Pt. 17 – The Christmas Story (Mary Treasured These Things)

Mary Treasured These Things

Three times in the Christmas Story it is mentioned that Mary pondered and treasured these things in her heart.

The first time was when the shepherds came and told her everything the angels had said to them concerning her son.

The second time was when Simeon prophesied over her son at the Temple.

The third time was when Jesus was twelve years old and had been missing for three days.

Yearly, the whole family, including extended family, went up to the Temple in Jerusalem to observe a feast. After departing Jerusalem to head back home, they discovered He was missing (Luke 2:42-52). Many relatives were traveling in a caravan, and one thought He was with the other and vice versa.

They came back to Jerusalem and searched for Him. Mary and Joseph found Him at the Temple sitting with the teachers. When His parents expressed how distraught they were in searching for Him, Jesus said, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49 NKJV)

Mary has been honored for centuries for being chosen to give birth to the long-awaited Messiah and to be the mother of the Great I AM.

The prophecy spoken by Simeon at the temple about a sword piercing her soul came true when she witnessed her son being beaten, scourged with 39 stripes, a crown of thorns being placed upon his head, Jesus carrying the heavy cross to Calvary and collapsing under the weight of the heavy load, being crucified, being spit on and ridiculed, being stripped naked on a cross and finally dying.

Her sorrow was turned to joy when she saw Him alive again after His resurrection. Then she felt grief and loss again when 40 days following His resurrection He ascended into Heaven. It would be years before they would be reunited in Heaven.

Mary was among the 120 people waiting in the Upper Room for ten days following Jesus’ ascension. He told them to wait until they were endued with Power from on High (Luke 24:49). When the Day of Pentecost was fully come, the Holy Spirit was poured out. They spoke in languages they had never learned before. The early church was birthed (Acts 2).

The sword also pierced Mary’s soul as it related to the family situation. Jesus’ family was not believers prior to the resurrection. Therefore, the family was divided and Mary was caught in the middle.

While Jesus was still hanging on the Cross, He entrusted the care of His mother over to John the Beloved disciple (His cousin). John was the brother of James and son of Zebedee. Jesus said, “Mother, behold thy son … John, behold thy mother” (John 19:26-27). From that day forward, Mary lived in John’s home for the rest of her life.

Normally, the custom was that one of her other sons would take care of his mother for the rest of her life. However, Jesus chose John. He knew that His mother would be the best cared for by John.

It is recorded that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. He also had sisters, although their names, and how many sisters, are not mentioned (Matthew 13:55-56).

At the time of Jesus’ death, his siblings were not believers yet. However, they eventually became believers and even leaders in the early church. The most well-known of Jesus’ brothers is James, who was a leader in the Jerusalem church, who wrote the Epistle of James.

Jesus, who foreknew the future, knew that His brothers would become martyrs for the Gospel’s sake. John was the only one who was not martyred and lived to be a ripe old age (around 97).

It is believed that Mary died in Ephesus where she and John were living.

Mary was a woman of courage, grace and strength. She endured many years of scandal and people whispering and gossiping about her and Joseph.

Those around them believed that she and Joseph had conceived a child out of wedlock. That is what it appeared to be. Joseph married her sooner than they originally planned, and when doing the math, it was obvious that Mary gave birth to Jesus less than nine months after she and Joseph were married.

Only a few in Nazareth believed that Jesus was the Messiah. To most people in Nazareth, He was just the son of a carpenter.

To be a vessel used by the Lord, like Mary, you may have to drink a bitter cup. There may be reproach and suffering that you have to go through in order to carry Jesus to the world. You may have to put your life on the line for the Gospel’s sake. However, a blessing and reward will be yours for an eternity.

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Jesus Revealed in Every Chapter of John by Benny Hinn

Revelation of Jesus

Notes from Benny Hinn Broadcast

March 2017

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. NKJV

Jesus is revealed in every chapter of the Gospel of John.

Chapter 1

He is the life-giving Word and the Light-giving Word of God.

He is the illuminating Word.

He is the Eternal Word.

He is the Saving Word.

He is the Personal Word.

He is the Creative Word.

He is the Gracious Word.

Chapter 2

He is revealed as the Son of Man.

Chapter 3

He is revealed as the Divine Teacher.

Chapter 4

He is revealed as the Soul Winner in the account of the woman at the well.

