With His Stripes We’re Healed!

[SW023] 10/30/11 Message Notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn @2011

Per Psalm 103:3, God provides two kinds of healing:
–He pardons all our iniquities (spiritual). Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the SIN of the world! (Jn 1:29)
–He heals all our diseases (physical)
–All the promises of God are “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus! (2 Corinthians 1:20)

But this privilege didn’t come cheaply — there was a great cost paid by God! The stripes of His Son, the torn flesh that revealed bones, per Psalm 22!
–FOR US, Jesus Christ emptied Himself of His glory
–FOR US, He came to the earth taking the form of a bond-servant, still fully God but now also fully man.
–FOR US, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8)

ISAIAH 53 DESCRIBES THE COST

Isaiah 53:3

He was despised and forsaken of men.
–He was found despicable, contemptible, considered vile.
–He was forsaken by men, refused even by His own disciples as they ran away on the night He was taken captive.
–He was a man of sorrows (pains) and acquainted with grief (sickness).
–Yet He wasn’t sick a day in His life, until that night. But THEN He was in great pain,
and they made Him very sick when they plucked out His beard (50:6), beat Him, scourged Him,
and hung Him on a cross.
–Twice in this verse, God says to Isaiah that He was despised, emphasizing that we did not account Him worthy of any form of honor.

Isaiah 53:4
–Surely! Certainly! Truly! We despised, but He loved.
–Our  griefs (sicknesses) He Himself bore (carried away and lifted from us)
–And our sorrows (pains) He carried, lifting our heavy load!
–Matthew, in Matthew 8:16-17 gives the account of Jesus freeing the demon possessed and healing ALL who were ill, and quotes Isaiah 53:4, writing “To fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet.”
-Yet! We have looked at His miracles, we have seen that He is the Yoke-Breaker, and yet when we look at His body, beaten beyond recognition, we considered Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. He must have done something against God, to meet such an end!
–How unlike God we are! We do not understand God’s ways and words. Isaiah prophesied 700 years before Christ. And when He was on the earth on that cross, and even today, we do not see that it was God’s plan all along, the only way to reconcile us to Himself. Amazing love!

Isaiah 53:5
–He was pierced through, in His hands, His feet, His side! Why? It was what we deserved.
–We transgressed against God. We willfully disobeyed Him and rebelled against Him.
–God is perfectly just. Justice must always be done.
–The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
–He was crushed, beaten to pieces, destroyed.
–Why? For our iniquities, for our inner twistedness that happened when we rebelled against Him.
–The chastening, the discipline, the correction we deserved? It fell on Him.
–He bore the wrath we deserved. Propitiation!
–And by His scourging, that which exposed all His bones so He could count them (Psalm 22:17), that which made Him nearly unrecognizable as human (Isaiah 52:14), that which drained nearly all of His blood from His body!
–By that! By that! By that! What a price!
–By that we are HEALED!
–YHWH Rapha! We are mended in our relationship to the Father! We are mended in every way! We are purified! We are cured of the disease of sin!

Isaiah 53:6
–All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.
–But in spite of the fact that we are wayward, He says, Come! I will heal you!
–Look at what I have done for you! See my Son!
–Turn away from your sin! Turn to me! I will gather you to My bosom!
–Would we do that for someone who despised us? HE DID IT FOR ME.
–For one would hardly die for for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die (Romans 5:6)!
–But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! (Romans 5:7)

Who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed (Isaiah 53:1)?
–The arm of the Lord, His power, His healing power, His power to restore and purify and heal and make new . . .
–That power is revealed to those who believe the message.

DO YOU BELIEVE THE MESSAGE?

It seems unbelievable! It seems impossible!

–Why would God pay such a price — the stripes of His Son — for me?
–Why would God be willing to forgive me for all I have done against Him?
–Why would God be willing to change my rebellion into love for Him?
–Why could God be willing to heal all of the ways I am broken?
–Why would God want me to have an intimate and loving, continual and glorious relationship with me?

Because He is love. He did all this, even for me. Even for you. He wants to give you His eternal life, here and now. But you must come to Him! You must turn from your life of sin and ask Him to heal you!

And this is eternal life, to know (intimately) the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom He sent (Jesus prays in John 17:3).

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The Yoke-Breaker

“The Yoke-Breaker” Message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2011

Isaiah 9:4
–He breaks the yoke, the oppression, the rod, that which keeps us bound rather than free.
–A yoke is like a double-collar that connects two animals. It keeps an animal from moving any way but where the animal harnessed in the other side goes.
–If you are yoked with one of the things I’m about to describe, you must move with it, you cannot escape from it, you are captive to it, just as those two animals that are yoked together. You must go the way it goes, even if you want to go another way. Oh, Jesus is here to break that yoke!

As I looked at the Scriptures sung in today’s portion of Handel’s Messiah, I said, “Lord, what links these? What are they really about?” He said to my heart, “They are all the different yokes that are on mankind.”

