MARK 10 COMMENTARY

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

So what does the Holy Spirit want us to see in this chapter? The effects of blindness.

Verses 1-12 — Jesus is teaching. He does not only heal and deliver, but He teaches. Take heed of His words, and you will be blessed, indeed!

Of course, the blind Pharisees do not receive the truth that Jesus is teaching. The effects of blindness! They are only present because they very much want to make Him stumble in His words. So they ask about divorce. I am sure they were being convicted of their sin, as He spoke.

At that time, Jewish men with roving eyes divorced their wives for the slightest thing — maybe the food was not hot when she served it. That way, they could marry the one that caught their eye. So they used the law Moses wrote (not God) regarding divorce, for their own selfish interests. Moses wrote that law because Israel’s hearts were hardened, even then.

Jesus says that law was written because their hearts were hardened. What does it mean to have a hardened heart? It means you follow the letter of the law, but you use it for self-interest.

A person (I’ll use the pronoun “he,” just to make it easier) goes to church and does good works like feeding and clothing the poor, singing in the choir and going to the church every time the door is open. Others admire him and say, “What a great guy!”  Yet he is secretly disobedient to God, sinning against Him in private.

And if a friend comes and speaks to him about the state of his soul, the friend is rejected and rebuffed. The great guy doesn’t want anyone to make him feel bad about what he is doing. He just wants to keep doing what he’s doing. It was the same with the Jews and divorce for selfish purposes, and Jesus was the Friend they rejected and rebuffed.

After Jesus reminds the Pharisees of why Moses made a divorce law, He uses the Word of God to remind them of the heart of God. Male and female, a man leaving his father and mother, the two (male and female) becoming one flesh. Then Jesus says, “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” That is God’s heart and that is a command.

The disciples privately question Jesus about what He means. If you are a man and divorce your wife so you can marry another woman, you commit adultery, He says. If a woman divorces her husband so she can marry another man, she commits adultery, He says.

Notice the reason Jesus calls divorce adultery, in this case. Lust. You have your eye on someone else. You lust after that one. So you divorce your husband or wife. That is adultery. That is exactly what the Jews (including some of the Pharisees) were doing at the time Jesus walked the earth.

Jesus says,”Let no man separate.” Let no man or woman separate. Husband, do not lust after another woman who will separate you from your wife, and wife, do not lust after another man who will separate you from your husband.

Instead, ask God, by His Holy Spirit, to fill and thereby purify your heart so you have no desire for anyone but your own spouse. Amen!

I do not believe that a man or woman whose husband is incurably unfaithful (after counseling is attempted), or abusive, is held to this commandment of Jesus Christ. Such situations have nothing to do with roving, lustful, adulterous eyes.

I support that belief with scripture, and Jeff’s and my case —

1Corinthians 7:15 and 7:24 speak of what happens when you are married and you become a believer. Your husband or wife does not believe, and they leave you. It is not a sin to let them go and to divorce them to avoid legal issues later. You are not bound to them, in the eyes of God. And when you come to the Lord, you remain in whatever condition you were in when you believed. If you are a divorced unbeliever who married another divorced unbeliever, you don’t leave them when you come to faith in Jesus Christ. He forgives those sins.

Jeff and I were both divorcees. We did not know the Lord. We got married. Then we became believers. All of our past sins were forgiven, praise God!

Jeff did not divorce his first wife because he liked me better. He didn’t even know me. Jeff’s first wife abandoned him. I did not divorce my first husband because I liked Jeff better. I didn’t even know Jeff. I divorced my first husband because he beat me until I bled internally. I didn’t have a roving eye, but I had a black and blue body! If we were adulterers in God’s eyes, Jesus never would have healed me, and He never would have filled Jeff and me with His Spirit.

Verses 13-16 — The Pharisees were so blind they couldn’t receive the truth Jesus was teaching.  Now the blindness continues, this time with the disciples. They do not see the kingdom of God that Jesus had told them about previously. They do not understand that little children are as welcome as any others. Everyone is welcome! They see the children as a bother, and rebuke those who bring their children so Jesus can touch them. Do you know what “touch” means? To put a light in them, to set them on fire (with His presence)! The disciples rebuke people for bringing their children so Jesus can put a light in them! Now that’s blindness, a blindness Jesus heals when He fills us with His Spirit. Then we understand, then we see.

