Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Sanctification is not imitating Christ; but Living by Christ’s Life.

Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Sanctification is the setting ourselves aside to God.
Sanctification does not require us to fulfill the will of God as He makes it known to us, without the power to do so.
That would be like the Egyptian taskmasters which required Israel to make bricks without straw. (Exodus 5:9-11)

Instead, Sanctification is the growing life of Christ, in our life; whereby we experience by His Holy Spirit, the holiness, patience, love, peace, and power over the enemy of our souls; that is in Christ.

When Paul said:
Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

This is what he meant. That the life he used to live as the self-righteous Pharisee was over. He saw himself dead in Christ’s death.
“Good riddance” was probably his thought, for the life he had before, did not bring him closer to God, though he worked hard at it.
He also saw that now he lived by Christ’s life. That the life of Christ was so powerful that, not only for himself; but everyone who trusted in Christ, could have His character formed in them.

For some time after being born again, I prayed about sanctification.
I had thought this must be some sort of holiness experience, which we have at some altar; or with some crisis experience in our lives.
Years ago, a man was teaching a Sunday School class about:
Matthew 16:24-25 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

And, if no one else got the message; I did.
This was the means of being sanctified.

I was to deny myself.
We think, that when we talk of denying ourself, we mean: just not doing what we want. We think it means denying things in our life.

When Jesus speaks of “denying ourself”, He means denying our intention to rule our life. And denying every way it shows up in our lives.
It is not just things we deny, but ourselves we deny.

If I wanted to follow the Lord, then I must co-operate with God, when He shows me His will. I must put aside my thoughts in the matter and do what He commands.
I must be honest about my attitude toward what He shows me, and ask for the power to change.
But again, Christ does not demand that we do His Will, without His enablement.

Christ has given us His Holy Spirit, not only to indwell us, but to give us the grace and power we need.
That power comes from our Risen and Glorified Christ. He has all spiritual blessings for me in Him, in Heaven.
Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”
Ephesians 2:6 “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”
They are there in Christ, for us.
But how do we get them down here into us, especially in these circumstances?

Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”

Notice, it is “in earth”, in us.

This is the means whereby we receive into our lives what Christ has for us.
As we yield to His authority in our lives, we become ambassadors of His Kingdom, and authority, here.

Sanctification is the setting aside of ourselves to God, for sacred use.
It is the practical work of having Christ’s Kingdom come within our hearts, and lives.

Where He rules, there is peace, joy, patience, and all the characteristics of Christ, in our lives.




Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Faith and Hope
Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Faith is the substance of things hoped for.
And both faith and hope take the things of the Holy Spirit, in our spirit, and make them real to us.
We must exercise our wills with the Holy Spirit within, and then faith and hope become strong helps in our walk with God.

If you are born again, then you have this peace with God by Christ Jesus, and we are ready to proceed further.

Romans 5:2 ” By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
“Access”, think of the doors of heaven opening; and power, strength, encouragement, whatever you need; coming down to you.
This is this access that faith in our Lord Jesus Christ gives us. For it opens into “grace”.
“Grace” is the unmerited favor of power.
Grace is the power of God to save, of course.
But it is also the power of God to keep, change, to do what He has called you to do in your life.
Zechariah 4:7 “Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.”

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”

This is the grace we have access to, through faith, by our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the grace that empowers us to stand.
We seek it from Him, or we never stand.

And if you are experiencing this grace, you should also be experiencing:
“And rejoice, in hope, of the glory of God.”
This hope is from the Holy Spirit…you can’t work it up, it is given.
It is the confident expectation that God will do what He said.
He will work glory out of my life, as I yield to Him, and stand with Him.

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Paul was rejoicing in that power, even though it meant his prayer was not answered the way he wanted.

