Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Lift up the Hands that Hang Down:
Hebrews 12: 12-13 “Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees;
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

God never intends that we go through life miserable.

It is true that we are in a battle with sin, self, and the Adversary, but it should always be a path of Light.

In this part of Hebrews, the writer has just told of heroes of faith (Hebrews 11); and concluded that we are “compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses” in our walk of faith.(Hebrews 12:1)
All those who have gone before, which are in Heaven; and those who are in the world now, are watching, to encourage us, to continue to be faithful to Christ Jesus our Lord.

He goes on to say that in every race, it is to those who lay aside every weight, who will win.
Weights are those things which we carry, which are unnecessary to our walk with the Lord. In fact, they hinder it.
These can be habits we have picked up, which need to be put aside; or acquaintance which we have let get an advantage over us; or ideas from the world which sound right, but are not.
These weights interfere with our race; and hinder our progress in grace.
So, the writer says, you need to “lay aside” these; and run with patience the race that is set before us.
A good way to do this is:
Hebrews 12: 2-3 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradictions of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

Jesus Christ our Lord came from His glory, into humiliation for us; that we might have His joy. We are His joy, and satisfaction. (Isaiah 53:11 “He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”)
When we think on this, can we not see how our path through this world is not as awful as we think?
That the things we go through can bring us closer to the Lord?
It is not just His suffering in death, but the “contradiction of sinners”. That was in the unbelief of the people he came to; the anger of the chief priests and Pharisees, who refused to acknowledge Jesus’ authority; and in the face of so many proofs (because He fulfilled every Old Testament prophesy concerning the Christ) rejected Him and sought to make others refuse Him as well.
Yet Christ Jesus went to the cross to die and save all who would come unto Him.

The writer also says to be prepared to be corrected, if you go astray; because your Heavenly Father loves you, and seeks to keep you safe.
The further you are from Jesus; the further out of His Light and Love you go.

Therefore He corrects us.
Hebrews 12: 6-7 “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not.”

He acknowledges that this chastening is not a joyful thing. (Chastening is to correct; to get after the wrong in us, and not let up)

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

This “exercised thereby” is like someone who really goes after the goal.
(A group of people all competing for a a role in the games, and the trainer seems to be working them hard. But those who take the bruises, or sore feet, or failures at first; and stay with it….are those that are “exercised thereby”. They go on to the goal.)

So in Spiritual Life:
Our Trainer is the Holy Spirit. He is come to us to bring us on on our Way, in grace.
But we are often slow learners; or frightened; or we plainly do not want to do it this way.
But the Holy Spirit does not give up on us; but rather seeks to point us to Christ; and keeps working in us.
It is sometimes not joyous; but don’t give up, but go on with Him.
Hebrew 12: 12-13 “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”

Lift up the hands which hang down in fear or tiredness.
Strengthen the knees which want to just sit down, and forget it.
Make your paths straight, by:
Trusting in the Lord.
Listening to Him.
And holding on to His love.

He is Always with us, let us stay with Him.
Ask for these to be shown to you, now; and be prepared to be strengthened by His Holy Spirit, in peace and joy.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Use it or Lose it?
1Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, we ask that You would give us what we should receive from this message. To Your glory, in Jesus Name Amen.

Matthew 25:14-30
Here is the parable of the man traveling into a far country. So he delivers to his servants his goods, to use while he was gone to gain with.
To begin this, it would seem that to stress the most important fact; we should deal with “ability”. “Each to his several ability”.

Matthew 25:15 “And unto one he gave five talents, to another, two; and to another, one. To every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey”

“Several ability”, the plain teaching of this Parable is that even the one talent person could have gained somewhat; in as much as each had a several ability. Which means there is more than one thing they could have done.

Matthew 25:29 “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”

But from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath? In other words, that which he had, but made no use of!!

Luke 19:12-14 “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.”
Here in this parable we see two groups: Servants, and citizens.
The servants who are entrusted with the part of the nobleman’s wealth to gain for him while he is gone.
And the citizens of the country are those of the world which hate him, outright.

When the nobleman returns (as Christ will one day, having been given His Kingdom here on earth [Revelation 11:15]). Then he calls for an account of his servants.