Chapter 5

He is revealed as the Great Physician. He asks us the question today, “Will you be made well?”

Chapter 6

He is revealed as the Bread of Life.

Chapter 7

He is revealed as the Water of Life.

Chapter 8

He is revealed as the Defender of those who are weak.

Chapter 9

He is revealed as the Light of the World.

Chapter 10

He is revealed as the Good Shepherd.

Chapter 11

He is revealed as the Resurrection and the Life.

Chapter 12

He is revealed as the King.

Chapter 13

He is revealed as the Servant.

Chapter 14

He is revealed as the Great Comforter.

Chapter 15

He is revealed as the True Vine.

Chapter 16

He is revealed as the Baptizer in the Holy Ghost.

Chapter 17

He is revealed as the Great Prayer Warrior (Intercessor).

Chapter 18

He is revealed as the Suffering Messiah.

Chapter 19

He is revealed as the Uplifted Savior.

Chapter 20

He is revealed as the Great Conqueror Over Death.

Chapter 21

He is revealed as the Restorer of Human Lives. He restored Peter.

Pt. 16: Seven Churches – (G) What the Spirit is Saying to the Church (Promises Given to Overcomers)

We are talking about the seven churches in Revelation 1-3.  The admonitions and promises given to the seven churches apply to the Church today.  God has not changed and His message is still the same.

The question may be asked, “What is the Spirit saying to the Church today?”  Out of many things He is speaking, seven themes stand out in particular:

  1. Return to your first love and do the first works
  2. Repent from allowing false doctrines and carnality to remain in the Church
  3. Seek a relationship with Jesus Christ, as opposed to just being religious
  4. Put on your spiritual garments and guard against getting them soiled
  5. Repent from spiritual lukewarmness
  6. God is restoring the Tabernacle of David and the Key of David today
  7. God is looking for overcomers and has many blessings for them

The Spirit is saying that God desires for us to be overcomers. He does not want us to lay down and accept defeat or mourning as our lot in life. He doesn’t want us to give up or have a failure mentality.

He wants us to rise up, trust God, and allow Him to turn our weaknesses into strengths. He wants to turn our sorrows into joy. He wants to turn disappointments or setbacks into opportunities for advancement. He wants us to have faith and speak those things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17).

We are not to give in or shrink back, but to stand strong and move forward. 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphant procession in Christ, and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him” (NIV).

God has rich rewards for those who overcome. He has made specific promises to overcomers in this life.

  1. I will give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God (Rev 2:7).
  1. You shall not be hurt of the second death (Rev 2:11).
  1. I will 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 knows saving he that receives it (Rev 2:17).
  1. To him will I give power over the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. (Rev 2:26b-28)
  1. Shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels (Rev 3:5).
  1. I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the Name of My God, and the Name of the City of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of Heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new Name. (Rev 3:12)
  1. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne (Rev 3:21)

In Revelation 2-3, seven times it says, “He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” The Spirit says that He has rich and eternal rewards for those who overcome.

Through Christ, we are strengthened and can do all things (Philippians 4:13). 1 John 5:4 says that our faith is the victory that overcomes the world.

Revelation 21:7 (NKJV) is a very encouraging Scripture. It says, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” Overcomers are not limited to seven promises, but they shall inherit ALL things according to Revelation 21:7.

Pt. 14: Seven Churches – (E) What the Spirit is Saying to the Church

We are talking about the seven churches in Revelation 1-3.  The admonitions and promises given to the seven churches apply to the Church today.  God has not changed and His message is still the same.

The question may be asked, “What is the Spirit saying to the Church today?”  Out of many things He is speaking, seven themes stand out in particular:

  1. Return to your first love and do the first works
  2. Repent from allowing false doctrines and carnality to remain in the Church
  3. Seek a relationship with Jesus Christ, as opposed to just being religious
  4. Put on your spiritual garments and guard against getting them soiled
  5. Repent from spiritual lukewarmness
  6. God is restoring the Tabernacle of David and the Key of David today
  7. God is looking for overcomers and has many blessings for them

The Spirit is saying to repent from being lukewarm.  God would rather us be hot or cold, but not lukewarm.  We cannot have one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom of God.

Many Christians have become lukewarm because of the cares of this world, materialism and working hard to have sustenance for everyday living.  While they are not necessarily out of fellowship with God, they have become distracted.

