Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Are you an Overcomer?

Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Before you can become the overcomer of Revelation 3:21; you must open the door of your life to Christ.
He will not knock down the door and come in; nor will He force His way in some other way.
He calls to the individual that hears His voice, to open to Him. It is a Life, open to and receptive to Him, that counts.

This is not sinless perfection; but the desire to have the fellowship offered by the Lord, here.
He will not force us to have this fellowship which is suggested in the, “sup with him, and he with me”.
It all rests with our “want to”. You will never have the Reality of the love relationship that He intends, until the Holy Spirit has created within you this want to.

We can know and claim His love to us. All His children can. But before you can really say “I love you” to Christ; you must give up loving yourself so much.
Again, it is the want to .

Revelation 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

And what do we overcome?
Everything which stands in the way of God’s Will for our lives. This is what Christ did while He was on earth, so must we.
We overcome fear, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and trust.
We overcome ourselves in every way, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and deny ourselves, and be obedient to Christ.
We overcome circumstances, in the power of the Holy Spirit, joy for sorrow, peace for chaos, patience for worry, and anger. He empowers. He gives grace (the unmerited favor of power)

To overcome anything is to yield to Christ’s Word, and the Holy Spirit within; and come out of your self life, and into Christ’s life for you.

We must always bear in mind, WHO it is that speaks to us. And What He is able to do; even within the most rebellious, or lazy, or selfish thoughts within us.
Christ is able, and has sent His Holy Spirit to us, to enable us in the very place, time, and circumstances, we are in.

Have you heard His voice to you? Is He knocking again for entrance to your life?
It is fellowship that He desires, do you so desire this fellowship, too?

Are you an overcomer? Will you overcome everything which stands in the way of Christ’s life for you?

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Not willing that any should Perish, But that All should come to Repentance

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; But is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Jesus’s  promise is:
John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Christ Jesus came to save all who would come to Him.
Salvation is four fold:
First, from the love of sin. (Conviction)
Second, from the guilt of sin. (By being Born Again)
Third, from the power of sin. (Called Sanctification, or the Natural man becoming Spiritual)
Fourth, from the presence of sin. (In Heaven)

And we are saved by the Word of God, believing and receiving what Christ has said, in the Bible.
1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”

Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.”
John 3:7 “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

Now this was said to a very religious Pharisee.
He had come to Jesus (although at night), to understand His message; for he knew it was of God.

John 3:1-2 “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

And Jesus got right to the point: If you want to see the kingdom of God, you must be born again.

Nicodemus asked what that meant, exactly.
So Jesus begins to teach this very religious Pharisee, exactly what God requires from the man who would have everlasting life.

John 3:5-8 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily,(or Truth, truth), I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but can not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.”

In other words, Nicodemus (and anyone who would know), you must be born of the Holy Spirit from above to enter into the kingdom of God.
It is not natural birth, even for a Jew (though they had the oracles of God, they refused to honor and obey God).
It is the “birth” of the Holy Spirit within you, in your heart and life, that makes you a subject of God’s Kingdom. This new birth gives you a new nature (desires, and attitudes) for it is born from above.

And, Nicodemus, like the wind which blows; it is shown by the effects of it (the wind: by the leaves blowing around).
“So is everyone that is born of the Spirit”: they will show it, by changing into His likeness, and doing His Will.

John 3:9 “Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?”

Under the Law, it was your own power which was at work.
But here, Jesus was saying that God would, by His Spirit, work within each man, who came to be born again.

This was something wonderful. So much so, that at first Nicodemus did not understand it. (It had been spoken of in the Old Testament, but for the future.
Ezekiel 11:19-20 “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh:
That they may walk in my statues, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”

So Jesus again explains exactly what would happen, and how this life could be; but first He corrects Nicodemus:

John 3:10 “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master in Israel, and knowest not these things?”

“Are you a ruler of religion, a Pharisee, which ought to know the Scriptures; and yet do not know these things I am speaking about? This life was foretold in the Scriptures, do you not know them?”

John 3:14-18 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
And whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

(Condemnation from God is a horrible thing: To hear “Depart from Me” will sink a man to Hell.
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19)

Jesus is saying here, quite plainly, that He was going to be “lifted up” (on the cross),
and that all that looked to Him and believed on Him as the Son of God, would be saved.