The Parable in Matthew 25 uses “talents”. Each receiving an amount to use.
But here in Luke, they each receive one pound and are told to “Occupy till I come”. This is a merchandise term , used in the day of Christ. It means to use it and gain with it. (The “pound”, which is the power of God in our lives by the Holy Spirit.)

Luke 19:16-17 “Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
And he said unto him, Well done, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.”

Faithfulness to God in what He has given you, much or little, is what He rewards.
Luke 19:18 “And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.”

And so He did gave the man who had been faithful; authority over five cities. He had not gained as much as the first servant, but had been faithful and gained; and so was rewarded.

Now to the one who hid his talent, for selfish fear. He feared what the Master would say if he did not do well. So he thought he would hide his talent, to protect himself. He would give back what he was given, and be done with it. The Nobleman couldn’t complain, he thought, because He had back, what He had given.
But that is not what the Nobleman wanted. He wanted His servants to use what He had given them, out of honor for Him.

Luke19:23 “Wherefore than gravest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?” (Interest)
He was responsible for his one talent, but he did nothing with it.
That one talent, he was given, was the gift of Eternal Life. He had been given faith, should he not improve on that, by growing in grace?

What about us, and our talent?

In order for the Lord to gain usury on us:
We should use the gift of Eternal Life by improving on it. As Peter said:
2 Peter 1:5-8 “Besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge;
And to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness;
And to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We are to “add” by diligence to our faith. To show that we want that Eternal Life at work in us, and through us.
To place yourself as it were in His Bank, that He may receive interest on the talent that He gave us.
He may have you do something
He may have you do nothing
That would be up to Him, but you would be showing Him that you wanted to serve Him.

Again! Use it or lose it!
As Paul said:
1Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

Those that are faithful in little, will be given much.
For this is the measure of Spiritual Things.

Luke 19:24-26 “And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath 10 pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath 10 pounds.). For I say unto you , That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.”

There it is , the Sovereign Creator says “That unto every one which hath shall be given”. They have used what He gave them, and gained, little or much.
We who are of the Elect, need to see God’s Purpose which was from the beginning

We were not put into this world to fulfill our own purpose, but HIs.

We were neither born, Or born again, to do our own thing.
But unto the good works, which GOD hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that 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.”

And “ordained” means that full provision for the works are made available to us. In other words, the Lord has given us our talents; how shall we use them?

He has committed to our trust the gift of Life, how shall we use it?

Everyone is responsible to God for the talents He has given me them. Everyone must yet give a full account to Him, for the pound entrusted to them.
But what sort of an accounting must the Stewards of the Grace of GOD give?
We , who have so much, and care so little?

1 Corinthians 3:10-13 “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another build there on. But let every man take heed how he build there upon. Got other foundation can no man lay that that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stone, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
“Of what sort it is”
And that depends upon how much we use for His honor.

I had a dream once:
I had died.
I was in Heaven waiting, to meet the LORD.
Waiting in a regular waiting area;
So glad to be there!!
Then in all my rejoicing; it was brought home to me , that my hands were empty.
I had nothing to give Him, Who gave everything for me.
And I wish I could explain the emptiness I felt;
Nothing for my Lord.
Then I was awakened, but I could feel the despair of that moment.
And for some time thereafter.

Sometimes, when we hear such things, we think we can just turn our ears off , and if we don’t hear it, we won’t have to account for it.
Like children, holding our hands over our ears, saying, “I can’t hear you!” So we think we can say the same to the Lord.

In spiritual work we look to the workman to tell the sort of work.
We can only do what we are.

If we are faithful to God, we will gain for Him. If we are unfaithful, we will lose our reward.
Again, use it, or lose it; which will we do?
The

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Light Expels Darkness

Genesis 1:3 “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

When the earth was darkened, in a state of chaos, God spoke, “Let there be light”.
He did not need the light, for He is light; but the earth did.
All of His creatures He was about to create, did.

We need to consider the fact that there are two Principles at work in the Universe.
One is the Principle of Obedience, which is of God.
The other is the Principle of Rebellion, which is of the Adversary, the Devil.
God’s Principle is called Light. While the other is called Darkness.

God has given light to each person born:
John 1:9 “That was the true light, which lighteth every man which cometh into the world.”
Each person is given the light or knowledge that there is God.

