IN-COURAGED!

[SW219] 02/05/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“IN-Couraged”

Texts: Joshua 1:1-9

Deuteronomy 34:9

John 20:19

Acts 2:14, 22, 3

Acts 4:8ff

The Lord is asking me to encourage you to be IN-Couraged — His boldness, His strength, His courage IN you!

In Joshua 1:3, the Lord tells Joshua that every place on which the sole of his foot treads, the Lord has given to the sons of Israel, just as He spoke to Moses.

What a promise!

In Joshua 1:6, the Lord commands Joshua to be strong (fasten upon the Lord, be constant, be established, seize) and courageous (mighty, steadfastly minded). Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (1Corinthians 15:58). Why? Because he SHALL give the people possession of the land.

The Lord commands Joshua again in Verse 7, and in Verse 9. Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!

Joshua  will lead Israel in, and they will be an occupying army, possessing the land promised to them through Abraham.

And believer, understand that your role is to occupy Satan’s territory here on earth, and possess it until the Lord comes again. And it is to ask God to bring you fully into the Promised Land with His strength and courage IN you — IN-couraged! When the end comes, Jesus Christ will bless the one who has been doing what He commanded, and condemn the one who didn’t obey (Matthew 24:46)!

Joshua needed power to obey the Lord’s command to be strong and courageous. Where did it come from?

In Numbers 27:18, the Lord says Joshua was a man in whom was the Spirit. And when Moses laid hands on him, he was filled with the spirit of wisdom.

Deuteronomy 34:9   Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Therefore, he had the Lord’s wisdom, strength and courage IN him, because the Spirit was IN him. He was IN-couraged. The Lord gave him the Spirit for that single assignment.

Today, God wants to fills you with the Holy Spirit permanently, rather than for a single assignment. Then you will have His strength, His courage and His boldness so you are able to occupy and possess the Enemy’s territory. You will become a member of an occupying army, freeing captives from sickness, demon possession, and sin, in the power and words of the Holy Spirit! He will give you what to say (Matthew 10:20).

Look at the difference between the disciples in John 20:19, after Christ was crucified, compared with Acts 2:14, 22, 36 and Acts 4:8 and forward!

In John 20:19, they hid behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. But in the scriptures in Acts, they were very strong, courageous, and bold! They now had God’s strength, courage and boldness IN them, and the actual love of God in their hearts compelled them to go (2Corinthians 5:14, Romans 5:5)!

Why the difference? They were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost! They were IN-couraged!

Paul persecuted Christians with all his might, until he had a vision of Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. Then Ananias came to him and he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17). Afterward, in Christ’s strength and courage, Paul boldly proclaimed Jesus Christ and performed miraculous signs and wonders all across the known world. He was IN-couraged!

Paul joyously wrote to the church at Philippi, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)! Amen!

Real-life testimony:

One day, we received a call from a man we had known for a couple of years. He said he was in the county jail, and needed us to come to him. We had never been behind locked doors in a jail before. But the Lord told us to go, and we went in His strength, courage and boldness.

We entered another world as we heard the thick steel door close behind us. The spiritual darkness in that place was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

We pressed on, met with the man, ministered to him with bold words from the Lord, and continued meeting with him until he was tried and sentenced to prison. He wrote us from there, and asked us to come.

I contacted the chaplain at the Maine State Prison. Come to find out, I had worked for him at the VA, before I was diagnosed with MS and had to retire on disability!

Jeff and I went through a four-hour training program. Then the chaplain asked us to come to a Bible study conducted by a man who had been doing Bible studies for the prisoners for 25 years, so we could learn how to interact with the prisoners who attended. On our way to that Bible study, we asked the Lord to give us a sign that we were to minister there. A flashing neon one, please!

When we arrived at the prison lobby, the chaplain was called to meet us. We passed through two metal detectors. Our worship gear was searched.

We were lead by the chaplain and one guard through one very thick steel door, stopping at a window to turn in our car keys and driver’s licenses and receive visitor/clergy ID badges.

Then we passed through a second very thick steel door. As we went through we saw a giant man from the Max (maximum security pod) clad in orange, shackled head-to-toe with thick chains, flanked by two large, muscular guards.