(Moses “lifted up” or put on a pole, a serpent. He placed it high above the camp of Israel, when they were in the wilderness.
He did this by command of the Lord, because the people had spake against God, Moses, and the manna God had given them.
He , therefore, sent fiery serpents among the people; which when they were bit, died.
Repenting, the people came to Moses to pray for them; and the Lord told Moses to place a serpent of brass on a pole.
Anyone who was bitten by a serpent, and would looked up to the Brazen serpent, would live.  Numbers 21:4-9)

John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

We are to receive Him into our heart and lives.
To “receive” is to take and put to use. We are to receive Him, and put to use the life He gives us by the Holy Spirit within, to grow in grace, and be changed into His likeness.

And How do we receive Him?
Romans 10:8-13 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

For whosoever that call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

We receive Him, by coming to Him in belief, and calling on Him with our mouths to save us from our sins.
“God, be merciful unto me, a sinner; and save me for Jesus sake. Amen.”

The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Where are you in that statement?

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Blessed

Psalm 65:4 “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causeth to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.”

Blessed means twice your happiest moment!
And we are blessed when we come nearer to Christ Jesus our Lord.

But this nearer is of the heart and will, not just of word.

Mark 5:24-28 “And Jesus went with him, and much people followed him, and thronged him.
And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
For she said, If I may but touch his clothes, I shall be made whole.”

Here was a woman in need. She had done all she could, and gone to others who did all they could; but she was none better, but worse.

Hearing of Jesus (all the great miracles He had done,and the many He had healed), she came after Him; and seeing the crowd (for they all were pushing to be around Him), she thought she would come up behind him and just touch His clothes.

She came, not just to see, or hear Him, but to be near enough to touch His clothes, to be healed.
She thought that if she could just touched the hem of His garment (Matthew 9:21), she would be made whole.
So she came, pushed forward, and leaned down and touched the hem of His garment.

Mark 5:29 “And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.”

Finally, wellness!
She touched His garment, and she felt the fountain of blood dry up, and that she was made whole. She probably stopped, with joy and wonder!

But then she heard Jesus say:

Mark 5:30 “And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?”

I want to take a moment here, and point out exactly what the disciples are going to say: There are MANY who are touching Him, around and pushing to be around Him.
But He knows those who really come to Him, and they will always be blessed.

Mark 5:31-32 “And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, who touched me?
And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.”

Jesus was not looking for those who follow for position, or for curiosity.
He was looking for her, who had come to Him, believing that He could meet her desperate need.
That is faith. And faith in Jesus always brings us near in heart, and will.
And will always be blessed.

Although right now she is afraid, she does not run away, or try and hide in the crowd: but came, again, in honesty, and told Him all.

Mark 5:33 ” But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.”

She did not know what He would do. He might revoke His healing. He might be angry at the way she had been healed. She does not know; she fears and trembles: but she comes to Him, and tells Him all the truth.

She should not have feared; the One who heals, saves. The One who saves, receives us again and again, despite our weakness. And so He does here.

Mark 5:34 “And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace (always a sign from God that she is saved), and be whole of thy plague.”

The Lord always rewards faith. His first thought is for her peace with Him (salvation); then He doubles the healing by speaking, “be whole of thy plague.”

Blessed is twice happy; and she was. Both saved and healed, because she came to Him; first in secret faith, and then in honesty.
The first was given what she sought.
The next was given blessing; To be brought near to Jesus in Salvation, and to be made whole.

Jesus has said:
Matthew 11:28-29 ” Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy ladened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

It is in our coming to Jesus Christ, that we are blessed. We shall be satisfied as we abide with Him.

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

God is Nigh unto them with a Broken Heart.

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart: and saveth such that be of a contrite spirit.”
This is a promise from our God to Christians.
Often the broken heart thinks that God is far away….but not so. He is near.

This broken heart is found in all places. We are broken in heart by our sin and many failures to such a Good God.
We are broken in heart, often, when we are in troubles and afflictions.
We are broken in heart as we go through this weary world.
Isaiah 32:2 “And a man (and that man is Christ) shall be as a hiding place from the wind and a culvert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as a shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
We are broken in heart by people’s cruelty, and circumstances which seem like repeat offenders.