Most reject the light, and choose to walk in Darkness
John 3:19-21 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

Jesus said:
John 3:7 “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
To be born again is to have Christ’s life and light placed within us by the Holy Spirit. He indwells us, empowering us to live a life well pleasing to Him.

John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
You can not see the wind; but you can see the effects of the wind: the leaves blowing, the trees moving, etc.
The evidence of being born again: You can only tell by the effects of this new birth in your life.

2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who hath commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

The first thing of His New Creation within us?
“Hath shined in our hearts”
He gave His Light to our hearts so that we might clearly see Him, and love Him dearly.
“To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
This is personal knowledge, for ourselves, in our lives, as they are.
That is a whole lot of words, emphasizing the personal relationship of Christ Jesus to us, which is what He wants for us.

When the Light comes, it leads us to fellowship with Christ:
1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

This fellowship is spoken of as “walking in the Light”.

You can think of stepping out of the Shadows of your life, into the light of day.
Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”

But what to do?
We Walk. We are to continue to walk in the light: Walking, not running in the light of His love, and Word. This suggests the nearness of friends, the comfort of good conversation, and the strength of two.
“And the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

1 John 1:8-9 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Here is set forth the means for that cleansing from all sin.
It is to know deliverance from the Power of Sin in your life. This is very personal.

It is not sinless perfection, but deliverance.
Deliverance means to rescue. It means we are brought out of, not only the sin of one time, but from the power of that sin in our lives.
The true taking away of sin is this: If the Light comes in, the darkness is expelled.
They can not dwell together.
The Light of Christ yields honesty of heart and mind.
We will see, by the Holy Spirit, the truth of our attitudes, ways of doing things, and the truth of the why of our sin. (Why we do what we do, to the people we do it to.)

Honesty will lead us to throw ourselves on God more, for strength, wisdom, help, patience, etc.
And if we get honest with Him, He will help us in every aspect of our lives. He is Light, and with Him (and we need to stay with Him) we will be empowered in the day by day circumstances of our lives. (Even if we have made a mess of them before.)

We are to walk with Jesus in His Light. Yes, He will reprove and correct us; for light does both.
But it is in love, always looking for the response of love from us:
Jude 21 :”Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

That My Joy might Remain in You

John 15:11 “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

Joy and Peace are the criteria of spirituality, for the Christian.

As long as you maintain them, you are strong in the faith.
When you lose them, you grow weak, often unable to stand as you should, against the wiles of the Devil.

They are both given you by Christ Jesus, through the Holy Spirit; but are to be maintained by our diligent effort.

Joy is not happiness. Joy is from the Lord. It is the bubbling up of His life and Presence within us, and can come even in bad circumstances.(Often does, to help us)

Happiness is centered a round ourselves, or someone or something we love; and the good things that come.

Peace is the calm of heart and mind, even in the storms of life; because again, it comes from God, not circumstances.

Joy is usually lost first. We let something come between the Lord and us; or hesitate to follow Him into what is next; and we feel the Holy Spirit being quenched; so joy is lost.
We can not feel joy without His Presence; for again, joy is the Presence of God in my life. So we begin to lose the feelings of His Presence, and we are weakened.

This is where the Adversary, the devil, would attack with a “why?” Or a “How come?”. (Remember, the Devil got Eve and Adam to disobey God in the first place, when he gave the suggestion that they did not need to be dependent on God. They could be “like” God, if they just took of the fruit which God told them not to eat.)
So the Devil comes to us, and suggests that we were right in questioning the Lord; and if we listen, it will lead us further from the Lord, and disturb our peace.

When our peace is shaken, our belief starts to break down. It is not that we do not believe the Lord or His Word in general; but we begin to doubt it, where we are concerned.
“Perhaps the Lord will not do what He said to us; after all, He has not done it yet.”

When our peace is gone; we have two choices:
1). Keep listening to the fear and mistrust that has come into our hearts.

2). Confess our doubts, hesitation, and listening to the Adversary to the Lord, and get it cleansed from our hearts.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Then we can be restored in peace, and have the joy of the Lord restored to us. It is all about doing His commandments, and abiding in His love; there is our joy.

John 15:10-11 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

We are full of joy, as we keep His commandments, and abide in His love.
And that is what Christ Jesus wants for us, here and now.

What has taken your joy away?
What has shaken your peace?

