There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
Thursday, August 25, 2022
There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
WORDS OF LIFE
“O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.”
With this vision of dry bones, Ezekiel was told to speak God’s Word to His people. This vision points our attention prophetically to Israel’s national resurrection (Vs. 11-14), but I note here some prevailing principles for our day.
God does perform His Word. He has promised to give the increase when the truth is spoken. Eph. 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”
In verses one and two of Ezek. 37, we are told how the Lord touched Ezekiel, moved him and placed him in the valley of dry bones. There he is shown the peoples condition, and asked a probing question as to the possibility of these dismembered, scattered, dry, lifeless bones being made alive. He answers that such knowledge belongs to the Lord.
We are awestruck and our hearts are somewhat crushed to see pictures of the bones of the holocaust, even knowing that God’s Word has been, is being, and will be fulfilled. It still touches us deeply.
Words of Life
Ezekiel wasn’t told to “shake” nor “gather,” join the bones to one another nor to put meat upon them. He was simply to speak the word of the Lord. The Lord tells what wonders He will perform. This is always God’s way. Of course he and we are to speak to comfort, exhortation and edification by divine inspiration.
The messenger’s responsibility is to obey God and say what He would have spoken. His people are to hear, heed with believing hearts, and God imparts life.
Partakers of an abundant life are privileged to share with those who will listen, “wonderful words of life.” How comforting for those that truly minister to know that God’s Word is quick and powerful (living and energizing), and works effectually in those that believe.
Jesus said most clearly, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” – John 6:63.
Following Peter and the other apostles marvelous prison release, when “the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth,” They were told “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life” – Acts 5:20. Peter also was to leave the results with the Lord.
Shall not we whom have been set free also stand and speak the wonderful Words of life? OH YES! And we do not have much time left to say “Hear and live!!”
Do You Know What I Have Done?
Gordon Crook, Pastor
Grace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas
“So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” John 13:12-17
This is a very important passage that tends to get little attention in the modern church. It is very contrary to what our culture teaches us and presses for us to conform to. We are encouraged to seek and take a place of prominence whenever we can. Power and authority are important things to be captured in our lives.
Most of what Jesus teaches us is so very contrary to what we learn from our culture today. When we understand and remember that we are God’s children, with the life of Christ in us, we should expect that we would be very different from the world. Not in some weird way of appearance, but our attitude should align with that life of Christ as we yield to Him.
So much of what Jesus taught while He was in this world, has to do with attitude, and not some religious activity. Religious activity is driven by some expectation of some person or persons, but when we are yielding to Jesus Christ, He is changing our attitudes to be like Him.
In Matthew 20:26, Jesus makes a similar statement to His disciples. He reminds them that they will not be like the other people around them. The difference in John is that Jesus shows them by example. This is very powerful, because His point is very simple. If Jesus, their Lord, would stoop to wash their feet (something usually reserved for the servants), then they could not say it was beneath them.
Paul reminds us that Jesus became poor so that we might be rich - 2 Corinthians 8:9. The degree of Jesus’ condescension is hard for us to understand. He was not just “their” Lord and Master, He was God, who created all things, Lord over all and He came down to serve humanity. Why would we think we are above that?
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” - Philippians 2:5-8.
The question Jesus asks of His disciples is, “Do you know what I have done to you?” The intent of the question is to see if they understood what He had done. They knew the mechanics of what He had done, but understanding is different. We can often look at the letter of what we read or consider the mechanics of what was done, but understanding what Jesus is teaching requires the Holy Spirit to reveal the depth of the instruction.
Paul says, “Let this mind be in you.” He is speaking about us having the same mind of Christ, the same attitude that Jesus had. This can only happen by the work of the Holy Spirit. When we read a passage like this, and then decide that we are going to be just like that, we are destined to fail. Only the Holy Spirit, working through God’s Word, can actually change our attitudes and our hearts. Not just a forcing of our will to do something a certain way, but a true attitude of heart that causes us to desire that action.
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” - Galatians 5:13.
Our culture in the United States is one of thinking we have great freedom, and we get angry when we feel someone has limited or breached our freedom. This is an attitude of “me first” and it is contrary to God’s Word. Paul speaks of a liberty that is greater than even our freedom we have in this country, but he reminds us that we are not to use that as an occasion to our flesh (our personal desires) over the attitude of serving others.
