Isaiah 30:10). 

Ultimately, Jewish history records that the leaders of Israel murdered him by ordering him to be sawn asunder (into pieces). There is a reference to it in Hebrews 11:37. But he still spoke through his scrolls, and he still speaks today, to God’s people!

So, compelled by the very love of God that He has poured out in my heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), I will begin to paint a picture of God’s rebellious people as God sees them — including the rebellious in the church. I will begin to paint a picture of God Himself, a picture of His character, a picture of His holiness, a picture of His righteousness, a picture of His justice and His judgments, a picture of His mercy, and His love, for He surely loved even me, enough to draw this rebellious one to His Son, and save me and reconcile me and fill me with Himself!

Verse 1 —

The vision (sight, revelation) of Isaiah, the son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns (days) of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Isaiah is given a vision, and he paints a picture of what God’s people look like, in God’s eyes. 

So, as I have said, Isaiah introduces himself as being of royal heritage (though some commentators dispute this), a prophet who had a continual vision, over a long period of time —well over 55 years, as I have already noted!

The vision was given to him by the LORD. Is it Jesus? Is it the Father? Is it the Spirit? Moses tells us —

Exodus 3:13   Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

I AM is hayah, transliterated as yahweh, the eternally existent God. So, “the LORD” means God, who has eternally existed in three persons — the Father, the Son and the Spirit.

Verse 2 —

Listen, O heavens, and hear O earth, for the LORD speaks — we will soon see that His people do not listen to Him, but the heavens and earth will listen and will therefore stand as witnesses of the LORD’s words. 

The Lord says, I have sons that I have reared and brought up, sons who I delivered from slavery in Egypt, sons to whom I gave the land of Israel. But they have revolted against Me! 

Beloved, do you know that when you refuse to listen to the Lord, you are rebelling against Him? And do you know that you wound yourself when you rebel? I know, because I rebelled for many years, and was not saved until I was 42.

Verse 3 —

An ox knows his owner, the one to whom he belongs. A donkey knows the location of his stall, a place of provision — food, shelter and rest. 

But Israel does not know (personal knowledge, a holy, intimate relationship). My own people do not understand (pay attention to Me, consider Me diligently). The nation I made from nothing, those who I chose to be My people, have no relationship with Me, nor do they pay attention to Me, the LORD is saying.

Verse 4 —

Alas, sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity (perversity, sin)! The whole nation, all of the people, are filled with perversity. 

All of the people willfully disobey the LORD. They carry their sin upon themselves. It is like a heavy burden, a sack over their shoulder that bends them forward under its weight.

Offspring of evildoers . . . they have been rebelling against the LORD for generations. They are sons who act corruptly (destroying and ruining themselves). What corrupt acts have they done?

— They have abandoned (forsaken, left) the LORD

— They have despised the Holy One of Israel (spurning Him and worshiping false gods who are created to please the god of self)

— They have turned away from Him (literally, turned backward)

Verse 5 —

The LORD asks, Where will you be stricken again, as you continue in your rebellion? Those things you worship (even the idol of self) have wounded you, yet you continue to worship them. It is like a drug addict who thinks he cannot stop, even though he knows the drugs are killing him. He wounds himself continually.

[An aside, to give God glory for what He has done in me — I testify that God healed me of drug addiction at age 20, in a moment of time, in the middle of the night. And He would heal His people of such things, and even their idolatry of self, if they would return to Him!]

O believer, the whole head is sick (your rebellion sickens your entire mind), and the whole heart is faint (your rebellion weakens every part of your heart). The whole nation is defenseless against their enemies. The LORD has unleashed their enemies to discipline His people, so they would turn back to Him. 

The whole head also refers to the leaders of the church, who love the world and its wisdom and its ways, and lust after such things. Their hearts are diseased, impure, for they are not filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, God’s people have made themselves defenseless against Satan!

Verse 6 —

The LORD has given Isaiah a vision of what His people look like, spiritually, even though their natural bodies appear to be whole. It is not a pretty picture, beloved, but it is given so that they may turn back to Him.

From head to toe, there is nothing in His people that is sound. No well-being whatsoever exists inside His people. They are unaware that they are sick, faint, and that they have been severely beaten.

His people are covered with bruises, welts and raw wounds (rotting sores), from being stricken by the things they have worshiped (even the idol of self). They are like those who have been severely beaten.