Zechariah 9:9-10
–The NATIONS were being invited to the same salvation as the Jews. This was blasphemy to the Jews, for they were the chosen people of God!
–The nations worshiped false gods
–So this first yoke is the yoke of false gods whom the nations worshiped. There are many different false gods, but all of them have something in common, something Satan knows will draw people: greed and sensuality/lust. All false gods play on these things. And these false gods exist today. Allah is a false god who promises suicide bombers that they will have sex with many virgins in his “heaven.” Hindu gods are usually fertility gods that promise if you have sex with children, you will prosper, among other things (they have millions of false gods in that country). These promises play both on sex and greed.
–How true this is in America! How we worship prosperity. I had one preacher say, “They’ll know God has blessed me when they see the three Bentleys in my driveway.” That’s not what Jesus teaches! Do not store up for yourselves earthly treasures, but heavenly ones (see Matthew 6:19-20)!
–We are yoked with false gods, and we become like the gods we worship (Psalm 115:8). We become greedy and lust-filled.
–When you see Jesus, the falseness of these “gods” becomes clear in comparison to Him (like counterfeit money vs. the real thing). He’ll break your yoke so you’ll no longer be controlled by false gods.

Isaiah 35:5-6
The yoke of disease (spiritual as well as physical). Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped, the lame will leap like deer, the tongue of the mute will shout for joy! He did all these things when He was on the earth, and He is still doing them. He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)! And it wasn’t only the yoke of natural disease or demon possession that He broke. Jesus Christ breaks the yoke of spiritual blindness, deafness, lameness, and muteness. When He breaks our yoke, we see and hear! We shout for joy! We leap!
The yoke of addictions (to drugs, pornography, etc.) One noontime, I sat in a living room with a man who had just awakened and had his first joint of the day. His friend came in, desperate for a beer. The man got one for his friend and himself. The man looked at me and said, “We have to have a little fun, don’t we?” I looked at them as they reached for their beers, their hands shaking because their bodies craved alcohol. It didn’t look like fun to me. I know what it was like. I was in their shoes, a drug addict from ages 17-20. It seemed like fun to me, but I was in a yoke that was going to destroy me. Praise God that I cried out in the night, “God, I don’t have the strength for this (to deal with divorce from my drug-dealer husband and to kick the drugs). He said to my heart, “You have My strength.” The next day, I was clear-headed and my personality, lost amidst the drugs, returned.
–When you see Jesus, you see how bound you are in the light of His freedom.
–He will break your yoke and you’ll no longer have those burdens on you, no longer be controlled by addictions.

Isaiah 40:11
— I said to the Lord, “I see the yoke in all the other passages. Where is the yoke here?” This Scripture speaks of the Shepherd feeding His flock, gathering the lambs to His bosom, a place of intimacy. It speaks of His gently leading the nursing ewes.
–It is the yoke of false teaching, for there are many false shepherds out there, ones who do not feed you that which is good, but feed you evil doctrines that will kill you. Death’s gates yawn open for those who listen to such ones!
–Jesus will break that yoke when you go to His Word and begin to learn it. You will never know if you are being falsely taught unless you know the truth. Go to the Bible, pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you. He will! You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:31)!

Matthew 11
The yoke of religiosity. What is it? Having a form of religion but denying its power to deliver rom sin (2 Timothy 3:5). It was what Jesus fought while He walked the earth in Israel. The Pharisees, legalists i-dotters and t-crossers, did not have the love of God in them. They hated God the Son who stood before them. How blind! The blind lead the blind, and both fall into a pit!
–When you see Jesus, you realize that you have claimed Him and maybe you have even marveled at Him, but you never repented and turned from your life of sin. Never has any pastor asked me to repent, except the one who led me to healing from MS. “Repent” and “sin” are rarely heard from America’s pulpits. I tell you that unless I am speaking about sin, righteousness and the coming judgment, I am not speaking by the Spirit of God!
–You see that you denied that God has the power to sever you from sin’s yoke. In John 8:31-36, Jesus speaks of freedom, speaks of the yoke of sin, and then says, “Therefore if the Son sets you free, you shall be free, indeed!” He will break that yoke!
–Or perhaps you see that you ignored and rejected Him as He stood before you, until now. Come to Him! He will break the yoke of religiosity that jerks you around and keeps you from having a holy love relationship with Him! He wants you to be spiritually united with Him!

WHAT YOKE WOULD HE BREAK FROM YOU?

Matthew 11:28-30  
–He says, “I’ll break it,” but you must take on Mine
–One yoke must be broken before another can be put on
If He breaks your yoke and then you refuse His, another will appear on you, seven times more powerful and burdensome as the one from which He just freed you. Satan will see to that, if you refuse the Yoke-Breaker’s own yoke.
— His yoke is easy, pleasant. What is it? He says, “Do as I ask you to do. Serve Me.”
–Remember, we become like the gods we worship (Psalm 115:8). He says, “Become like Me!”

IN HIS YOKE:
–You are yoked with Almighty God! Do you think you have anything to fear? Do you think He will lead you toward destruction? Will He lead you in a wrong path? Will you have to pull very hard, considering the strength of His might?
— The burden is light! Rest!!
–The first rest: Verse 28  intermission from labor, a refreshment to strengthen.
–The second rest: Verse 29 refreshment, cessation, re-creation (the old is gone, the new is come, we are new creatures!). When we have taken His yoke and learned from Him, when we become meek and lowly of heart, we have this second rest. We cease from our own works, and let Him work in and through us.
–False gods, spiritual and physical disease, addictions, religiosity no longer hold you. Instead, “Whom have I in heaven but You . . . (Psalm 73:25)
–You are empowered not to sin
–1 John 1:6-7
–1 John 2:6

COME TO THE YOKE BREAKER!