So Jesus tells them they have it all wrong. Do not hinder them, let them come! The kingdom of God belongs to those who are like little children before Me! As a matter of fact, if you don’t receive My kingdom like a child, you won’t enter it at all.

What does it mean to receive the kingdom of God as a child? Complete trust in God. If a family functions as God designed it, a child trusts his father and mother completely. That requires a humble heart. The child knows he can’t fix what’s wrong, but if he brings it to his father or mother, it will be fixed. And the child seeks an innocent intimacy with his parents — appropriate hugs and kisses.

Jesus is saying you cannot be a child of God unless you trust God the Father, even to the point where you tell Him your greatest perplexities and problems, trusting that He will take care of them, and you, knowing that He is a perfect Father. That requires a humble heart. You know you can’t fix what’s wrong, but you know He can. A child of God seeks holy intimacy with God, a holy embrace between Him and His child.

The disciples can’t see that yet, because they are not filled with the Holy Spirit. The kingdom of God hasn’t come to them with power, yet. But it will.

Verse 17-27 — Now we see another kind of blindness. A rich young man comes up to Jesus, calling Him “Good Teacher.” Jesus immediately says only God is good. His implicit question is this — do you call me good because you know I am God the Son?

Jesus speaks the last six commandments. So do you do good things, rich young man? And the young man proudly says, I keep all six of them. I do good things. But notice that Jesus doesn’t ask him if he does the first four commandments, which relate to love for God.

Jesus feels love for ones who are physically blind, and He feels love for ones who are spiritually blind and don’t know it. This young man doesn’t see that God must be in you, working through you, in order for you to do the kind of good that God does.

Jesus knows what issue God has with the young man. He is rich. That is his idol. That is his god. So sell everything and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then you can come and follow Me! Jesus knows what the response will be — sadness and retreat, because the young man knows he can’t let go of all of his property. The young man’s riches are his god, but he is blind and can’t see it. The effect of his blindness is that he cannot enter the kingdom.

So he does not follow Jesus, and Jesus does not go after him, either. Instead, Jesus exclaims that it is hard to enter the kingdom of God. Even harder than a camel going through the eye of a needle. He means this literally. It looks impossible.

The entrance to the kingdom of God is not large and grandiose, with a wide path. It has just a small gate, and the way is narrow, and few find it (Matthew 7:14). Few! It is hard to enter. You must be humble.

The disciples are not humble, so they do not understand. Then no one can be saved, they imply, when they say, “Then who can be saved?”

Then Jesus tells us that what looks impossible to man is possible for God. All things are possible with God!

IMPORTANT POINT:  Jesus means this in every way — All things are possible with God. With God, it is possible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, for the proud to be made humble, for the spiritually blind to see, for the incurably sick to be healed and for the demon-possessed to be delivered. With God, it is even possible for a human heart to be filled with God’s actual love!

Verses 28-31 — As usual, Peter (and the rest of the disciples) try to figure out what Jesus means, and Peter takes a stab at it. We’ve left everything! That’s not what Jesus is talking about. The requirement for a humble heart, in order to enter the kingdom of God, is the point He’s making. It isn’t about giving up things. It’s about giving up YOURSELF!

But He tells them (and you) that if, for His sake and the gospel’s sake, you leave your house and your family (He doesn’t mean permanent separation from family) and your work, you will receive 100 times as much now — houses, family, houses, and jobs. All of the coming church will share what they have, every church member will be your brother or sister or mother, every child of a child of God will be like your own, everyone’s home will be your home! That was true of the early church, but as you may have noticed, that is not true in today’s church, because there are proud and spiritually blind ones among us.

And you will also endure persecution, but ultimately, eternal life! It’s a narrow way. Unless you love the world system, it will not love you and it will come against you, even violently (John 15:18-20). They can kill your body, dear one, but you’ll simply go on to be in heaven forever.

But many who are first will be last. The first to have the offer was the Jews. The Pharisees are blind. The young man is blind. The effect of their blindness is that they will not be the first to enter. But the humble ones are able to see, so they will be the first to enter.  And the last to see will be the last to enter.

Verses 32-45 — Now Jesus walks ahead of His disciples, not with them. He is on a mission to get to Jerusalem. They follow, astonished at His behavior and His words. And they are both alarmed and in awe. And with greater detail than ever, Jesus once again tells them that He will be killed and rise three days later.