And none of their wounds have been treated. Gaping wounds have not been pressed together, in order to close them. Their wounds have not been bandaged, to aid in healing after a wound is closed. Their wounds have not been softened with oil (usually olive oil, used to heal). 

Verse 7 —

Now, the Lord gives Isaiah a vision of the land in which His people lived then. It is the same for the lands in which His people live today, worldwide. 

Because of the sin of His people, even the land He gave them is desolate (devastated). Even their cities are burned with fire. What a picture Isaiah paints of this vision the LORD has shown him! Strangers devour their crops, and they are forced to watch it happen. It is a picture of invasion by their enemies. They are overthrown by strangers from other lands.

Do you know that when you rebel against the Lord, you are invaded by Satan? He tempts, and your lust grabs whatever he dangles in front of you.  O believer, He has come to steal eternal life from you, then kill you, and then destroy you by having his servants lead you down the broad path to destruction. He and they masquerade as angels of light. Paul warns the believers at Corinth —

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. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

Verse 8 —

The daughter of Zion, His people, sit like the crude shelters of those who watch over the vineyards and fields. The huts stand deserted, silhouetted against the sky. There is nothing to harvest. Do you see the picture the LORD is painting through Isaiah? 

They are a besieged city, under siege, prevented from going beyond their walls to get food and drink, starving, and sure to be conquered because the Lord is using King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon as His servant to mete out His punishment of His people for their rebellion.

Verse 9 —

Unless the LORD of hosts, the captain of the Lord’s armies, had left them a few survivors, they would be like Sodom. They would be like Gomorrah. They would be totally destroyed by fire and brimstone (Genesis 19:24).

But the LORD will never totally destroy His people. He will always keep a remnant. So, before Judah was invaded, a few lived because they obeyed the LORD and went into exile in Babylon. And after he had destroyed Jerusalem and Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar left a few Jews to tend to the vineyards and fields.

Verse 10 —

Hear the word of the LORD, cries Isaiah! Hear the word of the LORD, rulers of Sodom, for you have become like Sodom to Him, just as perverse and filled with sin from end to end.

Give ear to the instruction of our God, cries Isaiah! Give ear, rulers of Gomorrah, 

for you have become like Gomorrah to Him, just as perverse and filled with sin from end to end.

Verse 11 —

The LORD says, through Isaiah, What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me? Unless you offer them to Me with right hearts, they are nothing. Your hearts are filled with sin, you have rejected Me, so I will not accept them. 

The LORD established the system of sacrifices for sin, through Moses. They were to be offered by people whose hearts were right in His eyes.

But now, the LORD says, I have had enough! You say one thing and do another. You come with your rams, the fat of your fed cattle, the blood of bulls, lambs and goats. But you are simply going through the motions, doing these things as rote. You rebel against Me, and yet you expect Me to accept your sin offerings? I will not!

When you come to appear before Me in My temple, says the Lord, all I see is the trampling of My courts. Who requires this of you? You fill My temple with animals for sacrifice. Their hooves strike against the pavement. I hear their bleating. But your sacrifices are meaningless, because you are rebelling against Me. Oh, beloved, I pray you would see the consequences of your rebellion!

Jesus rebuked His people again, 700 years later —

Matthew 21:12   And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers (who cheated the people) and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He  said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

Verses 13-14 —

Bring your worthless (meaningless) offerings to Me no longer, says the LORD. The incense you burn is an abomination to Me (it disgusts Me), for  as soon as you have offered its fragrance to Me, you turn your back on Me and rebel against Me.

New moon feasts, sabbath services, the assemblies called by your leaders — I cannot endure iniquity. I cannot endure your sin. You do not repent. So, all of your outwardly religious acts are nothingness to Me.

I hate your new moon feasts and your appointed feasts — the ones I appointed for you, the ones that speak of My Son. You have made them a burden to Me because you carry upon yourself a heavy sack, a burden of sin that wearies you, and yet you refuse to repent. 

So I am weary of bearing the burden of your empty, meaningless observances. I am weary (disgusted) because you continue to worship the gods of the lands whose root is the god of self. 

Verse 15 —

Because you sin and refuse to repent, I will hide My eyes from you when you spread out your hands (in prayer). I will not listen, nor will I answer you. Yes, even though you pray many prayers to Me, I will not listen. 

I look at you as you spread your hands in prayer, and they are covered with blood. It is the blood of sacrifices to false gods, even the blood of your firstborn children whom you have sacrificed to false gods.

