WORK GOD’S WORKS

[SW074] 01/06/2013 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2012
“Work God’s Works”

I have often spoken of the privilege of being invited into the field which is the world, to harvest souls for God, through Christ.

But it is a command. And that was a revelation to me this week.

Jesus Christ’s command:

John 9:4 “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”

Then Jesus heals a man born blind.
Never done before in the history of the world.

We must work the works of Him. And it is a WONDERFUL, glorious command!

We must, it is binding, it is a duty, we are responsible.

If it was impossible, Jesus would not command us to do it.
All things are possible to him who believes (Mark 9:23).

Work God the Father’s works, He commands us.
Now that is glorious!
God’s works are redemptive
and life-giving
and miraculous, defying the laws of nature!
We are to work His works,
commit to them,
be engaged in doing them,
minister them to people around us.

God’s works are to be our occupation,
our labor,
our work.

What are the Father’s works?

John 5:19   Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you,  the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever  the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”

So, if we look at what Jesus did, we see what the Father is doing.
We see what glorious things we are bound and responsible to do!

What did Jesus do?

To religious elite and beggars,
He said, “Repent and believe the gospel.” (Matthew 4:17).

He reproved sin (Matthew 9:11-17).

He healed the sick (Matthew 9:6-7)

He raised the dead (Matthew 9:18-25)

He cleansed the lepers (Matthew 8:1-3)

He cast out demons (Matthew 9:32-33).

In doing these miraculous things, He proclaimed His Kingdom which:

–Supersedes natural laws
–Is more powerful than Satan

And He commands us to do the same, and gives us the authority to do it:

Matthew 10:7 “And as you go, preach, saying,‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.”

Oh, if we have received, we must give!
We cannot help but do it!
It is like breathing!
We proclaim His Kingdom,
repentance from sin,
and we work God’s works.

And even more:

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and  greater works than these he will do; because  I go to the Father.”

Hallelujah!
After we’ve been filled with the Spirit (the context here), we will do
greater works than the disciples did through Christ’s authority,
greater works than what Christ did while He walked the earth!
Because it was not time, Christ did not baptize in the Holy Spirit;
we are able to do that after we are filled with Him!

How long does Jesus say we must work God’s works?

As long as it is day . . . because night is coming when no one can work.

As long as the Light of the world is in the world.

Christ is seated with the Father; He is the Light of the world.

But He is also in us, and we are in the world.

And His Spirit is here as well, in us and in the world.

Therefore, we who have His kabod in us are lights in the world.

Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15  nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and  glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

“Let” is not in the original Greek. It is a command. Glow with My light, He says!

What good works do we work? God’s works.
That is what He commands us to do.
Redemptive.
Life-giving.
Miraculous.
Defying the laws of nature.

As long as we are in this world,
as long as the Holy Spirit is here,
the world is lit with His light.

We shine forth in the darkness that is happening right now.
This darkness is not the night Jesus speaks of.
He is speaking of complete darkness.
It will be a time when no one is working God’s works.

John 9:4 “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.”

When will night come?

2 Thessalonians 2:5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?  6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.  7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only  he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.  

Taken out of the way — the original Greek is “comes out of the midst.”

The Spirit is in the midst of this world, on His own, and within us.

The Spirit, and all those in whom He dwells, will come out of the midst, and then the antichrist will be revealed.

1 Thessalonians 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.

Then night comes when the Spirit and the church leave the midst of it, leave the world.


The trumpet blast — the current state of the church

When I was taking classes toward ordination, one of my classmates was the son of a missionary. She told him she had to prepare for returns to the darkness and spiritual oppression of America. She told him that in the Philippines, demons were easy to detect — they did not hide. But she said it is different in America. Even in the church, they sit in the pews and stand in the pulpit!

In seminaries, where church leaders receive their education:

Professors discount prophecy; there is and never was any such thing.
The veracity of Jesus’ words is questioned. (The Jesus Seminar)
Miracles are not for today.
Being filled with the Spirit is not for today.

Those who speak such things do not see the Father,
or they would never say and teach such things.

Jeremiah 23:21 “ I did not send these prophets, [read, “professors”]
    But they ran.
    I did not speak to them,
    But they prophesied.
22 “But if they had  stood in My council,
    Then they would have  announced My words to My people,
    And would have turned them back from their evil way
    And from the evil of their deeds.

If this discipline of delusion (see Jeremiah 10:8)
is what students are being taught in seminary,
where they are trained to lead the church,
what happens to the Christians they lead?

In many churches,
repentance from sin is not preached (sin is not even mentioned),
so those in the pews continue to disobey God.

John 14:15  “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.”

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.”

If we do not obey, we do not love Jesus.
If we do not love Jesus, we are not loved by the Father.
If we are not loved by the Father, He does not send the Holy Spirit to us.
And we are powerless.
The world yawns at us.
We cannot see what the Father is doing and do likewise.
We cannot announce that God is more powerful than the god of this world, Satan.

But Jesus Christ is here today.
He cries out to you, “Turn!”
He cries out to you, “Come!”

John 5:19   Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you,  the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever  the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”

That is how people will come to Jesus Christ.
Not through natural works that any moral, secular person can do.
But by shining with Christ’s light, and doing what we see the Father doing.
Then people will say, “God is with you,” and will repent (1 Corinthians 14:24-25).

Receive His words as truth, believe them,
turn from your sin, ask Him to forgive, and love and obey Him.
He will be in you!
His glory will shine forth from you.
You will see the Father’s works and do likewise!
You will be part of Jesus Christ’s church glorious!

Jesus Christ is here today.
He cries out to you, “Turn!”
He cries out to you, “Come!”
He cries out to you, “Receive!”
He cries out to you, “Believe!”
He cries out to you, “Work God’s works!”

His hand is stretched out to you now.

Grab it, and don’t let go!

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GOD’S GLORY INSIDE HUMANS

God’s actual glory, His weightiness, a physical manifestation of God, a shining forth, His copiousness, His splendor, His majesty literally inside of a human being? Is it possible? Yes!

[SW073] 12/30/12 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2012
“God’s Glory Inside Humans”

3519 kabod — properly, weight,
but figuratively, splendor (magnificent features or qualities),
copiousness (abundance, plenty, richness, fullness),
imposing presence, honor,
nobility as with a member of a royal family,
a physical manifestation of God.
a shining forth.

The Trumpet Blast:

Father, I know You want me to speak this truth,
because time is short and the church must be ready
so she may enter the wedding feast with Jesus Christ, our Bridegroom,
and not be left on the wrong side of a shut door. (Matthew 25:10)

Your glory inside humans — a physical manifestation of You in us:
Your kabod,
splendor (magnificent features or qualities),
copiousness (abundance, plenty, richness, fullness),
imposing presence, honor,
nobility as with a member of a royal family.

Father, this truth is NOT taught in the church. Why?

I’ll hold His answer until the end.

God’s plan for the church, the bride of His Son:

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and  gave Himself up for her,  26  so that He might sanctify her, having  cleansed her by the  washing of water with  the word,  27 that He might  present to Himself the church in all her glory [literally, the church glorious], having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be  holy and blameless.  