–He’ll break your yoke
–You’ll see Jesus Christ’s freedom because you’ll see Him. He will set you free from the power of sin!
–You’ll take His pleasant yoke; He pulls with you, He does all the work.
–He’ll live His life through you
–Jesus’ life in you will draw others to Him and their yokes will be broken, too!

His Peace

[SW021] 10/16/2011 Message notes from KJV by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2011

“His Peace”

Part 4 of Handel’s Messiah “The Annunciation to the Shepherds”

Scripture — Luke 2:6-20

I believe the Lord would have me focus on Luke 2:14, in which the angels say, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” This is scoffing material for the world. They say, “There is no peace on earth. What was said is not true.” But God is talking about a peace the world cannot know until they know Jesus Christ.

WHAT IS THIS PEACE?

First, the literal translation from Greek is “peace on earth good will toward men of good pleasure.” The NASB translation says, “men with whom God is pleased.” How do we please God? By believing in His Son whom He sent. This peace is for those who receive Jesus Christ, becoming intimately associated with Him. The world, that is humanity at large, does not receive Him; therefore, they do not have His peace.

If you follow my blog, you know that Jeff and I had a very tumultuous week by the world’s standards. While a terrible storm with 55 mph winds and torrential rain raged outside, we had to call 911 for Jeff. A pacemaker was implanted the following day. All the while, I battled a brief but violent “stomach flu.” Yet we both had peace in the midst of the turmoil. How can that be? It is His peace, not natural peace that depends on circumstances being just right. It is His peace that is like a well or fountain within us, continually feeding through us and exuding from us. He is literally within us, and so is His peace! But what do I mean by “peace?”

The word “peace” is eirene in the New Testament Greek, and shalom in the Old Testament Hebrew, but they mean the same thing: completeness, soundness, well-being, ease, health, spiritual prosperity. God created us, and it isn’t until we are reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ that we become complete. A piece is missing from us — reconcilation with God — and it keeps us from having His peace literally within us.

Here are some Scriptures on peace, to help us understand:

Luke 19:42 “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.” These were the words of Jesus to the religious elite who professed to know His Father. But they certainly did not know His Father, or they would have recognized the “family resemblance” as Jesus Christ, God’s Son, stood before them. The peace with God that they needed, that comes through knowing Jesus Christ, was hidden from their eyes because of their preconceived notions and desire for prestige and political power.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” Jesus tells His disciples they will have His peace. They didn’t have it after Christ’s crucifixion. They huddled in a room behind locked doors, afraid of the Jews who wanted to kill them. But after Jesus rose from the grave and ascended into heaven and poured out His Spirit, they were at peace! They had no fear! They were bold and courageous, continually teaching in the very temple that was the center of power for the religious elite. The perfect love of God was poured out in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. That love casts out fear. They did not fear death, for it only meant they would go to be with Jesus. They didn’t fear judgment, for they belonged to Him.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Jesus now concluded teaching His disciples about the coming Holy Spirit. And it is the Holy Spirit, for all who are in Christ, who gives them His peace, literally within them.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We receive His peace when we are reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ. When we receive Christ we repent and ask Him to save us from the wrath we deserve. He answers and we are no longer hostile toward God, but at peace with Him.

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Jesus Christ’s peace, springing up like a fountain from with in us, is beyond comprehension. We cannot grasp the breadth and height and depth and length of it.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!” It is peace in all circumstances, because it is not dependent upon external circumstances. Christ is in us, His peace filling us and exuding from us.

WHO RECEIVES THE MESSAGE OF THIS PEACE?

Let’s look at the shepherds to answer this question:

–They were not esteemed by men. Shepherding was the lowest job in that day. The shepherds smelled like their sheep. They were unlearned, unskilled. Everyone looked down on them. Even now, those who receive the message of this peace are usually not highly esteemed by men. They are usually in low positions and not well educated. Still, it is possible for a rich or brilliant man to enter the kingdom of heaven, as long as his money or his intellect are not his gods.

–They were humble. They were not filled with pride, thinking highly of themselves. They simply went about their duty. Even now, if you are prideful, you will not hear the message of this peace.

–They were watchful and faithful. They cared for their sheep, and their sheep loved them. They knew and could call each sheep by name.  They were not hirelings who worked just for wages. They watched for wild animals and other dangers to their flock. Even now, if you are watchful, if you go to the Bible and read and watch and listen, you will see and hear something unexpected and marvelous! If you seek Him for selfish reasons, you will be like the unfaithful hireling who leaves when circumstances take a downturn. You will not hear the message of His peace.

–They were in a quiet place with a large vista. They were undistracted.  There were no noises except the bleating of the sheep. They were in a position to see and hear. They were in a wide space. In Psalm 119, the psalmist writes of the Word of God and how it has changed him. In verse 45, he writes, “And I walk in a wide space, for I seek your precepts.” That means he’s seeking to know God through His Word, the Bible. The shepherds were able to see God’s creation and marvel at it. Even now, if you leave this world’s distractions behind and open the Word of God you will enter a wide space. If you are quiet before God and ask Jesus Christ to reveal Himself there, you will be in a position to see and hear Him. You will receive the message of His peace. You will receive His peace.

