WRETCHED OR FREE?

[SW206] 10/30/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Wretched or Free?”

Text: Romans 7, etc.

Does God want us to remain wretched, sold into bondage to sin? No! He sent Jesus Christ to free us. Will we believe Him?

Romans 7:14, 19, 24, 25

Sold into bondage to sin!

Wretched man that I am!

Who will set me free? Jesus Christ!

“Wretched” was Paul’s former condition.

“Free” is his present condition.

Why is he no longer wretched?

Jesus makes clear in John 8:31-36 that He is able to set us free, indeed! Free from what? slavery to sin!

Romans 6:1-3, 7, 11, 18, 22

WE die, HE lives. That’s how we get there.

1Peter 2:24, Galatians 2:20 and 5:24!

There must be a death, and it happens when we ask Jesus Christ to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire! Hallelujah!

THEN there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1).

UNTIL THEN, we are like the church at Laodicean — and He warns them and us (Revelation 3:17-19).

Are we really to remain wretched? What kind of salvation is that? What kind of God would we serve, if that were true?

Satan is very clever. He will take a Scripture and twist it, then whisper it in the ears of Christians. He has twisted Romans 7 in the minds of many, and it is taught almost everywhere that Romans 7 must be the present condition of believers.

Throw that back to theft of hell from whence it came! Romans 7 is not:

1. A good Scripture to use if believers want an excuse for sinning.

2. The present condition of Christians.

BUT . . . will you believe God? Will you believe Jesus? God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).

And you know Satan is a murderer, a liar and the father of lies, and that there is no truth in him (John 8:44). He comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), but Jesus Christ came that you may have life as God has it, eternal life, abundantly, here and now! Will you believe God?

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CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED

[SW202] 09/18/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Christ and Him Crucified”

Texts: 1Corinthians 2:2-5, Acts 20:20ff

Paul determined that he would know nothing (not a thing) but Christ and Him crucified and preach Christ crucified.

Why? So the power of God would be demonstrated through him, by the Holy Spirit. He preached in his own weakness and fear and trembling, and the power of the Spirit was made evident. He did not preach using human reasoning and persuasion, or natural charisma.

Why? So the Corinthian’s and your faith would not be in the wisdom or persuasiveness of men, but in the power of God, which is demonstrated when Christ and Him crucified is preached.

My words must be spoken in the power of the Holy Spirit, as I preach Christ and Him crucified.  If I am not preaching Christ and Him crucified, God’s power will not be demonstrated.

As Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke says, “Preach the Gospel, and the Gospel happens.”

I will answer two questions:

1. What does it mean to preach Christ and Him crucified?

2. Why did Paul write these things to the church at Corinth?

Question 1: What does it mean to preach Christ and Him crucified?

— Everyone knows John 3:16. But WHY was it necessary for God to give His only Son? The alternative was that all of mankind would perish.

— Every human being on the earth has a fatal condition that no human can cure. But God sent His Son, Jesus Christ as the remedy. This was His plan from before time began (Revelation 13:8).

Until you believe into Jesus Christ:

— You are separated from God by your sinful state. All have sinned and lack the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Sinners face God’s judgment, when He draws all things to a close (Matthew 25:31ff, Revelation 20:11-15).

— On His cross, Jesus Christ bore the punishment that you deserved for your sin, so that you may be reconciled to God, and He rose on the third day so that you may have eternal life (1Corinthians 15:3-8).

— If you repent (turn from your sin) and believe that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, on your behalf, your past sins will be forgiven and you will be reconciled to God (Romans 10:9-10).

But you will find that you are still disobedient in your heart (Romans 7:14ff). The root cause of your fatal condition has not yet been eliminated. You were born that way, a child of Adam (Romans 5:12). But God — hallelujah — has the ultimate cure!

— When Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day, ascended, sat with the Father on His throne, and poured out His Holy Spirit, the purpose was to CLEANSE your heart of its inbred sin nature (Romans 7:14, 20).

— Therefore, when you ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), Jesus Christ will free you from slavery to sin. You will die to sin  — that is, the sin nature in you will die (1Peter 2:24, Galatians 2:20).