After another locked steel door, we passed the cafeteria on our right. A “man down” code was issued; that meant a fight had broken out between prisoners, and at least one prisoner was on the floor.

We continued on across the courtyard to the activities building, in the Lord’s strength and courage, completely unfazed by it all. We were on a mission — on assignment — to go in and possess this land controlled by Satan, and occupy it. And we were IN-couraged! Glory to God!

The Bible study teacher, who never missed a meeting in 25 years, missed this one. That was the first confirmation that we were to minister there. In a circle sat about twenty captives, along with the chaplain, Jeff and me.

The chaplain said he’d stay with us to guide and support us. But God stepped in, began speaking through us to the men, and soon, the chaplain said, “I’ll leave you now; you don’t need me.” That was our second confirmation from the Lord that we were to minister there.

The Lord ministered through us to these men for two years at our Monday prison worship service, as we sang and played guitar and proclaimed Jesus Christ from the Word of God.

The first time, I told them they needed to know that I wasn’t a goody two-shoes. I gave them some history of my drug addition as a teen and young adult, my drug dealing husband, and the Saturday Night Special that was at my side constantly, in case someone came into our apartment to try to steal our drugs. I told them how God came to my rescue in the middle of the night, and freed me from drug addiction in a moment of time.

Then I asked them for a show of hands. How many of you really like it here? No hands were raised. Just as I thought. How many want to come back again real soon? Again, no hands were raised.

I asked, “Do you wand to know how you can get out of this cycle of in and out, in and out, like a revolving door? Jesus Christ will change your heart, fill you with His Spirit and His love, and you won’t want to plan your next crime from here. You’ll just follow and obey Him forever.”

I told them I knew many outside of the prison walls who were in invisible chains, behind invisible bars. They needed the same thing!

What compelled us to go behind prison doors? The love of God, because the Holy Spirit had filled our hearts. And He gave us His strength, courage, and boldness! Our boast is in the Lord, not ourselves! We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

We are not special, beloved. Some say the missionaries who go into countries so hostile that their names can’t be released, are special. Some think missionaries through the ages have been special. They had a calling, they have a calling, we have a calling, AND you do, too. Have you answered Christ’s call?

Now I’m truthin’. I’m being bold (frank and blunt). The truth is, most of the church is complacent. People go to church and leave unchanged. They live like the devil for six days and pretend to be holy and righteous on Sunday. They want the Lord to bless them, but they don’t care about blessing Him or anyone else. They are the ones I spoke of earlier, the ones with invisible chains and invisible bars.

How about you? Are you strong and courageous? Are you bold? Are you possessing and occupying Satan’s territory?

Or are you complacent, going to church and leaving unchanged? If so, repent here and now, and ask the Lord to fill you with His Spirit.

You can’t help but be changed when He comes in and fills you! And you will say with Paul and us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” You will be IN-couraged!

Jesus Christ calls you today to be IN-couraged. He calls you to ask Him to fill you with His Spirit so you can go in and possess the land and occupy it, as you should! Will you obey His call?

MARK 13 COMMENTARY

This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.

Chapter 13 reflects Jesus Christ’s love for those who are His. He briefs His disciples, and you, about future events that will climax with His return to gather you and me. His instructions, as you see these things unfold? Be ready, take heed, keep on the alert!
Verses 1-2 — Throughout Jesus Christ’s ministry on the earth, He taught in the Temple, surrounded by many disciples besides the Twelve. On this occasion, one comments on the beauty and majesty of the Temple. Jesus says not one stone would be left upon another. Everything will be in ruins. Indeed, this was fulfilled in 70 AD, when Roman soldiers destroyed the Temple.

Why? The Jewish leaders rejected their Messiah, their Christ. God the Father’s will is that our bodies become His temples, and that He and His Son dwell in us, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit (John 14:23). Temple worship is no longer needed, since men and women become His temples. Think of it! God in you, so where you go, He goes. Where you walk, He WORKS!

For those who rejected their Christ the punishment was that the Temple building which they worshiped like an idol or a talisman, would be destroyed.