But we have a promise: The Lord is near us. I don’t know about you, but the greatest joy of my life, has been His Presence.
I’ve know it since being born again, and though I have wavered (often), He has not. He has loved me (and let me tell you what a big chore that is!); and helped me.

Yes, I can say it has not been always the way I wanted. But I can also say, it has been what I needed.

My broken heart, (by loss, by hate, by hurt feelings, by money troubles, by other troubles) was not always miraculously healed, but always mended.
Ezekiel 34:16a “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which is broken, and will strengthen that which was sick:..”
And it has taught me to be more sensitive to other broken hearts.

“And saveth such that be of a contrite spirit.” When we are broken in heart by our sins, and contrite (or bruised) to remember that we have rebelled against our Loving Lord; then God is well pleased. For sin is the evil which crucified Christ.
Psalm 51:14, 17 “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

It brings God near to us, and opens the soul to God’s grace, and peace.
(Grace is the unmerited favor of power for our lives; Peace is peace with God, and peace with ourselves. Peace “surrounds” us)
Isaiah 57:15 “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Jeremiah 30:17a “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord;…”

Jesus quoted this promise when He was here on earth, (Isaiah 61:1)
Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Christ Jesus was sent to do this very thing to all who would receive Him.
This was His work. And as we are to follow in His footsteps, it is our work, as well.

He has promised. He will give it. Ask for it. Look to Jesus, and He will heal your broken heart.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

We are His Workmanship

Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

For all those who are saved, we are His workmanship. This means ” a molded image of “. In other words, we are molded into a image of Christ Jesus: in all His characteristics, and in the good works that He did, when He was here on earth.
We do not have His divinity. He is God, we are but His creatures; but we are given His grace (the unmerited favor of power) in our lives, and His Holy Spirit to guide, and comfort us in our walk.

Now God the Father thought man worth saving.
And God the Son thought man worth dieing for, as the Man, Christ Jesus.
And God the Holy Spirit thought man worth regenerating. (Living within him and using His power to change us from self-centered to God-centered.)

The Will of the Father is the originating cause of our Salvation.
The Worth of the Son’s redemption is it’s meritorious cause.
And the Work of the Spirit makes our Salvation effectual in our everyday lives.

John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

God the Father draws us to Christ Jesus, that we might believe on His Person and Works, and receive Him; whereby we are born again.

And when we are born again? What do we do then?

We should walk in those good works which God ordained for us.

To explain:
We were never born again, simply to fill up Heaven one day.
We were born again to “walk” with God.

This walk begins, for us, the moment we are born again, and never ends.
This walk includes personal communion, and those good works we are chosen to do.

First, Personal Communion, by the Holy Spirit, in our spirits to The Lord Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 3:16 “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”
The Holy Spirit shows us Christ Jesus, and strengthens us to further receive His love: which is abundant!

Ephesians 3:17-19 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to the know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
You may say, I know God loves me.
But this is further knowledge. One that works in every situation, under all circumstances.
And to be filled with all the fullness of God, you must be willing to be emptied of all the fullness of self interests.

When we are children, we may know our parents love us because we are taken care of.
When we grow up, (if we are fortunate), we come to know the love of protection, correction, and friendship.

So with our walk in our personal communion with Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit, we come to “comprehend” God’s love which encircles us, holds us up, corrects us, and (if we go on with Him) the love of friends.

In these verses Paul puts together the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and our knowledge of the love of Christ. (And they never are separate. To love Him more is to have more of Him in your life. To love Him little, is to have little of Him in your life; no matter how much head knowledge you have.)

Second, there is the “walk” in those ordained good works.
This is a personal thing. He has good works for each of us.
Ordained means that Christ Jesus has made all the provision for these works that He calls you to do.
All the Wisdom, and strength, and help you need is available to you.

How much we disagree with this! We often murmur at the people, situation, time, or our ability to the Lord.
Surely, you have made a mistake, Lord. (Are we hearing what we are saying?!)

We must seek His guidance, and when we have it, use it. It is a map to show us where to go, and how to go.
Haste can make waste. And sloth can steal not only time, but every reward we should have received.

Ordained means His Provision is given us. And we just need to “walk” in what He has said.
Which always brings us back to the first: to know the Love of God, in Christ Jesus, which is beyond measure, a sure anchor for our lives.

Will we fail? Yes.
But remember this is a walk with Christ; and it continues all our lives.