Romans 5:3 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience;”
When you are kept–sustained is a better word. Kept is taken care of like we are still babes in Christ.
Sustained is upheld, and that is for maturing Christians.
Our Rock is Christ…and He is always strong for us.
So when you are sustained by this faculty of hope (that confidence from the Holy Spirit that God will do what He said), you can indeed glory in tribulations–for you see that they are all to the glory of God.(though you may not see how at the time)

Tribulations work patience within us. These tribulations aren’t just those which lead to martyrdom. No, they are also the trials, which are really trials of the way.
Places so hard to overcome (they are often called mountains in Scripture) that they are seen as impossible to us.
But they work patience with in us, by waiting on God to do the impossible.(and how many times He has done so for us!)
“Worketh”. That doesn’t mean we will be instantaneously patient—Oh, No.
But worketh patience.
If we are having a “fit”; or rebelling against a certain set of circumstances; you need to go back and “access” more grace.
For you can not be experiencing that hope that will enable you to gain patience in these circumstances, for you have given up that confidence in God.
Grace is enabling; and how much we need enabling in our work, and life.
And God does do the impossible; If not for us the way we want….then in us to yield in a mighty way to these circumstances and have the victory in them.

Romans 5:4 “And patience, experience; and experience, hope:”
And how much experience we will have in our walk with God! That patience that He has worked within us, will gain us such experiences that will increase our dependence on God, Who gives us hope.
You will know as you receive from your Father’s Hand, all that comes to you; His grace abundantly, and His love.

Romans 5:5 “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
This confidence that God will do what He says, has been proved again and again; and the Holy Spirit within us lights up the love of God within us, so that we are blessed by His Presence in all circumstances.
We are not ashamed of our God and His working in us, though the way be rough or smooth….God’s love encourages us to have more of His boundless joy, peace, and love.
All of this is by the Holy Spirit within. Stifle not the Holy Spirit. Yield to Him, and enjoy His gifts of faith and Hope.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Isaiah 43:21 “This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.”

As Christians, we are here, by His appointment.
He has placed us, for His own purpose.

And of course, His first purpose is?
“They shall show forth My praise”!

But how?
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.”

Here, wills collide. Your will and God’s revealed will for you. And His way of bringing His will to pass, through you.

Our battle may be short, or it may be long; but it is finished when He has had the Victory over us, and we see (with the eyes of faith, willingly):

Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things,(Usually, we have no problem with these. We shout hallelujah!). and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (But here is where we squirm a little)

We do not like to think of ourselves as “creatures”. It is true, we are blessed, for we were made in the image of God.
We were the only creatures that He formed, by His hands; and so an intimate bond was given us.
But we are creatures, and God is the Creator.
Therefore He has the Right to do what He wills with His own.
For the Christian, there is the double right, that He bought us with His own precious blood, from the penalty of sin.

The word “pleasure” here, is really “determination”.
God has a determine Will for each, He has created. For you and me.
And He works to see that Will performed within us.

We must be brought to the place in our experience with God, that we throw down the weapons of our warfare against Him, and as the creature, yield to the Creator.

You say, What weapons?
How about the weapon of self-pity. If we do not lose “sympathy” with ourselves; we will lose out on many joys, and blessings. They will simply be ruined.

How about the weapon of “You can’t do that to me!” Pride is a terrible king. (It makes us do the stupidest things: because “I” can’t be made to look silly, or embarrassed, or wrong. Why should I forgive? They were the ones who were wrong.)

How about the weapon of “I’m sure someone else can do that.” We look for ways to get out of our duty, and one of the easiest is, giving the job to someone else; in our thoughts, even if we do not say it out loud.

There are many “weapons” we use against Christ and His Will for us.

(Be careful, as the Lord showed me, I might end up as the Pharisees of old:
If you read Luke 10:25-37, you will hear how a certain lawyer (they were the ones to interpret the Ceremonial Law to others) asked, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Pretty good question, till he got Christ’s answer. Then, he was not willing to obey, but to justify himself. [10:29] “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?”)

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
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 desert.”

Forget all your fast failures. All those things that did not turn out the way you thought they should have.

The past is just that: past.
So cast off the former things; and determine to face today. To do His Will. And let Him make a way for us in the wilderness of this world, and to see Him give rivers of living water in us and through us, because we are yielding.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Are you yoked with Christ Jesus?

The Christian experience is an ever upward movement.
When we fall or fail in our walk, we lose ground.

But coming to Christ Jesus is always the first step in being restored, or in what is next for our lives. (Even after we have failed)

He is our hiding place, our fire within, our rest of soul, our peace. Coming to Him should be one of the easiest movements for us, as Christians, because we know His great love for us.

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.”

When we come to Him, the first thing He gives us is rest. It is rest of spirit (this you feel, as the sea was calmed by the Voice of Jesus), and it is rest of soul (this comes with understanding His Word, and knowing His love in our hearts).