IMPORTANT POINT: Once you have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, ask Him to make your body His temple by filling you with His Spirit. He will do it! His will is fulfilled when you are filled full!

Verses 3-13 — Now four disciples question Jesus privately. When will the Temple be destroyed? What will be the sign that it is going to happen?

Jesus says this:

— Many will come in His name and say they are the Christ or are of Him, to try to seduce you, to draw you away, to cause you to wander from Him. They will say they are Him, or His representatives, but they will not live as He lived when He was on the earth, nor will they teach what He taught. They will speak ear-tickling words (2Timothy 4:3), for their own financial gain. It is happening even today.

— There will be wars and rumors of wars, but that is still not the end. There will be a ramping-up of unrest and war in the world, earthquakes at an ever-increasing rate, and famines. These are only the beginning of birth pangs, though. Like birth pangs, they will continue to increase in frequency and intensity.

— Be on your guard. Behold, beware, take heed! Christians will be arrested, taken to court, flogged, and stand before governors and kings, as a testimony to the governors and kings. What will be the testimony, when you stand before governors and kings? The testimony is this — the Holy Spirit will speak through you, as you stand before your accusers. And they will know it is Jesus speaking through you (Acts 4:13).

Already, across the earth, many Christians are murdered and martyred because they refused to renounce Christ — more in the 20th and 21st centuries than in all centuries from the time Jesus was crucified. You can find out more by going to persecution.com, the web site for Voice of the Martyrs. Remember the Coptic Christians who were lined up on the beach by ISIS and beheaded because they refused to renounce Jesus? It will become like that everywhere, and worse.

Family ties will mean nothing. Many will (and now do) expose Christian family members so they are arrested or simply killed on the spot.

In Verse 10, the Lord specifies that the gospel must first be preached to all nations. That is nearly accomplished by today’s missionaries, but I believe He also refers to Revelation 14:7, when the angel flies in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tongue and people.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus gives people the opportunity to come to Him until the very last moment of time. He so desires that all be saved, but He knows some will reject, even then.

— You will be hated by ALL because of the name of Jesus Christ. He promises it in John 15:18 and forward, and tells us that it is because you are not of the world system; you simply live in the world. Hatred for true Christians will continue to intensify greatly, even among family members.

And so Jesus says, “Endure! Remain! Stand fast! Persevere! Have courage amidst pain and adversity! If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will have His courage in you. That is Who you need in these last days. Then you will be saved. But aren’t you already saved? Yes, but there is a greater salvation, a time when Jesus will gather His true church. The whole world will see it, when He gathers you (Mark 13:26, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Verses 14-23 — Jesus tells us what will happen just before He returns:

— There will be an abomination of desolation in the Temple. Wasn’t the Temple destroyed in 70 AD? Doesn’t the Muslim Dome of the Rock stand in its place, or near its original footprint? Yes, but Israel is planning a Third Temple. Go to http://templeinstitute.org to learn more.

— To that Temple will come a great abomination — a total sacrilege. At that time, everyone who heeds Christ’s words is to flee, and not take time to gather up any belongings. The references to pregnant women and young mothers, and winter, may indicate that it will be when we least expect it, and perhaps in the hardest season of the year to be without shelter.

—In those days, when the abomination of desolation is in the Third Temple, a tribulation will occur which has never been seen before and which will never be seen again. Great pressure, great affliction, great persecution, great trouble is coming to the church. It will be so difficult, that the time of it will be shortened, so those who are His followers are able to stand it.

— And at that time, false priests and prophets will be more prevalent than ever, performing false signs and wonders. Again, He says that those who are chosen by Him at that time must not believe anyone who says they are the Christ. Those who are chosen by Him at that time will know when He comes.

— He says, take heed, beware, pay attention. He has told you EVERYTHING in advance. He has not left out any detail that you need to know. He has told you in advance because He is God the Son, deity, and sees all that was, is, and ever will be. He was like that even when He dwelled on the earth.