–They were obedient. They lovingly, carefully, and watchfully performed their duty as shepherds. After they received the message of His peace, given from the Lord by His angels, they knew they must go and see Him. Once they heard this message from the Lord, they knew they must go to meet this One who had been announced. They wanted to personally encounter this Savior who was promised by God. Even now, if you are obedient to the Lord’s message of His peace, you will know that you must go and meet Him of whom you’ve been told. You will want to know your Savior, to have a personal encounter with Him, to go and see Him, to intimately know Him. And He will reveal Himself to you.

HOW DID THEY RESPOND TO THE MESSAGE OF HIS PEACE?

–They didn’t meander over toward the manger at Bethlehem. They hurried! They did not delay going to see Him of whom they had been told. They knew it was the Lord who had sent messengers to them. Even now, if you’ve caught a glimpse of Jesus through the Word of God, you go straight away to Him. You do not hesitate or make excuses. You want Him! You love Him! You need Him! You have a glimpse of Him. He is altogether lovely, and you can’t look away. You want to see all of Him. You run to Him!

–They spread abroad all that had been told them about this Child, Jesus Christ. As they went to Him, they told everyone they knew. Come! It is the Messiah! It is the One who saves us! Come and see! They shared all they had been told. They didn’t hold back. They didn’t keep it to themselves. Even so, it is the same today for all who have received the message of His peace. You will speak about this message to everyone. You can’t help yourself! The message is for everyone, and it’s too good to keep secret!

–They went back, glorifying and praising God. After they met Him, all they could do is praise God and give Him honor and glory for what He had done! It was just as it had been told them. God’s Word is truth, from the beginning to the end. Even now, it is the same for any who have sought a personal encounter with Jesus Christ after hearing the message of His peace. You will find it is just as it has been told you. You cannot help but praise Him and give Him glory, for He has done a supernatural thing! He has rescued you from hell and brought you into life in Him! Before you knew Him, you existed. But now His life is in you, His peace, His joy — all of Him! You leap and walk and praise God! He has set you free!

Get yourself to a quiet place away from the world’s distractions, enter the wide space of God’s Word and ask for the Lord to reveal Himself to you. Watch and wait. You will receive the message of His peace. Then ask Him for a personal encounter. He will meet you, and you will praise and glorify Him forever, because He will save you and fill you and give you His peace and His eternal life, and you will start to live it here and now! It will be for you just as it has been said.

Winds of Doctrine

WINDS OF DOCTRINE
By Susan D. Wynn © 2004

1. The restless winds of doctrine blow
Across the barren land.
Take shelter in the Prince of Peace
Rest in the shadow of  His hand,
Rest in the shadow of His hand. (CHORUS)

CHORUS:

Know the Word of God,
That you may know His will
Turn away from false teachers,
For with their words they kill,
For with their words they kill.

2. Soothing words for itching ears
Are carried on the breeze,
While saints consult the Word of God
And pray upon their knees.
And pray upon their knees.

3. Turn back, turn back to Jesus
And follow His commands
Stand fast upon the words of Him
Who holds eternity in His hands.
Who holds eternity in His hands.

The Spirit is stirring in me again, and I have to write. I’ve been trying as hard as I can to understand and empathize with and to commiserate and agree with what some of my fellow Christians (both leaders and lay people) believe. I listen to the teachings of popular Christian holiness leaders with big churches, even leaders of denominations, and I am stymied. On the one hand, they say, “Oh, yes, we must disciple and teach all Christians to be filled with the Holy Spirit.” That’s great! I’m applauding, jumping up and down for joy! But in the next breath, I hear, “Well, we really don’t want to use the word ‘sin’ when we’re talking with people who don’t know Jesus. It’s a turn-off, you know.” God is not double-minded, but these statements certainly are. We must speak of sin to Christians, so they understand their need to be purified, and why on earth does anyone need a Savior if there’s no sin to be saved from?

Jesus preached, “Repent and believe the gospel,” from the time His ministry began. Repent means we need to repent from something. There’s something wrong, or we wouldn’t need to repent. What’s wrong? We’re born sinners. Jesus is a Savior who came to save every human being that will come to Him. We all have rebelled against God and are under God’s wrath. We are born with rebellion in our blood. What are we saved from? We’re saved from the yawning jaws of hell. Satan wants plenty of company there at the end of things, you know. Now how do we tell people about God’s great salvation without using the word “sin?” Jesus said, “If your right eye causes you to sin (some Bible versions soften that to “stumble”), PLUCK IT OUT! Better to go one-eyed into heaven than have both eyes burn forever in a fiery furnace! We seem to be distancing ourselves farther and farther from Jesus Christ’s great gospel of salvation.