The blindness of the disciples is once again obvious. James and John want preferential treatment, when Jesus reigns on the earthly throne they are expecting. He will come into Jerusalem on a white horse, and the Romans will be defeated. Their behavior is not humble. They think they deserve to have their request honored by Jesus. Their self interest is clearly in view. It will be to their advantage to have the King’s ear.

He tells them they don’t know what they’re asking. Can they take His cup — a baptism of death? Blindly they say, “We are able.” They don’t know what He’s talking about.

But He tells them they will experience a baptism of death. It will happen at Pentecost, when they die to all of their pride and self-interest. That’s the baptism they will undergo. That’s the cup they will drink. For James, his physical body will die when he is martyred for his faith, with a sword. John will live on, to receive the Revelation before his physical body dies a natural death.

Again, He admonishes them that none is better than any other of them. They must be humble, serving one another, not trying to “best” one another, not trying to jockey for position.

Do you want to be first, He says? Then be a slave to everyone, just as I am!

I did not come for you to serve Me, but to serve you by dying for you, in your place, taking your punishment upon Me; rising again, that you may have eternal life; and pouring out the Holy Spirit, so your spiritual blindness may be healed!

Verses 46-52 — Bartimaeus (whose name means “son of one who is highly prized”) is blind, but he can see before he sees! He knows that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ. How do I know that? The crowd says, “It’s Jesus the Nazarene,” but he calls Him by a Messianic title: Jesus, Son of David. Have mercy on me!

Everyone wanted him to be quiet, to leave the Master alone. They spoke sternly and harshly to Bartimaeus. But he kept shouting!

Keep shouting! Pay no attention to persecution from those who are yet blind.

He will have mercy on you, when you see Him for who He really is, and cry out for mercy and refuse to stop crying out!

Jesus heard him calling, and said to the crowd, “Call him here.” And the crowd said, “Take courage (comfort, be of good cheer), stand up! He is calling for you!”

When you refuse to stop calling out to Him, He will call for you and you will be of good cheer. Bartimaeus’ continuous calling out was an indication of his faith. He knew he was coming to his Healer!

He threw aside his cloak, which was probably everything he owned. He was a blind beggar. The alms he received were likely stored there. But he didn’t care! He jumped up! He didn’t just slowly rise. He jumped! And he came to Jesus, feeling his way through the crowd. Can you see it! He was desperate!

Jesus asks a seemingly foolish question. The man is obviously blind, yet Jesus asks him what he wants Jesus to do for him!

What do you want Jesus to do for you? He wants you to tell Him, just like when I had MS and I had to tell Him what was wrong in my brain and spinal cord, what needed to be healed and recreated. It was an act of faith to tell Him. And so it was for Bartimaeus, the blind man who could see, even before he was healed!

And the man said, “Rabboni (Teacher, a title of respect), I want to regain my sight!”

And Jesus says, “Go! Your faith has made you well.” Does that mean the faith Bartimaeus exhibited had some kind of healing power? No! It means that his faith brought him to the One who heals. So, in that sense, his faith made him well. When?

Immediately! Immediately! No waiting! When you have faith, when you know Who you are coming to, the Christ, the Son of God, when you know He is able to heal you and you are so desperate that you’ll throw away everything when He calls your name —

immediately! At that moment, not when he had faith, but when he stood before Jesus and healing power went forth from Jesus. Immediately!
I challenge you, because I love you with God’s own love — if you say, “I can’t wait until Jesus heals me,” you are not yet desperate, and I will tell you that He is waiting for you to come to Him.

Immediately he regains his sight. His response? Does he just walk away? Does he just say, “Thanks, Jesus, now I have my life back.” No! He immediately began following Jesus on the road. Will you?

 

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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!”

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.

STAIN REMOVAL

[SW191] 06/19/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Stain Removal”

Today I want to talk with you about laundry, because we must appear before our King without stain or wrinkle.

Texts spoken to God’s children, Judah, while they were in captivity in Babylon:

Ezekiel 36:25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

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

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

Well, we’re talking here about cleansing and stains and wrinkles. Now the Lord showed me some things about stains.

A stain can have an external source — spaghetti sauce, barbecue sauce from ribs, grease grape juice, and such.

When you see it, you can treat it with stain remover, or scrub it, or bleach it, or soak it. And sooner or later, it will come out. Sometimes we have to be persistent, if it’s a really bad stain.

The Lord says through Ezekiel in 36:25 that he will sprinkle clean water on us, and we will be clean.