We should be very careful about allowing the world (even the “Christian” world) to set our attitudes. God wants to change our attitudes to be more like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let (allow, yield to) this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
Anita Clark – Pastor
Grace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas
Jesus Christ was made sin for us, and became the “Lamb of God” as the sacrifice of God for the sins of the world. In II Corinthians 5:21 Apostle Paul wrote, “For He (Father God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be the righteousness of God in Him.” As He hung upon the cross, He carried every sin that was ever committed before He came to earth and every sin that would ever be committed in the future.
When John the Baptist saw Jesus come to the river Jordan, where John was baptizing many who came to him, He exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). The next day John again exclaimed, when he was seeing Jesus walking along, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Why would John call Jesus “the Lamb?” He had a revelation of Who this man really was.
The first offering God told Israel to do, as they were still captives down in Egypt, was the Passover Offering. We do want to remember that God’s people had been offering animals to God since the time of Adam, Eve and Abel (Gen. 4).
In Exodus 12 God was getting ready to deliver Israel from their horrible life lived in Egypt as slaves for 430 years. God initiated a special offering, called the Passover. This is a special feast to Israel today, although they don’t go about celebrating exactly how God told them to at this time. In Exodus 14:1-14 God told them how to perform the sacrifice on this last night before He would take them out of Egypt and send them on their way to a new land (Israel). This feast speaks of our Savior, Jesus Christ and His death as our substitute covering our sins and giving us salvation.
God instructed for the people to have this Passover time in the first month. Because the offering of this lamb represented Jesus Christ who would take away the sins of the world, the lamb was to be sacrificed first, showing that Jesus Christ must die and the importance of this sacrifice would merit all attention first. Every household was to sacrifice a lamb, and put the blood on the top of the door and the two side pieces of the door frame. This resembles a cross.
“In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb... a lamb for a house” Vs. 3. They had to obey God’s instruction or they would be under His wrath. They were obedient and did exactly as He told them to do. In verse 4, it says, “...according to the number of souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.” This speaks that provision would be made for each individual present who needed to eat of the lamb. It is so beautiful that in speaking of Jesus Christ’s life and death, there is plenty of Lamb to go around to all persons ever living on this earth.
Verse 5 speaks to us of the perfection of the lamb. “Your lamb shall be without blemish.” They were to watch the lamb to see if there was any imperfection. This corresponds with the 3 ½ years Jesus walked upon this earth before His crucifixion. No fault could be found in Him. There is none! How perfect is our dear Lord Jesus Christ. Even Pilot said, “I find no fault in this man.” Jesus is holy and righteous and filled with compassion and love toward us all. He was a young man “the male of the first year.” Also in this verse, it says, “...ye shall take Him out from the sheep and the goats,” which speaks of how he was separated, dedicated as the perfect sacrifice. Hebrews 7:26 says, “For such a high priest became us (as a human being) who is holy, harmless undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” He was and is the Holy Son of God in His life here on earth and now in heaven.
Exodus 12:6 says “...and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.” This statement is so true of what happened on that fateful day when our dear Lord Jesus was brought before Pilot. All of the religious Jews and many who were not believers in Jesus cursed him and cried out “Crucify him, Crucify him.”
Vs. 8, speaks of how they were to prepare the lamb. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire.” This speaks of the judgment of God. Remember what took place as Jesus hung on the cross. God the Father turned His back on Jesus as he hung there bearing the sins of all the world and there was great darkness and an earthquake. “He who knew no sin was made sin for us.” Eating the flesh of the Lamb speaks of partaking of Christ’s sacrifice for us, accepting it into our whole being, fully yielding ourselves to God. Also, in vs. 8 God told them to eat the sacrifice with “unleavened bread.” Leaven puffs up and speaks of our fleshly nature. Jesus had no fleshly earthly nature. Vs. 11 -This is the Lord’s Passover.
The Prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 53 about the Messiah who would suffer and die for our sins 712 years before Jesus was on earth. Verse 7 says, “He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so He opened not His mouth.” I recommend that you read all of this chapter. It speaks of Christ’s suffering when he died for us.
I Peter 1:18, says “For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold for your vain conversation, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a Lamb without blemish and without spot.” In the book of Revelation, Jesus, the Son of God is called “The Lamb” in chapter 5:6 & 8. And in Revelation 13:8 it speaks of “The Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.” I want to impress on you, this was God’s plan before the creation of the world. Jesus is called the Lamb (capital L) 27 times in the book of Revelation. In chapter 19:7 - “Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His wife hath made herself ready.”