Don’t let it continue; seek His forgiveness, and be restored.
“…That my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

 

 

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

That My Joy might Remain in You

John 15:11 “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

Joy and Peace are the criteria of spirituality, for the Christian.

As long as you maintain them, you are strong in the faith.
When you lose them, you grow weak, often unable to stand as you should, against the wiles of the Devil.

They are both given you by Christ Jesus, through the Holy Spirit; but are to be maintained by our diligent effort.

Joy is not happiness. Joy is from the Lord. It is the bubbling up of His life and Presence within us, and can come even in bad circumstances.(Often does, to help us)

Happiness is centered a round ourselves, or someone or something we love; and the good things that come.

Peace is the calm of heart and mind, even in the storms of life; because again, it comes from God, not circumstances.

Joy is usually lost first. We let something come between the Lord and us; or hesitate to follow Him into what is next; and we feel the Holy Spirit being quenched; so joy is lost.
We can not feel joy without His Presence; for again, joy is the Presence of God in my life. So we begin to lose the feelings of His Presence, and we are weakened.

This is where the Adversary, the devil, would attack with a “why?” Or a “How come?”. (Remember, the Devil got Eve and Adam to disobey God in the first place, when he gave the suggestion that they did not need to be dependent on God. They could be “like” God, if they just took of the fruit which God told them not to eat.)
So the Devil comes to us, and suggests that we were right in questioning the Lord; and if we listen, it will lead us further from the Lord, and disturb our peace.

When our peace is shaken, our belief starts to break down. It is not that we do not believe the Lord or His Word in general; but we begin to doubt it, where we are concerned.
“Perhaps the Lord will not do what He said to us; after all, He has not done it yet.”

When our peace is gone; we have two choices:
1). Keep listening to the fear and mistrust that has come into our hearts.

2). Confess our doubts, hesitation, and listening to the Adversary to the Lord, and get it cleansed from our hearts.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Then we can be restored in peace, and have the joy of the Lord restored to us. It is all about doing His commandments, and abiding in His love; there is our joy.

John 15:10-11 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

We are full of joy, as we keep His commandments, and abide in His love.
And that is what Christ Jesus wants for us, here and now.

What has taken your joy away?
What has shaken your peace?

Don’t let it continue; seek His forgiveness, and be restored.
“…That my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

 

 

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Can two walk together except they be agreed?

Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
This is God speaking to his prophet about Israel; His own people.

Can He say the same about us? Are we trying to walk with God, without bringing ourselves into that “agreement” with Him.
Maybe, in general, you agree with God. But do you agree with the way He is bringing His will to pass in your life?
Do you agree with the circumstances you are having to pass through?

If not, and you wonder why. You have tried, but you know it is nowhere near an “agreement” between you and the Lord, then hear this, and see if this does not answer the “Why?”

Romans 10:3 “For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God”
“Have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
Paul is speaking here of the Israelites, God’s chosen people, having a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge….being brought face to face with God in Christ, rejected that knowledge and God.
Christ was not what they expected; they wanted a different kind of Messiah. So, they rejected the knowledge of His coming to them.
(Notice they even rejected the power to heal them: Luke 5:17 “And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.” But not one of them were healed; only a palsied man whose friends brought him.)

Don’t we at times reject the way God wants us to go? And then being brought face to face with God’s will, that way; we, in some way, refuse it.

We want God’s will. But just not that way, or with these people, or at this time.
Can two walk together except they be agreed?

Well, if this describes you; even sometimes, then hear what Paul says:
Romans 12:1-2 “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.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The term “reasonable service” should give us a clue: for we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. And when you do, you will prove that the will of God is good, and acceptable, and perfect for you.

You begin this by presenting your bodies to God, the Holy Spirit.
He indwells every Christian. But you do this is a special way, for you’re giving Him control in your life.
As much as Christ gave over control to God in the garden, for the sacrifice He was going to make. So we do the same. We give the Holy Spirit control: “Not my will, but Thine be done.”

Then we are to stay away from conformity to the world’s system. That is stated in:
1 John 1:16 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

Lust here is desire. What we desire in our flesh….perhaps to lose our double chin or have that large burger with a half pound of bacon. These are desires that would please our flesh.
That would not add honor to God, but would just please ourselves.

