Genesis Sermons from Gospel Chapel Ministries HOME SERMONS SERMON NOTES
#406 FIX YOUR EYE ON THE LORD AND WALK IN FAITH GENESIS 33:1-20
God had just shown Jacob his utter weakness in the flesh and how utterly vain was all his human reasoning. In GEN 32:25, we read, "And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him." The Lord brought Jacob to a great deliverance from human reasoning and human strength, bringing him out the victor leaning on his Beloved, leaning exclusively on his God. He gave him a new name, the name of Israel, which means "God commandeth." Jacob had just been brought into the kingdom of God where he would serve under the authority and kingship of God.
What a lesson we learn from this! The flesh cannot be subdued; it must be withered in the very sinew of its strength. The great distinction between Jacob and Esau was that Esau continued to build in his own strength. With Jacob, the flesh had been subdued. The very sinew, wherein all his fleshly strength was found, had shrunk.
ROM 8:7 tells us, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." We cannot subdue or overpower the flesh. It has to be crucified. We cannot become stronger than the flesh. The flesh must be crucified because "the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." There is only one way to win the battle with the flesh, the old man must be crucified.
Our spiritual weakness is not so much what hinders our spiritual growth, but the confidence that we have in our natural strength. There is nothing that hinders spiritual growth more than when we keep hanging on to something of the flesh. We want to prosper ourselves using human reasoning.
In ROM 8:8-9 we read, "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [The flesh must be crucified.] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit [It is a total transition and not a matter of being able to serve two masters. We can only serve God in the Spirit. If we are not serving God in the Spirit, we cannot please God.], if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." If we do not have that total change of attitude, the Spirit of Christ, the mental disposition and mind of Christ, we are none of His. We cannot live with human reasoning and have Christ. There is only one mental disposition that is acceptable to God, and that is the mind of Christ.
It is not until we become weak in self that we cease to be contenders and become as the clay in the Potter's hand. By nature, we will keep striving in our own strength until the Lord touches the hollow of our thigh, and it shrinks until the flesh is crucified. We continue being a contender against God, His ways, and His will. We must become as clay in the Potters hand, gladly accepting the name Israel, i.e. "God commandeth." We must come into the kingdom of God under His kingship, His service. We cannot serve human reasoning and serve God.
As we enter that blessed kingdom of Christ, we experience what we read of Jacob, "And he blessed him there...And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, [as Jacob saw the face of God, the Sun of Righteousness arose with healing in his wings, cf., MAL 4:2] and he halted upon his thigh." (GEN 32:31) When the Sun of Righteousness arises with healing in his wings, and we are healed from all our fleshly strength, we become solely and totally dependent upon the Lord.
GEN 32:28 states, "And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." As a prince, i.e. as one of His noble servants, we have power with God. Jacob had been given the new name of Israel. He had come under the kingship and the divine command of God. He was serving under the kingship of God. As His noble servants, we likewise enter the kingdom of Christ and have power with God, becoming the light of the world.
The sun rises upon us, and we become the light of the world. We read in PRO 4:18: "But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." As we learn to walk under the kingship of Christ and our walk of life corresponds with our profession of believing in Christ (to come under His kingship, to stand in awe and holy reverence of His authority), we receive the new name of Israel, "God commandeth." Our path is like "the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." We become the light of the world.
Just as we conclude our meditation upon the shrinking of Jacob's strength in self and the wonderful manifestation of God's presence, we learn the awesome truth of JAM 1:22-24: "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was."
Jacob had just had a marvelous revelation of God. He had just had the blessed manifestation of Gods promises. In this we see Jacob, the type of the believer. He is a hearer, but not a doer of the word. We see the heavy consequences of this. He is as a man that beholds himself in a mirror. He beholds his natural face in a glass. He saw who he was, and turned right around and forgot what manner of man he was. The Lord had just called upon him and asked, "What is your name?" Jacob had just confessed, "My name is Deceiver; my name is Trickster, Conniver, Manipulator." Now, he no more than turned to cross Penuel, and the sun rose upon him, and what happened?
Just as with the apostle Peter who, when his eye was fixed upon Jesus, could walk on the water, so it is in our Christian life. As long as our eye is fixed upon Christ, we can walk on the water. Notice what we read in MAT 14:29-30: "And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me." This is what happens in our walk of life. When we take our eye off our blessed Redeemer and Saviour and begin to look at the things around us, what happens? We will sink. If youre going to cross a stream of water on a small log that is lying across the water, you pick an object that is on the other side, fix your eye upon it, and start walking toward it. Youll walk straight across. But if you stop halfway and look at the turmoil of the water beneath you, youll go into it headlong. Jacob took his eye off that blessed revelation which he had just had of God, and again began to look at the flesh.
When Jacob's eye became fixed upon Esau, he also began to sink. GEN 33:1 reveals, "And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. [Jacobs heart began to melt within him. Just like Peter, who saw the boisterous waves, Jacob saw Esau and his men and was afraid and went back to his old conniving. He forgot all about what he had just learned and started scheming.] And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost."
There is no other book written by man, which so marvelously uncovers the inner recesses of the heart of man like the book, which was written by divine inspiration. This divinely inspired book reveals the very thoughts and intents of Jacobs heart. The uninspired writer would only have written of those things that would have elevated Jacob, but the inspired biography of Jacob, who is a type of the work of grace in the believer, reveals human nature in its true colors.