Revelation 21:27 says, “And there shall in no wise enter into it (the city, New Jerusalem) anything that defiles, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” This scripture is very plain to understand. If you receive the Lord Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Savior, you will have your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. It will never be erased. This is the most important book ever written. Again I say - It will never be marked out or erased. Jesus is the only sacrifice for our sins. He will always be the Lamb of God.
Personal Lessons in Christ’s letters to the seven Churches – Rev. 2 & 3.
The overcomers of Ephesus are Smyrna saints. Rev. 2:8-10, “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
What a great reward, in addition to the tree of life, they have a crown of life. They speak of the full overcomers who are faithful unto death. They shall not be judged with the world (I Cor. 11:31-32). They will not even know any of the hurts of that judgment – V. 11. So we know they judged themselves by the Word of God.
Romans 8:13, “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.” This mean, to die prematurely and only the Lord is judge of this. There are those who sin willfully and do not repent. They refuse to judge their own flesh by God’s Word, even when the Lord warns them. They will not receive the reward they should have gained. But those that overcome will not be hurt of such death.
Just as Smyrna speaks of the overcomers of Ephesus, the Pergamos saints picture the non-overcomers. Rev. 2:12-17, “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is (in the world): and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith…Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly…He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”
Their reward is “to eat of the hidden manna” – V. 17.
Ephesus overcomers were to eat of the tree of life, but here it is hidden Manna. That is food they ate in the wilderness. Manna means, “what is it?” The children of Israel didn’t know what it was. The thought here is not only what is it, but where is it? It was hidden, they didn’t know where to get the manna, speaking of the Word of God. The Lord had to give it to them, He would feed them as you would feed a little child - (Rev. 7:17).
They were also given “a white stone and in the stone a new name written.” The Greek word for stone here is the stones used in judgments (in voting for commendation or for condemnation), by a judge or jury. If they voted for a person, they put a white stone in a receptacle. If they voted against the person, they put in a black stone. So we see they had a white stone, they were accepted in the Beloved. They had a new name, they were born again. That is graceious, but not like having full fellowship with the Lord. Do you see a difference in rewards?
There is quite a difference in rewards, the reward promised to Ephesus overcomers – “to eat of the tree of life (which is Christ) in the midst of the paradise of God.”
To Smyrna overcomers a greater reward was promised. In addition to the tree of life, they would have “a crown of life” and not be judged with the world (not even know any of the hurts of that Judgment). They are full overcomers who are faithful unto death (those who go by the way of the grave).
The reward promised to Pergamos overcomers was “to eat of the hidden manna” (He will feed them like a child); also a white stone (accepted in the Beloved); with a new name written “on the stone (born again, having the name of Jesus). Now this is precious, but not like having a crown of life. So they are of a lesser rank.
More about rewards in the next issue, we will read of Thyatira and Sardis overcomers and who they represent dispensationally of the Church Age.
Debra Isenbletter, Pastor
Jonah 3:7 “And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:”
In the previous verse (v6), the king mourned with his people, in the next two verses (v7-8) the king motivated his people to greater efforts. He took the individual acts of mourning and made it a national act. He united everyone to one purpose and one hope. In verse 7 we see a National Fast, and in verse 8, we see National Sorrow, National Prayer and National Repentance. What a testimony! Everything begins with the command of the king. The king made sure that command was fully understood.
He Proclaimed it: “And he caused it to be proclaimed.” This is a verbal announcement. The king caused “it” to be proclaimed. I thought about what “it” was and I believe “it” was about what he was feeling and doing. “It” was about his sorrow. “It” was about his fast. “It” was about his repentance. “It” was important. “It” was necessary. The king began with a proclamation. To “proclaim” means “to announce” or “to assemble.” I believe he assembled he royal court, the nobles. They were the first to hear, they needed to do what he was doing and they were to pass this message on.
He Published it: “and published through Nineveh.” This is a written announcement. He “published” it which means it was a “command,” it was a “charge” and it was to “certify” that this was official. There may have been an official document that was written and then read publicly throughout the city by those in the royal court. Behind that command was all the authority of the king. He was not afraid or ashamed to make public what he thought was necessary, what was important, what he thought might help hold back the judgment.
He Decreed it: “by the decree of the king and his nobles.” This was a legal announcement. It was “a mandate.” It was “a judgment.” It was “a decision” that would not be revoked, canceled or withdrawn. The moment it was made it became official. It may have had the same unchangeable authority and power similar document to that which King Ahasuerus gave to Mordecai, that helped the Jews stand and fight against their enemies. It was sealed with his ring that no man could reverse it (Esther 8:8). This is the decree of both the king and his nobles. He gave them the decree and they carried it out. He was the chief ruler, the head and they were the lesser rulers, his arms and his hands. They made sure the command was carried out.