And He doesn’t just save us from the sins we’ve committed in the past. No, no. He’s here to transform us IN AN INSTANT by filling us with His Holy Spirit. There is a gradual growing up to the point where you realize how much you need to be purified, but then, as Todd Bentley loved to say, “BAM!” You see it, you agree with God, you cry out like Isaiah in the 6th chapter, and you are changed in a moment of time. Clean, clean, clean! But you may say that talking about a sudden transformation might make some folks feel like they don’t have something I have. Absolutely true! Maybe they won’t feel good about themselves. I pray so! If a Christian is still willfully disobeying God, I not only doubt their sanctification, but I also doubt their love for Jesus. Our Lord says in John 14:24, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” In other words, if you love Me, you obey Me. If you do not love Me, you do not obey Me. Sinning Christians, Jesus says that His Father says you don’t love Him. But where is this teaching in the church today, even in churches that profess to believe we can be filled with the Spirit? Many old-time Pentecostals have lamented the sin-soaked, sloppy, media-savvy, sweet-talkin’ gospel that gets preached from the pulpits of America today. I’m not even an old-time Pentecostal, just saved and Spirit-filled after hating Jesus for the first 45 years of my life. And I’m just as appalled as the old-timers.

The winds of doctrine are restless, my friends. They tried to push me into a corner where I’d shut up and not speak out, where I’d “just get along.” Sorry. I can’t do it. The Holy Ghost says, “Never!” Turn back to Jesus! Don’t listen to false teachers whose words will kill you because they’ll make you feel good about sin. Stay on that broad path and you’ll be destroyed. The way Christ points to is narrow, not pleasant-looking. Few find it. Few. That’s because there’s so much garbage out there, blowing in the breeze, a downright insult to the true, powerful and freeing gospel of Jesus Christ.

Difficult Times

Acts 16:25-26 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.

The Lord wants me to know whether I will pray and sing to God in the midst of my own darkness. I am finding I can — not in my own strength, but His. He has always been my Deliverer in difficult times. He is faithful, and I praise Him with all that is in me!

And difficult times have come upon us. Jeff is in a wheelchair for two months, following surgery to implant a pacemaker. It seems his heart slowed down to nearly the point of death. He nearly fainted at home, and then in the ER the heart monitor showed the reason why.  It isn’t from his 5/3/11 heart attack. The doctors agree he fully recovered from that, even that it was Jesus who healed him. But this is something new. Why the wheelchair? He lost a leg in Vietnam and walks with crutches. A skin condition makes a prosthesis excruciatingly painful, so that’s not an option. At the same time, a virus came upon me that made me feverish and violently ill. I was not able to “be there” for Jeff.

Paul had difficult times, we are having difficult times, we all have difficult times. But to whom do I look? Can I praise Him and pray to Him when I’m in a dark place, as Paul did in the jail at Philippi? He told the Philippians “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).  The word for strength there is dunamis, miraculous power. If I call upon Jesus Christ in my difficulty, calling upon Him for His strength (for I have none), I believe there will be prisoners who will hear. I believe there will be a shaking, an opening of prison doors. I love Him, and pray that He may be glorified as I cry out to Him and praise Him in the midst of our present darkness.

He Shall Be Called Wonderful

Here’s the latest sermon notes from today’s sermon. The recording will be along later this week; there are additional insights in the message, though I use notes as a framework.  I’m preaching a series on Handel’s Messiah, a great classical work where the Bible is sung. Again, this is in the King James Version, the version in which it was written and sung. This message is on “The Prophecy of Christ’s Birth” — the 3rd scene in Handel’s “Messiah,” and the 3rd message of this series.

He Shall Be Called Wonderful! There was nothing about the coming Messiah that was NOT wonderful — that is, pele (6382), full of wonder, astonishing, something to marvel at, miraculous, a work of God unexplainable by any other force or power! And you will call Him Wonderful when you have come to know Him intimately!

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
–This Christ, this Savior, this Anointed One, this Son of the Father was a miracle from the moment of His conception
–It was the night that perfect love came down
–God entered His creation; His name was “With Us God”
–And He walked with us and died for us to restore us to His Father
–And He rose so we’d be able to have His eternal life in us, here and now!
–A virgin named Mary became pregnant not by a man but by the Holy Spirit
–Her child was the seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15)
–By the Holy Spirit she became pregnant . . . not a natural birth but a miraculous one
–We have a second birth that is miraculously accomplished by God
–We, too, are born of God when we receive Christ, becoming intimately associated with Him
–Those who have this second birth become part of the Family of Father,
Son and Spirit and are heaven-bound (John 3:5)
–We are born from above:
–Born of water (repentance)
–and the Holy Spirit (cleansing) (John 3:5)
–then “WITH Us God” is IN us, ruling and reigning (John 14:23)
–We are no longer citizens of this world but strangers and exiles here (Hebrews 11:13)
–Looking for a city with foundations whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10 seeking a country of our own, a heavenly country (Hebrews 11:14-16).
–Are you “from away” as we say in Maine? Mainers knew when someone was from another state. They didn’t speak or act the same as us. Does your life have “Emmanuel” written all over it?

There is more for you to hear — more about He who is called Wonderful is full of wonders, and fills us with wonder!