He’ll cleanse you from all your sins you have committed in the past, the actions you did that were against Him, when you see them and see Him as our Savior and turn from them and ask Him to remove these external things, the actions you have done against Him.

You have soiled ourselves with them, and we are stained with them, but the Launderer is here to clean you up! He is our Launderer, and the word for that in the Bible is “fuller.” The Lord says,

Malachi 3:2 “But who can endure the day of His [Jesus’] coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.”
He’s going to scrub you clean! He specializes in stain removal!

Now we must go on.

Some stains have an internal source, something that comes from inside you. Underarm stains and stains around the collar are from perspiration. Even if you remove those stains from your clothing, they will come back again, because they come from something inside you. The only way to stop them would be to stop perspiring!

Beloved, you have something that comes from inside you that stains the outside of you, and no matter how many times you ask the Lord to forgive you, they keep reappearing, and they will continue, unless the source is treated. And that inward condition separates you from your God (Isaiah 59:2), because you continue to sin against Him after you have become His child, just as Israel did.

Jeremiah 2:22 “Although you wash yourself with lye
And use much soap,
The stain of your iniquity is before Me,” declares the Lord GOD.

We sing, “My CHAINS are gone, I’ve been set free.” But maybe we ought to sing “My STAINS are gone, I’ve been set free,” because removing the STAINS removes the CHAINS!

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), so you must not continue to sin against God after coming to Him through His Son. But there’s something INSIDE you that keeps causing the stain of sin.

What can you do? Are you stuck in sin forever, like the man in Romans 7? Knowing what’s right and yet doing what’s wrong?

No! What does the Lord say, in Ezekiel 36:26-27? He will not only sprinkle clean water on us externally, but He ALSO promises that if we ask Him (Luke 11:13), He will put a new heart and a new spirit within us — His!

He will remove the source of the stain of sin, the sin nature that’s in you, the one you inherited from your father, Adam! He will remove that iniquity, the source, that inward perverseness and twistedness, that results in continued outward stains!

He will remove the heart of stone, the one that is hardened over and rebellious, and put a heart of flesh in us, one that will respond to His every whisper. When He does laundry, He really does LAUNDRY!

When He baptizes you with HIS Spirit, you will walk in His ways and be obedient to Him. And you will love Him with His love (Romans 5:5)! And you will be a witness of Jesus Christ who saved you and cleaned you up inside and out (Acts 1:8)! And you will have a holy, intimate relationship called fellowship, with the Father and the Son:

1John 1:3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.  4 These things we write, so that our [also yours!]  joy may be made complete.

This cleansing gives great joy to God the Father, and God the Son gives you His joy, and we all rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Peter 1:8)!

Now the Lord wants me to say something else, too:

Ephesians 5:27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory [a glorious church, in the King James version of the Bible] , having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

I have spoken of spots and stains. But I must talk about wrinkles, too.

The Lord showed me that even when I have carefully pressed a skirt, when I sit down for a while and then get up, I will find it has wrinkled. I have to apply some heat with an iron to get the wrinkles out again. But as soon as I sit down again, they’ll come back.

Beloved, the church is wrinkled because she has been sitting in one place for too long! She has all kinds of creases in her because she has become complacent and comfortable! Who can get these wrinkles out? Only Jesus Christ can do it!

You must let Him apply some heat to you, beloved. You must let Him baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire, and you won’t want anything to do with sitting down! You’ll run, dance, jump, and walk about with His name continually on your lips! He will make you holy by filling you with His holiness, blameless and faultless in His eyes because your motives and heart are pure and totally His!

He is ready now to rid you of your frustration, your rebellion, and your complacency. He is ready to rid you of your stains. He is ready to rid you of your wrinkles.

Are you willing to agree with Him that you have stains you can’t get rid of, no matter how hard you scrub and soak? Are you ready to agree with Him that you have wrinkles because you have sat in one place for too long?

Agree, and He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire! Not just your chains, but your stains will be gone, and you will be set free, indeed!

What’s this got to do with daily living? What’s this got to do with all the problems you have?

Everything! If He changes you inside, then your circumstances will also change BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN CHANGED. That stain, your inward rebellion against Him will be gone, you will be at peace with Him, and these things will be reflected in your life.

You will become a change agent in your own life and the lives of others. You will become a minister of reconciliation, and an ambassador for your King (2 Corinthians 5:18, 20).