IMPORTANT POINT: Preachers often “humanize” Jesus. He is confused, He is afraid. He is unsure. It is utter nonsense, an attempt to mold Jesus into our image so we are more comfortable with Him or so we can “identify” with Him. Do not listen to such preachers, but run from them.

Verses 24-27 — Then, after the tribulation he speaks about in verse 19, the signs of the end will happen, and the Son of Man (one of the names of Jesus Christ) will come in the clouds with great power and glory. It will be a powerful and glory-filled sight, and everyone will see. Then comes the gathering of His church from across the earth — from the farthest away to the nearest.

There is some difference of interpretation on when the church goes up, and some believe that the church goes up, then another group called “the elect,” perhaps the 144,000 from the Book of Revelation. But the main point is to be ready, be on the alert!

Verses 28-32 — You can tell when a fig tree is about to bear fruit (not the day or the hour, but the season of summer). In the same way, you will know that He is coming soon (not the day or the hour, but the season), when you see what He has described in the previous verses. You will know that He is near, right at the door.

Then He says something that sounds strange. The disciples had asked when this would happen. Jesus said this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. If “generation” means what you and I think it means, it would appear that Jesus was wrong. But the Greek for “generation” means age, generation, or time. So this age will not pass away until these things happen. This age is called the church age, when the church is active in the world. When we are raptured (1Corinthians 15:51-53, 1Thessalonians 4:13-18), that age will end.

Please note that “church” is defined as all believers in Jesus Christ, be they Jewish or non-Jewish (Gentile).

At that time, heaven and earth will pass away; they will be replaced with a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1ff), in which God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and the church will spend eternity with God.

Verses 33-37 — Look! Jesus speaks “take heed” and “keep on the alert” four times in this section! How important is it that you know Jesus Christ and are reconciled to the Father, and are found doing what their Master commanded them to do (Matthew 24:45-46). He has placed you in charge. You are part of an occupying army, until He returns. Don’t be sleeping when He returns. Be ready! Occupy! Be an ambassador (2Corinthians 5:18-20)!

LOVING HIS APPEARING

[SW212] 12/18/2015 message notes by
Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Loving His Appearing”

Have you loved Jesus Christ’s appearing? If you have, you will not fear when He returns. And He will award you with a crown of righteousness!

But if you have not loved His appearing, you will not be ready for His soon return.

Text:

2Timothy 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

“Appearing” means brightness, manifestation. It refers to what has already taken place — Jesus Christ’s presence and power when He walked the earth, and His light that He shed on all mankind (John 1:9). But it also refers to His brilliant return from heaven to earth, which will be like lightning flashing across the sky (Matthew 24:27).

What is it to love His appearing, then?

I can look back now and say I love God’s promise of Christ’s appearing in Isaiah 9, a great Light to a people living in deep darkness. I was in darkness, but then I saw His great light!

I love God’s promise of Christ’s appearing in Isaiah 60, to know that a light would come and shine upon me, and that His glory and light would even be upon me, so kings would come to the brightness of my rising, the appearing, the manifestation, the brightness of His glory literally inside of me! Glory to God!

I love His appearing as Simeon and Anna did, when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem, to be presented and dedicated to the Lord (see Luke 2). They were waiting, the Lord had promised Simeon that he would see it in his lifetime, and God was faithful to His promise. And Anna, who had waited and fasted and prayed, joyfully proclaimed that this little child was the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ!

I was glad when He spoke to me in the night when I had no strength to continue. I was addicted to drugs, beaten until I bled, and He healed me of my addiction.  But I did not love Him then, nor did I thank Him then. But now I can say that I love His appearing to me on that night, 35 years ago.

I loved His appearing when He came to me in the middle of the night 14 years ago, when His presence was manifested to me as He spoke to me and said I was sinking in a sea of doubt. I reached up, and cried out to Him, and shortly after, His presence was manifested to me even more, as He healed me of the incurable disease called MS! Oh, His glory moved all through me!

Not long after that, I loved His appearing when He manifested Himself in a vision to me. I looked up and saw Him on the cross, covered with His own blood. He looked down at me with a love that no words can describe. I saw what He had done for me, in living color. I awoke sobbing, with a deep understanding of His sacrifice on my behalf, and on behalf of all mankind.