Isaiah 40:9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
–GOOD TIDINGS, glad news to be announced to a world in need of a Savior! How beautiful are the feet!
–Lo! Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! See Him! Lo! Take heed!
–These were the strong and loud words of John the Baptist (John 1:29) as he saw Jesus approaching him at the Jordan River.
–He was not afraid of those who opposed the glad news!
–Opposed? He was telling those who thought they had God’s favor that a Messiah, God in the flesh, had come to save them from His wrath! They did not believe they were sinners.
–Opposed? His word, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand,” was not popular with those who wanted to be their OWN kings in their OWN kingdoms under their OWN rule. It is the same today.
–He was the Lamb, the One who would defeat death.
–For all who would believe in this Lamb, death would pass over them like the plague of the firstborn passed over those with lamb’s blood on their doorposts in Egypt, the night before freedom from slavery!
–John the Baptist spoke and multitudes repented so their hearts would be ready to receive the Lord.
–He is the Lamb, He is still saving by His blood, He is still taking away the sin nature, He is still the Good News for a world separated from God by sin.
–Lo! Have you heard the glad news?
–Have you intimately associated with this miraculous Jesus?
–Lo! Is His blood on the doorposts of your heart?
–Have you asked Him to take away your sin? Behold!! Behold Him!
–O seeker, behold Your God! He is here! O Christian, behold Your God! He will work wonders in you yet! Do not stop at salvation. There is more. He will make you a blessing to all the earth if you will obey His command to be filled with His Spirit.

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
Isaiah 60:2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
–Arise (stand, rise up!) for whose light has come? THY light, the light is here for YOU!
–Yes, Israel had been oppressed and her Savior was coming. But this light was not
just for them . . .
–The glory of the Lord HAS RISEN, has dawned, has come forth, is shining
–Where? Upon the world? Upon THEE, you, upon me. Do you see it?
–He shed His light for all to see!
–Darkness (misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness) did cover the earth THEN and NOW; there is no place where it is not dark — the darkness is gross, like  a heavy cloud
–But the Lord shall arise, He shall shoot forth beams, He shall be like the dawn, he shall shine, He is the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2), He is the Light of the world (John 8:12)
–On all of the darkness? No, but upon thee — touching you, me, individuals with eyes to see and ears to hear the glad news!
–Many could not see the light He brought; they did not recognize Him
–Many ran from His light so their deeds would not be exposed.
–And His glory shall be seen upon THEE — upon you, upon me, even NOW they will take note that we have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13)
–And we. who with unveiled faces, all reflect the Lord’s glory . . . (2 Corinthians 3:8)
–Have you heard Him? Do you see Him?
–Have you arisen? Have you stood up? Do you shine with His light, reflecting His glory?
–Has His light touched you? Do people take note you’ve been with Jesus? (Acts 4:13)

Isaiah 9:1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.
–The dimness, the darkness (misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness) it is not for anguish like it was when God humbled Zebulun and Naphtali because they worshiped themselves and the things they made
–God treated her with contempt because of her idolatry
–She was carried off into exile and scattered throughout the known world
–Affliction; God afflicted me to bring e to Himself.
–Drug addiction, of which He delivered me. I never even said thank You. I ignored Him.
–Then MS overwhelmed me — a great darkness
–I looked up, the darkness left, the Light came! Is He afflicting you? It is only so you’ll come into His Light.
–Galilee of the nations, of the goyim, of the Gentiles, of the non-Jews, of those thought of as “dogs” because Zebulun and Naphtali were repopulated with those who did not know God and worshiped both God and false gods, after God’s people were sent into exile for their sin
–Nathanael said, Can anything good come out of there?  (John 1:46)
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
–Yes, Nathanael, Some One very good came out of there! The Messiah, Jesus Christ, whom he was about to meet, face-to-face!
–God in the flesh, come down to save us from God’s wrath, to bear it for us
on a cross of wood, He who made the hill on which it stood
–A child? A child will save us? That One born miraculously of a virgin?
–He is a Son, THE Son of God, the Word who was in the beginning and was with God and was God.
–The government shall be upon His shoulder? He will be a bridegroom. That’s what was said of the groom at a Jewish wedding.
–Who is His bride? The church that would be birthed when the Holy Spirit was poured out in a new way after He died, rose, ascended and was glorified 50 days after He was crucified
–But He would also be over all things, King of kings and Lord of lords!
–His name shall be called
–Wonderful, pele, a miracle, a marvelous thing, astonishing, full of wonders
–Counselor, one who plans, forms, advises (go to Isaiah 11:1-5)
–Mighty God, God in the flesh, powerful, a warrior, a champion, a chief, an excellent One
–Eternal Father, a forever Father, the Father of many children, who brings many sons to glory, who is not afraid to call us His children
–Prince of Peace, the chief, the captain, the commander, the governor of peace, shalom, completeness, soundness, welfare, well-being, health, prosperity.

SO . . . .
–Do you know Him intimately ?
–Have you received Him, becoming intimately associated with Him?
–Do you love Him as a bride loves her Bridegroom, constantly thinking about Him,
devoted to Him, and joined to Him in a holy unity?
–He is called Wonderful, full of wonders, miraculous, a marvelous thing, astonishing!
–Many have become church members, but do not know Him this way
–Many used to listen to His words, but they went back to the sin they loved more
–Many have run from His light for fear their evil deeds would be exposed
–There’s still time! Come into it! “Emmanuel” WILL be written all over your life! The With Us God will be IN you!  You will become a reflector of His light to this very dark world!