What we desire with our eyes. Eve started this with a look a the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil. It looked so good.
So does the newest movie star, or that car, or that job.

And what we desire to make us a “Someone”. Whether by ability, fame, wealth, or notoriety. (Pride is the sin which caused Lucifer to become the Devil. Isaiah 14:12-15)
We are to stay away from these things, for they are of the world.

We are to renew our mind: Col.3:9-10, Eph.4:22-24, Titus 3:5 All talk of putting off the old man, and by the Holy Spirit, being renewed, by putting on the new man.

The new man is the “Christ in you, the hope of glory”. (Col. 1:27)
That means we are to use the faith given us, and in the power of the Holy Spirit within us, and to live as Christ did:
Loving our Heavenly Father, and doing His will;
Loving the brethren and seeking their good.
Telling the world of God’s will and way.

We can walk with Christ, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit and His Word, everyday.
Will we “agree” with Him?

 

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Diligence
Diligence means to eagerly, earnestly see the business done.

2 Peter 1:5 “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge;”

We think of effortless Christianity, which it is not. We are to keep our hearts with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”)

And we are to diligently “make sure” of our calling and election:
2 Peter 1:10 “Wherefore the rather brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall:”

Our example is Joash, king of Israel.

2 Kings 13:14 “Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my Father, my Father! The chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.”

Here, in this example, the king of Israel is in need. The Syrians were coming against them, and he needed guidance, and victory over them.
He knew if that was to happen, he would have to go and see God’s Prophet, Elisha.
But Elisha was sick, so sick he would die; and in bed.
Still the king was diligent and came into him; weeping over him concerning Israel’s need.

He was in the right place for a blessing, and seeing the right person. If there was any help for Israel, here it was, in the person of this dieing Old Man.

2 Kings 13:15-17 “And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.
And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the kings hands.
And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.”

The king was told what to do for the deliverance he sought, and had Elisha’s hands on his hands to do it. And the deliverance was promised.
(And a promise is only a promise; until it is obtained)

The king is doing what he is told, so far so good. After all, this was a kingly thing to do. Open the window and shoot an arrow eastward; quite kingly.
Maybe he even thought of a Syrian out there, that he was shooting at.

He was receiving the answer he wanted! Victory was promised!

But now the kings diligence, without Elisha, is tested. After all, the battles were still to be fought; would the king continue in diligence?

2 Kings 13:18-19 “And he said, Take arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice and stayed.
And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: Whereas now thou wilt smite Syria thrice.”

Elisha tells the king to take arrows and hit the ground. Now this was not a very kingly thing to do. But the king, just going along with Elisha; for he thought he had the deliverance he came for; just hits the ground three times.
No diligence there.
His arm had already shot the arrow of deliverance (surely he could take credit for it); why did he need to do this beating the ground? Oh well, he would do it to please the old man, and get on with the Victory.

But the man of God was very angry. Why? Because a promise is just a promise, till we have obtained, or gotten it from God by the means He chooses to use.
And often those means are humbling to us, so that we will not get the idea that the Victory He gives, came by us.
It came to us, by His power, and means; but not by us.

The king came, seeking deliverance from Elisha and God; and got it. But when he had to show diligence toward God’s Word, himself; he failed. He also lost part of the promise; the part he refused to be diligent in obeying.

We are often the same. We are very enthusiastic for a while; especially when we can take part of the credit; but fail when we are called upon to diligently use means which we find humbling, or not to our liking.

Diligence is eagerly, earnestly, seeing the job done. God wants to deliver, wants to supply our needs, wants to place His hands on ours for the work; but will we diligently follow through, just because He says so?

If we will, we will be blessed with the full promises of God.

If we don’t, we will lose a part of the promises God wants to bless us with.

Diligence is eagerly, earnestly, seeing the job done. And I might add, our promises will be fulfilled completely, when we do all for Jesus sake.

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, 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

Sure, but…Christians

Matthew 21:28-32 “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard.
And he answered and said, I will not; but afterward he repented, and went.
And he came to the second, and said likewise. He answered and said, I go, sir, and went not.