I will love His appearing when He brings revival to the church — not a jumping and hollering revival, but a falling-on-your-face and weeping revival as His holiness and majesty is powerfully manifested to the church, and He heals her of her sin.

And I love the promise of His appearing once again, like lighting flashing across the sky. Everyone will see it! That time is coming soon!

What will happen then? Some will be judged and punished. Those who love His appearing will not fear judgment, though, because God has filled them with His perfect love, poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5, 1John 4:18).
Praise God!

Then those who love His appearing will receive a crown of righteousness. It won’t be because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done in us! Praise His name!

Therefore, I love the promise of His soon appearing! I am ready!

What is God’s heart in this scripture? That you be ready!

Why wouldn’t you be ready? If we look at the whole chapter, it’s about standing firm in the truth which is in Christ, and on the Word of God, amidst a time when many are turning away from it.

Paul gives a solemn charge to Timothy, and to all who preach and teach. As he writes, Paul stands before God and Christ, spiritually. He swears it, by Christ’s appearing and His kingdom.

What is Paul’s charge? Preach the Word. Don’t make excuses for it. Don’t apologize for it. Don’t water it down. Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and instruction.

Why? The time has come now when many do not endure sound doctrine, but want only messages that make them feel good when they hear them (ear-tickling messages). And they pile up around themselves heaps of teachers who will teach that way. They turn aside to false teaching, taught by those who have no conscience, who do not love His appearing, but the appearance of money in their coffers. That’s the truth!

But we who love His appearing will be sober, watchful in all things, and will be about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49), evangelizing and ministering, doing what God has ordained and empowered us to do.

We will fight the good fight against the prince of the power of the air, Satan. We will keep the faith despite the tremendous pressure to cave in and dumb down our message.

Beloved, if there is no sword, there is no conviction, there is no surgery, there is no healing.

It is the double-edged sword of God’s unadulterated Word that pierces, divides, and exposes so hearts are convicted and heart surgery can be done by the Holy Ghost. I love to watch Him operate! Don’t you?

He operated on me, and the outcome was LIFE, ABUNDANTLY, ’TIL IT OVERFLOWS TO OTHERS!

ALTAR CALL:

Ask Him to do heart surgery on you this morning! Ask Him to forgive you, then ask Him to fill you with the Holy Ghost, and you, too, will love His appearing. He will manifest Himself to you:

John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

In Matthew 24 and elsewhere, He commands you to be ready. Let Him fill your heart with His love today, so you love His appearing, because you know you will not face judgment and punishment when He comes. Then you will be ready!

OIL

We are abundantly supplied to work God’s works, when we are filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit!

[SW155] 09/26/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Oil”

Oil (of the olive):

— Heals
— Softens hard things
— Provides light

Exodus 27:20   “You shall charge the sons of Israel, that they bring you  clear oil of beaten olives for the  light, to make a lamp  burn continually.  21 “In the  tent of meeting, outside  the veil which is before the testimony,  Aaron and his sons shall keep it in order from evening to morning before the LORD; it shall be a perpetual  statute throughout their generations  for the sons of Israel.”

Our lamp is to burn continually, in the tent of meeting. In the New Testament, our bodies are to be the tent of meeting. We are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). This light must have a constant supply of clear, pure oil — the Holy Spirit!

We are to be sons of fresh oil:

Zechariah 4:11   Then I said to him, “What are these two olive trees on the right of the lampstand and on its left?”  12 And I answered the second time and said to him, “What are the two olive branches which are beside the two golden pipes, which empty the golden oil from themselves?”  13 So he answered me, saying, “ Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No,  my lord.”  14 Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones [literally, “sons of fresh oil”] who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth.”

Psalm 23:5      You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

God commands us to have an overflowing cup of the oil of the Holy Spirit, from His supply!

The Holy Spirit is the oil of joy:

Isaiah 61:3      To  grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

The Holy Spirit is the supply we must have:

1Kings 17:14 “For thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘The  bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil  be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain on the face of the earth.’”

We must be filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit. God commands that we do so.