Verse 16 —

Repent! Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean. You will find you cannot make yourselves clean, but I will! 

Repent! Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. I do not want to see them any more. You will find that you cannot remove the evil from your heart, but I will!

Cease to do evil. You will find that you cannot stop sinning, but if you wait for My promise (Acts 1:4-5), I will give you a new heart and I will put My Spirit within you (Ezekiel 36:26-27), and you will cease from sinning.

Verse 17 — 

Learn to do good. You will find you cannot do it. There is none righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10ff) — but I will fill you with My Spirit, and He will purify your heart. 

Seek justice. You will find you are not just toward others, but I will fill you with my divine nature when I fill you with My Spirit, and you will deal justly.

Reprove the ruthless (violent robbers). You are ruthless, in My eyes, so you cannot reprove them. But I will give you a new heart, and then you will be able to reprove the ruthless and exhort them to repent. 

Defend the orphan, plead for the widow. You disregard the orphan and cheat the widow now. How do you cheat them? You do not tell them I am ready and waiting to be their Husband. You do not tell them I am ready and waiting to be their Father.

But when I fill you with My Spirit, you will bring widows and orphans into My kingdom (Deuteronomy 24:19-20). I will be a Husband to widows, and a Father to the fatherless —

Isaiah 54:5  “For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the LORD of hosts; 

and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth.”

When will He do these things for you? When you consent and obey! Stay tuned for Session 2!

Father, and Lord Jesus, be glorified through this teaching. May Your church and Your people Israel have ears to hear. Amen.

HIS CUP AND HIS BAPTISM

[SW372] 3/30/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“His Cup and His Baptism”

Text: Mark 10:32-45

James and John asked Jesus to seat them on His right and left. You want to be seated with Him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). But just as Jesus asked James and John, He asks you today, beloved — “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 

John and James said, “Yes,” but Jesus told them they did not know what they were asking. He has asked me to show you the meaning, so when you ask, you will know what you are asking, and you will ask Him to make you able to do it.

Verse 32 —

Jesus and a group of His disciples, including the Twelve, were on the road going to Jerusalem. Jesus was walking ahead of them rather than with them. They were amazed and fearful, because they knew the Jews were trying to kill Jesus, yet He seemed eager to face them. 

They did not understand that His face was set to do what His Father had sent Him to do —

Isaiah 50:7 For the Lord GOD helps Me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set My face like flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.

Luke 9:51   And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem . . . (KJV)

If you want to be seated with Him in the heavenly places, beloved, you must drink His cup and be baptized with His baptism. You must set your face like flint and turn toward it in obedience to Him, when He shows you what it means.

Verses 33-34 —

He knew they were amazed and fearful, so He took the Twelve aside, and said, Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles (non-Jews). The Jews handed Him over to the Romans because they were under Roman rule and were thereby prohibited from doing executions.

He already knew Judas would betray Him. He already knew that He would die on a Roman cross. Jesus said the Gentiles would mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him. 

But three days later, He said, the Son of Man will rise again! His resurrection was the final proof that He is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ (Romans 1:4)!

Verses 35-37 —

They were unable to comprehend His words about being condemned to death, scourged and killed, just as with each time He had told them (Matthew 20:17-19, Mark 8:31 & 9:12, Luke 18:31-33, John 13:33 & 13:36) . 

His Twelve were not yet filled with the Holy Spirit. So even though Jesus had told them, they had no understanding that He had to die, taking upon Himself the punishment they deserved, so whoever would believe into Him would be saved from the wrath of God and reconciled to Him.

His Twelve disciples also had no understanding that His was not an earthly kingdom. So in their eyes, Jesus’ eagerness to get to Jerusalem meant that He was ready to take His place on the throne of David, defeat the Romans who ruled over and oppressed the Jews, and set the Jews free!

With that in mind, James and John wanted the choicest and most powerful positions in His earthly kingdom. So they went to Him and asked Him to do for them whatever they asked of Him. He asked what they wanted Him to do for them, and they told Him they wanted to sit on His right and left, in His glory (place of honor) in Jerusalem. 

They were not yet filled with the Holy Spirit, so they had their own interests in mind. The disciples often argued about who was the greatest (Mark 9:34, Luke 9:46, etc.). If Jesus agreed to their request, their powerful positions would prove to the other Ten that they were the greatest!