Imagine the amount of love we will know, in a year, or two. Or the fullness of His Spirit we can have as we walk with Him.
We are His Workmanship; yield to the Holy Spirit within, and know the Love of Christ which passeth knowledge; and walk in those good works He has for you.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

David versus Goliath

1 Samuel 16:13 “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David upon that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.”

David had been anointed King of Israel by Samuel, because King Saul, had been set aside for his disobedience to God’s command.
Of course, Saul was still King. (The Lord would remove him when the time was right.)
And David, though anointed King, still kept his father’s sheep.
Months passed, till:

The Philistines, who were enemies of Israel, had come up to fight against Saul and his army of Israelites, and three of David’s older brothers had been called up to join the army, and fight them.
But as they come into view of the Philistines, they are terrified to see and hear the taunting of a giant, named Goliath.

1 Samuel 17:4-9 “And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
And he had a helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.
And he had graves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.
And the staff of his spear was like a weavers beam; and his spears head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.

 

And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? Am I not a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul?
Choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.
If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.”

This was quite a speech! “I am a Philistine”, but you are just “servants of Saul”.
Discounting Israel, and Israel’s God.
Defying God’s Purpose, for Israel was brought into possess the land, by God; and defying God’s continued protection of His People.

Back, taking care of the family’s sheep, was David. David loves the Lord, yet had not been called to go up against Goliath, either by the army (at that time they did not even know anything about David), or the Lord.
Until:
1 Samuel 17:17-18 “And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp of thine brethren;
And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.”

David’s father sent him on an errand, to supply his brothers with some food from home. Little did Jesse realize that in doing so, he would set in motion the rest of David’s life work.

Yet, now it was just an errand, that David did with faithfulness: He left the sheep with a keeper (for he did not neglect the small duties); And went, rising up early to do as his father commanded.

As he came, the battle between the armies was setting up, and David came and spoke to his brothers.
At the same time, Goliath came and taunted Israel again. David heard the taunt, and knew that it was against Israel’s God, not just Israel.
So he wanted to hear what would happen to anyone who went up against this giant.
His brother was angry, thinking he had come just to see the battle; but David ignored the anger, and kept after his goal of learning about this giant’s challenge.

Saul, hearing about this man’s bold words against Goliath; sent for him and questioned him. David spoke just as boldly, when the reality of fighting this giant, was presented.

I must pause in the narrative, and explain that in our life time we are presented again and again with these things:
There will be simple errands the Lord will send us on that will change the course of our lives. (Or the lives of others)
We will be misunderstood, and have angry (a lot, sometimes) words thrown at us.
We must ignore the anger; and speak our words, or do our duty faithfully.
And we must be prepared to act in faith and boldness, on the Lord’s side.

1 Samuel 17:32 “And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. ”

Here, David presented himself as a warrior. Not a soldier in Saul’s army, but a warrior for the honor of the Lord.
He told of God’s past protection against a lion and a bear; and saw no difference between them and this Philistine, because he hath defied the armies of the living God.
In other words, Goliath was not taunting men, but God. And in that case, Goliath was in a lot of trouble; even if he was a giant.

1 Samuel 17:34-37 “And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of it’s mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.”

We must understand, that David trusted the Lord. He felt, that since no one was going to fight Goliath, that God’s honor was being slandered.

And he realized that he should do something about it.

That his life would be forever changed; he did not yet think about.

There was no long preparation to fight Goliath: Saul tried to give him his armor, but David put them off; for he had not used them before. “He had not proved them”.

But instead, with confidence in God to deliver, David took what he knew.
(And so should we. We should not get talked into conversations of philosophy, or other doctrine; when what we need to say is about our Lord Jesus Christ and His work; in us and for us).

1 Samuel 17:40 “And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a script, and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.”

Notice how the Holy Spirit in the Word does not magnify the means of deliverance which David took. Instead He emphasizes that they are common, and simple.
(As Paul said, himself: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or wisdom, declaring unto the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” 1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

Now let us consider Goliath. He was a champion: had many battles, and won. He was a giant. Taller, and broader, and stronger than all the men of Israel, even Saul (of whom it was said he was head and shoulders above the Israelites. 1 Samuel 10:23-24)
He did not want subjection to Israel, or the God of Israel; he wanted to rule, and make these God fearing Israelites his servants.
He had taunted Israel for forty days, and not one Israelite had come to take his challenge.
He felt very confident that none could beat him, and so when he saw David, with his shepherd staff, he mocked. He took it one step further, for he cursed David by his gods. (I told you Goliath was in a lot of trouble.)

