GIVING UP

[SW198] 08/14/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Giving Up”

Do you ever feel like giving up on trying to be an obedient child of God? Don’t give up! But give up! It’s a different kind of giving up.

I’m asking the Holy Spirit to help me to serve you up a full-course meal of God’s Word today, choice pieces of meat, marrow and aged wine (Isaiah 25:6), so you may learn the truth, so it divides soul and spirit, and causes you to say to the Lord, “I give up!”

I’m speaking a word of righteousness to you. Many of you are accustomed to a diet of milk (the basic tenets of Christianity). It’s what you generally get on a Sunday in many churches. But you ought to be teachers by now, teaching and feasting on the meat — the word of righteousness! (See Hebrews 5:13).

Willful disobedience to God — sin — is an age-old problem, begun by the first man, Adam. We expect those who do not know Christ to sin. But it also has flooded the church.

It would never be, if we truly understood the depths of our depravity, our illness. We’d be seeking a cure!

How serious is sin? So serious that God the Father sacrificed His Son to heal us of our past sins and set us free from slavery to sin!

Even before the earth was formed, the Father had a lamb prepared (Revelation 13:8). We can’t even calculate or estimate or imagine the cost of our salvation!

But try to comprehend it. God sent His Son to die in order that you may live. On that cross, God the Son bore God’s wrath toward you. He took what you deserved. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!

Text: Romans 7:14ff

If you struggle with sin, join the wretched man Paul speaks of in Romans 7:14ff. You were born with a sin nature, just like he was. In verse 17, it is sin which dwells in him that causes him to disobey God. The sins he commits are the evidence of the sin nature that dwells inside of him.

But learn the truth — you don’t have to stay that way! Who shall save the man Paul writes about? Christ Jesus our Lord! He made the way for you to be freed from your sin nature and given His divine nature (see 1Peter 1:4)!

Paul did not only write Romans 7, but he also wrote Galatians 2:20 and 5:24. The divine nature doesn’t dwell in you when you’re a baby Christian, as evidenced by the problems Paul had to address with the Corinthians. But it surely does happen when you give up, and you will know it when it does!

The Lord wants YOU to give up. We get it wrong, thinking he wants us to give up habits, the people we associate with, dreams, situations, circumstances. He wants YOU. Once YOU have given up to Him, your heart will entirely change, and you will love to obey Him — there will be no more resistance, because His love accompanies His nature in you, so you love Him with the same love He has for you (Romans 5:5).

Some believe they won’t have fun anymore if they tell the Lord, “I give up!” Some Christians have told me that they like what they’re doing, they like their habits, they like their associates. They don’t want to give up any of that. They’re not ready, they say.

But if that’s your thinking, the struggle will continue, and your life will continue to be a mess until you give up that rebellious sinful nature and ask the Lord to kill it and put His nature inside of you.

Maybe you don’t like the idea of giving up, especially if it involves a spiritual crucifixion or getting on an altar and letting God’s fire consume everything in you that is not of Him. It certainly doesn’t sound comfortable.

Text: Romans 12:1

Many worship with great passion and emotion, but their disobedient living belies their passionate worship.

What is worship, according to God?

In light of all He has done for you, with that in mind, it is willingly placing yourself on an altar so He can purify you and make you holy on the inside. It is asking the Lord Jesus to baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire.

Some will say, “I spoke in tongues when I was baptized in water,” or “I spoke in tongues when I was baptized in the Holy Ghost.” Tongues are the initial evidence, as the scriptures show in the Book of Acts.

But where is the fruit of the Spirit in your life? Are you continuing to willfully disobey God?

Then I say you have not yet been to God’s altar; you may have received something from God, but you are not filled with and controlled by the Holy Ghost, or you would be holy from the inside out!

If you are a Christian, your desire should be to do God’s will. And His will is that you be filled with His Holy Spirit, so you don’t struggle with sin anymore.

What a good word! What a freeing word! Will you believe Him? Do you really want to be His witness here, for more than Sunday morning?

But it is far more serious than being His witness here. It is life and death to you. The wages of sin is death. Keep on sinning, and you face the place where the worm never dies and the fire never goes out.

Cry out to God today! Tell Him you give up YOU! Beloved, He wants all of you.

Give YOU to Him. By faith, you asked God to forgive your past sins through Jesus Christ. By faith, ask Him to destroy sin’s power over you.

Will you believe He can do it? If you truly believe, He will show you that He can, and then He will do it, just as He did in healing me of an incurable disease and then making me so hungry for all of Him that for two months, I cried out to be baptized in the Holy Spirit!

That is how you become Jesus Christ’s witnesses here. You will have His Spirit in you, large and in charge. You will walk as He did on the earth (1John 2:6).

You will be tempted, as He was, but you will have power over sin, and be a super-conqueror (Romans 8:37).