Many have developed apathy when it comes to spiritual things.  For example, they may be born again, and yet have no time to pray, worship, read the Word, or attend church.  It’s not a priority because they have so many other things going on.

Many are saved, yet show little interest in talking about God or about spiritual matters.  They would rather discuss business, sports, the news, the weather.  And those things aren’t bad necessarily.  Usually what is of utmost importance to you, and on your heart, are the things that will come out of your mouth.

In our society, lukewarmness is prevalent.  There are many who believe in God, who go to church, who have truly been born again.  However, their passion and zeal for God has grown cold.  God wants us to burn with passion and love for Him, and His kingdom.

The Spirit wants us to make a decision whether or not we will be hot or cold, but He doesn’t want us to be lukewarm.  May the Lord restore that burning passion and zeal.

Pt. 13: Seven Churches – (D) What the Spirit is Saying to the Church

We are talking about the seven churches in Revelation 1-3.  The admonitions and promises given to the seven churches apply to the Church today.  God has not changed and His message is still the same.

The question may be asked, “What is the Spirit saying to the Church today?”  Out of many things He is speaking, seven themes stand out in particular:

  1. Return to your first love and do the first works
  2. Repent from allowing false doctrines and carnality to remain in the Church
  3. Seek a relationship with Jesus Christ, as opposed to just being religious
  4. Put on your spiritual garments and guard against getting them soiled
  5. Repent from spiritual lukewarmness
  6. God is restoring the Tabernacle of David and the Key of David today
  7. God is looking for overcomers and has many blessings for them

The Spirit is saying that the Church is to put on their spiritual garments.  Galatians 3:27 says, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (NIV).

We are also to keep our garments clean – by staying in close relationship with the Lord, obeying His Word, letting Him do a work of purification in our lives.  If our robes should become soiled, they can be washed clean in the Blood of Jesus.

In the natural, garments keep us warm, protect us from exposure to the elements, and cover our nakedness.  In the spiritual, the garments God provides for us acts as warmth to our soul and spirit, and protects us from the wiles of the enemy.

Examples of spiritual garments include:

  1. Salvation (Isaiah 61:10, Ephesians 6:17)
  2. Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)
  3. Joy and Gladness (Psalm 30:11)
  4. Praise (Isaiah 61:3)
  5. Name and Blood of Jesus (covered by the Blood; Atonement)
  6. Cloak of Zeal (Isaiah 59:17)

In Ephesians 6:11 we are told to put on the whole armor of God.  The garment, or loin belt, of truth binds and encircles us.  As the loin belt held the other pieces of armor in place, the truth holds everything together.  When the truth is missing, everything begins to unravel at the seams and fall apart.

The garment or breastplate of righteousness guards our hearts and emotions.  This garment represents holiness, purity, uprightness and integrity.

The shoes of the Gospel of peace represent our daily walk with Christ.  As we live out what we share with others, the world will be drawn to hear the message of the Gospel – which is peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The garment of faith acts as a shield, repelling the fiery darts of Satan.  These fiery darts come in the form of lies, accusations, words of doubt, verbal abuse, gossip, fear and intimidation, and curses spoken against us.  The shield of faith causes these fiery darts, that would otherwise wound us severely, to fall to the ground extinguished and powerless.

The garment of salvation is like a helmet which protects our spirit, our minds, our intellect, and our thought processes.

The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, is both a defensive and offensive weapon used against the devil.  When the enemy comes at us with all his lies and tricks, we can declare like Jesus did:  “It is written …” (and confess those Scriptures from the Word) and the devil will flee eventually.

(The devil knows the Scriptures better than many Christians and will use it against you to control and manipulate you, or to whip you and keep you in bondage and guilt.  However, the enemy will distort and twist the Scriptures, or tell you partial truth but not quote the entire passage or give you the whole counsel of God about a particular matter.  That’s why it’s so important to study the Word and to rightly divide it, so that you are on guard against the devil’s schemes.)

As we look into the Word of God, we will be changed into His likeness.  2 Corinthians 3:18 says that we are transformed into His image, from glory to glory (one level of glory to the next level of glory).