But now, for David. (This should be our position, any time we go to do our duty: in work or battle. We are to do it in faith, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ)

1 Samuel 17:45-47 “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
This day will the Lord deliver thee into my hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the hosts of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.”

For the battle is the Lord’s. This we should realize for our work, as well. If we have been sent, and are obedient; then the Lord will be with us, guide us, and will see His Will done.

1 Samuel 17:49-51 “And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
Therefore David ran, and stood before the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath, and slew him, and cut off his head. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.”

All that David had told Goliath, happened. Certainly by God’s Power, through faith. But also by the means of David’s arm.
God alone gives grace, but He gives us the privilege of standing with Him, and acting for Him in certain situations.

The instruction was from the Lord, the Power was God’s, the faith was by the Holy Spirit; and the Lord chose to use David.

It should be the same with us. Instruction, power, and faith to obey His Word to us, to do His Will for our lives.
But we must do it.

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Are There Shadows in Your Christian Life?

Song of Solomon 4:6 “Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.”

When we are born again, we are given the Holy Spirit and a new nature. One that loves God, and wants to please Him.
But we are Spiritual Babes, and often fail the Lord, when called to follow on with Him.

It is the Spiritual growth of our lives that brings us, as babes, to full grown children.

Ephesians 4:13-15 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”

To bring us to this point, the Lord, through His Word, and by the Holy Spirit within us, will bring us to the Light again and again; till we are walking in it, with no Shadows between us.

We fail, often, to fully realize that our own Natural Aversion to all things of God, is a clear manifestation of the ever present Old Nature within us. The old man wants his own will, and rebels at being in subjection to God.

Galatians 5:16-17 “This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
For the flesh lusteth (fights) against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary one to another; so that ye can not do the things that ye would.”
It is the flesh which “attacks” the new nature which is of God within us, for it still seeks to rule us, with our old habits, attitudes, and affections.

Romans 8:13-14 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

The “flesh”, “old man”, is our old nature; and remains in us, even though we have become born again.
We are to choose to obey the Spirit of God within us, and walk in the Light; so that the old nature is kept in subjection to Christ.
God’s Light, when it is submitted to, yields Power within us to do His Will.
It is a process.
This is an act of the will.
“…If ye do through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
And what a life! A life with the power of the Holy Spirit in us, and helping us, to do and be His Will!

Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Quicken is to make alive, active, and effective. As I said, What a life!

Mortify is to “put to death”. That is, it is brought to the place where it has no influence in us. Thus by an act of our wills, willing with the Holy Spirit, we do put to death the natural life, that it might become Spiritual.

Song of Solomon 4:6 “Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.”

Where Shadows are in our life, full Light has not come.
Shadows are cast by something between the Light source (Christ’s Life), and that which is lighted (us).
It is a mountain of myrrh (which speaks of death), because it takes a lot of denying ourselves, and yielding to the Holy Spirit. And then it is, the hill of frankincense (which speaks of reigning authority) comes in. For when we yield to Him, and get out of the way; it takes very little of the power of God, to empower us for His Will.

To consider these Shadows, we must go back to our very beginnings, and first consider: “Why hast Thou made me thus?”

Romans 9:20 “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?”

It is a point of our rebellious old man, that we were never consulted in our being.
But just brought into being, with the parents I had, in these circumstances, looking as I do; and then forced to deal with it.
Sadly, many refuse to, seeking meaning in things, or emotions; or in oblivion, and finding it not. (The death wish the Psychiatrist talk about, is not just a wish to die, but a desire for non-being. To never have been; or to go into nothingness.)
Once we are, we are Eternal beings.
We will exist forever, either in Heaven with God in bliss; or in agony with the Devil.

But God has for us an “expected end”.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Our expected end is Christ, and the joy and peace He has for us, as we walk in His Light.

As the thing formed, we must be reconciled to God, Who formed us. As we are.

This is a deep thing of the soul, and worked within us by the Holy Spirit in our spirit.
Here is where subjection is real…not just words.