You will walk, live, love, and speak as He did. And His very presence in you will cause many to repent and turn to Him.

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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!”

A CROOKED HOUSE

[SW194] 07/10/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“A Crooked House”

You can’t build a house with a crooked wall — it throws off every other measurement. The more you build around a crooked wall, the more crooked the whole house becomes!

Texts: Amos 7:1-9, 1Peter 4:17

Last week’s message was for those in this country who have rejected Jesus Christ. It was Daniel’s interpretation of the handwriting on the wall, for Belshazzar, King of Babylon, who did not believe in God.

This message is for those who profess faith in Jesus Christ.

I will speak all that the Lord gives me, and will not leave out a word (1Samuel 3:7).

When God the Father disciplines those who believe in His Son, it is so we can share in His holiness — so that we might cry out and asked to be filled with His Spirit, so we are no longer slaves to sin and so we are empowered to do the works He has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). He disciplines those He loves. (See Hebrews 12:6, 10.)

When churches have gone far from Jesus Christ, as with five of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, He calls them to repent.

Jesus calls the church to repent today, for indeed, she has gone far from Him, though there is a remnant that is faithful.

Judgment is coming first to the household of God, beloved (1Peter 4:17).

I repeat — You can’t build a house with a crooked wall — it throws off every other measurement. The more you build around a crooked wall, the more crooked the whole house becomes!

He holds up a plumb line of judgment, and finds most of His church to be crooked rather than straight. What is the plumb line? His Word.

Throughout the church, He hears and sees many things like this from those who profess that they are His:

1. God wants you to be rich. God wants you to be financially successful. Share this post and you’ll get a Mercedes Benz with no payments. Jesus Christ was rich.

—What does His Word say? Do not seek treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, but sore up for yourselves treasures in heaven. You cannot be a servant of God and a servant of your lust for money. (Matthew 6:19-20, 24).

2. God doesn’t care if you sin, after you make Jesus your Savior. He understands.

— What does His Word say? I use the New Testament, to remove the usual objection that we are now under grace.

— “If your eye causes you to sin, throw it out; it is better for you to enter life (eternal life) with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”

— “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” (John 8:34)

— And His servant Paul says, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2)

— And Paul says, “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; for he who has died is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6-7)

— To Ananias, a member of the church, Peter says, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land . . . you have not lied to men, but to God.” And Ananias was stricken dead (Acts 5:3). Beloved, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

—“Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.” (1Timothy 5:20)

Beloved, many false teachers and prophets are the church who tickle the ears of its members, gently stroking their sinful natures that have not yet been crucified. Greed, pride, selfishness are coddled.

There are many crooked apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, both men and women, who have built one crooked wall after another to make the whole house crooked1

And in the church’s desire not to offend, and to make herself more palatable to the world, she has removed the requirement for confession of and repentance from sin from the salvation message.

But what does Jesus say about becoming palatable to the 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.”

Do we not know that the time is short, and that the Lord is coming soon? How then should we found by Jesus Christ? Spotless and blameless (2Peter 3:14).

What? We are to be holy as He is holy, perfect as our Father is perfect? We cannot make ourselves that way, and in much of the church, we are taught that it is impossible to be sanctified through and through.

Then why does Paul pray that for the church at Thessalonica (1Thessalonians 5:23). That is how we are preserved without blame, found spotless and blameless.

I have prayed for a long time that the church would ask for the Lord to do in them all that He promises —

Ephesians 3:19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (This requires removal of sin from your very nature, because God and sin cannot dwell together.)

2Peter 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

This is a clarion call. I am sounding the trumpet, as a watchman on the wall. God has placed a plumb line beside you and found you to be crooked, O church, for you do not line up with His Word!

“Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’” (Ezekiel 33:11)

O church! Do you not know that this is a word to you, too? God does not change!

Repent, for judgment is coming soon. If not in my lifetime, certainly we will all stand before the judgment seat when our bodies die. Will he find you to be plumb, or will He find you to be crooked, O Christian?

If you ask Him right now, He will make the crooked straight. And the glory of the Lord shall be upon you (Isaiah 61:2)!

Wake up, sleeping one, and rise up from among the dead ones, and Christ will shine on you (Ephesians 5:14)!

Then He will welcome you, saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant! Come join in the joy of your Master!” Those are His promises for you who turn back to Him today!

THE ACCENT OF JESUS

[SW192] 06/26/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“The Accent of Jesus”

Your accent reveals where you come from.

My own heart is this: that I have the accent — the words, the compassion, and the fragrance — of Jesus. If I do not, He cannot reach out through me to the world that He died for.

The words of Jesus

When Jesus had been taken away by the Jewish leaders, and was before the high priest, Peter followed from a distance, and waited in the courtyard. And this was said to him:

Matthew 26:73 A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.”