God’s command and promise:

Isaiah 60:1  “Arise [stand up], shine [become bright and resplendent];
    for your light has come,
    And the glory [kabod] of the LORD has risen upon you.
2 “For behold,  darkness will cover the earth
    And deep darkness the peoples;
    But the LORD will rise [come forth, shine] upon you
And His glory [kabod] will appear upon you.
3 “Nations will come to your light [luminousness],
And kings to the brightness [radiance] of your rising [shining].

Yes, this referred to Israel in the end times, and to Jesus Christ to whom kings came (Matthew 2:1-2).

But it also refers to us as those who belong to Christ! You, dear one, are to be a light of the world, salt that can be tasted.

God then tells us how we become these lights:

This is the stumbling block for the church.

Leaders and pastors want people in our pews. We feed them half the truth, because we don’t want them to feel bad about themselves.

Jesus Christ is here right now to save us and cleanse and transform us, but in many megachurches, there’s no evidence of transformation in those who have said the words and been baptized in water.

Leaders and pastors refuse to teach repentance.

Isaiah 40:3 A voice is calling,
    “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness;
    Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
4 “Let every valley be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
    And let the rough ground become a plain,
    And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
5  Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed . . .

Repentance! These were the words John the Baptist spoke, too. They were his marching orders. Because God comes only through repentance.

Repentance means there’s something in us that must be fixed. We are turned in the wrong direction, and need to do a 180-degree about-face. Only God can fix what is wrong; only He can make the crooked straight.

Clear the way for the Lord in your heart!

You’re in a desert, but if you will agree with God that you are away from Him because of your sin, He will cleanse you.

Everyone who does this is a valley, a humbled place. A fruitful place, too. He will lift you up, humble one who agrees with God that a heart change is needed.

But all who are self-righteous, who think they can be good enough in their own strength? They will be humbled.

It’s for their own good, so they will see their spiritual state and cry out to God!

You must let Him do what only He can do. He will make all the rough ground smooth, and will make a wide space in your heart, a place where His glory can dwell.

THEN the glory of the Lord will be revealed. He will fill you with His glory!

And listen to this:

Psalm 45:10   Listen, O daughter [bride-to-be], give attention and incline your ear:
     Forget your people and your father’s house;
11 Then the King will desire your beauty.
    Because He is your Lord,  bow down to Him.
12 The daughter of  Tyre will come with a gift;
    The  rich among the people will seek your favor.
13   The King’s daughter is all glorious within;
    Her clothing is interwoven with gold.
14 She will be  led to the King  in embroidered work;
    The  virgins, her companions who follow her,
    Will be brought to You.
15 They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing;
    They will enter into the King’s palace.

Forget your people and your father’s house —
it’s what a bride was supposed to do when she was betrothed.
Do not love them more than your bridegroom.
You belong to Him now.

For us, it is to be oblivious to the world system into which you were born.
It is to not love the world or the things of the world (1 John 2:15).

Ephesians 5:11  Do not participate in the unfruitful  deeds of  darkness, but instead even expose them; 14 For this reason  it says,
    “ Awake, sleeper,
    And arise from the dead,
    And Christ will shine on you.”
17 So then do not be foolish, but  understand what the will of the Lord is.  18 And  do not get drunk with wine,  for that is  dissipation, but be  filled with the Spirit . . .

Father, why isn’t this truth taught in the church?

Because no one wants to hear that there’s a twisting in them
that needs straightening.

No one wants to hear that they must empty themselves of their self-exaltation, their glory (Philippians 2:7) in order to have His! Have the same mind in you which was in Christ Jesus!

Moreover, the leaders in the church
instruct their pastors not to speak of sin
because it will be a “turn-off”
and they say the concept of sin
is difficult for many cultures to understand.

How, then, do we explain the Apostle Paul’s great success in planting churches in the beginning, in a very wide range of cultures?

Isaiah 2:5  Come, house of Jacob [and church],
   and let us walk in the light of the LORD.  
6 For You have abandoned Your people, the house of Jacob,
    Because they are filled with influences from the east,
    And they are soothsayers like the Philistines,
    And they strike bargains with the children of foreigners.

Leaders, let us walk in the light. ‘Fess up! Walking in His light means walking in His truth.

Every human understands what sin is.
The Holy Spirit breaks down ALL barriers.
The GOSPEL is the power of God for salvation.
Mankind needs a Savior from God’s wrath which we are under.
That is what GOD says.

Christian, let us walk in the light.
You’re sinning.
The Holy Spirit has convicted you.
Agree with God!

Church, walk in the light as Jesus Christ is in the light, and He will cleanse you:

1 John 1:6  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and  do not practice the truth;  7 but if we walk in the Light as  He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and  the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

If you are sinning, you are walking in darkness.

You do not walk in the truth, in what God has for you, what He has done through His Son, Jesus.

Jesus will cleanse you from ALL sin,
and then you will be God’s will in this very dark world.

You will be all glorious within,
you will be ready, filled with God’s kabod,
reflecting His Son in these dark times.

He will pour out His grace on you. His door will be open wide to you. Open wide to Him today!

Empty yourself of your glory!

Receive His kabod,
His weight,
His splendor (magnificent features or qualities),
His copiousness (abundance, plenty, richness, fullness),
His imposing presence, honor,
His nobility as with a member of a royal family,
a physical manifestation of God.
a shining forth.

EVER-INCREASING PEACE

Ever-increasing. Limitless, infinite, endless, eternally going forth. His kingdom, His peace. It is for you, today. God’s Christmas gift.

[SW072] 12/23/12 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2012
“Ever-Increasing Peace”

I have a priceless gift for you today — Jesus Christ!

He is the Gift that keeps on giving!

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born,
        to us a son is given,
        and the government will be on his shoulders.
        And he will be called
        Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
        Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

       7   Of the increase of his government and peace
        there will be no end.
        He will reign on David’s throne
        and over his kingdom,
        establishing and upholding it
        with justice and righteousness
        from that time on and forever.
        The zeal of the LORD Almighty
        will accomplish this. (NIV)

The angel Gabriel announces the identity of this coming One to Mary:

Luke 1:31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you  shall name Him Jesus.  32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of  the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him  the throne of His father David;  33  and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,  and His kingdom will have no end.”
—————————————————————————————————-

Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end . . .

Of the increase

4766 marbeh — properly, the increasing. Increasing greatness, abundance.

of His government

from the root 8280 sarah — to prevail:—have power (as a prince).

and peace

7965 shalom — safety, welfare, i.e. health, prosperity, favor, wholeness.

there shall be no end

7093 qets — an extremity, border, end. It is infinite; there is no end.

Why? A child is born unto us, a Son is given — Jesus Christ!

And indeed, the zeal (7068/7065) of the Father has accomplished it!

His zeal,
His great energy,
His great power,
His great desire to have for Himself a people!

He has GIVEN us the gift of His Christ, His Son, Jesus,
and offered Him to bear our sins, once for all,
so His creatures may be reconciled to Him.

And He raised Him from the dead so we may have eternal life, with Him.

Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end . . .

Luke 1:33b and His kingdom will have no end.

Yes, this passage refers to a future kingdom that we do not yet see.

But also, a kingdom for here and now!