Whither them twain did the will of his Father? They say unto him, the first. Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”
We call this “Sure, but…Christians”, because we are often as these sons in the story, (and I might add, as the chief priests and elders were to Jesus; who demanded of Him, but refused His demands. Matthew 21:23-27)

We say one thing, and do another.
We love or praise God much with our mouths, but not so much with our obediences; which is the way the Lord said we really love Him.

John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him.”

The Father in the story had two sons. Now they are both sons, both belonging to the household of the Father.
But one, rebellious at first; recognized his wrong attitude, and repented, and was obedient to the Father’s Will.
The other, said the right things in front of the Father; but never followed through. Never fulfilled the Father’s Will.

Which one really loved the Father? Which one did the will of the Father?
Of course, we would say, the one who did what the Father wanted.
Then why do we hesitate to do our Heavenly Father’s Will?
Or why won’t we repent of our rebellious attitude, and go to the work?
As our Heavenly Father, God has the right to command us to do His Will. We all agree to that.
But the real value to God in our doing, is the love shown Him by our willing obedience.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophesy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity (love), it profiteth me nothing.”

Love to Christ Jesus, shows the power of the Holy Spirit within, as nothing else does.

And this requires us to repent. Both sons should have repented. One for the rebellious attitude.
The other for disobedience.

To repent is to change our minds about the subject, our affections for it, and our actions toward it.
As sons to our Heavenly Father, we should recognize our own personal need for repentance, and do it.
Then we will fulfill our Father’s Will.
“..and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him.”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The True Vine, and the Husbandman

John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.”

Here is a beautiful picture of the care of our Heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, for us.
He becomes the fruitful vine nurturing the branches; while His Father prunes and cares for these branches, that they might bring forth fruit, and more fruit, and much fruit.

John 15:2 “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”

How does the branch bear fruit?
Simply by yielding to the life giving flow from the Vine. It yields, and does not resist it.
It rests in the place the Vine has put it, more sun, less sun; higher on the fence, or lower does not matter. It rests in the place it is put, and yields.

Our Heavenly Father may come along and purge us. This simply means “to cleanse”.
It is the pruning of excess from us, so that all the flow from the Vine will go into fruit bearing, not merely leaves, which are of no value in the harvest to come.

And how does He “clean” us?

John 15:3 “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

Jesus had said a lot to His disciples, and had promised that the Holy Spirit, when given, would bring it back to mind to them, to help guide them.

John 14:26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

It is the same to us: His Word is ready to be availed of. When we read it, the Holy Spirit teaches us, and as with His disciples, will bring it back to mind when we need it.
Again, it is a matter of yielding to this life giving flow, which comes from Christ, through His Word, and is applied by the Holy Spirit.

John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you, as the branch can not bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”

We abide in Him, when we do not resist His Will in anything in our lives.
This is not sinless perfection, but rather our wills, willing after His Will.

You may say: “I want His will, but not that way”
Let me explain about resisting His Will:
Resisting is:
Putting it off because you don’t want to do it.
Arguing that you have a better plan.
Complaining because of the people you are forced to work with or around.
Silently giving place to the resentment of: Why me, and not them?

If you do any of these, you are resisting the Lord’s Will for you.
These are natural reactions. But we are not to be “natural” or under the charge of our “old man” any more.
We are to place our wills, and hearts, and minds squarely at the Lord’s disposal; and deny ourselves, and yield to the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

That power is there, but we must yield to it.
Sometimes that seems harder than others, depending on how much we “want” something else; but the way of fruit, is the way of yielding. Yielding, and counting on the Holy Spirit to help us.
This is abiding.
This Jesus Christ calls His branches to do: to yield and bear fruit.
John 15:5 “I am true vine; ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.”

He is giving us His life, by the Holy Spirit in power:
What will we do?

John 15:6 “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

Notice it is our abiding, which tells our end, because that is where the power for real life is.
We abide, and yield, and live; or we do not abide, and die, and are gathered to be burned.
We can never fulfill the Purpose of God for which we are called, without abiding in Him as the branches.
With His life flowing through us, we bring forth fruit: in us by growing in grace; and through us as His servants.

John 15:7 “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

Here is the fruit: Abiding brings yielding to His Word;
Which brings the prayers we should pray for;
Which brings the answers being done “unto you”.

How much the Lord Jesus would do unto us to help us, cheer us, strengthen us, empower us; if we would simply abide in Him.

Again, what will we do?