— This is the will of God, that you be filled with the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:2, 11, 16-18, 22; Ephesians 5:17-18). It is the only way you can be freed from slavery to sin, so you are able to become a witness that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 1:8).

That is what it is to preach Christ and Him crucified. And when that is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Gospel happens — God manifests His power.

I have this ministry of reconciliation, to proclaim to you that you will be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ. If you have been filled with the Holy Spirit, this will be your ministry, too.

How serious is this ministry of reconciliation? It is a matter of life or death.

Acts 20:20 ff

Because Paul was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, he did not shrink from (cower, withhold, conceal, shun) preaching Christ and Him crucified, even though it was foolishness to the world, and despite the persecution he suffered because of his message.

Because he fully preaches Christ and Him crucified — including deliverance from slavery to sin —  considering his previous great knowledge as a Pharisee to be dung (Philippians 3:8), Paul says he is innocent of the blood of those to whom he has delivered the message.

Innocent of the blood?

Ezekiel 33:8 “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand.”

Question 2: Why was he writing this to the church at Corinth?

They were listening to false teachers who spoke of “secret wisdom,” and taught that you could continue to sin with your body, without losing your salvation as the consequence.

Then there were the Judaizers, who taught legalism — that is, that even if you were not born a Jew, the Law given to Moses must be followed in order for you to be saved.

Why did the Lord put it on my heart to speak this today? Many preachers:

— Preach only faith or

— Preach only grace, and even hyper-grace or

— Preach only healing or

— Preach only prosperity,

— But not Christ and Him crucified.

There is no mention of mankind’s fatal condition. And the faith of those who follow such preachers is in the wisdom of men, and not in the power of God. The power of God and wisdom of God is not demonstrated, but simply the human wisdom and persuasiveness and natural charisma of the preacher.

Why are these things taught? Paul says it is for personal gain — money (1Timothy 6:3-5).

And Jesus says, “My people love it so.” (See 2Timothy 4:3, Jeremiah 5:31.)

The blood of those to whom they preach is on their hands, because they leave people in their fatal and incurable condition.
But turn now, O preachers, and preach Christ and Him crucified, for your listeners are not exhorted to repent, to believe that Christ carried their sins on a cross, and that it is the will of God that you be filled with the Holy Spirit so you are no longer a slave to sin!

And turn now, O sinner, and O sinning Christian, for you have heard the truth of the Gospel, the whole gospel — salvation form past sins and freedom from slavery to sin. Turn and be healed, reconciled to God and made a witness that Jesus is the Christ!

And you will be a citizen of the kingdom of God, full of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17), and joy inexpressible and full of glory (1Peter 1:8)!

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!”

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 OF THE VALLEYS

[SW190] 06/13/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“God of the Valleys”

Text: 1 Kings 20, Romans 8:37

Whether you are battling Satan’s vast armies on a mountain or in a valley, know that the Lord is God of the mountains and God of the valleys. If you listen to Him, He will give you the victory!

Sometimes, you are on a mountain, spiritually speaking. You are in a place where it’s difficult for Satan to come near, where you can see far ahead and see his strategy as he approaches. So you have an advantage over him. And it is easy to believe the Lord will give you victory.

But sometimes, you are in a valley, not of your own making (that is, sinning is not the cause), but a place where Satan comes against you again. It is a place where it’s easy for him to come near, where you cannot see far ahead and you cannot see his strategy as he approaches. The Lord challenges you and me to believe Him for victory, even in the valley.

In the text, northern Israel (Samaria) is in trouble. They have sinned against the Lord, to the point where the Lord caused a great famine of 3-1/2 years. The famine has ended, but they are still weak and vulnerable. Sin makes you that way. So —

Verse 1: Israel is besieged by Ben-hadad, king of Aram and 32 kings who join him. It is a huge army!

Verse 10-14:  Ben-hadad boasts that he will destroy Samaria, so that each of his men will not be able to gather up even a handful of Samaria’s dust. His goal is total obliteration, just as Satan plans to destroy you (John 10:10)!