Here and now

Of the increase

John 10:10 “I have come that you may have life [2222 zoe, life as God has it], and have it abundantly.”

He has come that we may have life, and have it abundantly, to the full, ‘til it overflows.

The increasing of His life — in you!

abundantly (4053) — superabundantly, superiorly, excessively, exceedingly abundantly above, beyond measure!

Oh, the increase!

It is the “still more” of Paul’s letters:

1 Corinthians 12:31 But  earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.

Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in  real knowledge and all discernment,

1 Thessalonians 4:1  Finally then,  brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and  please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.

1 Thessalonians 4:10 for indeed you do practice it [love] toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,  

Still more!

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

Of the increase of what? Of His government!

He will prevail!

He will have power, He will be your Prince!

Once you have truly seen Him,  you will want Him to rule and reign.

You will invite Him to rule and reign.

And His kingdom, His royalty, His rule, will be within you, in your heart:

Luke 17:20b  “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (KJV)

He will dwell inside of you, by the Holy Spirit
whom God to His children who ask Him (Luke 11:13).
He will tabernacle in your tent of flesh.

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “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 with him.”

He abounds –> critical mass is reached –> Lord, possess me fully!

THEN:

The increase of His peace!

His peace,
safety in Him,
welfare through Him,
health from by Him,
spiritual prosperity,
His favor,
your heart beating in time with His,
wholeness to we who are broken.

Beloved, His government of your heart must come first,
and then His peace will be given to you.

His peace,
the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7),
peace that cannot be explained away by anything of this world.
God’s peace, guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

This peace is in and for all who belong to Him,
all in whose heart He dwells and rules and reigns and governs!

Peace in all circumstances (2 Thessalonians 3:16)!
Peace in every manner, every way, every respect,
regardless of what happens around us and to us!

His shalom, His safety, welfare, health, prosperity, favor, wholeness!

Of the increase of His government and His peace there will be no end!!!

There is no border, no limit, no end.
No end to His government’s increase,
no end to the increasing of His peace!
It is infinite! It is abundant, super-abundant!

His government is established,
He dwells within, without any limits.

Once He reigns in you,
once His kingdom is in place in your heart,
your peace is limitless and endless.

When His government is established in you,
when He has become your Ruler, your Master, your Owner,
He endlessly expands and expands and expands,
enlarging your heart — making a wide space in it —
so you follow and obey Him (Psalm 119:32).

Oh, it is a place of liberty (Psalm 119:45)!

It is an endless kingdom,
it is an endless and limitless and borderless peace.

When His kingdom is established in you,
it is possible for you to fully know the height, length,
width and depth of the love of God in Christ Jesus (see Ephesians 3:18).

You will understand its endlessness,
its immeasureability,
its eternal stretching forth.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9)!

All of this, all of this . . .

Because unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is GIVEN!

It is the greatest of gifts,
this giving of the life of Jesus Christ,
the very Son of God, God in the flesh.

He entered His creation to return you to His Father,
He gave His life as a ransom for you,
to set you free from the sins you’ve committed
and free of the rebellious nature you were born with.

HALLELUJAH! HE SETS US FREE!

Sounding the warning (the trumpet)

But in the very next verse, the Lord says:

Isaiah 9:8   The Lord sends a  message against Jacob,
    And it falls on Israel.
9 And all the people know it,
    That is,  Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria,
    Asserting in pride and in  arrogance of heart —
10 “The bricks have fallen down,
    But we will  rebuild with smooth stones;
    The sycamores have been cut down,
    But we will replace them with cedars.”

Therefore, He sends an enemy against His people.
It is a strange work (Isaiah 28:21),
but He’ll do whatever it takes to return them (and you) to Him.

O Church,
our bricks have fallen down.
WE rebuild
WE replace.
But unless THE LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1).

Much of the church does not teach that Jesus Christ MUST govern your heart!

When and where it IS taught,
many resist and fight against God.

But Jesus Christ is the Gift that keeps on giving!
His grace is here for you today,
if you will submit to Him.

He has broken the rod of your oppressor, but you must perceive your oppression in order to receive His freedom!

He will MOST GLADLY receive you today,
if you will bow your knee to Him.

We are coming rapidly to the end of all things.
You have resisted His governance of your heart.
Today, you must bow to Him.

When He rules and reigns,
You will find His peace,
And He will ever increase in you
For His glory
And the glory of the Father.
Others will be drawn to the truth
by seeing the “Him” in you.

And then Isaiah 9:7 will be a reality TO you, and IN you:

Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end . . .

Of the increasing, of the greatness,
of the abundance . . .

Of His governance of your heart,
of His prevailing, of His power,
of His reign as Prince of Peace . . .

Of His peace, His safety,
welfare, health, prosperity, favor, wholeness . . .

There shall be no end,
no extremity, no border.
It shall be infinite and eternal.

THE LOVE OF GOD

[SW071] 12/16/12 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2012
“The Love of God”

After the tragedy in Connecticut, my 10-year-old grandson posted this on his Facebook page:

“What has this world become, seriously, why would someone kill 20 [children]?”

I responded this way:

“The man who shot all those children and the adults was a sinner in need of Jesus Christ. When Jesus comes to dwell in us, He changes our hearts, making them good and then, making them pure. By his actions, this young man did not know Jesus Christ, and so his heart was evil. I thank God, dear grandson, that you know Jesus. Keep your eyes on Him and know He is with you always. Love, Grammy Sue”

He responded:

“Love u Grammy.”

Why did that young man murder all those people?

There are many leaders in the Christian church who say, “Don’t speak as if you have all the answers.”

But if the love of God has been poured out in my heart by the Holy Spirit, I most certainly DO have the answer, and His name is Jesus Christ.

You see two banners with me, if you’re watching the video of this message. The one says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).”

The other says, “Then if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed (John 8:36).”

The first one is definitely true, and that makes the second one true, too.

If we who follow Jesus will continue in His Word, we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free.

From what? From slavery to sin. That’s the context in John 8:31-36.

Sin. The inner twistedness in our hearts that we inherited from Adam.

Jesus came to give us a means of forgiveness of sins, if we will confess them to Him and ask Him to save us.

But He also came to make the crooked straight!

A crooked heart, a heart willfully rebelling against God, is the reason that young man murdered.

It wasn’t that we need more legislation. It’s that we need more of Jesus.

It wasn’t that he needed counseling or medication. He needed a changed heart.

It’s possible he was a churchgoer. He may have sat in the pew and never heard the truth that Jesus will set us free from our sin nature, our willful rebellion against God.

It’s hardly taught anywhere in the church. But we cannot teach what we haven’t experienced.

Many Christians have not been filled with God’s agape, His actual love, even the love He has for Jesus Christ. And so they will have no good and true answer for the tragedy in Connecticut.

They will say there’s evil in the world, there’s sin in the world. But the evil and the sin are a reflection of what is in the human heart.
Until our hearts are changed, we all have the potential to murder.

You say, “How can that be? We do not murder and would never think of doing such a thing.”

But when you hate your brother and sister, and even those in the world, you commit murder, according to Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-22). The context there is murder, dear ones.

If you hate others, God’s agape has not filled your heart.

1 Corinthians 13:4 and forward says that love is patient, love is kind . . . it does not keep a record of wrongs suffered. If we hate, we are keeping a record.