Peter was from Galilee, and had that region’s accent. Jesus was from Galilee, and had that region’s accent. So in the natural, Peter’s talk gave him away as being Galilean, like Jesus. Then he was afraid to be found out, so he denied Jesus the third time, just as the Lord had prophesied to him.

But later, when Peter and John were arrested for boldly proclaiming Jesus as the Christ:

Acts 4:13   Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

Acts 4:29 “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence,  30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”  31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

What a difference! What boldness! What had happened?

Pentecost! They were filled with the Holy Spirit — first the 120, and then these in Acts 4:31!

Now they didn’t just sound like Jesus because they came from the same region of the country. They spoke His words. They had the same HEAVENLY accent as Him. They were as bold as He was, warning the Jews not to reject their Christ.

But it wasn’t just His words that they had.

The compassion of Jesus

Peter and John were in trouble with the Jewish leaders because they had healed a 40-year-old man who had been born lame. Beloved, we’re all born lame. We don’t walk right. But the heart and compassion of Jesus is to say, “Silver and gold I have not,” and “In the name of Jesus, get up and walk!” Hallelujah! So the man was healed and leaped and walked and praised God.

Before Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples were so busy competing against each other that they often missed the masses who needed Jesus!

Before Pentecost, when Mary poured out the pure nard on Jesus’ feet and the fragrance filled the room (John 12:3), all the disciples complained that it was a waste of money. And Jesus rebuked them, because she was preparing Him for His death. They lacked compassion for their own Savior.

What a difference after they were filled with the Holy Spirit! Now they had His heart and His compassion. And they simply walked about and His compassion flowed from them, for His glory. They discussed among themselves who was the greatest (Matthew 9:34), and were embarrassed when Jesus asked them what they had been talking about. He already knew, of course.

The fragrance of Jesus

Did you ever smell jasmine? It has a FRAGRANCE. It’s unmistakable. There’s no other fragrance like it.

The fragrance of Christ is like no other, and it is unmistakable in those who are filled with His Holy Spirit —

2Corinthians 2:14   But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.  15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;  16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

Well, Lord, I am surely not adequate, but You are! You do the manifesting, I’ll do the walking about! Make me smell good, Lord!

The disciples didn’t smell so good to God when, in Luke 9:54, they wanted to call down fire upon the Samaritan village that wouldn’t let Jesus pass through . . . Jesus rebuked them!

But after Pentecost, God manifested the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Christ through His disciples who had that sweet aroma IN them. Now they smelled good to God!  Hallelujah!

Do you see it? I most assuredly must experience a personal Pentecost to have Jesus Christ’s accent — His words, His compassion, and His fragrance.

He promised His disciples that they would be His witnesses when the Holy Ghost had come. They would have His accent, when they stayed in the city, praying and waiting to be clothed with power from on high.

He wants to do that even today, for today’s church.

Many of us know the Bible, and have even memorized verses. But do we live them?

Apart from the very love of God poured out in our hearts to overflowing by the Holy Spirit when He fills us — what does 1 Corinthians 13:1 say? — we are sounding gongs and clanging symbols.

So in His compassion for you, He is speaking to you today.

Do you have His words, spoken as He spoke them?

Do you have His compassion?

Do you have His fragrance?

Do you walk like He walked in this world (1John 2:6)? You must have a personal Pentecost to break the chains of sin in your heart, before you can ever have His accent, beloved! Do not be deceived (1Corinthians 6:9)!

Do you have His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23)?

Now is your opportunity to ask Him to change those “no” answers to “yes” answers.

If you ask your heavenly Father, He will fill you with His Holy Spirit today, and you will have the accent of Jesus.

You will sound like Him, you will be moved with His compassion that is now IN you, and you will have His fragrance about you.

His accent will be IN you, affecting all that you do.

How gracious is our God, that He would not only save us from being under His wrath, but make it possible for us to be like His Son in this world, setting us free from the power of sin and giving us His accent!

Then, just as you have freely received, you will obey His command to freely give (Matthew 10:8)!

FIX YOUR EYES

[SW065] 10/28/12 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2012
“Fix Your Eyes”

Lord Jesus, I see a church with her eyes turned away from You. I see that You are commanding them to fix their eyes on You. Our eyes need fixing!

You say I should show them that they are corrected by a loving Father. If they do not receive His correction, they are not His children.

The Father’s correction is for your good, so that you may share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:10).

Hebrews 12:1   Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us  run with  endurance the race that is set before us,  2  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the   author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him  endured the cross,  despising the shame, and has  sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:3   For  consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary   and lose heart.  4  You have not yet resisted   to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;

Hebrews 12:14    Pursue peace with all men, and the  sanctification without which no one will  see the Lord.

Cross out the “let us” right before “lay aside” and “let us” right before “run.” Those are not in the original Greek. It is LAY ASIDE! It is RUN! These are commands, not suggestions.