Verse 38 

Jesus said, “You do not know what you are asking.” In order to be part of His kingdom, they would need to be able to drink the cup that He drinks, and be baptized with the baptism with which He is baptized. 

He had already told them what it is to drink His cup. They would be falsely accused by the Jews, condemned even to death, mocked, spat upon, scourged so that their flesh would be ripped away from their bodies, and then killed, for the sake of His gospel. They were all martyred except for John, because he was to receive the book of prophecy called The Revelation.

Verses 39-40 —

James and John said, “We are able,” when He asked them if they could drink His cup and be baptized with His baptism. But He would not give them a place on His right and left, in His heavenly kingdom. It was not His to give. His Father knew who He wanted in those positions, and His Father would make it so.

Again, they had no idea what they were saying, when they said, “We are able.” But He said, You shall drink My cup, and shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.

To drink the cup is to undergo the persecution He underwent, even to physical death. But what is the baptism with which He was baptized? Jesus was baptized into death on a cross, but their baptism into death would happen at Pentecost.

After He rose and breathed on them (John 20:22), they received a measure of His Spirit in them. But then, James and John and the rest of the 120 obeyed His command to stay and wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5). And Jesus Christ baptized them with the Holy Spirit and fire!

They were each individually filled with His Holy Spirit, and died to their own self-interests — that is, the sin nature that was on full display with James and John’s request and with the behavior of all of His disciples, before their personal Pentecost. 

Death to self, to the sin nature, is the baptism Jesus asked them if they were able to undergo. Paul writes of this baptism of death, the baptism of the Holy Spirit which is done in human hearts by Jesus Christ 

Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 6 . . . knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin . . .

Galatians 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

When they underwent the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they were empowered to drink His cup, even to the last drop. Before Pentecost, they had hidden from the Jews. After Pentecost, they preached Jesus in the temple. 

Before Pentecost, they feared persecution. After Pentecost, they were dragged before the Sanhedrin, the equivalent of the Supreme Court. The first time, they were warned not to speak the name of Jesus. And they boldly told the Sanhedrin that they could not speaking of what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:19-20). 

The second time, they were flogged and warned not to speak the name of Jesus. When they were released, they went from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for speaking His name, which the Jews had banned everyone from speaking (Acts 5:40-41). 

Jesus warned them that they would be persecuted (John 15:20). He knew that all but John would die at the hands of those who hated them. They drank His cup, underwent His baptism, and were made able to stand and even to rejoice in it!

Verses 41-44 — 

Jesus knew the rest of the Twelve were indignant about James and John’s request. So He called them to Himself. He exhorted them that they were not to lord it over each other, or exercise authority over each other, as unbelievers do. But they could not do it until they were baptized with His baptism and their sin nature was crucified.

It was not to be that way among them. Instead, if any of them wished to be great, they must become servants to one another, and if they wanted to be first, they must become slaves to one another. But they could not do it until they were baptized with His baptism and their sin nature was crucified.

Only Jesus Christ can take the self-interest out of you, when you ask Him to crucify your sin nature and fill you with His nature. Then you will serve as He served, walk as He walks (1John 2:6), and be as He is in this world (1John 4:17). Be baptized with His baptism, as He commands, and you will be empowered to do it, beloved!

Verse 45 —

Jesus said, even the Son of Man (a title of the Christ) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Even God the Son did not come to be served! 

His Father sent Him as His Servant to endure the punishment we deserved, so that  all who will believe into Him will be saved from God’s wrath, be reconciled to God, and have eternal life!

In America, Christians are just beginning to experience persecution. Expect it to increase, just as Jesus Christ prophesied in Matthew 24 and 25.

In many countries, some Christians are executed in front of their families, some are beheaded, some are crucified, some are stoned to death, some are imprisoned until they die, some are burned to death in their homes or their church, some are mocked and spat upon. Some are beaten and whipped to the point of death.

Why?  Because they proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. They are able to drink His cup, for they have undergone His baptism.

Again, here is His question to you — are you able to drink His cup, and be baptized with His baptism? He knows you do not fully understand it. But He commands you to do it. If you love Him, you will obey Him (John 14:23).

When you have drunk His cup and been baptized with His baptism, you will be able to say, with Paul —

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

He gave Himself up for you! When you give yourself up to Him so your sin nature is crucified, you will live for Him and not yourself, and He will fully live in you!

Lord Jesus, You are worthy of our immediate obedience to Your words. I pray it will be done. Amen.