And church, you will get off your duffs and on your heavenly assignment!

And that stain that kept coming back? It’ll be gone for good, because the inward source is gone!

2Corinthians 7:1   Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

1Peter 4:1   Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,  2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

Let us say to the Lord, “We agree!” That’s our part in the cleansing. Let us say, “Let our sin nature be put to death so we no longer sin against you!” Amen!

GOD’S WAYS

[SW188] 06/06/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“God’s Ways”

Text: Isaiah 55, Matthew 5:44ff

Seek the Lord!

The Lord said this to His people at the time of Isaiah, and He says it to His people now, both the church and Israel:

Isaiah 55:1 I cry out to you! Are you thirsty? Really thirsty, to the point where you will die if you don’t have some water? Then come to My waters. Not natural waters, but waters that give you eternal life, and I’ll make that life flow from your belly, when you are filled with the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39).

Are you poor to the point where you have no money? Then come to My store. Not a natural store, but provision from My heavenly storehouse. Heavenly treasures!
I’ll give you true nourishment that costs you nothing. It is a gift!

Isaiah 55:2  It’s no surprise to Me, but I pose this question to you. How do you spend the money you work so hard to get?  You spend money for bread, but it isn’t the kind of bread that will satisfy you fully. Only I have that bread.

What you’re buying in the natural cannot possibly satisfy you — be it status, love, food, clothing, a car, or a house, or an alteration of your physical body. These things are worthless. They will never satisfy you. Only a holy, intimate relationship with Me can satisfy.

If you will listen carefully to Me, and eat My words which are good for you, you will find abundant life (John 10:10). THEN you will be satisfied.

Isaiah 53:3  Come to Me through My Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-30). Listen to Me, and you will have eternal life.

If you bend your ear, if you make it bow down to My words, I will give you the same promise I made to David, to whom I also showed great mercy — My compassion and love.

I will make you My house here and now, and I will give you an eternal kingdom in which to live, and you will rule and reign with My Son.

Isaiah 53:4 You will become a witness to everyone on earth (Acts 1:8).

Isaiah 53:5  I will fill you with My glory, and people from all over the earth will run, not walk, to you. I’ll do it because you have given your heart to Me and no other god, and I am your God, the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 53:6  This is a limited time offer. I am near now, I am able to be found now. It will not always be so.

Isaiah 53:7 You must turn from your wickedness and your thoughts, which are evil and nothingness. You must turn to Me.

If you do, I will have compassion on you and will receive you and abundantly pardon you!

Isaiah 53:8  Your ways are far from My ways, but if you will ask me to baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire, My people, I will give you My nature and My love and My heart and you will be filled!

Your ways are wicked and your thoughts are unrighteous. These are not My ways. I am holy, I am good, I am righteous. You are not these things, but if you will bend your ear and listen and heed and do what I am telling you now, you will easily walk in My ways, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

Your ways are far from Mine in another way, too. If someone does evil to you, your response is to dismiss them, to reject them, and never reconcile to them.

My ways and thoughts are ENTIRELY different from yours! They are higher. They are excellent and worthy of praise. I abundantly pardon the greatest of sinners. Even if someone has rejected and cast Me to the side for many years and yet claimed to be Mine, I will receive them when they turn.

To My people who have been exiled to Babylon, I said:

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

And I have said:

Deuteronomy 4:29 “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.”

I am faithful, and just as rain and snow are bound to water the earth and cause great abundance, so is My Word bound to cause abundance in you. But you have a choice. I have given you free will. You may reject My Word, or you may receive it and let Me do in your heart the thing that only I can do.

If you do receive it, you will have this promise — you will go out with joy and be led forth in peace. My Son, Jesus Christ, will give you His joy, and He, the Prince of Peace, will lead you and you will not stray any longer.

Everything in creation will respond to the joy that is in you, to My presence that is in you. People from all over, and everywhere you go, will be drawn to you, drawn to My life and My love and My Spirit in you.

And nothing will destroy My Holy Spirit in you. When you are filled with My Spirit, no one can take Him away from you, and He will not leave. He cannot be crushed, and He does not diminish. No one can destroy Him, cause Him to leave you, or cause His witness in you to fade. He is eternal, and He is in you; therefore, Your ways are My ways and your thoughts are My thoughts.

Do not delay — this is a limited time offer, O Israel, O church. Return to Me and I will return to you.