If we hate, we do not possess the fruit of the Spirit, God’s agape, His joy, His peace, His patience, His kindness, His goodness, His faithfulness, His gentleness, and His Spirit’s control (Galatians 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit has not yet possessed our hearts.

It may be that the young man in Connecticut was possessed by an evil spirit, but that would not be possible if his heart was filled with and possessed by God’s Holy Spirit.

I tell you that none of the mass murders which have become a regular part of our news would ever have happened, if all American’s hearts were filled with God’s actual love, His agape.

Jesus Christ is the answer, not only to forgive us of our sins, but to purify our hearts, to change them.

God spoke through Ezekiel the prophet, foretelling what He was going to do to change the hearts of His own people (not those who didn’t believe in Him, but those who did!):

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

The first thing is to be cleansed of the sins we have committed. The second thing is to be filled with God’s own Holy Spirit, correcting the problem that has existed in human hearts since the first man disobeyed God — disobedience that has been carried down through all generations of mankind.

When Ezekiel lived, this prophecy was not fulfilled. It was fulfilled at Pentecost.

At Pentecost, the promise of the Father became a reality.

Peter, who loved Jesus, who was part of the inner three, who saw Jesus transfigured, who saw the dead raised, who followed him zealously, didn’t have agape until Pentecost.

Peter, the fisherman who was given a miraculous catch by Jesus, looked at Him and said, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man (Luke 5:8).” He was convicted of his sinful heart in the very presence of Christ.

Yet he loved Him and couldn’t help but follow Him.

How do I know Peter didn’t have agape, that essential love that would have changed that young man’s heart so he would never murder nor willfully disobey God?

Because Peter denied Jesus Christ, three times.

Listen to his exchange with Jesus in John 21:

John 21:15 . . . “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”

Do  you love me more than your brethren, even your brother, James?

Do you agapeo (25 in the Greek Strong’s Concordance) Me?
Do you love Me with the actual love of God,
with the same love with which My Father loves Me?
Do you love me selflessly, with no ulterior motive?
Do you love me with a love you were not born with?

Peter answered in the only way he could:

John 21:15 “He  said to Him,“Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

Peter said, “You know that I phileo (5368) You.”

I am a friend of Yours, Lord.
I have great affection for You.
I have great tenderness toward you.
In a holy way, I kiss You.
But I don’t agapeo You.

Peter DID love Jesus, with a different kind of love.
Jesus said agapeo, Peter answered phileo.
And with that phileo, Peter had denied Jesus.

John 21: 16 He  said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you  love Me?”

Do you agapeo Me?
Do you love Me with the actual love of God,
with the same love with which My Father loves Me?
Do you love me selflessly, with no ulterior motive?
Do you love me with a love you were not born with?

He  said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

Peter answered:

You fully know that I have phileo for You.
I love you as my Friend, Jesus.
I have great affection for You.
I have great tenderness toward You.
In a holy way, I kiss You.
But I don’t agapeo You.

Again, Jesus asked agapeo, Peter answered phileo.

John 21:17 He  said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

This time, the Lord uses the same word Peter has been using for “love” — phileo.

Peter, do you You phileo Me?
Do you love Me as your Friend?
Do you have great affection for Me?
Do you have great tenderness toward Me?
In a holy way, do you kiss Me?

He knows full well that Peter is not able to agapeo Him YET.
Not yet, but he will!

But in using Peter’s own word for love, I believe He is saying,
“It’s alright that for now, you can only phileo Me.
A time will come when you will be able to agapeo Me,
and it will make all the difference in the world.”

John 21:17 Peter was grieved because He said to him  the third time, “Do you  love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him,“Tend My sheep.”

Peter remembers his three denials.
The bitterness of his weeping likely comes to his mind.
He is grieved,
distressed,
made sorrowful at Christ’s third asking of this question.

Peter says, “Yes, I phileo You, Lord”.
You fully know that I phileo You.

I love you as my Friend, Jesus.
I have great affection for You.
I have great tenderness toward You.
In a holy way, I kiss You.

Pentecost — Agape Poured Out!

What would happen that would make all the difference in the world
for Peter and the rest?

What can happen in the church that will give her the answer to such tragedies as what happened in Connecticut?

What can happen in the church that will result in changing people’s hearts all around us?

Pentecost (Acts 2), when God’s actual love (agape)
was poured out in human hearts to overflowing (Romans 5:5)!!!
and they loved Him with His love!

Pentecost, the Father’s answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17:

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

He prays for them to have God’s actual love, His agape, in them. If He prayed for His followers to receive it, they did not yet have it.

Church, Church!

Jesus asks “Church, church, do you agapeo Me more than these?” (John 21:15)

Do  you love me more than your brethren, even your kin?

Do you agapeo Me?
Do you love Me with the actual love of God,
with the same love with which My Father loves Me?
Do you love me selflessly, with no ulterior motive?
Do you love me with a love you were not born with?

If you answer,
“O Lord, You know I phileo You,”
then you will not be able to answer
when tragedy strikes.
And the potential for evil
remains in your own heart.

But praise God, He sent Jesus Christ to make the crooked straight!

To deny is to say “no,” contradict, disavow, reject, refuse —
even though you phileo Jesus, O church.

How do we now deny you, Lord?

The Lord said, “Pentecost has come,
My agape has been poured out.
Yet some in My church only phileo Me,
and so they deny Me.
I want to pour out My agape,
but it is not taught in My church,
and where it is taught, many reject it.
Many contradict it, disavow it, refuse it.”

As I speak today, I see a gift-wrapped box — Jesus Christ, God’s gift to us.
I see we have peeled back the paper to see His salvation.
But we have not opened the whole package,
the part that will set us free, indeed,
the changing of our stony human hearts
to a heart of flesh that responds to God.

He showed me we deny Him
when we reject His command to ask for agape
agape for Him, and for one another —
because His agape has filled our hearts.

John 15:12   “This is  My commandment, that you love [agapeo] one another, just as I have loved  [agapeo] you.”

We deny Him when we continue to sin,
after hearing His truth.

We deny Him when we hate one another.

We deny Him when we hate the one we are married to,
and as those who bear the name of Christ,
divorcing at the same rate as the world around us.

We deny Him when we say “No one can do that!” at His command to be perfect
as His Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48. 1 Peter 1:15-16).

(You’re right — it’s not in your power to be holy,
to have a pure heart full of His actual love  —
but God wants to and WILL do it in you,
if you will hear and obey today! )

Preachers and leaders deny Him when they hide the truth of Jesus’ words,
neglecting to mention certain ones,
because they fear man
and so please their congregations rather than God.
It’s an act of self-preservation.

We deny Him when we are careful not to mention His name
even as we feed and clothe,
when we say “God” instead of “Jesus Christ,”
for fear of reprisal from a Christ-hating world.

John 15:18  “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but  I chose you out of the world,  because of this the world hates you.”

He asks you today, Christian —
Do you love Him?
Do you have His agape in your heart?

If not, you will be like Peter,
who loved Him with human love, phileo,
not with agape.

You will deny Him.

Do not deny His truth, and thus deny Him.
Receive His agape!