Your spirit, with the Power of the Holy Spirit, by an act of your will, brings your soul (the place of your intelligence, affections, and will) into subjection to God’s Will.
And you do it on that mountain of myrrh.
He begins as soon as you are born again, to encourage you to deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Christ. (Matthew 16:24-25)
Every time you do this, His power works in you; creating in you that image of Christ in you.
Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

God’s Will for you, has had it’s “beginnings” in Eternity past:
2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began;”

He thought of you in Christ Jesus before He created the world. And so has made provision for your complete Salvation from sin: the guilt, penalty, and power of sin.

These shadows, are not the sin itself; but are the influences of our sin. They cast a shadow, a darkness over us.
It may be because of self pity because we have done these things: “Oh, how could I do that? How could I be so stupid?”

It may be that the sin is gone; because you know it will cause problems, or because of God’s chastening.
But the desire for that thing, still remains.
And must be removed, before the Shadows will “flee” away. There is still an element of darkness in your life. He can do it, keep coming to Him.

So many of these Shadows are of our Adversary, the Devil; deeply implanted within us , down through the years.
Things done by others, to us!
To which he has whispered many angry thoughts: “God should not have let them get by with this.”
Or thoughts of revenge: Tell the truth, would you REALLY want terrible things to happen to anyone? (Who do you think put that thought into your head?)

Again, let us consider Christ Jesus’ “expected end” for us: Joy and Peace in believing.

Do you have it? Are you obtaining it everyday, by denying yourself and picking up your cross, and following Him into the Light He has for you?

You don’t have to walk in Shadows. Keep coming to Him. Listen to Him, and His Word to you. Hang on to His Love; and know He is hanging on to you.

 

 

 

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Let us Pass over to the Other Side
Mark 4: 35 “And the same day, when the even was come, he said unto them, Let us pass over to the other side.”

The Lord Jesus had just been teaching by the sea side. He had been preaching all day, and so at eventide, he spoke to his disciples that it was time to move on.

Mark 4:36 “And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.”

Now Jesus had said “Let us pass over to the other side”, and there was not a fisherman there, that did not think they could do that, with no problem. They were experienced fishermen, what could happen?
So they began. Other boats followed along, as well.

But suddenly a storm arose, which they had not foreseen.

Mark 4:37 “And there was a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.”

This was some sudden storm! The boat was filling up, from the wind whipping up the waves! This was not the usual lake travel; not for fishermen or others.

May I ask each of us, have we not been in this situation?
Quite certain that we could do something the Lord Jesus had given us to do?
(After all, we have been saved, and know quite a bit about the Lord; and about His work for us)
But then, some sudden “storm” of words, resentment, or shaming comes up from others, and we are suddenly at a loss as how to deal with it.
Worse, it seems as if we are “sinking”, and the Lord does not seem to be helping.

And may I also ask, haven’t we felt as if the Lord should come to our rescue, immediately?

I know I have; and have felt the fear, and (yes, shamefully) the resentment toward the Lord that He did not help me as I thought He should.

But, as the Lord reminded me: “Didn’t I think I could handle this myself?”
You should have seen me backpedaling!
“Oh, no Lord, I NEVER think I can do something without You.” (But, of course, I had)
Soon, I confessed, instead of excused myself. I set it right with Him first.
Then I asked Him to show me when I was going to do the same thing: Whenever I began to think I knew what I was doing!
We need guidance, and His Presence with us whenever we do anything for Him. And we need faith, to see it through, no matter what comes up.

Mark 4:38-40 “And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him and say unto him, Master carest thou not that we perish?
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”

Now, Jesus had said, “Let us pass over to the other side.”
They should have trusted His Word, and by faith, claimed it when they were in the storm.
But as the wind and waves grew greater, their fear grew as well. His Words became just words; Which should never be.

Guidance we need. (They had that)
His Presence we need; always. (They had that)

What then did they lack?
First, a knowledge of their own inability to see the work done. (They got that, through the storm)
Second, a firm faith in the Word of Christ to them.

Their Faith should have spoken to the wind and waves, that Jesus had given them His Word, and that He was with them; and then they would have continued on.

And passed over to the other side.

Let us have faith in Christ Jesus our Lord, and trust His Word, and Presence with us.
Every storm has a lesson, let us look to Him, and learn from Him.