And then, with the rest of heart and mind, He shows us His way of progress.

Whether two oxen are plowing, or harvesting, or pulling a wagon to town; the way the work gets done for them both, is the yoke.

This yoke, then, represents His way of bring His will to pass in our lives.

You say, of course His way is His will.

There are two Christians. Each one knows someone they feel needs to come to Christ. And they feel they are to help them come.
That is God’s Will.

God’s Way for one is to witness of Christ in life and word, whenever opportunity comes.
God’s Way for the other is to pray for that person everyday until they are born again.

Christ’s Yoke is the way He will lead us to do His Will.
You can fret against it, and become hurt in the process. (Many oxen had sores on their shoulders because they chaffed against the yoke)
Or you can yield to His way, for you; and enter into a rest of soul beyond which you have ever known.

Personal Example:
Years ago I had a medical problem which was not going away; and no money to go and see to it.(it could have been extensive)
My wife had prayed about it, and felt that she should pray for the Lord to heal it.

We both felt this was God’s Way of dealing with this problem, so she prayed for it.

Now my wife (she told me this latter), like so many who have a conviction from God about a problem, thought that she could pray for it once, and it would be gone!!!
(for some, it might happen that way, but it was not here)

But it wasn’t gone. It was still there, and I told her it was a little more sore.
(This made her mad, she told me latter)
So we prayed about whether this was indeed the way to have it taken care of.
“Yes”, was the answer we both had.

This set up a test for my wife, which I did not really enter into. She had thought God was going to heal it right away.
So how was it to be healed? Was her question to the Lord. (And she admitted later that she had quite a fit with the Lord, before she got around to REALLY asking this question. But she wanted the healing the Lord had for me, so she yielded to His Way.)

The answer:
Luke 11:9-10 “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given unto you; Seek, and ye shall find; Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

She was to ask, and keep asking for my healing.
She was to seek for any means (other than this) that should be utilized.
She was to knock on heaven’s door till I was healed.

Well, she did. And I was.

The Yoke that the Lord offers to us, is His Way for us. But it is His Way, worked out with Him, pulling and doing with us.

My wife learned a lot by those prayers. And I was healed. But it was Christ’s way of doing it. (For us)

By yielding to His way of bringing His will to pass, we are saying we will learn of Him.
Ephesians 4:21 “If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:”

As we learn of Him, we begin to see more and more of His heart behind all that He wills and does for us.

This leads us to be “heart to heart” with the Lord, in union and communion with Him.

Matthew 11:30 “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The picture here is, not as some imagine, The Lord putting these on us alone, or with others.

No, the picture here is the Lord and I, being so much in union, that when He says “my yoke” and “my burden”, He is speaking of “us”, together in everything.
The work is easy and light, for it is always easy to do with the Strength of Someone you love.



Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

And How Shall His Kingdom Come to You?

Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Psalm 103:20 “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.”

(I know I have preached on this lots of times, but it is a subject which is so important; and one, on which so many people are confused, I am going to set forth this, again.)

Obedience is required in God’s servants. We are, as the angels, to hearken or listen to the “Voice of His Word”.
That means we are to hear what He is speaking to us through His Word. Hearken is, to listen intently.
And to have these “hearing ears”, we must belong to Him.
This is not sinless perfection, as it is with the angels, but it is Obedience. An obedience which continues.
Some are obedient, when they have to be. (No love there)

Some are obedient in spurts. With diligence and joy they do a job. Next they are down in the dumps and their obedience is partial, if at all. (They love, but are too wrapped up in their emotions, for stability.)

Some have left their old life, and begun to have the fellowship with Christ that is necessary for real obedience, but they keep getting “sidetracked” with their own “good ideas” of God’s Will. (They love, but their reasons influence their wills.)

This is why His Kingdom must come within us.

Luke 17:20-21 “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

These Pharisees (and they were the most religious and most right of the sects which were in Christ’s time) demanded of Christ:
“Show us some manifestation of the kingdom, something we can observe.”

His answer? “The kingdom of God is not going to come with fanfare and parades. People will not shout and say, Come and see!
No, the real kingdom of God is within your midst right now, in the person of Me, the King, the Son of God.
And as King, I will set up My kingdom first, in the hearts of My people, then I will set it up on earth; and will rule and reign from Jerusalem.”

