UNDERSTANDING SIN

[SW197] 08/07/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Understanding Sin”

If we understand the reality and extent of our sin and the availability and extent of God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ, we will love Him much! This is the very Good News of the gospel!

I am compelled by the love of God to speak of sin (Jeremiah 23:22) because all have sinned and lack the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

I have come to announce that God has the solution — Jesus Christ!

Text: Luke 7:36-50

What did the woman do?

She HEARD Jesus was in her city.

She CAME TO HIM.  Why?

I believe she CAME TO HIM because she knew she was sinning and had heard that He heals and also forgives sin (see Matthew 9:2, the paralytic). She did not need physical healing, but healing of her relationship with God.

She CAME TO HIM intending to worship Him, because she brought an alabaster vial of perfume.

Thus, she HAD FAITH that He was God in the flesh, for only God is to be worshiped, and only God can forgive sin.

She WEPT. As He reclined, she stood at His feet, weeping tears of repentance and gratefulness.

She BROKE ALL THE RULES, letting her hair down in public, to wipe the tears that fell on His feet. With her brokenness, she honored Him.

She WORSHIPED EXTRAVAGANTLY, kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Oh how beautiful are the feet of Him who brings Good News (Isaiah 52:7)!

Thus, she LOVED MUCH, largely, abundantly, greatly.

What did the Pharisee do?

He INVITED Jesus to come to dinner.

He did not welcome Jesus according to custom — there was no kiss on the cheek, no washing of feet, no anointing with oil.

He went out of his way NOT to worship Him.

He did not seek forgiveness.

He did not have faith.

He judged the woman, and he judged Jesus.

He did not weep.

He did not break all the rules.

He did not worship Him extravagantly.

He did not honor Christ.

Thus, he LOVED LITTLE (literally, his love was puny).

You see:

1. If we understand the reality and extent of our sin
2. And we understand the availability and extent of God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ
3. Then we love Christ much

I tell you the truth, a gospel preached with no sin and no repentance CANNOT cause you to respond to Jesus Christ by doing #3.

With that gospel, you will love little.

You might say, like the Pharisee, “I am a good person. I do good things. I obey the rules.”

You might even judge sinners by avoiding them. You might say, “Thank God, I am not like them” (see Luke 18:9ff).

You might even judge Jesus when He ministers to sinners. Why is He with THEM?

You might even judge Jesus when He sends someone to speak His truth to you. After all, if you have heard a gospel with no sin and no repentance, then no one has told you that He came to forgive you of your sins, if you repent.

You might even say, “You can’t be speaking for Jesus. He would never speak to me that way. He loves me just the way I am. We are buddies and the Father is my sugar daddy, giving me whatever I want.”

And so, you will love little, like the Pharisee, because you do not understand the reality and extent of your sin.

Who had faith?

Who was forgiven?

Who was saved?

Who went in peace?

The woman who loved much, because she understood the reality and extent of her sin and the availability and extent of God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

Again, a gospel preached with no sin and no repentance CANNOT cause you to respond to Jesus Christ by loving Him much.

And what is more, a gospel preached without sin and repentance cannot bring you to the truth that Jesus will set you free from slavery to sin, by baptizing you in the Holy Spirit (John 8:31-36). Sin is not mentioned, repentance is not mentioned, and so you do not understand that you are a slave to sin.

But if you repent and ask His forgiveness for your sin, He will not only forgive you, but He will show you that He commands you to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4).

These also are commands, given by the Spirit-inspired Apostle Paul:

Romans 6:19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

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

And the result will be inward holiness because the Holy Spirit dwells in you, large and in charge!

And you will be filled with the actual love of God,  you will love Him with His love, and you will not struggle to obey Him, for your heart will be entirely His!

And He will shine forth from you, drawing people to Himself through His presence in you, so they, too may understand the extent of their sin, and the availability and extent of Gods forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and they will love Jesus Christ much!

Romans 10:14   How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?  15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”

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GLAD SHEEP

[SW196] 07/24/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Glad Sheep”

Sheep always are glad when they hear the voice of their shepherd and see him approaching. They run to him, without delay, and obey his voice!

Jesus Christ looks around even today, and sees that His people were distressed and dispirited; that is, thrown down, a deliberate, extended hurling, a long distance.

And He says, even today, “I AM the Good Shepherd!”

Matthew 9:36   Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.

He felt compassion for them. He was inwardly moved, because they were confused by the message that came from the Jewish leaders and priests.

They went through the religious motions as directed, but they continued to struggle with sin.

They were under Roman rule, and many were impoverished, not only by heavy Roman taxes, but false teachers who stole land, even out from under widows, and in the Temple, when offerings were given, they rigged the scales in their favor!