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the Glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 3:18 AMP

It is possible for us to remove our spiritual garments.  We lay aside our garments when we are out of fellowship with God, or in total or partial disobedience.  If our clothes are missing, then we are vulnerable and exposed.  We are wide open to being wounded by the attacks of the enemy.

Our garments can become soiled through any kind of sin, sexual immorality, corruption or spiritual adultery (referring to idolatry and witchcraft/occultic practices).  Our garments are soiled when we refuse to repent of areas of sin that the Holy Spirit has pointed out to us.

The Greek definition of “repent” means to change one’s thinking.  As a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).  Before our actions can change, our minds and thinking must first be transformed.  We must begin to think differently.  As we begin to change the way we think, then the course of our life will begin to go in a different direction.  The Word of God has the power to renew the mind (Romans 12:2).

The Blood of Jesus can wash us, remove every stain, and give us clean white garments to wear.  1 John 2:1 says, “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.”  And 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

White garments (or robes of righteousness) in the Scriptures is talking about the righteousness of the saints.

And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.  Revelation 19:8 NKJV

The Spirit is saying to put on our spiritual garments, to keep them from becoming spotted and soiled, to live holy lives, to obey the Lord and His Word, and to allow Him to cleanse and purify us.

Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil (the anointing of the Holy Spirit and also the oil of joy).  Ecclesiastes 9:8 NIV

These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Revelation 7:14 NKJV

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  Isaiah 61:10 NKJV

Pt. 12: Seven Churches – (C) What the Spirit is Saying to the Church

We are talking about the seven churches in Revelation 1-3.  The admonitions and promises given to the seven churches apply to the Church today.  God has not changed and His message is still the same.

The question may be asked, “What is the Spirit saying to the Church today?”  Out of many things He is speaking, seven themes stand out in particular:

  1. Return to your first love and do the first works
  2. Repent from allowing false doctrines and carnality to remain in the Church
  3. Seek a relationship with Jesus Christ, as opposed to just being religious
  4. Put on your spiritual garments and guard against getting them soiled
  5. Repent from spiritual lukewarmness
  6. God is restoring the Tabernacle of David and the Key of David today
  7. God is looking for overcomers and has many blessings for them

The Spirit is saying that He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, which is entirely different than being religious.  (I’m talking about intimacy in spirit and soul.)

The Pharisees and Sadducees were very religious in Jesus’ day.  They observed all the religious ceremonies and feasts.  They wore clergy robes.  They were experts in the law and knew the Scriptures backwards and forwards.  However, they did not mix the truth of the Scriptures with faith.

Jesus compared the Pharisees and religious leaders to white-washed tombs.  They looked clean on the outside, but were dead on the inside.  He compared them to cups that are clean on the outside but not washed on the inside.  They had a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.

They were not transformed on the inside.  Their righteousness came more from outward things than from being clothed in Jesus’ righteousness.  They were even involved in corruption.

A person can be a church member, or even a pastor of a church, yet not be saved.  The difference between religion and a relationship with Christ is that religion involves certain beliefs about God, religious activities, as well as the keeping of rituals.  A relationship with the Lord may also involve all of that, but to be born again, it’s not by observing religious activities.  Salvation is by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and making Him Lord of your life.

To be born again also means that you are filled with the Holy Spirit and alive in Christ. A relationship with the Lord is a transformation experience from the inside out.  Religion focuses on reforming the outward part of man through man’s own efforts, but until there is a change of heart true reformation won’t take place.

A relationship with Christ is not just a one-time prayer, but an ongoing relationship of love, intimacy in spirit and soul, faithfulness and commitment.  It’s a marriage.  The Church is likened to the Bride of Christ.

Religion seeks to be righteous through man’s own works and keeping of the laws of God.  Works and keeping God’s laws are vitally important.  However, there is none righteous, not even one.  The Word says that our own righteousness is as filthy rags.

We are MADE righteous, and DECLARED righteous by the Blood of Jesus (not by how good we can be in our own efforts).  The Lord clothes us in a robe of righteousness (but it’s not our own righteousness, but His).

The spirit of religion is an antagonistic spirit against Jesus Christ, the truths of God’s Word, and against Christians who do choose to have a close walk with the Lord.   Religion tries to quench the moving of the Holy Spirit and does not even welcome the Holy Spirit.  Religion is antagonistic against the anointing of God flowing.