Ahab warns Ben-hadad that he boasts of victory before the battle has been won, even while Ben-adad puts on his armor. But none can boast of victory until after the battle is won and it is safe to remove the armor.

Satan is a great boaster. But God is greater than your enemy, Satan.

A prophet of God comes. Despite the great multitude that has formed against Israel, the Lord says He will deliver Israel.

Why would the Lord deliver His own people who sin against Him? So they will know He is the Lord. By doing the impossible, they will know by personal experience that He is God and there is no other. He will do it so that they might turn back to Him and cast their false gods to the moles and the bats.

If you are in sin, He may give you a word that you will be victorious. He will tell you that He will free you from your addiction to drugs or alcohol or whatever keeps you in chains.  He will tell you that He will cause His justice to prevail when injustice is done to you, even though you are sinning against Him.

He will tell you that He will give you victory over these things so that you know by personal experience that He is God and there is no other, and will turn back to Him.

For those who follow and obey and love God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ makes us victorious in every battle against our Enemy. Satan may boast but we know he is a liar and the father of lies. And we have God’s armor as our protection during the battle (Ephesians 6:10ff). And He who is in you is greater than Satan (see 1John 4:4)!

Verse 15: There were only 7,000 — the only ones left of ALL the sons of Israel — against Ben-hadad’s army AND the armies of the 32 kings that were with him. Victory looked impossible!

There is only you, against Satan and his vast army. Victory looks impossible. But when God says you will be victorious, He will do it!

Verse 19-21: This battle took place in the mountains of northern Israel. And the victor was Israel, just as the Lord had said through the prophet. Little Israel pursued Ben-hadad’s multitudes, and Ben-adad fled on horseback. There was a great slaughter of his army.

Verse 22:  But the prophet said the king of Aram would come again, at the turn of the year. The Lord instructed Ahab to strengthen Israel.

For those who follow and obey and love Jesus Christ, God does not promise that you will not have other battles against Satan. But strengthen yourself! Exchange your strength for His (Isaiah 40:31).

Verse 23, 26: Ben-hadad’s servants told him that Israel’s gods were gods of the mountains. His army would win if they fought Israel in the valley.

They were pagan, and pagans think gods are assigned to lands and areas. So the army of Aram, which Ben-adad restored to its original numbers, went to the valley of Aphek to fight against Israel.

Verse 27-28: Israel was like two little flocks of goats against Ben-hadad’s multitude. How could they be victorious?

But God heard the words of Ben-hadad’s servants. And because they said He is not God everywhere all the time, but only a god of the mountains, the Lord said He would give Israel victory.

He had a great purpose than defending His own name, His own reputation. He would give Israel victory so that Israel, His own sinning people, would know He is God and there is no other.

Verses 29-30: And it happened just as the man of God had told Ahab. Israel was victorious. But King Ahab continued to disobey God, and he was ultimately killed in battle (1Kings 22: 37).

The wages of sin is death, beloved. If you are sinning against God, like King Ahab, and you do not turn back to God, it will kill you.

Because of His great mercy,  the Lord gives you victory. He does this to show you that He is God, so you will turn from your sin and the gods of this world, and come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

If you do not turn from your sin, you will face His judgment seat one day, and be condemned to hell. He takes no pleasure in that, but He has no choice, if you reject Him.

For those of you who follow and obey and love Jesus Christ, victory is assured in every battle. These promises are yours:

Isaiah 54:17      “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.

Psalms 34:22      The LORD redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

Romans 8:37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Amen! Let Your sinning people return to You, Father, and let your saints be assured that You are with them on the mountaintop AND in the valley!

GO TO THE LOST

When Jesus says, “Go to the lost sheep,” it is a command, and we are compelled by the power of His words to do it!

[SW144] 07/05/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Going to the Lost”

Text: Matthew 10:1-8, 14-15, 40-42

We are compelled to go after a single lost sheep until we find it, and then bring it back, rejoicing. We are compelled to light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully for a single lost coin until we find it (see Luke 15). Then we and all heaven rejoice!