Text:  Matthew 25

It is as Jesus spoke to His disciples, when He told them about His second coming . . .

Verses 1-3 — The virgins (brides-to-be) represent the church which is the bride of  Christ. When He is about to come, we will go out to meet Him:
What can we learn from the five foolish and the five prudent?

They all had lamps that were supplied to them. All of them appeared to be virgins. looked like virgins, but only five had an extra supply of oil in their flasks. We must be sons of fresh oil so we have a constant supply of oil in our vessels — inside of us — beloved.

The foolish had no extra supply; they had nothing in their vessels.

[Foolish is moros, in the original Greek. It refers to the heart and character, not just the mind as being stupid, versus prudent, which means understanding, having keen discernment.]

Why did the foolish virgins have no oil with them? They relied on the oil they were given by others. We cannot rely on the light of others — we must have our own fuel.

Verses 5-6 ALL the virgins fell asleep because the Bridegroom delayed. At midnight, there was a shout, “Behold the Bridegroom! Come out to meet Him!”

Verses 7-9 The lamps had to be trimmed/prepared. The five foolish suddenly realized their lamps were going out. But they had no supply of oil. They were given lamps, they were given light, but the light was snuffed out because they had no fuel of their own.

They asked the five prudent for some of their oil, but there wasn’t enough for both. Each must have their own supply of the oil of the Holy Spirit. So the prudent urged the foolish to go and get what they lacked.

Beloved, my own heart said, “I will be able to give them what they lack! I will lay hands on them so they have oil in their vessels!” But that is not what Jesus said.

Verse 10 — But it was too late. The Bridegroom came while the foolish were going away to purchase oil. The prudent, who were ready, went in to the wedding feast. And the door was closed. I tell you the truth, there will come a time when the door is closed to those who did not ask the Lord to fill them with the oil of the Holy Spirit!

Verse 11-13 — The foolish came later, and said, “Lord, Lord, open up for us.” But the Lord said something shocking: “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” It literally “Not I know you.” It is emphatic. He has no knowledge of them. There has been no holy intimacy with them, no connection to them. Jesus says:

Luke 6:46   “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

Oh, beloved, there is still time to ready yourself.

There is still time to obey His command to be filled with His oil of gladness, His oil of joy, His oil that provides healing and light, His oil that will soften your heart!

Turn now to Him, and ask for the supply that you will need, for He is coming soon. Do not wait until it is too late!

ALL THINGS ARE NOW READY

[SW149] 08/09/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“All Things Are Now Ready”

Everything is ready now, even now, already! Are you?

Text:

Luke 14:16 But He said to him, “ A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; 17 and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’

Everything is ready now, even now!

As I listened to a message from a dear brother who came to the church I attend last Sunday, those words jumped out at me!

Everything is ready now, already!

It is a big dinner that our Lord is giving —

Isaiah 25:6 The LORD of hosts will prepare a  lavish banquet for  all peoples on this mountain; a banquet of  aged wine,  choice pieces with marrow, and  refined, aged wine.

It is His marriage supper —

Revelation 19:7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and  give the glory to Him, for  the marriage of the Lamb has come and His   bride has made herself ready.”  8 It was given to her to clothe herself in  fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the  righteous acts of the  saints.
Revelation 19:9   Then  he  said to me, “ Write, ‘ Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he  said to me, “ These are true words of God.”

It is already ready! The Lord calls His bride to it, even now! Church, all things are now ready! Are you? Then blessed are you (Revelation 19:9)!

How do you get ready? You make yourself ready (see Rev. 19:7).

How do you make yourself ready?

Three things: Read, heed, and plead!
— Read the Word of God. You cannot know God’s will or His heart or His plans unless you do. If you continue constantly in the Word of God, you are truly disciples of Jesus Christ, and you will know the truth, and it will set you free! (John 8:31-32)
— Heed the voice of your Lord. Do not be a mere hearer, who deludes himself, but a doer, who is blessed in all he does! (James 1:21-25)
— Plead for His Holy Spirit to be given to you — He has already been poured out, at Pentecost. Ask, seek, knock, and your Father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit to you (Luke 11:13)!