Worst of all,  they were under a yoke no one can bear (Acts 15:10) — a form of religious godliness that denies the power of God to change a human heart (2 Timothy 3:5).

Their teachers were hypocrites, teaching one thing and doing another. They did not enter into life, and did not allow those who were in the process of entering to actually come in. (Mt. 23:13)

What good news He shared! He is the One who will gather them and hold them in His bosom (Isaiah 40:11) — He will enclose them in a holy, intimate way, and He will be IN them!

His announcement is in John 10, right after He healed the man born blind, and His work was rebuked by the Jewish religious ones, the Pharisees.

Verse 1-2 — Highly important, truly, truly! There are thieves and robbers, false shepherds!

They climb up over the protective fence around the flock, to steal the sheep. They are being used by Satan, the chief thief.

But there is a true shepherd!

Verse 3-4 — He leads them out. and the sheep hear His voice. He knows their names, He calls them, and the sheep follow (obey!) because they know, they have intimate experience with, hearing His voice.

Verse 5 — Because they know their Shepherd’s voice they are able to discern a stranger’s voice. And they run from a stranger’s voice, because they do not know or have intimate experience with hearing the voice of that stranger.

Verse 14 — I AM the Good Shepherd, Jesus says, and I know My own and My own know Me intimately and experientially. They have experienced Me.

Verse 27 — My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow (obey) Me!

What good news for sheep who obey the Good Shepherd. Their obedience is evidence that they know Him intimately, by experience.

“But what do I see, even among the flock that is Mine?” That’s what the Lord says today.

Disobedient sheep, who claim to be Mine. They do not follow me. They do not obey My voice.

They climb down onto precarious ledges to eat something that looks good to them! They have gone after ear-tickling messages from thieves and robbers!

Isaiah 65:2      “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people,
Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts . . .

Many are out on a ledge, unaware of their condition!

When it is dark, the Lord says, you will be afraid and panic because you know you can’t see to climb back up to safety.

I will wait until you are exhausted, when you have no fight left in you.

When you cry out to Me, when you are ashamed and turn from turn from going after what looks good to you, things that thieves and robbers are teaching, I will rescue you.

Then you will know that I AM the Good Shepherd, and you will ask and I will give you a heart to obey Me.

If you refuse —

Isaiah 65:13        Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD,
“Behold, My servants will eat, but you will be hungry.
Behold, My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty.
Behold, My servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame.

14      “Behold, My servants will shout joyfully with a glad heart,
But you will cry out with a heavy heart,
And you will wail with a broken spirit.
15      “You will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones,
And the Lord GOD will slay you.
But My servants will be called by another name.”

You who are on a precarious ledge, turn now! Repent now! Cry out now!

He will go out of His way to go and get you, when you cry out (Luke 15:1ff)!

Do not wait — the hour is late and the time is short!

Come into the fold of the Good Shepherd, and He will lead you!

THE MARKS OF A TRUE PROPHET

[SW195] 07/17/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Marks of a True Prophet”

When people are trained to easily identify counterfeit money, they don’t study counterfeits. They study real money. In these days, we must know the true so we can discern the false.

What are the marks of a true prophet of God? How can we recognize one?

Texts:  Jeremiah 23:22, 1 Kings 22:7ff

Jeremiah 23:22 True prophets stand in the Lord’s council. That means they intimately know God. They stand before Him, and hear His words.

And they announce His words to His people. What words does God speak to His true prophets?

Repentance. That they would turn back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds. What? God’s people do evil things? Beloved, not all of God’s people follow Him.That’s why He sends prophets — to warn.

What else is the mark of a true prophet? He or she doesn’t stop speaking God’s words, even though the words they speak are rejected by God’s people. They continue, until they are murdered or die of old age.

The Lord told Jeremiah that the people would not listen. In Ezekiel 2, He told Ezekiel eight times that His people were a rebellious people, and that they were stiff-faced and hard-hearted.

Samuel didn’t leave out a word of what God showed him (1Samuel 3:17), even when Israel rejected the Kingship of the Lord over them (1Samuel 8:4-7). He also encouraged them when they saw their sin and feared God (1Samuel 12:19-25). But he continued to warn them as long as he lived.

And as long as the hearts of God’s people remain unchanged, they will continue to rebel. He sends His prophets to announce His judgment, but also to tell them that Jesus Christ is a Heart-Changer, if they will turn away from their sin.

Another mark of the true prophet is that his message is rejected by God’s people:

— Sawing the true prophet asunder, as with Isaiah

— Hatred because the prophet does not prophesy good about them (1Kings 22:8)

— Closed hearts (2Corinthians 6:11-13)

— “Don’t judge me” (though it is God who judges and the prophet announces His judgment). Judging is for the church, too (1Corinthians 5:12,24 and 1Timothy 5:20).