Going to the lost. Many in today’s church think He is saying, “Go to those who do not believe in Me,” but Jesus says, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel!”
God’s people? Lost? It is the same now as it was then. Many of God’s people were and are lost sheep.

Today, Jesus not only commands us to go to the lost sheep of Israel who do not see that He is their Messiah, but also to go to the lost sheep of the church.

Notice that the disciples did not question Jesus (What do You mean? We do not see any lost ones!). Nope. They knew there were lost sheep in Israel.

What signs do I see that there are lost sheep within today’s church? Many sheep in the church are:
— distressed     — oppressed     — depressed
— confused        — compromised     — afraid
Or worse:
— lulled to sleep OR
— slaves to sin, when Jesus came to set us free, indeed!

Why are the sheep lost? Do they not have apostles and prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11)?

Israel had priests and experts in the law of Moses, but Jesus found fault with them. He declared to them that they did many things to misguide His people.

He finds fault with the leaders of today’s church, too, who do many things to misguide His people.

Lamentations 2:14  Your prophets have seen for you
                False and foolish visions;
                And they have not exposed your iniquity
                So as to restore you from captivity,
                But they have seen for you false and misleading  oracles.

We should not be surprised. Jesus spoke of false shepherds, wolves among the flock (Verse 16). There were wolves in sheep’s clothing within the fledgling church (Acts 20:29-31).

But we in today’s church have not been on guard as Paul commanded by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Acts 20:29.

And the people are biblically illiterate and therefore cannot discern — few know the Word of God. They are sheep that do not know the Good Shepherd’s voice.

As a result, they follow the voice of strangers, and even love it, as in Jeremiah’s day:

Jeremiah 5:31 The  prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so!

What can be done? We obey the command of Jesus Christ, and go to them!

What does He give us as we go to the lost sheep of the church?

(Not as we sit, but as we go!)

In Matthew 10:1, He gives us authority over evil spirits to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness (also see Luke 10:19).

Why does He give us such authority? So people will know the kingdom of heaven draws near!

He commands us that as we go, we are to preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He commands us to preach repentance (Mark 6:12).

Then the authority comes into play, as the evidence that the kingdom of heaven is near: we heal, raise, cleanse and cast out.

These are the accompanying signs (Mark 16:17), the attesting miracles that show the lost sheep that God and Christ are the true reality and not just philosophical ideas to which they give mental assent.

But we cannot preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand unless the kingdom of heaven is in our midst — within us. And when the kingdom of heaven is within us, we will have His authority, and we will heal, raise, cleanse and cast out.

FREELY we have received, and FREELY we give (Verse 8).

What do we FREELY give? FREEdom to the captives (Isaiah 61), to the lost sheep of the church!

We do it not give in our own power or by man’s wisdom, but in God’s power and wisdom and might! The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us!

What will be the result of our going to seek the lost sheep of the church? One of two things will happen, Jesus says:

#1 — We will not be received, and so we must do as He commands in Verse 14. Beloved, this will happen much in today’s backslidden church. It happened to Christ Himself, as He walked the earth! The consequence:
15 “Truly I say to you,  it will be more tolerable for the land of  Sodom and Gomorrah in  the day of judgment than for that city.”

#2 — We will be received, welcomed, accepted, and those who do it will receive a reward:
Matthew 10:40   “ He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
41 “ He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet [that is, as a prophet sent by the Lord] shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man [that is, a righteous man made righteous by the Lord] shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 “And  whoever in the name of a disciple [as a disciple of Christ] gives to one of these little ones [prophets and righteous men] even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” [my interpretation in brackets]

Beloved, I am praying for today’s church to receive those whom Jesus is sending out even now.

I am praying that the lost sheep of the church will be found and carried back with rejoicing.

I am praying that the lost coin will be found and cause great rejoicing, in heaven and on the earth!

I am praying that many in the church will ask for the kingdom of heaven to be within them — that is, asking for God the Father to fill them with His Holy Spirit.

THEN they will receive authority. THEN they will proclaim that the kingdom of heaven has drawn near and their hearers must repent.

And I am expecting to see the attesting signs.

Amen, Lord. Let it be so!