The place and power of His Manifest Presence, is within those who will be subjects of His kingdom.

Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”

Here is an unlimited measure. No one has ever reached the fullness of that “exceeding abundantly”.
No, we often have little, and blame God for the lack.

But His power for our lives, is given to us with the condition of: “According to the power that works within us.”
In other words, how ever much of the power of God we let work on us to bring us to where we should be; that much power He is going to give us, to work through us, to witness, to rise above our circumstances, to be joyful.
Our prayers will be answered, our lives will be really useful.

God will never empower me to see my will done; but He will empower me to see His Will done.

And that empowerment is personal. (Remember The Lord Jesus’ kingdom is set up in our hearts and lives, personally, here and now; as well as in the Millennial Reign)

Because there has been confusion about the kingdoms of God, I will explain:

0. The Father’s Kingdom is His absolute dominion over all things, creatures, worlds, the universe, the heaven of heavens.
1 Chronicles 29:11 “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in heaven and in the earth is thine; Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as head above all.”

He rules. Whether we understand His way or not, He will see His will done; for all power exists in Him, and none have power, except He allows it.

0. There is the Kingdom of His grace on earth. This is where He is acknowledged as God, and Jesus Christ as His Son. The true Church is the bounds of this Kingdom.
Matthew 13:11 “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.”

0. There is the Internal Kingdom of Christ, which is entered into when we are born again.
John 3:5 “Jesus answered, Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

When we are born again, we enter His kingdom, and begin to receive power as His subjects.
But our power is feeble at first, because we are often at odds with our King.
When we have fully yielded ourselves up to His reign within us; we begin to experience that “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”.

And it continues, as we continue on with Him. It is always His power; but it is at work within us, and through us.




Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

“..If any man will..; or Whosoever will…”

Let us talk of Jesus’ invitation: “If any man will…”

Have you ever come to the conforming of your will to God’s revealed will?

It is stated by our Lord Jesus to His disciples: If any man will.
He says there is a choice involved. It is not something that is forced upon us. No, Jesus said, If any man will; therefore you can say “no” to the act of bringing your will into conformity to God’s will.

And those who are born again, are the ones who can make that choice in reality; for they are the only ones who are enabled to know and do God’s will.

Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Jesus said:
Matthew 16:24-25 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, IF ANY MAN WILL come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.
For WHOSOEVER WILL save his life will lose it: and WHOSOEVER WILL lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

Here, in Matthew, Jesus is talking to his disciples. He states the requirements for discipleship.
“IF” they were going to be His disciples, then they must choose (for it is always a choice) to deny their self-lives, and follow Him into every circumstance (some very unpleasant) that He leads them in.
The cross is the individual’s choice to give up to Christ, in that moment (this can not be done once for all), his “rights”, or plans, or attitudes, etc.(You get the idea).

You see Jesus was telling them that to be His disciples in this world, was not an easy path leading to accolades, and position.
(Remember, that is why the Chief Priests and Pharisees plotted to kill Jesus, they did not want to give up their “place”.
John 11: 47-48 “Then gathered the chief priests and Pharisees a counsel, and said, What do we? For this man doeth many miracles.
If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him; and the Romans shall come and take away our place and nation.”)

No, to be His disciple, was a path which would lead to greater knowledge and communion with Him. (If that was what they wanted, and plainly to walk a little way with Christ, is to want to know Him more, then they would be blessed in that knowledge, with joy, peace, love, etc. It was an exciting and blessed path, but only if you love Jesus Christ)

If you want the world and Heaven, too. You will never be a true disciple of Christ.

If you want to follow Christ wherever that leads, you are choosing discipleship.

A disciple is one who has voluntarily placed himself under the discipline of his Master.
For us, our Master is Jesus Christ, who not only commands, but takes us by the hand and leads, helps, strengthens, encourages, and empowers for what He leads us into.