Praise God for His love and faithfulness and mercy!

Jesus wants to restore you today, not condemn you —
just as He did with Peter!!!

If you will agree that you do not have this agape for Him,
and thus you have denied Him
by not receiving His truth and power and love
poured out at Pentecost,
He will do just as He did with Peter and the rest.

He will give you your own personal Pentecost!

If you go before Him and confess that you do not agapeo Him,
He will fill you with His agape,
and you will love with God’s love!

And you will have GOD’S ANSWER for the heart problem of all mankind — Jesus Christ.

And you will never deny Him again!

LOVE LIKE A MORNING MIST

Love, loyalty — How we want it from others! How disappointed we are if our spouse strays, or our children disobey, or a friend goes away!
But think of God!

[SW070] 12/02/12 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2012
“Love Like a Morning Mist”

Hosea. 6:4 “What can I do with you, Ephraim?
        What can I do with you, Judah?
        Your love [2617 checed, loyalty] is like the morning mist,
        like the early dew that disappears.
        5  Therefore I cut you in pieces with My prophets,
        I killed you with the words of My mouth;
        My judgments flashed like lightning upon you.  (NIV)

Hosea 6:6 “For I delight in [2654 bend down, incline to]
          loyalty rather than sacrifice,
         And in the knowledge of God [1847 daath, from 3045 yada, an intimate experiential knowledge] rather than burnt offerings.” (NASB)

Love, loyalty —

How we want it from others!
How disappointed we are if our spouse strays,
or our children disobey,
or if a friend goes away!

But think of God!
My heart and His grieve together
for just as His people were disloyal in the time of Hosea,
they still are today, in the church age.

What is this love, this loyalty that is so fleeting in His people, that so quickly evaporates like a morning mist?

It is checed (2617) loving-kindness, steadfast love, grace, mercy, faithfulness, goodness, devotion. It’s used 240 times in the OT: 1) to describe God; 2) to call His people out for their unfaithfulness.

Checed is one of God’s most central characteristics.

It is a word used of marital love,
it is a relationship of the greatest intimacy,
greater than what we can think or imagine!

In the OT, He is “Husband,” (Isaiah 54:5, Jeremiah 31:32, Ezekiel 16:32, etc.), and in the NT, His Christ is the Bridegroom (Matthew 9:15, Matthew 25:1-10, John 3:29, Ephesians 5:25-27, Revelation 18:23, etc.).

No eye has seen, no ear has heard what God has for those who love Him!

The New Testament equivalent of this word is entire sanctification —
that is, to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit —
filled with His actual love for Him! His agape! No more straying!

Your love [checed] is like the morning mist,
        like the early dew that disappears.
        5  Therefore I cut you in pieces with My prophets,
        I killed you with the words of My mouth;
        My judgments flashed like lightning upon you.

He wants marriage, but we want a Sunday morning fling!

He cuts you now,
He strikes you as if to death,
His judgments are like lightning bolts,
so full of His power
that they charge the whole atmosphere of your innermost being —
for your own good!

He cuts you with the sword of the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12),
so it may judge the thoughts and attitudes of your heart.

Hosea 6:6 “For I delight in [2654 bend down, incline to]
loyalty rather than sacrifice,
         And in the knowledge of God [1847 daath, from 3045 yada, an intimate experiential knowledge]
   rather than burnt offerings.” (NASB)

Jesus quoted Hosea 6:6 to the religious of the days He walked the earth!
[Matthew 9:13, Matthew 12:7]

He said, “Go and learn what this means!”

He quotes it to the “religious” church of this day.

We have a form of religion
while denying its power to transform a stony heart
to a heart that responds to His every command,
and overflows with the actual love of God,
poured into it by the Holy Spirit whom God has given us!

Oh, no eye has seen!!

God laments! Do you hear it?

“Your love [checed] is like the morning mist,
        like the early dew that disappears.”

We may seek some kind of intimacy for a time,
like when we are in danger.
We may cry out then, from our hearts, like in Hosea 6:1-3 —

Hosea 6:1   “ Come, let us return to the LORD.
    For  He has torn us, but  He will heal us;
    He has  wounded us, but He will  bandage us.
2 “He will  revive us after two days;
    He will  raise us up on the third day,
    That we may live before Him.
3 “So let us  know, let us press on to know the LORD.
    His  going forth is as certain as the dawn;
    And He will come to us like the  rain,
 Like the spring rain watering the earth.”

We acknowledge His faithfulness,
we cry out for healing,
we say we want to know Him,
but then we go away,
leaving Jesus Christ at the altar, a forsaken Bridegroom!

I know.
That’s what I did
after He rescued me from drug addiction in 1975!

We sing, “I Am a Friend of God,”
but His very heart has been wounded —
in the house of His friends (Zechariah 13:6)!
These are His words, not mine!

God the Father and God the Son continue to lament through the Spirit-inspired Hosea:

Hosea 6:7 But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant;
    There they have dealt treacherously against Me.

We’ve double-crossed God, with our self-reliance.

Even if we have an inner uneasiness that something is amiss,
listen to this and speak it out loud, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God:

Hosea 5:13 When Ephraim saw his sickness,
    And Judah his wound,
    Then Ephraim went to  Assyria
    And sent to King Jareb.
    But he is unable to heal you,
    Or to cure you of your wound.

No weeping and fasting!
No rending of hearts instead of garments!

We seek after the powers of this world
to heal us and cure us of Holy Spirit conviction.

The wound is curable only by the Lord,
by whose wounds WE ARE HEALED!

O, Hallelujah!

Again, this time to His people who are about to be overrun by Babylon, about 150 years later, the Lord laments through Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 2:2 “Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying,
            ‘Thus says the LORD,
            “I remember concerning you the devotion [checed!] of your youth,
            The love of your betrothals, [you were lovesick for Me, as a bride is lovesick for her Bridegroom, O church!]
             Your following after Me in the wilderness,
            Through a land not sown.

And also through Ezekiel, exiled in Babylon, He laments:

Ezekiel 6:9 “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations to which they will be carried captive, how I have been hurt by their adulterous hearts which turned away from Me, and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols; and they will  loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have committed, for all their abominations. (my emphasis)

What? Our adultery, our following after the things of the world
and the wisdom of man,
hurts God?

Yes, and the word “hurt” is shabar (7665),
and it means His heart is broken in pieces, shattered,
by you who disobey,
by you who stray,
by you who go away.

Hosea 4:12 “My people consult their wooden idol,
        and their diviner’s wand informs them;
        For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray,
        And they have played the harlot, departing  from their God.”

In our consulting with one another, in our comparing ourselves with ourselves,
in trying to do things in our own strength,
following man’s wisdom,
using business models for the church (!!)
we bring into our own hearts
a spirit of harlotry (prostitution)
rather than the Spirit of God.

His church has departed from Him just as in the days of Israel.
Thus, He will go away.

Hosea 5:15 I will go away and return to My place
    Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face;
    In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”

He goes away from you
because you have gone away from Him.
You are in spiritual famine and drought.

But only until we seek Him and agree with Him —
when we are humbled,
we will indeed seek Him most diligently!
And He will return to us.