Everything is already ready, even now! Therefore, if we profess His name, what kind of people are we required to be?

2Peter 3:11   Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,  12  looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which  the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the  elements will melt with intense heat! 14 Therefore,  beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be  found by Him in peace,  spotless and blameless . . .

Only if we are in a personal relationship with Him are we able to conduct ourselves in a holy, godly way, at peace with God, spotless and blameless!

Everything is already ready! It is ready to immediately happen, for He is coming quickly, in the twinkling of an eye, to scoop up His church!

He has sent out the invitations to His church. The table is set, clad in the finest linens. The candles are lit, the feast is ready, right now!

But what is this? What does the Lord show me about today’s church?

He says, “Come; for everything is ready now!”

But some beg off, shun, refuse, and avoid?

Why? They have not yet come to know Him.

Professing His name is not sufficient. Going to church is not sufficient. Singing His praise is not sufficient. Doing good deeds is not sufficient.

You must know Him, have holy intimacy with Him. It is altogether lovely to do so, even joy unspeakable and full of glory! That is good for you BUT . . .

It is FOR the glory of the Father and the Son, that the world may know that God sent Jesus Christ (John 17:21)!

Everything is ready, right now, this very moment. What will you do? He 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. 21 ‘ He who overcomes, I will grant to him  to sit down with Me on My throne, as  I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 ‘ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

He is coming quickly — suddenly — to gather you to the wedding feast. Be ready!

Matthew 24:44 “For this reason  you also must be ready; for  the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
Luke 12:40 “ You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not  expect.”

Be ready to enter into the feast! It is already ready!

Be among the five wise virgins:

Matthew 25:6 “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
Matthew 25:10 “And while they [the five foolish virgins] were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were  ready went in with him to  the wedding feast; and  the door was shut.
Matthew 25:13 “ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

REWARDS TO THE STEADFAST

[SW146] 07/18/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rewards to the Steadfast”

There are great rewards if we remain steadfast in Christ. But I must warn you of the dangers you face and exhort you to baptized in the Holy Spirit so you may stand!

NOTE: Please go to the link to the video sermon to get the message; the following is an outline.

The rewards:

Even now —

Fellowship with Father and Son (1John 1:3)

Father and Son indwelling us (John 14:23)

His peace (John 14:27)

His actual love inside of us (John 17:26)

Clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49)

Baptized in the Holy Spirit, receiving power (Acts 1:5, 8)

And yet to come —

2Timothy 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

James 1:12    Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has  been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord  has promised to those who love Him.

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

2Peter 3:13 But according to His  promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

1Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord  Himself  will descend from heaven with a  shout, with the voice of  the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

The dangers:

2Peter 2:1   But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even  denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

Matthew 7:22 “ 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.’”

Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.”

1Timothy 1:18   This command I entrust to you, Timothy,  my  son, in accordance with the  prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight,  19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

The exhortation:

2Peter 3:11-12, 14, 17-18 [NOTE: v. 17 unprincipled = lawless = sinning, per 1John 3:4].

1Corinthians 15:58    Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

Colossians 1:22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach —  23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the  hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed  in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

How can you stand steadfast if you do not know the Word? How can you stand steadfast if you have no intimacy with God? How can you stand steadfast if you are not clothed with power from on high?

The means to prevent us from falling:

2Peter 1:2  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in  the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;  3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and  excellence. 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.

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.  2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the  renewing of your mind, so that you may prove [1381, in this context, to experience the truth of] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Be baptized in the Holy Spirit, filled with God’s love so that your only desire is to obey Him. He will give you the power to obey and the power to be steadfast!

Be steadfast, beloved, regardless of the pressure to conform. You will surely reap the rewards! The Lord led me to end with this:

Revelation 3:11 “‘ I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”

GO TO THE LOST

When Jesus says, “Go to the lost sheep,” it is a command, and we are compelled by the power of His words to do it!

[SW144] 07/05/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Going to the Lost”

Text: Matthew 10:1-8, 14-15, 40-42

We are compelled to go after a single lost sheep until we find it, and then bring it back, rejoicing. We are compelled to light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully for a single lost coin until we find it (see Luke 15). Then we and all heaven rejoice!