The same is stated in: (only here He is talking to all the people that were following Him, as well)
Mark 8:34-35 “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, WHOSOEVER WILL come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
For WHOSOEVER WILL save his life shall lose it; but WHOSOEVER WILL lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”

Luke 9:23-24 “And he said to them all, IF ANY MAN WILL come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For WHOSOEVER WILL save his life shall lose it; but WHOSOEVER WILL lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”

The life we lose is our life in ourselves.
You know that the life inside of you is often VERY different than the one you show to everyone.
You may look happy and carefree to people; while there are depressing thoughts, or anger and resentment inside.
Your desires may rule your heart and mind, but you continue to show everyone (you think) that you are in control.

If you are in these situations, and you are a Christian; Christ has made provision for you for true liberty….If any man will.

Revelation 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely.”

There are a lot of “And”s here. That is because Christ is stressing to those in this world yet, that He has not left them without a means of everything they need.
First, it is to “Come”.
No problem can be solved if you stay away from Christ.

Second, it is to hear Christ words, or the Bible. If you are not reading, because you say you can not understand it; then say “come, and explain it to me”. And He will.

Third, it is to recognize your “thirst”. In what is your desire? Just get honest here, He knows anyway. But if you can, say it out loud, alone with God, you will be amazed how much you “see”. (when you willingly come and admit your need.)

Fourth, it is to take, freely. But it is to take of the water of life. That is the refreshing communion of the Holy Spirit within, bubbling up into true life; Christ’s life within you, and the power for you, that He brings.

This happens, when you come to Christ. The invitation is IF ANY MAN WILL, or WHOSOEVER WILL.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Awake thou that Sleepest
Ephesians 5:14 “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

When we are asleep, spiritually, our senses are dull. We don’t hear clearly. Our eyes are closed, not seeing what is going on.
That is why Paul, here, exhorts the Ephesians to “walk as children of light.”
(Ephesians 5:8)
Light is a great benefit for those who are growing sleepy in their walk as Christians.
It is like opening the curtain to let the sunshine come in, in the morning.
It makes you want to get up and get busy!

Darkness, on the other hand, tends to make us sleepy.
So with the darkness which comes to us spiritually. We are lulled to sleep. We begin to talk a great deal about “rest”, becoming discontent with the work we have been given for the Lord.
We look for ways to do God’s will quickly, or for a more “easier way” of walking with the Lord; for we do not want to take the action required to come to the light….for then our slothful sin will be seen.

So Paul calls on every Christian to “Awake”.
Awake, and arise; and Christ shall give you light.
Light to see what you need to do to get out of the darkness.
Light to see the world, as it is.
Light to see that Christ is worth the loss of everything.

Then Paul writes:
Ephesians 5:15 “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.”
Circumspectly means there will be light for the path, for we are to keep our eyes on the path, that we don’t get tripped up.

Awake, and walk wisely. For Christ shall give us light.


Preaching, Teaching, and Notes


Luke 8:13 “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for awhile believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”
Here is described some who hear the Word of God; and their hearts respond to it with joy!
They believe for awhile, for they receive the word, not just hear it.

This means that their hearts want Salvation. They understand the promise of it, as well as what it demands of them.
They will to obey it, and go along great…..until something halts their progress.
That “something” is Temptation.

To tempt is to arouse to action or anger; to induce to do something; to persuade.

Temptation comes along and knocks at the door of your life.

Life might be treating you badly. You might already be hurt, or angry, or discouraged (and this is a BIG one: discouragement. We did not get what we thought we should.
People do not “like” us. They did not appreciate us.).

So the devil, our Adversary, who is behind each temptation, sends “Complaints” to speak to us.
Complaints comes and knocks at our door. When we open to see who it is, he says, “How many times are you going to put up with their ingratitude?”
“You deserve to have that position. You work harder than anybody else!”
“They should never have said that about you. You are so much nicer than they are.”

He says exactly what we want to hear.

Should you listen? (First mistake. Eve was tripped up by listening to the devil, she should have run away at the first suggestion out of his mouth)
Should you open to see exactly what “Complaints” is offering? A “little” revenge, maybe?

Now if we are “sober (serious about standing with Christ), and vigilant (watchful); we can refuse Complaint’s suggestions.
1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

Because, devour is what the devil wants to do, with this Temptation. To eat up every determination to do God’s Will; by us yielding to this temptation.
(Believe me, every temptation we yield to; weakens our faith. If you would be strong in the faith, flee temptation.)

Remember, that is what it is: it is a Temptation, no matter what name it comes knocking under.