— “Don’t speak out” (Micah 2:6)

— “Go back home” (Amos 7:12)

— “Get out of our way; let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 30:11)

So, the marks of  true prophets are that they will faithfully proclaim all the words of the Lord at all costs, and that they will be rejected and accused of judging by God’s rebellious people.

And that’s not just Old Testament stuff, beloved. John the Baptist lost his head for Jesus at the hand of Herod, and the Apostle Paul lost his head by way of the Roman emperor Nero, because Paul would not stop proclaiming the truth.

Peter was crucified upside down. All of the apostles were martyred but the Apostle John, who was tortured but survived, exiled so he may write the Book of Revelation to warn the churches and the world to repent.

Going back to Jeremiah 23:16ff, we see the marks of false prophets:

— They lead people into futility (fill them with false hopes)

— They speak a vision from their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord.

— They keep saying to those who despise the Lord, “Everything is fine, you will have peace.” To those who stubbornly rebel, they say, “Calamity will not come upon you.” Modern false prophets speak only of all the ways God wants to bless you, regardless of your rebellion against God.

— They run (with a message) without being sent by God. He does not speak to them, but they prophesy.

Lamentations 2:14  They see false and foolish visions, and have not exposed your sin, so as to restore you from your chains of capacity. What they say is false and misleading.

Paul warns Timothy of the conceit, lack of understanding, and depraved minds (minds given over to evil) of those who do not agree with the sound words of Jesus Christ — the doctrine of godliness, which means a transformed life, when hearts are transformed through the baptism of the Holy Ghost (see 1Timothy 6:3-5).

Knowing these things, how will you respond to them? Examine yourself and examine the prophets you like to hear. Are they true, or are they false? Do their words prick your conscience, or stroke your ego and feed your greed?

Seek true prophets, and heed their words, for they have been sent by God for your own good. If you obey and follow what the Lord says through them, you will have eternal life.

Seek no other blessing, but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness to be established inside of you (Matthew 6:33). There is nothing that can compare with fellowship with the Father and the Son, by way of the Holy Spirit, and all else that you need will be supplied by Him.

REBUILDING – REPENTANCE AND CONFESSION

[SW142] 06/21/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — Repentance and Public Confession”

Beloved, if we speak all of God’s Word to the people, they will repent and publicly confess their sin. Then the people are ready to be dedicated and purified!

Jesus is showing me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:

Chapter 1 — Intercession

Chapter 2 — Christ’s provision

Chapters 2 and 3 — His Inspiration and Strength

Chapter 4 — Spiritual Warfare

Chapter 5 — Conviction of sin

Chapter 6 — Discernment

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance/Public Confession of Sin

Chapter 12 — Consecration

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

First we intercede standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild.

Then we act upon the inspiration of God, the heart of God which we have sought and got!

But in the midst of the building, the Enemy who is Satan will mock, despise and attack us.
How do we defeat him? Spiritual warfare! But remember that we cannot blame Satan for the sin that has caused the church to become broken down.

The next element necessary to the rebuilding is discernment. We cannot fight Satan without it, and only God can give it. Mankind’s natural discernment will never work — we see its results every day in the headlines.

Now we come to the next step in rebuilding the church:

If we speak all of God’s Word to the people, they will repent and publicly confess their sin, which prepares them for dedication and purification!

It is one thing to complete the wall, but more is required to complete the process of rebuilding — the wall must be dedicated/consecrated, and purified.

And so it is with God’s people, both then and now. Our hearts must be consecrated, our hearts must be purified so they are wholly the Lord’s! And only He can do it!

Nehemiah 8 and 9

It was the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of Tishri, the Jewish calendar’s seventh month, which would be October in the Roman calendar. A day of ruach, a day of blowing, a day for the wind of the Spirit to blow through the people, by way of the public reading and interpretation of the Word of God by the priests and scribes!

It was the Feast of Trumpets, the first of the Ten Days of Awe (a time of reflection and repentance), leading up to the Day of Atonement (peace with God), and followed by the Feast of Tabernacles (rejoicing over God’s provision in the wilderness and now, in the harvest).

Oh, beloved! When we reflect and repent, and ask for the atoning blood of Jesus Christ to cover us, we will rejoice over God’s provision that kept us in our own wilderness wanderings, and His provision in coming to tabernacle literally inside of us!

When Ezra brought the law before the people, to read and interpret it, they all were attentive. Their ears were to it, spiritually.