Religion can also be mean towards people.  Religion can either keep people in bondage by the keeping of all the rules and the focus on the outward, or it can be the other way around where anything goes.

God doesn’t want us to be focused on just religious activities, but to seek to know Him intimately.  He wants to do a work on the inside of us and change our hearts.  Religion won’t change a person’s heart, but relationship with Christ will.  It’s all about Him (Jesus).

The church of Sardis had a reputation of being alive, when in reality they were spiritually dead.  The people gathered together, they came dressed very nice, the church had programs and activities.  But spiritually, the church was dead.  The Holy Spirit was not welcomed in that church.  On the inside of people’s hearts, they were dead inwardly while alive physically.

The Spirit is saying that we are to become alive in Christ Jesus.  To be alive in Him means to be born again and to abide in Him, receiving our life from Him, in the same way the branch receives life from the vine.  Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches.  If we remain connected to Him, we will bear much fruit (John 15).

Pt. 11: Seven Churches – (B) What the Spirit is Saying to the Church

We are talking about the seven churches in Revelation 1-3.  The admonitions and promises given to the seven churches apply to the corporate Church today.  God has not changed and His message is still the same.  The question may be asked, “What is the Spirit saying to the Church today?”  Out of many things He is speaking, seven themes stand out in particular:

  1. Return to your first love and do the first works
  2. Repent from allowing false doctrines and carnality to remain in the Church
  3. Seek a relationship with Jesus Christ, as opposed to just being religious
  4. Put on your spiritual garments and guard against getting them soiled
  5. Repent from spiritual lukewarmness
  6. God is restoring the Tabernacle of David and the Key of David today
  7. God is looking for overcomers and has many blessings for them

The Spirit is saying to return to our first love and do the first works.  For many Christians, the honeymoon with Jesus is over with.  When once they were filled with passion and zeal for Him, the flame has died down.  The Lord wants us to fall in love with Him again afresh, and be on fire for Him as we were when we were first born again.

God also wants us to love others in the same way He loves them.  He wants us to see people through His eyes.  We demonstrate our love for Jesus as we show love to others.

God wants us to get back to the basics.  Some examples include prayer, studying the Word, faith in action, worship and praise, holiness, labor and patience, spiritual discernment, practical wisdom for everyday living, and getting back to the simplicity of the salvation message and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is saying that the Church is to repent of allowing false doctrines to enter in, as well as justifying sinful practices.  During the time these letters were written to the seven churches, false doctrine and deception had crept into the church.  An example was Balaam worship and the teaching of the Nicolaitans.  Today there are false doctrines that enter into the Church.  Cults are a result of this.

For centuries a Jezebel spirit has infiltrated the churches in order to weaken God’s people and ultimately bring destruction.  Some examples of a Jezebel spirit include witchcraft and occultic practices, magical arts, false prophetic experiences that are of the dark realm (God said to test the spirits – there is the true prophetic), idolatry, control, rebellion, sexual immorality, pornography, addictions, and preaching a gospel where you can get to Heaven without going through the Cross and Jesus.

We are responsible to study the Word of God and to guard against deception entering in.  As we study the Word of God, we will be able to rightly divide it, and the truth of the Word will set us free.

The Spirit is also saying that the Church is to speak up about purity and holiness.  Today there is much carnality mixed in to the Church.  It goes undealt with.  We all have weaknesses and areas of sin that we struggle with.  We are all dependent on God’s grace and mercy.  However, many churches today are silent about moral issues of our day.

Many churches do not teach what the Scriptures say about what is right and wrong.  Many Christians today are living the same way as the world.  There should be a distinction between light and darkness.

Some examples of carnality, besides what I mentioned above, include dishonesty and lack of integrity, hatred, slander, backbiting, abusive behavior, pride, lying, strife.  Ephesians 4 says that at one time we lived like the world.  But we are no longer children of darkness, but children of light, and should put aside deeds of darkness.

Reverence for the Lord, and for the House of the Lord, is lacking in our day and age.  God is calling His people back to the reverential fear of the Lord.  This means to hold Him in high esteem, showing Him respect and honor, wanting to please Him and do that which is right.

Psalm 15 talks about who may enter God’s holy hill.  It’s those with a pure heart, clean hands, honest gain, and a reverential fear of the Lord.  The Spirit is calling the Church back to holiness and uprightness.