The Command began with a National Fast: “saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water.”
The king told the people to do hard things, to make hard decisions, to make hard sacrifices. We do not hear that anyone objected or thought what was decreed was too much, too unreasonable or too impossible. They did what the king and the nobles asked them to do, they did not argue or question or ignore. Today we see something similar with the decisions made by local, state and federal government because of the coronavirus pandemic. People are asked to make sacrifices, to do what is not easy without rebelling. They are asking this to slow the spread of the virus. It is hard to stay at home, hard not to go to restaurants, or theaters, hard not to go to work, hard not to visit those that are sick. It is hard not to go out and do what you want, when you want. It is hard to have others tell us what to do and what not to do. It is hard when you do not see the immediate danger but someone tells you there is danger.
Continued next issue
God’s Timing and Purposes – Ecc. 3:1-8
Pastor Vicky Moots, Kingman, Kansas
Ecc. 3:4b: “…a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” “Mourning” means “to express deep sorrow.” The most common use of the word “mourn” is to grieve the loss of a loved one who has died, but it can also apply to our grief over the loss of anything that is important in our life. A person who has had an amputation of an arm or a leg may mourn the loss of that limb, or a woman who has had a mastectomy may mourn the loss of her breast.
Israel mourned the loss of the Ark of the Covenant when it was taken in battle by the Philistines. When Eli, the high priest, heard the news that the Ark had been taken, he was so grief stricken that he fell over backwards and broke his neck and died.
It was more than 20 years later before the Ark was able to be brought back by King David. The time of mourning was over, and now it was a time to dance, which is exactly what David did, as we read in II Sam. 6:12,14: “…So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness…And David danced before the LORD with all his might.”
In Ex. 12:12, 29,30, we read about a time of great mourning for those who failed to apply the blood of the lamb to the door posts of their house as had been instructed by God: “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment…And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt…and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.” However, for those who obeyed God it was not a time of mourning. The blood of that first Passover lamb was their protection, as we find in v. 13: “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you…”
The death of the lamb not only spared them from death and a time of mourning, but became their ticket to freedom out of the land of Egypt and bondage, because after that plague of death, Pharaoh hastily sent them away. This is confirmed in v. 51: “And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt…”
However, by the time they reached the Red Sea, Pharaoh had changed his mind and pursued after them with all of his army. Now they were again faced with death, for they were trapped between Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea. But God miraculously rolled back the Red Sea so that they could pass through it by faith to the other side on dry ground without drowning.
Paul tells us in I Cor. 10:1-2 that their passing through the sea was a spiritual type of baptism, a picture of death with Christ and resurrection on the other side. They did not go over the sea or around it, but through it. We must go through death with Christ before we can have victory. Death brings mourning, but resurrection brings victory.
When the Egyptians tried to pursue them through the sea they were drowned because they did not do it by faith. It is only by faith that we have victory over death (Heb. 11:29). We read further in Ex. 14:28,30: “And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them…Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the sea shore.” God brought victory.
Then came the time for singing and dancing instead of mourning, as we read in Ex. 15:1-21. Verse 1 says, “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously…” And in v. 20: “And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.”
Perhaps you are currently going through a difficult time of mourning, feeling like you will drown in a sea of tears and heartache because of a loss that you have experienced that seems overwhelming, but by faith, God can bring you through it to the other side and give you victory. David proclaimed victory over his time of mourning in Ps. 30:11 when he said, “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.”
Sackcloth was a course, black cloth made from goat’s hair, that was often worn in Bible times together with the burnt ashes of wood, as a sign of mourning. Notice that David did not say, “I” put off my sackcloth, but “thou” put off my sackcloth. God is the one who removed his black, emotional garment of sorrow and clothed him with gladness, the joy of the Lord, for He is the One who heals the broken heart. Only God can change our time of mourning into a time of dancing.
Don’t hang on to your grief and sorrow and mourn for your losses forever. Give them to the Lord, as we are instructed in I Pet. 5:7: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” We do the casting, and He does the caring and the carrying. It’s time to let go of our sackcloth and ashes. The Lord is willing to do for us what He promised to do for Israel in Isa. 61:3, which is a prophecy concerning their restoration, for He wants to restore us also: “…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…” So, let’s give God our sackcloth, and grab our timbrels, and dance and shout for joy!