The Coming Judgment

I’m posting this sermon for those who would rather read my notes than scroll down to the sermon.net link on my blog. This is the second in a series from the classical composition, “Handel’s Messiah.” The Scripture is King James Version, the version in which “Messiah” was originally written.

Two categories of people will be judged at the end of things: 1) the world (that is, those who reject Jesus Christ) and 2) the Church

Why judgment? Can’t God just let everyone in, whether they obey or not? No.

–God is good and right in all His ways.

–He is love, and that is why He offered His Son to a sinning world.
–But He is also just. Those who disobey will be ultimately judged. God gave them free will to receive Christ or to reject Him, to remain with Him or to turn away from Him.

The Lord has asked me to interpret these Scriptures from Haggai and Malachi two ways:
–Naturally (that which was really about to happen at the time these prophets walked the earth)
–Spiritually (the deeper truth that applies beyond the time this was written, the truth we are to apply to our hearts).

The Judgment of the World —

Haggai 2:6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;
NATURAL: The LORD of hosts, the covenant-making God, first speaks of the future judgment, when He will make all of the earth undulate and quake.
–Nothing on earth will escape this quaking and shaking.
SPIRITUAL: 2 Peter 3:10-11 “The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up.
–“Since all these things are to be destroyed, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness . . .”
–He then exhorts believers to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.
–“How do I do that?” You can’t, but if you ask Jesus Christ, He’ll say, “I’m glad you asked” and will make you spotless and blameless. Keep listening!

Haggai 2:7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
NATURAL: A small remnant of Israel came back to Jerusalem after being exiled in Babylon because of their sin. “The whole assembly together was 42,360” (Nehemiah 7:66).
–Some elected to stay in Babylon . . . a type of sin. There’s a message there for you . . . may the Lord make it clear to you.
–Those who came back had to rebuild the wall and gates, and the Temple. All were destroyed when Babylon invaded and slaughtered perhaps a million Jews.
–Natural wealth would be needed to restore Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.
–It would come from the nations.
–Ezra 6:8 “The full cost is to be paid to these people from the royal treasury . . .” King Darius the Mede.
–These were “nations,” meaning they did not believe in the one true God!
Yet they would be turned upside down and wealth shaken from their pockets like coins, for the rebuilding of the Temple!
SPIRITUAL: He will shake everything that can be shaken so nothing remains but that which can’t be shaken — HIS kingdom, set up in believers’ hearts! (Hebrews 12:25-29).
–What will be considered good and precious and of the greatest value? Jesus Christ.
–He will become the wealth not only of the Jews but of nations (non-Jews who come to believe).
–They will believe and seek His gold refined in the fire (Rev 3:18), they will seek purity from Him.
–And the temple of the Lord will be built in their hearts.
–Just like with the Temple in Jerusalem, when a spiritual temple is built a human heart and it is completely dedicated to God as being His place to rule and reign, He will fill that temple with His glory!!!
–He has said it, and it will be done.
–Are you filled with His glory? If not, dedicate yourself as a place where He rules and reigns, a place where He is worshiped, and He will fill you up!
Haggai 2:8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.
NATURAL: The Lord of hosts assures the rebuilders that He controls everyone’s purse strings, believers and unbelievers.
–The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalm 24:1, 1 Corinthians 10:26).
–All wealth, of unbelievers and believers, belongs to Him.
–He gives it, and He can take it away whenever it is right to do so.
SPIRITUAL: Remember that what you have is His . . . He has given it to you.
–You did not earn it. Give it back to Him as He commands. Put it to use for His kingdom.
–Hold your possessions loosely in your hands.
— A time will come when those in the world who have rejected His Son will have to turn everything over to Him, and their knee will bow and their tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 3:9).
–Therefore, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
–Do you live for His pleasure or yours?

Haggai 2:9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.
NATURAL: The new Temple was not nearly as large and ornate as Solomon’s. Many who had seen the first Temple wept when they saw the foundation of the second temple completed (Ezra 3:12).
–But God promised a glorious house, more glorious than Solomon’s temple.
–The second temple did not achieve this, nor did Herod’s renovations many years later.
–Peace did not reign in the second Temple era. The returning remnant was under the rule of the King of Persia. In Jesus’ time, they were under the reign of Rome.

SPIRITUAL: This verse speaks to the small remnant of Christians who see the need for restoration of the church to her former glory and who want to rebuild her.
–The church will be restored
–Her glory will be greater than when she was first established, in the Book of Acts.
–People will be restored, their hearts becoming temples of God, far more glorious than anything made with human hands, for we are God’s creation!
–And in that place, He will give peace:
–freedom from Satan’s dominion and from our sin nature
–freedom from fear of death, for we will have eternal life
–The peace of Christ Himself (John 14:27). Him in us and exuding His peace throughout our body, soul and spirit, and outward to the world (1 Peter 3:15).
–The peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7)

Haggai 2:21 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;
NATURAL: The Lord repeats His warning from verses 6 and 7.
–The Lord spoke these words through Haggai to Zerubabbel.
–He did not understand how this would happen. Christ had not yet come to reveal it.
SPIRITUAL: This is a warning to the world who rejects Christ.
–He will cause everything on the earth to undulate and quake.
–This is a future event, as I spoke from 2 Peter 3.
–It is the final judgment of the world (those who have rejected Christ).
–To Christians, Jesus says, “Be ready!” (6x in the Gospels!). Be cleansed, purified, a bride full of His glory!