2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Direction for our Christian Lives:

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

This is of the heart, not the head.
If we will only acknowledge Him is all our ways…He will direct our paths.
And acknowledge here, means that we are to see Him in everything concerning our lives.
Good things, bad things, we are to “see” that Christ knows about it and about us being in this situation.
Then, even though we know this, we are to tell Him about everything in it: our side, and wants concerning it; and the other side as well.

You can tell this is of the heart: who, but someone who really wants the Lord’s direction, would do this?
To have this direction aright, we must do this in everything, not just the big important things, but the little everyday things, as well.
Because this is the fellowship that is offered us, as we go along with Jesus.
It is constant fellowship.

But when we think this is of the head:
We can “lean on our own understanding” pretty easily. We have intelligence, and we are here in the situation; who better to figure this out?
We all know how this turns out!

Real direction comes to us by the Holy Spirit within us. That is a matter of the heart, again, not the head.
You ask for direction, then you hear His Voice. Light comes. In your heart, you quickly remove anything that would hinder your fellowship with Him, for fellowship is mutual sharing.
The Light brings the knowledge of what pleases Him in this situation; and you do it. And you also know what displeases Him, and turn away from it. When we know what to do, we should obey Him.

It is also the path we take, that He directs:
Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the the desert.”

There is no place or time He does not know, and does not make preparation for.

Isaiah 42:16 “And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”

God sees to us, and to our path, as we acknowledge Him in all our ways, and seek His direction for our lives.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Pharisees Invitaion

Luke 7:36-38 “And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And went into the Pharisees house, and set down to meet.
And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus was set at meat in the Pharisees house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with ointment.”

Now here, a Pharisee invites Jesus to eat; but he has an unexpected guest. A sinner, a woman, who started to cry and wash Jesus feet with her tears.
Then she takes an alabaster box of ointment, and anointed his feet.

This was certainly a witness of Jesus’s message of the kingdom of heaven. She wanted forgiveness. And there were many things in her, Jesus plainly says, that needed to be forgiven.

But to the Pharisee, it was proof that Jesus was not a prophet. Surely he would know what kind of woman this was, and refuse her tears.(Luke 7:39)

So, Jesus speaks, not to prove anything, but to instruct this Pharisee about forgiveness, and love.

Luke 7:40-42 “And Jesus answering said unto him, (notice Jesus answered the unspoken question), Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”

To truly be forgiven, we need to know we are sinners. God does not forgive imaginary things, or general thoughts of doctrine, that do not touch the truth of sin.

He does forgive the sinner, of their sins. That is what Christ came to do. (Matthew 1:21). “To save his people from their sins.”

To truly love God, you must be reconciled to Him; which only comes by the forgiveness of sins. Otherwise there is still a gulf between God and man: a gulf maintained by self-righteousness, or pride, or lust.
Love comes by forgiveness, which brings God’s heart down to ours.

Luke 7:43 “Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.”

You’re right, Simon, the more forgiveness is needed, the more love is shown for the forgiveness. What about you, Simon, how is your heart toward God? Full of self righteousness so that you can not love Him?
What about your sin? Or do you think you have any?

Luke 7:44-47 “And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman, since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but his woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”

Simon, in other words, you may think you are superior in every way to this woman, who is a great sinner. But you are not in God’s sight, Who has just forgiven her; while you remain in your sins. (It may be the less of the grosser sins; of which she knows, but sin is sin, Simon, and you are still unforgiven. )
You loved Me little, because you do not need My forgiveness. You think you are righteous, and therefore your heart does not love God, but yourself.

That night a great sinner went home, forgiven:
Luke 7:48, 50 “And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”
Forgiven and reconciled to God in peace.

We love God, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19). He loved us in that He sent His Son to become the propitiation for our sins.
We love Him when we come to Him in honesty and confess our sins, and be born again.

Real peace with God comes through the forgiveness of our sins by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Real love follows.

Luke 7:49 “And they that sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?”

Well, Who was He? He was the coming Christ, prophesied of and now appeared to put away sin.
What will you do with Him?
Everyone there made their choice. So do we.
Will we come and get our sins forgiven, or will we stay in our lives, thinking we are alright ?

The Pharisees invitation to Jesus, was to a public person, who could make him look good.
Jesus invitation was as The Christ to a Pharisee who needed to be forgiven.

Which will you choose?