He humbles us so we will seek Him.
He uses Satan as His blacksmith! Thus says the Lord:

Isaiah 54:16 “Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals
    And brings out a weapon for its work;
    And I have created the destroyer to ruin.”

Oh, but that is the old covenant, you will say.
we are under the new covenant
and we have Christ.

Listen to our Christ, speaking to zealous Peter:

Luke 22:31   “Simon, Simon, behold,  Satan has  demanded permission to  sift you like wheat; 32 but I  have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again,  strengthen your brothers.”

Praise be to God, He is praying for us!
He is praying for us who do wrong —
Look again at Hosea 6, O church!

Hosea 6:8  Gilead is a city of wrongdoers,
    Tracked with bloody footprints.
    9 And as  raiders wait for a man,
    So a band of priests murder on the way to Shechem;
Surely they have committed crime.

This city of God’s people — even His church —
has become a city of wrongdoers (aven 205), overrun with
evil, iniquity, sorrow, unrighteousness, vanity, and wickedness.

We invite those who have darkened hearts
and no light of dawn (Isaiah 8:20)
to lead us and teach us —
unrighteous ones,
fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate,
homosexuals, thieves, the covetous,
drunkards, revilers, and swindlers.
(1 Corinthians 6:9).

“A city of wrongdoers, tracked with bloody footprints.”
What are the bloody footprints?
The wake of destruction we create as we walk in sin (Isaiah 59:7)!
We do not see it because it comes behind us,
but it affects everyone around us
and worst of all, our eternal future!

Hosea 6:9 And as raiders wait for a man,
    So a band of priests murder on the way to Shechem;
    Surely they have committed crime.

Indeed, the Lord refers here to King Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:31),
who established his own version of “priests”
for the worship of golden calves that I spoke of last week.

These “priests” literally robbed and murdered pilgrims
who were trying to reach Jerusalem,
the place of true worship.

Surely these “priests” committed a crime
(2154 zimmah), lewdness, loose conduct!
Encouraging the people to join them in committing spiritual adultery!

But what of today’s preachers?
Do we preachers not urge our congregations to be greedy and self-centered,
with our prosperity, success, and self-esteem messages,
do we not encourage them to love the things of this world?

Those who do such things hate God!

This is a crime, lewdness —
we encourage them to join us
in committing spiritual adultery against God.

Raiders — an army of robbers!
If we are preaching “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace
are we not robbers who rob His people of the truth?
Do we not send them down the broad path to destruction?
Do we not murder them?

Matthew 21:13 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.”

Have we become a den of robbers, O church?

Hosea 6:10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible [8186 fearful] thing;
   Ephraim’s harlotry is there, Israel has defiled itself.
11 Also, O Judah, there is a  harvest appointed for you,
    When I restore the fortunes of My people.

Is God contradicting Himself?
May it never be!
Judah’s harvest would be like Israel’s that Hosea prophesied —
punishment for her own good,
so that Judah would return to the Lord,
and He would have mercy on her, and freely pardon her.

But meanwhile, He will restore (7725),
He will retreat, He will repay, He will pull up,
so she may turn,
so His people may turn back to Him.

Then He will return them to their starting point,
and free them from their captivity,
for as long as they sin, they are captives, slaves to it!
The outcome of these things is death (Romans 6:21)!
Oh, what is the answer? What shall we do? How shall we return?

Be baptized in the Holy Spirit —
that is the baptism done by Jesus Christ.
Water baptism is a baptism of repentance . . .
His baptism of fire burns up all that is not of God,
so all that is left fully belongs to God.

Listen to Christ’s answer through His servant, the Spirit-inspired Paul (my emphasis):

Romans 6:6 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; 7 for he who has died is free from sin.

Romans 6:17 But  thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that  form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Then joy unspeakable and full of glory will come to you and you will be united with your Bridegroom whom you will love with God’s actual love:

Romans 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and  enslaved to God, you  derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.  23 For the wages of  sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

O Church, get real with God!
His heart is wounded and shattered by your waywardness!
Surely He will heal you of it when you confess it to Him!

Do not try to reason it out —
Don’t try to apply man’s logic!
Believe! Believe God’s Word!

His ways are higher than your ways,
His thoughts are higher than your thoughts.
As the heavens are above the earth,
so are His ways and thoughts higher than yours!
Why do you still look to man’s wisdom?

Hebrews 3:7   Therefore, just as  the Holy Spirit says,
    “ TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
8  DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS  WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME,
    AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS,
9  WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me BY TESTING Me,
    AND SAW MY WORKS FOR  FORTY YEARS.
10 “ THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION,
    AND SAID, ‘THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART,
    AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS’;
11  AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH,
    ‘THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.’”

O Church, do not fail to enter His rest!

BREAK UP YOUR FALLOW GROUND

Break up your fallow ground, pull the weeds, turn it until it glistens with Christ’s light! It’s time to seek the Lord!

[SW069] 11/25/12 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2012
“Break Up Your Fallow Ground”

Hosea 10:12  Sow with a view to righteousness,
    Reap in accordance with  kindness;
     Break up your fallow ground,
    For it is time to  seek the LORD
    Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.

It is time for the church to do as God told Israel to do, and that right quick.

The time is short! Many who are true ministers to God are saying this to their congregations.

It’s time to seek (1875) the Lord,
to diligently pursue Him,
to search for,
to seek Him out,
until He comes to rain righteousness on you, O Christian!

Then living water will flow from you, as His living water fills you!

The church, and you yourself, O Christian, look like a luxuriant vine,
very fruitful (v. 1),
but the fruit you produce is your own, and not God’s
and it is for yourself.

When you saw you could produce your own fruit,
and lots of it,
you began to worship yourself —
your wisdom,
your intelligence,
your charismatic personality,
your demographics,
your business acumen,
your culture.

And you produced more and more of
your own fruit for yourself.

You became rich, in the natural.
Big buildings,
big ministries. The Lord detests these things! (Amos 6:8)

You trusted in your own ability to make your own fruit for yourself
and so your heart became faithless,
smooth, not pricked (v. 2),
your heart became calloused.
You refused to hear the truth, calling it a lie (Jeremiah 43:2).

And so the Lord will tear down what you have built. (v. 2)

You do not revere the Lord (11:7).
You have abandoned your true King,
and call your natural leaders useless. (v. 3)

You speak words, but they are not His words.
You make promises and take oaths to keep them
but your oaths are worthless
because the Lord is not their Author.
Your vows are meaningless, in His eyes. (v. 4)

Therefore judgment has sprouted up!
It is like poisonous weeds in your fields
where you produce your own fruit for yourself,
and this judgment will spoil your self-made fruitfulness. (v.4)

The things you have relied upon are your golden calves:
your wisdom,
your intelligence,
your charismatic personality,
your demographics,
your business acumen,
your culture.
They are worthless before the Lord,
man-made ideas and people-pleasing plans
that block people from coming into a place of true worship.

You have become like the house of Jeroboam. (1 Kings 12:27-28)

All that you follow after, all of your idols,
will be carried away,
and that, for your own good. (v. 6)

The Assyrians are at the door . . .
the church, and you, O Christian, are about to be totally overrun.