Their hearts were open to not only physically hear it, but heed it (James 1:22-25).
They once again revered the Word of God, after they strayed from it, sinned, were sent into exile by God, and then brought back into to the land by Him!

Ezra didn’t give a 20-minute sermon, beloved!

He read from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) from dawn until midday. His fellow priests and scribes stood with him. He was on a podium, above the people so they could see and hear. All the people stood up when he began, and did not sit down until he was done.

Then, after Ezra had read and interpreted the Word of God so the people could understand it, he blessed the Lord, the great God.

What else can we do when we read God’s Word and hear its interpretation with open hearts? We all simply bless the Lord for His greatness, His faithfulness, His love, His justness, and His righteousness!

All the people said, “Amen, Amen,” while lifting up their hands (v. 6).

And then they bowed low with their faces to the ground. Why? I believe the presence of the Lord was there, and when we sense Him, we bow in humility and submission, we bow under His great kabod, His majesty and the weightiness of His presence.

All of them wept when they heard the Word of the Lord (v. 9). They grieved, because they were convicted of how they and their fathers had grieved the Lord. What a picture of the true fear of God, true worship in Spirit and in truth!

They were convicted of their unfaithfulness, having been reminded through the Scriptures of the Lord’s great faithfulness.

But the Feast of Trumpets was not only a day to begin reflection and repentance, but a day of rejoicing and feasting because the Day of Atonement, the time of making peace with God, was coming!

So Nehemiah urged them to eat and drink and share with those who did not have anything prepared. It was a holy day, a day set apart. And beloved, Nehemiah reminded them, “The joy of the Lord is your strength!”

It is our fortress. It is not our joy, but His!

John 15:11 “ These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your  joy may be made full.
John 17:13 “But now  I come to You; and  these things I speak in the world so that they may have My  joy made full in themselves.”

It is not our strength, but His!

It is not our life, but His!

It is not our love, but His!

They rejoiced as they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, and then, in Nehemiah 9:1, on the 24th day of the month, on the appointed day,they mourned and fasted. I tell you, this is the appointed day!

They publicly separated themselves from all foreigners (so they would not worship the things that the world worships), and stood and confessed their sins publicly.

For three hours, the Torah was read, and for three hours after that, the people confessed.
Then the Levites invited them to bless their God, and began to speak of His faithfulness, of all He had given them, of how He had provided for them and made them able to go in and possess the land, fighting against their enemies as they went in.

And the Levites recited all the ways the people had rebelled after faithful Abraham, whose heart the Lord found faithful before Him (v.7). As Abraham stood before the Lord, even seeing His angel, he was found faithful, full of faith in the goodness and mercy of God!

The people’s sins were many:

Verse 16 —
They acted arrogantly,
became stubborn,
would not listen,
and refused to listen,
They forgot the deeds of the Lord,
tried to go back into slavery in Egypt,
and made a golden calf and worshiped it.

Verse 26 —
They became disobedient and rebelled against the Lord.
They cast His law behind their backs.
They killed the prophets who admonished them so they might return to Him.
They committed great blasphemies (acts of contempt) against the Lord.

The Lord let their enemies have at them, they cried out, He delivered them, they sinned again, He punished them by exiling them, He delivered them because He promised He would bring them back in 70 years from Babylon. He kept delivering all who returned to Him, for His own name’s sake and because of His great hesed, His faithfulness as a husband to His people!

The Lord delivered them from captivity in Babylon, but they were still slaves to the King of Persia, in their own land. This speaks to me of the believer who is still a slave to sin.

The solution?

The people must be consecrated (Chapter 12), and purified (Chapter 13). We still have two messages to go, before we see the whole picture the Lord showed me!

The word to today’s church, today’s Christian:

The whole Word of God must be spoken and accurately interpreted.

The people must have ears to hear it, to heed it and not just physically listen, and revere it.

When the Word of God is spoken and the people have ears to hear it, they will repent. Let he who has an ear hear what the Spirit says!

The church must give the people a means to repent openly, to confess their sins publicly, before the whole congregation.

Let us have Ten Days of Awe, when every believer recaptures the fear of the Lord, the awe of Him, when they once again see His faithfulness and their unfaithfulness.

Peace with God will result, through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ!

Then, the rejoicing will begin, for on the mountain of the Lord, it has been provided (Genesis 22:14, the Akedah) —

—We have Christ, who not only is the means of making peace with God and establishing a face-to-face relationship with God, but also
—We have Christ who also makes the way for our hearts to be filled with His Spirit so our hearts are consecrated (made holy) and made entirely His, no mixture of affections, so we walk in His ways and thus, in His power!

Oh, believe God and not me, a rebuilt church and revival will result!