If we listen, and consider what Temptation is offering; a foothold is made in your heart (you wanted this), or your understanding (you’re not stupid, you knew once you start to think of “getting even”, then anger can consume any thought of forgiveness).

Christ Jesus taught His disciples to pray:
Matthew 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

There are two parts to dealing with Temptation:
0. “Lord, lead us not into temptation”. Help me to keep asking for the help I need, and to say and do ONLY what I should
James 1:19-20 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear (God), slow to speak, slow to wrath:
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

0. “but, deliver us from evil”. For there is a way out of Temptation, once we are in it.
James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you, cleanse your hands ye sinners; and purify your hearts ye double-minded.”

The first is submit to God: confess your desire to listen and go along with Temptation, and confess your anger (or what ever the sin was, you wanted to do).
This submission is a deliberate act of your will, and the real Victory is in the submission.

Then resist the devil: “The Lord rebuke thee.” (We certainly can’t in our own power, but in His name, we can.)

Then draw near to God, and HE will draw near to you: This is a military movement. It is going back, to take cover in Christ Jesus, our Rock; and He will protect us, and fight for us in a special way.

Temptations are common to man.
But we can be delivered from them:
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

And God has promised a blessing for all those who endure. Endure means that you stand with Christ Jesus; and when the temptation is over, you are still standing with Jesus.
(You may fall. But He has provided His forgiveness, and cleansing power to get us up and stand again.)

James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Calling of Matthew

Matthew 9:9 “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.”

Matthew was a publican, or tax collector. These men were hated of their own nation, because they worked for the Romans.

They were also often corrupt, and took more than they were suppose to, or stole from their own people.

But Jesus passed that way, and did something others would not (unless it was in cursing). He spoke to Matthew.
And called him to follow Him as one of His disciples.

By this time He had called the fishermen, Peter, James, and John.

He had preached the sermon on the mount; and a conversation with the scribes, and Pharisees, had been started.

This conversation was about His authority.
Did He have the authority from God to do what He was doing: healing the sick, forgiving sins, and calling disciples?

Many people were interested in His authority; not to submit to it, but to prove it wrong, so they could go on in their own way.
(And this is what Jesus came to save his people out of:
Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”)

So the Pharisees and scribes every opportunity to question His actions, and His words. If they could just prove Him wrong, then that would prove themselves right. Right?

(Of course, it would not; but sin makes us believe a lie. How much we need a Savior from it!)

Matthew 9:10 “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house (of Matthew), behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.”

After his call to follow Jesus, Matthew invites Him into his home. Anxious to have others of his acquaintance, know Jesus, he has a supper for Him, and invites many.

(Perhaps Matthew was going to give his testimony about how Jesus had called him, and how he knew that it was a call from God; and he had answered it.
They would not see him at the receipt of customs any more, for he knew that Jesus was from God, and he would leave all and follow Him.)

Matthew 9:11-13 “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
And when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus is quoting what God has told His people in the Old Testament. Verses that set forth what God wanted from His people:
Hosea 6:6 “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
Micah 6:8 “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to have mercy, and walk humbly with thy God?”

God wanted His people to love Him, and each other. The sacrifices, set forth the means of coming close to God because of sin, and in fellowship.
But they were to be given, along with the inward love of their hearts; not just in outward show.

“Mercy”, here, means brotherly kindness. They were always to be helping each other, as brothers. They were to be seeing to their well fare.
And what better way to give mercy to another, than to introduce them to Jesus?

Jesus then rebukes these Pharisees, by saying what His work, as the Son of God is:
“…for I am not come to call the righteous,”
For if they were truly righteous, they would know that I am the Son of God, when they hear Me; or hear of My works.

“…but (to call) sinners to repentance.”
That is what this supper was about. To introduce Matthew’s Master to Matthew’s friends.
Yes, they were publicans and sinners.
But they, like Matthew, needed to hear and see Jesus.

Matthew loved his friends, so he wanted them to know Him, who was the Savior.
This is true love.

Jesus said later:
John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another.”

Surely the Pharisees knew that Matthew was now a disciple of Jesus.

How many believed on Jesus because of this supper, it does not say. But love was present; even for the Pharisees, if they would receive it, and receive Jesus.