You are in Beth-Aven, which means “house of iniquity.”  (v. 5)

When the Enemy enters and overruns,
you will mourn over your golden calves.
Your idolatrous leaders will say, “Our glory has departed.”
And it will depart, dear ones, for your own good.

The glory that has truly departed,
and that, some time ago,
is the glory of the Lord —
“Ichabod” is written over many a church door.

Rather than sowing with a view to righteousness
and reaping in accordance with checed
(personal involvement, a commitment, loyalty, devotion,
intimacy, marital love toward the Lord),
you have plowed wickedness (toward God AND others — see below),
reaped injustice (toward God AND others, depriving them of truth),
and you have eaten the fruit of lies. (v. 13)

You have deceived yourselves with your own cleverness.

And as the Lord says in Verse 13, tumult is coming to you;
all your fortresses will fall (2 Corinthians 10:5).

If you break up your fallow ground
the Lord will be gracious to you.
He will rain righteousness on you.

It is time to seek the Lord, that you may live! (Amos 5:4, 6)

It is time to seek good and not evil, that the Lord of hosts may be with you! (Amos 5:14)

How do you break up fallow ground?

You must plow it up,
lift it, turn it over, and break up the clods.

Stones have to be removed.
Weeds have to be pulled.

The soil has to be amended,
peat moss and other organic materials added,
to keep the soil loose so roots can easily form and spread.
Fertilizer is added to stimulate plant growth.

Unprepared ground produces only weeds and thistles
that choke out the good
and what is planted is unfruitful,
just as in the Parable of the Sower. (Matthew 13:7, 22)

The church’s weeds are her sins,
her unbelief,
her chasing after her own ways,
relying on her own cleverness,
and doing everything in her own strength.

Those weeds haven’t been pulled.
Her soil is in clods and useless,
packed down hard.
so the seed of the Word can’t work its way in (Matthew 13:20).

Her soil is full of rocks that are her sin burdens,
unfertilized with the Holy Spirit’s presence.

So a thorough breaking up is needed!

To break up (5214/5216) means to create a gleaming fresh furrow,
brightly shining and reflecting light
even the light of Christ.

To break up the fallow ground,
you must identify and list specific sins in your life
(I borrow from Charles Finney here).

If any of these are true of you, write them down on your list.
A simple “forgive my sins” won’t do.

You must be specific,
so you may fully understand where you stand with God.

You must make a list so you can take it before God,
and ask Him to forgive  you and change  your heart.

You’ll need the list to do what is needed to right wrongs against your fellow man.

Sins of neglect (if any of these are true of you, write it down on your list):

Ingratitude toward God — He is the source of all that is good. Do you thank Him daily for all that He gives you? Do you attribute your success to yourself rather than to His goodness?

Lack of love for God — Do you fervently love God? Or is your relationship with Him cold and your spiritual life dry and lifeless?

Neglect of Bible reading — Do you love to read the Word because the Author is in you? Or is it a bore and a chore to you, a mere duty?

Neglect of prayer — Do you pray without ceasing because you are in continual communion with the living God? Or are your prayers mechanical, done just so you can say you prayed?
Poor spiritual attitude (lack of faith, a lackadaisical attitude) — Is your faith strong and vital, so you believe all of God’s promises, or do you often doubt whether what the Bible says is true? Do you approach your spiritual duties with reverence, or an “I could take-it-or-leave it” attitude?

Lack of love for souls of fellowmen (friends and relatives) — Do you regularly tend to and pray for the souls of your loved ones? If some do not know the Lord, do you   tell them the gospel, the good news of Christ? Or are you silent in prayer and in words?

Lack of concern for unbelievers — This is hypocrisy. If  you do not agonize over the lost, you must not believe in God’s wrath and hell. You are not a Christian at all.

Neglect of family and private duties (neglecting their spiritual advancement) — Do you constantly stir up the coals of faith in the hearts of your loved ones? Do you teach each other from the Bible and pray together? Or does that not happen in your home?

Neglect of watchfulness (keeping your accounts straight with God, watching your conduct) — God calls us to account for what we do, how we act. If that were not true, Paul and Peter and James and the rest never would have had to write letters to the church! Be careful how you walk! (Ephesians 5:15)

Not watching over fellow believers, reproving in a loving way — Do you not care if a brother falls into sin? Will you not speak to him humbly? Do you not go to one who strays from the truth and turn him back? Do you turn the sinner for the error of his way and save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins? (James 5:19-20)

Lack of self-denial — Have you denied your self, taken up your cross, and followed Jesus to Calvary? Or do you still cater to your needs, wants, desires, and make your own plans, totally apart from God?

Active sins (again, if any of these are true, you must write them down on your list):

Worldliness (preoccupation with the things of this world rather than the Lord)

Pride

Envy

Unforgiveness (grudge-holding)

Critical spirit (speaking bitterly of and to Christians — a bitter root!)

Slander (speaking of faults behind a person’s back)

Frivolity before God (taking Him lightly, having no reverence for Him)

Lying (that is, any intended deception)

Cheating (not doing unto others as you would have them do unto you)

Hypocrisy (praying for things you don’t really want, praying mindlessly)
Robbing God (of money, time, gifts)

Anger

Hindering others (making insinuations regarding another’s ministry, thereby reducing their effectiveness)

Now confess all of these to God.
Tell Him you now understand your sinful state,
and ask Him to change your heart of stone into a heart of flesh.

Tell Him you want to leave Beth-Aven,
the “house of iniquity.”
Tell Him you want to worship Him from now on.
Ask Him to set your heart ablaze with love for Him.

For those whom you have sinned against, go to them now. Do not delay. (Matthew 5:23-25)

Let the Lord hear your weeping and supplications:

Jeremiah 3:25 “Let us lie down in our  shame, and let our humiliation cover us; for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers,  from our youth even to this day. And we have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.”

Break up your fallow ground!
Jeremiah 4:3   For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem,
    “Break up your fallow ground,
    And  do not sow among thorns.
4 “ Circumcise yourselves to the LORD
    And remove the foreskins of your heart,
    Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
    Or else My  wrath will go forth like fire
    And burn with  none to quench it,
    Because of the evil of your deeds.”

To five of the seven churches in Revelation (see Chapters 2 and 3), the Lord Jesus Christ says, “Repent!” If you do not, He will:
–remove your lamp stand (Ephesus)
–make war against  you (Pergamum)
–throw you into great tribulation (Thyatira)
–come like a thief (Sardis)
–vomit you out of His mouth (Laodicea)

Seek the Lord, until He comes to rain righteousness on you!

If you will return to Him, He will heal you
and love you freely (14:4)!

WHY GOD HATES RELIGION

[SW068] 11/18/12 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2012
“Why God Hates Religion”

God hates religion, but Christianity is NOT a religion. What??!! Read, and then shout, “Hallelujah!”

Isaiah 1:11 “ What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?”
    Says the LORD.
    “I  have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
    And the fat of fed cattle;
    And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats.
12 “When you come  to appear before Me,
    Who requires of you this trampling of My courts?
13 “Bring your worthless offerings no longer,
     Incense is an abomination to Me.
     New moon and sabbath, the  calling of assemblies —
    I cannot  endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.
14 “I hate your new moon festivals and your  appointed feasts,
    They have become a burden to Me;
    I am  weary of bearing them.