Going to the lost. Many in today’s church think He is saying, “Go to those who do not believe in Me,” but Jesus says, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel!”
God’s people? Lost? It is the same now as it was then. Many of God’s people were and are lost sheep.

Today, Jesus not only commands us to go to the lost sheep of Israel who do not see that He is their Messiah, but also to go to the lost sheep of the church.

Notice that the disciples did not question Jesus (What do You mean? We do not see any lost ones!). Nope. They knew there were lost sheep in Israel.

What signs do I see that there are lost sheep within today’s church? Many sheep in the church are:
— distressed     — oppressed     — depressed
— confused        — compromised     — afraid
Or worse:
— lulled to sleep OR
— slaves to sin, when Jesus came to set us free, indeed!

Why are the sheep lost? Do they not have apostles and prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11)?

Israel had priests and experts in the law of Moses, but Jesus found fault with them. He declared to them that they did many things to misguide His people.

He finds fault with the leaders of today’s church, too, who do many things to misguide His people.

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.

We should not be surprised. Jesus spoke of false shepherds, wolves among the flock (Verse 16). There were wolves in sheep’s clothing within the fledgling church (Acts 20:29-31).

But we in today’s church have not been on guard as Paul commanded by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Acts 20:29.

And the people are biblically illiterate and therefore cannot discern — few know the Word of God. They are sheep that do not know the Good Shepherd’s voice.

As a result, they follow the voice of strangers, and even love it, as in Jeremiah’s day:

Jeremiah 5:31 The  prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so!

What can be done? We obey the command of Jesus Christ, and go to them!

What does He give us as we go to the lost sheep of the church?

(Not as we sit, but as we go!)

In Matthew 10:1, He gives us authority over evil spirits to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness (also see Luke 10:19).

Why does He give us such authority? So people will know the kingdom of heaven draws near!

He commands us that as we go, we are to preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He commands us to preach repentance (Mark 6:12).

Then the authority comes into play, as the evidence that the kingdom of heaven is near: we heal, raise, cleanse and cast out.

These are the accompanying signs (Mark 16:17), the attesting miracles that show the lost sheep that God and Christ are the true reality and not just philosophical ideas to which they give mental assent.

But we cannot preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand unless the kingdom of heaven is in our midst — within us. And when the kingdom of heaven is within us, we will have His authority, and we will heal, raise, cleanse and cast out.

FREELY we have received, and FREELY we give (Verse 8).

What do we FREELY give? FREEdom to the captives (Isaiah 61), to the lost sheep of the church!

We do it not give in our own power or by man’s wisdom, but in God’s power and wisdom and might! The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us!

What will be the result of our going to seek the lost sheep of the church? One of two things will happen, Jesus says:

#1 — We will not be received, and so we must do as He commands in Verse 14. Beloved, this will happen much in today’s backslidden church. It happened to Christ Himself, as He walked the earth! The consequence:
15 “Truly I say to you,  it will be more tolerable for the land of  Sodom and Gomorrah in  the day of judgment than for that city.”

#2 — We will be received, welcomed, accepted, and those who do it will receive a reward:
Matthew 10:40   “ He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
41 “ He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet [that is, as a prophet sent by the Lord] shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man [that is, a righteous man made righteous by the Lord] shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 “And  whoever in the name of a disciple [as a disciple of Christ] gives to one of these little ones [prophets and righteous men] even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” [my interpretation in brackets]

Beloved, I am praying for today’s church to receive those whom Jesus is sending out even now.

I am praying that the lost sheep of the church will be found and carried back with rejoicing.

I am praying that the lost coin will be found and cause great rejoicing, in heaven and on the earth!

I am praying that many in the church will ask for the kingdom of heaven to be within them — that is, asking for God the Father to fill them with His Holy Spirit.

THEN they will receive authority. THEN they will proclaim that the kingdom of heaven has drawn near and their hearers must repent.

And I am expecting to see the attesting signs.

Amen, Lord. Let it be so!