To “receive” Jesus, is to let Him come in as Master; into our hearts, and lives.(John 1:12)

Matthew certainly did this, for he manifested the greatest calling of a disciple: mercy and love.


Preaching, Teaching, and Notes


Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless,  AFTERWARD it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

Hebrews 12:17 “For we know how that  AFTERWARD, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”

Twice in Hebrews 12, we have the word “afterward” (I have capitalized it for effect in both verses).
Afterward, here, means simply that something happened before; God chastened; and something happened as a result of the chastening: or “afterward”.

You will notice for both cases, it is a matter of the will, willing one way or the other.

To explain:
We will begin with “them that are exercised thereby”.
Now they would not have been chastened, if there had not been something wrong in their lives.
Something which needed to be set right before Spiritual Weakness, then Spiritual Atrophy set in.
(in the next verses it describes the beginning of this: “Therefore lift the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet,….” Hebrews 12:12-13)

But with the chastening from God, comes the knowledge that He does it out of love.

Hebrews 12:6, 10 “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he recieveth.
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he (God) for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.”

Although this does not make the chastening pleasant; it does work within us the desire to learn from it: to be exercised by the chastening, so that we will not have to go through it again and again.

Because He loves us, and He is doing this to help us grow in grace; we stir ourselves up to learn all we can in this chastening; to please Him.
This is the AFTERWARD of those who are exercised thereby.

Now for Esau:
Hebrews 12:16 “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.”

Esau and Jacob were twins. Esau, being older by a few minutes, was the inheritor of the birthright. This did not mean riches or cattle; but it meant the Spiritual blessings that God promised Abraham, a people separate to God, the land of Canaan, and mostly: The birthright meant that Christ, the Savior, would come from his line, in the future.

It was a blessing for  the one who wanted Spiritual ties with God.
Jacob did.   Esau did not.

Esau had been out hunting, and came by Jacob’s tent, without game. He was hungry, and saw Jacob (he was more of a farmer and cattleman) cooking something on the fire.
It was a pot of red beans, and Esau asked that he be given some.

Jacob, always trying to figure out a way that he might inherit the blessing instead of Esau, told him; “Sure, but only if you sell me your birthright.”

Now any Spiritual person would have said, “No, I will wait, even though I feel faint, till I go to my tent.” (maybe on the other side of the camp)
But not Esau.
He was not Spiritual, and  thought more of his belly, than the privilege of being the holder of the Promise of the Lord to come.

Genesis 25:32-34 “And Esau said, Behold I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do for me?
And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright to Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”

Now for the AFTERWARD:
It is time for their father, who was nearly blind, to bless the one who would inherit; so he calls Esau, who was firstborn, in, and told him to prepare a special feast for him, and he would bless him.
I will not go into all the details, but Jacob, afraid to trust God, dressed up as Esau.
He fooled his father and received the firstborn blessing.

Then Esau came in (afterward) and sought the blessing, but could not receive it.
He cried, then.

(How many tears do we cry; not for losing fellowship with God, or for losing Spiritual Blessings, but because someone has gotten something we have not?)

Genesis 27:34,38 “And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.
And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.”

Esau had not wept, and sought repentance for his foolish behavior with the food; no.
He had not wept when he thought of the bargain he made with Jacob, for he thought he could still have everything, even though he despised it in his heart.

He would still be the best. He did not need to have a change of heart before God about anything; wasn’t he doing alright without bowing before God?

You never hear of Esau building an altar or seeking God. Even in the tears that flowed when he was denied the blessing, he did not cry to God; just to his father, for repentance. And it was a repentance of his father’s actions, not a repentance of his.

AFTERWARD, he was rejected, he cried; but only for self-pity, not for despising the birthright.

Afterward,….will we receive God’s correction, and learn from it?
Or we will go on thinking we are alright, till…afterward, there is no more time to have what God wants for us.

God corrects us for our profit.
And we must always consider profit and loss; only Spiritually consider it.

Esau said, “What profit is this birthright?” And despised it. And lost it.

The one who is exercised, weighs profit and loss by God’s thoughts.
God said this is for my profit, and although I do not feel like it; I am going to trust Him, pick up my hands and my feet (stop feeling sorry for myself), and take the next step with Him.
I know that afterward, I will feel differently about this correction.
Afterward,  I will rejoice,  because God has seen me through.