Haggai 2:22 And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
–God will overthrow all those who rule without Him, who do not serve, love and fear Him, who have rejected His Son.
–Kings, kingdoms, and their armies will indeed be utterly destroyed. They will perish. How? Did you see that in the Scripture? By each others’ swords! God won’t need to lift a finger.
–That is the judgment of the world, for they have rejected Jesus Christ whom God sent.

The Judgment of the Church (that is, all believers in Jesus Christ) —

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
NATURAL:  John the Baptist was the messenger. The Son of God is the speaker here: “he shall prepare the way before me.” The Father wasn’t coming, but the Son was. He is the Lord of hosts. His way was prepared.
–Most of the Jewish leaders were seeking (begging for) their Messiah for political freedom from Roman rule. The idea of political freedom delighted them!
–But some Jews could at least partially see the spiritual significance of the coming of God in the flesh (John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna . . .) and were delighted when He came, rejoicing in the Spirit!
–The Lord did suddenly come to the Temple in Jerusalem, but not like most Jews expected.
–He had a whip of cords in hand, cleansing the Temple,judging those who had turned a house of prayer into a place of business. It was not a pleasant cleansing!
–The Lord would come, the Lord has come. It was spoken by Him, so it happened. And He will yet come, for the final judgment.
SPIRITUAL: The Lord has sent a multitude of messengers before He returns, to prepare the way in human hearts. Who are they? Christians!
–Those who receive the message will seek the Lord.
–And the Lord whom believers seek (beg for) will suddenly come to His temple.
–He will come to cleanse and transform us into a house of prayer
–It will not be free of sadness, for we will see ourselves as we truly are
–All that is not of Him will be burned up. He will baptize with the Holy Spirit AND fire.
–But He will come, if we beseech Him
–What’s going on in your temple? Is it a house of prayer, or a place
where you conduct business as usual?

Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
NATURAL: The ruling Jews were out to kill Jesus Christ from the time His ministry began.
–He was not at all what they expected.
–They could not abide (bear) Him.
–They wanted to reign, not have Him reign (John 11:48).
–They could not stand against Him. Though they crucified Him, He rose

–When He ascended and poured out His Spirit, the church was unstoppable (Acts 5:38-39).
SPIRITUAL: Will you be able to bear it when He appears?
–He comes to judge and burn up all that is not of Him that is in you, purifying and cleansing.
–He baptizes in the Holy Spirit and FIRE
–Who can stand?
–We fall down and revere Him and are awestruck when He suddenly appears!
–And for those who drift away from Him?
–Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29)
–It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31)
–Have you let Him come in with the spirit of burning?

Malachi 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
NATURAL: He reestablished the Levitical priesthood (the Levites were the Jewish tribe chosen by God to worship and minister to Him and to minister to His people).
–They were purified according to the Law of Moses.
–Then they were right with God, able to minister to God clothed in the righteousness of that time
SPIRITUAL: Believers are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9)! But before we can be that holy nation:
–Jesus Christ refines us, to purifing us, purging us, just as I spoke of a moment ago.
–He does it with the fire of the Holy Spirit baptism.
–All that is not of Him is judged and burned, and we are made pure
–We then minister to Him in purity, the righteousness of God in Christ!
–Have you been baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit?

Malachi 3:4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
NATURAL: The purified Levites burned incense to the Lord, a pleasing aroma to Him.
SPIRITUAL: When He has purified our temples, what we offer pleases the Lord, like sweet incense in His nostrils.
–Is your life a sweet incense to the Lord?

Malachi 3:5 And [Hebrew: THEN] I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
May it never be that I would go only to verse 4, and not tell the whole counsel of God!
–He will judge those who call themselves His but practice witchcraft in all of its forms (magic and all forms of divination, including horoscopes, fortune-telling, seances — you get the picture).
–He will judge those who call themselves His but commit natural adultery AND spiritual adultery.
–He will judge the self-interested, those who do not seek to save the lost of the world, who look out for #1 (making a God of themselves), who are not willing to let Him refine and purify.
–They commit spiritual adultery, placing their own wants above God
–He will judge those who call themselves His but lie.
–He will judge those who call themselves His but oppress the people around
them, abusing those who work for them or cheating the ones they work for, or keeping their possessions tightly pulled to their chests, refusing to help those in need.
–He will judge those who do not fear Him, who do not honor and revere and are not awestruck by Him, who do not regard Him as their Judge, but only as a blessing machine or a grandfatherly figure.

WHERE ARE YOU?
—Are you now in God’s kindgom, so you won’t be shaken?
—If not, come now — there’s still time! Christ is speaking to you through me.
—Confess your sins, turn from your way of life, receive what Christ has done!
—Are you a Christian who is still sinning? Do not be deceived. Listen to His words: “Return to Me, and I will return to you” (Malachi 3:7)
—Do you not understand 1 Corinthians 6:9?
—Are you purified? Then this message has been a blessing to you.