God hates religion! He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to put an end to it.

Understand this — Christianity is not a religion. What??!!

It is not a religion,
but a completion.
When we come to Christ, we cry, “Abba, Father, the Holy Spirit  testifying with our spirit that we have become a child of God
and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:15ff).

It begins not with a vow,
but an 180-degree turn toward Christ, NOW.
Just as Zaccheus turned immediately (Luke 19:8),
when Jesus called him by name
and said He must stay at his house “today.” Oh! He wants to come to YOUR house, TODAY! He wants to dwell there!

It is not a change only as deep as your skin,
but a completely changed heart, a change deep within.
The old goes, the new comes, and
we become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17),
born from above — a spiritual rebirth (John 3:7)!

It is not a life spent in rote learning,
but an experience wrought by an inner yearning.

It is not knowing about Christ, knowing “the facts,”
but knowing Him intimately (Ephesians 5:27, etc.), and doing His acts,
. . . and even greater (John 14:12)!

It’s not a series of “do’s and don’ts,”
but your heart and lips saying, “Unless it’s God’s will, I won’t.”
“Behold, I delight to do Your will, O God . . . ” (Psalm 40:7-8)
My heart desires and is prompted to do nothing but obey!

It is not a pain, a chore and a bore,
But a life praising Christ, who opened heaven’s door (John 10:9),
and heaven in our souls right now and more and more!

It’s not just saying prayers
or lifting up our hands in the air,
But continual communion,
24/7 union,
with a God who is LIVING!
That is praying “without ceasing!” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

It is not attending and critiquing a Sunday service,
but Christ’s own heart in you so you are His servant. (Matthew 20:26-28), not for you to be served, but to serve Him, to minister to Him.

It is not just one hour, one day a week given,
but in your soul, heaven — 24/7!

It is not singing in a choir,
but your old nature placed on a funeral pyre. (Galatians 2:20)

It is not Bible study in which you weigh and compare,
but beholding the face of Christ Jesus there,
until you look like Him here. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

It is not one of many paths to eternal life,
but the only way, made by Christ’s sacrifice. (John 14:6). The Son of God means what He says and says what He means!

It is not  simply to “make a decision” for Christ,
but to make Him Master, Owner, Lord of your life!

It is not a philosophy or some truth you confess,
but a treasure for which you’ll sell all to possess. (Mathew 13:44)

It is not insurance against hell’s fire,
but a heart set ablaze with the Spirit’s holy fire (Matthew 3:11). He has come to baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire!!! O, Refiner, come!

It is not simply admiring Christ,
but a heart filled with His love, and inside us, His life!
(Romans 5:5, John 17:26)

It is not that Jesus is our example,
but that He gives us His Spirit, heaven’s sample (Ephesians 1:14),
and it’s for the praise of God and Christ’s glory!

It’s not something out of His disciples’ imagination,
but Christ, God’s promise to Abraham, a blessing for all nations!
(Genesis 12:3, Galatians 3:16)

—————————————————————————————————
O church, O seeker . . .

I am blowing the trumpet:
 In many churches, religion has taken the place of Christianity!!!

God hates religion because:

It deceives.
It is all outward appearances,
while the heart is filled with dead men’s bones and unclean things.             (Matthew 23:27)

It is disobedience to His Word.
Christians are “a sinful nation,” just as Israel and Judah were in Isaiah’s day.
He says, “Be holy,” and we say “No, but we will do what we want,
what seems right to us.” (Jeremiah 42:14)

It is a form of godliness while denying its power to transform. (2 Timothy 3:5)
It is “going through the motions.”
Our hearts are not in it.

O church, when you see it, you know the words Christ speaks are for you:

Mark 7:6 And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
    ‘ THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
    BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.” (Isaiah 29:13)

O church, when you see that your whole head is sick (2483, full of malady, anxiety, calamity, and grief) and your whole heart is faint (1742, troubled) [see Isaiah 1:5],

When you see that you are weighed down with sin, pulling it behind you as if with cart ropes (Isaiah 5:18),

When you have come to the end of yourself,
when you are ruined, undone, (Isaiah 6:5),
and see that Christianity is not at all what you thought it was
or what you were taught it was,

When the wall you’ve been leaning on has fallen over (Isaiah 30:13, Ezekiel 13:14),

When you know you are in spiritual famine and drought,
because the Lord has sent His army of locusts to devour your “religion,”

REJOICE! It is in His mercy that he has revealed this to you! His mercy is here for you TODAY! What’s been spoken thus far may sound like bad news, but all words from God are good news because they are life-giving words! These words will give life to you, if you receive them!

Rend (tear) your heart and not your garments (robes)!
Mourn from the depths of you, not just so you “appear” to be spiritual!
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted —
comforted by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit!
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be filled!

Even now! Even now! Even now! Do not outwardly mourn, but from your very heart! Mourn the condition of your soul which you now see! Mourn that you have been duped all these years into following “religion,” when Christianity is a completion!

Even now! Even now! Turn to the Lord!

Joel 2:12     “Even now,” declares the LORD,
        “return to me with all your heart,
        with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Joel 2:13    Rend your heart
        and not your garments.
        Return to the LORD your God,
        for he is gracious and compassionate,
        slow to anger and abounding in love,
        and he relents from sending calamity. (NIV)

O pastors and leaders who belong to God and minister to the Lord face-to-face,     read and obey Joel 2:17-18:

Joel 2:17 Let the priests, the LORD’S ministers,
    Weep  between the porch and the altar,
    And let them say,
    “ Spare Your people, O LORD, [and the church]
    And do not make Your inheritance a reproach,
    A byword among the nations.
    Why should they among the peoples say,
    ‘ Where is their God?’”
        18 Then the LORD will be zealous for His land [and the church]
And will have  pity on His people.

Then read His promise. Join Jeff and me and many others and weep for her:

Joel 2:25 “Then I will make up to you for the years
    That the swarming  locust has eaten,
    The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust,
    My great army which I sent among you.
26 “You will have plenty to  eat and be satisfied
    And  praise the name of the LORD your God,
    Who has  dealt wondrously with you;
    Then My people will  never be put to shame.
27 “Thus you will  know that I am in the midst of Israel, [and the church]
 And that I am the LORD your God,
    And there is  no other;
    And My people will never be  put to shame.

Oh, it will come about after this! He will deal wondrously! He could have written us off, but wonder of wonders, His arms are opened wide to receive us!

It will come about after this! After what?
After you rend your hearts, O church, after you weep, O pastors and leaders,
after you see you are ruined and undone, O church,
listen to what will come about!

Joel 2:28   “It will come about after this
    That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
    And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    Your old men will dream dreams,
    Your young men will see visions.
29 “Even on the male and female servants
    I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
32 “And it will come about that  whoever calls on the name of the LORD
    Will be delivered;

O church, He will pour out His Spirit in your ruined, undone hearts,
and exchange those hearts for His!

Christianity will no longer be your religion, but your completion!
You will cry “Abba, Father!” and you will know it is true,
and the world will take notice that you have been with Jesus,
and they will come to Him.

Beloved, do not be fooled. They will not come to your “religion.”