In Hebrews 11 — All witnesses obeyed God “by faith,” a great cloud of them!
— Faith is an action, not an assent

So, in Hebrews 12, “by faith” continues:

–By faith, lay aside (659, in a decisive moment of time, aorist tense — not “Let us” but a command) (see Ephesians 4:22, lay aside the old, enter into the new)

–Cast off
–Separate from
–Lay down
What?

–Every encumbrance (3591) every mass, bending or bulging by its load, a burden, a hindrance, a weight — in a word, the SINS we haul about with cart ropes (Isaiah 5:18). “Come to Me!” cries Jesus!

–The sin (not SINS here, but the sin nature, our inbred rebellion) that entangles (2139), a Greek word used nowhere else

— it is the SIN nature which easily encircles, easily surrounds, easily entangles,

— Satan’s snare! And we tell Him we know better than Him. We reproach Him for commanding us to be holy.

2 Timothy 2:24  The Lord’s bond-servant . . . 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to  the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from  the snare of the devil, having been  held captive by him to do his will.

And:

By faith, run with endurance (5281) cheerful, hopeful, constance, endurance, patiently waiting (this is not not OUR idea of running . . . )

Run what?

The race set before us — (73) a contest, a struggle, a conflict, a fight, opposition! Not against our sin nature . . . we have laid tat aside in a moment of time, we have separated from the sin we’ve been hauling with cart ropes. Our opposition comes from the same place Jesus’ did — the religious system of the day which claimed to know His Father but did not. The race is indeed a struggle against that opposition, but we don’t fight in our own strength. We are running with God, in the strength of Christ. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

What is our goal?

Fixing your eyes on (872) looking away from all else to look at and considering attentively, estimating, esteeming . .

Jesus, the:

–Author (747) the Founder, Leader, the Captain, Prince

–Perfecter (5051) Completer, Consummator, Finisher, Consecrator, Fulfiller.

of faith.

He is our Goal!

What do we see as we esteem Him?

His cross which He endured. We have become like Him, having separated ourselves from the sin nature and the sins that are the snare of Satan. We have done it, as He did, for the joy set before Him. What joy do we see? The same as Him! We see many for whom He died, we see them come to faith in Him, we see them filled with His Spirit and made His witnesses. We see God’s will being done, we see His coming kingdom, and He already reigns in us!

Because we have taken up our cross and followed Him, scorning its shame, we also sit down at His right hand (Ephesians 2:6)! Right now, we have His access to the Father. Right now, we can hear the Father’s voice, we see Him working, we enter the fields for the harvest is ripe — it is white!

Consider Him (357), contemplate Him, estimate His ways

–Selfless

–Self-giving

–Obedient out of love
–For His Father
–For us

–Enduring hostility

Matthew 5:10   “Blessed are those who have been  persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for  theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11   “Blessed are you when people  insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for  in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

What is the church fixed upon? What does most of the church esteem?

Unfortunately, self. There was a recent report of a study from Ohio State University, in which 900 adults ages 18 to 90 were evaluated. The findings? Young Americans carve praise and compliments more than food, friendship and sex! This craving is akin to an addiction.

The professor who conducted the study identified the 1969 book The Psychology of Self Esteem as the launching point for a generation of Americans obsessed with self esteem. And with each generation, the obsession becomes stronger.

Americans, including those in the church, can’t seem to get enough of being true to self, expressing self, fulfilling self, improving self, and advancing self. Choosing a church to attend is no longer a matter of finding where the Word of God is taught and where people are striving to live in a manner that pleases God. It is now a matter of finding a church that has the best programs and preferred music and activities.

O Church, we have not yet been crucified with Christ, and sin still easily entangles us.

Our eye is on us, not Him.

Matthew 6:22   “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is  clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 “But if  your eye is  bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

A clear eye, a single eye, an eye looking at and esteeming and considering Jesus! Then your whole body is full of light.

But if your eye is on self, on the world, and not fixed on Jesus, you are full of darkness, and how great is that darkness!

Shed blood is required in your striving against sin.

O Church, you have not done this.

Galatians 5:24 Now those who  belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh [that is, the sin nature] with its passions and  desires.

Pursue sanctification (Hebrews 12:14), O church!

Pursue (run toward it, flee to the horns of the altar)!

The sanctification (holiness, His divine nature in you), that which He prayed for in John 17!

Why pursue and run toward and flee to sanctification?

. . . Without which no one will see the Lord.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)!

Flee to Jesus! By faith, lay aside and separate yourself from that cartload of sins you’re dragging behind you! By faith, lay aside and separate yourself from that rebellious nature, the sin nature.

You’ll be footloose and free, no longer entangled in Satan’s snare! You’ll be pure in heart! You will see God, not just someday, but every day, all the time! You will be seated with Christ, in the very throne room of God! Run to Him!