Satan is most sly in catching us off guard after we have received the most blessed visitations from our lovely Lord. We are most vulnerable when the Lord has given us the most blessed manifestations of His love; the most precious visits of our life, because we are off guard. That is when Satan is out to snare us and again pull us into the mire.
We see this same principle taught in GEN 12:7-8: "And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel [the same Bethel where Jacob finds the Lords presence], and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD." He was in a place of sweet communion with the Lord. The Lord had appeared unto him and had given him such rich promises.
But see how Abram strayed away from the blessed place of communion with his God and sought refuge in Egypt. We must be so aware of this when the Lord gives us the most blessed times in our lives. We must be so careful not to take our eye off the Lord. Abrams eye begins to be fixed on Egypt. We note in GEN 12:9-10: "And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south [toward Egypt]. And there was a famine in the land [Immediately upon straying from the place of communion with God, he entered into a famine. He went from there into the world.]: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land."
We read in 1KI 18:40 about the prophet Elijah and how God had given him a most blessed deliverance. "And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there." Look at the power of faith when his eye was on the Lord.
But now see what we read in the very next chapter, 1KI 19:2-3a: "Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life..." That same prophet, Elijah, who had just stood in the name of the Lord before the king of Israel and all of his army and slew the 400 prophets of Baal, was running from the voice of a woman on the very next day.
Satan wants you and me off guard. There is not a more dangerous time to be caught off guard than when we have just experienced one of the most blessed times of communion with God.
These sad inconsistencies of the noblest of God's saints are recorded for our admonition. So it is with the history of Jacob who went from leaning upon the divine wrestler to falling down before Esau. Jacob was with the divine wrestler and would not let him go, receiving such powerful blessing from the Lord. In the very next step of his life, we see the same man falling on his face before Esau.
GEN 33:3 tell us, "And he passed over before them [When he had finished all of his conniving and put all things in order according to his human reasoning, Jacob went ahead of his family.], and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother." The word seven means an undetermined amount. Jacob kept bowing as he came until he reached his brother.
It is one thing to experience a special visitation from our blessed Saviour, but it is quite another to live under the power of it. We can sometimes have a most blessed visit from the Lord, but to remain living under the power of it is the key to spiritual liberty.
The apostle Peter said unto Jesus on the mount of transfiguration, "Master, it is good for us to be here..." (LUK 9:33), but the next day, their faith failed in a time of need. How quickly we fail! It is recorded in MAT 17:18-20, which would have been the very next day, "And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief..." Where was their faith, which had been exhibited on the mount of transfiguration? There on the mount was a most blessed time, and Peter had said, "Master, it is good for us to be here," because he didnt know what else to say. The very next day, Jesus is reproving them for their unbelief. These inconsistencies are recorded for our admonition.
The lesson we learn is that unless faith remains active, we shall lose the power and sweetness of God's presence. Faith is one thing, but we must live by faith or it becomes void. Old manna will not feed us today. We need new manna for today, and it comes from active faith. If our faith doesnt remain active, it becomes dormant.
For our own instruction, let's analyze just wherein Jacob failed. He lost sight of the new name Israel that he had just received, which means "God commands." He began to scheme how he could appease Esau with his own human wisdom rather than resigning himself under the name Israel and trust God to control Esau. He couldnt commit it into Gods hands. He didnt trust the Lord, but lost sight of his new name. Thats where Jacob failed. He had been brought into the kingdom, but he failed the grace of God, that divine influence of the Spirit upon the heart. He went back to human reasoning.
Because of his new name, Jacob could have trusted that the Lord would overrule any evil intentions of Esau for his good. Instead, Jacob fell at Esaus feet out of fear, thereby denying his Lord, who had just given him such a divine revelation of being his God.
Many commentators want to reason with Jacob as though Esau indeed came with hostile intentions. Nothing recorded in Scripture, however, tells us that Esau had any hostile intentions. Nothing but a guilty conscience drove Jacob to his conduct. Notice just how hostile Esau was in GEN 33:4: "And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept." Not only Jacob, but also Esau, wept. Does that seem hostile? Why was Jacob so afraid? Jacobs problem was that he took his eye off of his God. He was scaring himself with all the imaginary things that he thought might happen. He went out to appease an offended brother who had no hostile intentions that are recorded. He came with 400 men to greet his brother and to welcome him back. A guilty and wounded conscience brought Jacob into this state of affairs.
Instead of ordering his life according to the divine revelation that Jacob had just received in his new name, i.e. trusting God to influence Esau, Jacob resorted back to his old tricks. In so doing, he brought himself into darkness and a state of confusion. We read in GEN 33:5-8:
"And he [Esau] lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. [They followed the example of Jacob who had bowed himself down to Esau without stopping. He set the pattern for his children and his wives. Esau is a type of the harlot church.] And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves. And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord."
Notice how Esau reproved Jacobs attitude. Esau made it very clear that he was not appeased, or even impressed by Jacob's gifts. The Lord had changed Esaus heart. We dont know when this occurred. At the time Jacob fled, Esau spoke of murdering Jacob. Here we see Esau coming to meet Jacob and treating him like a brother. He made it clear, however, that Jacob hadnt even slightly impressed Esau with all the gifts and commotion.
Look again at GEN 33:8: "And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord." Esau responded in verse 9: "And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself." Esau was telling Jacob that he had enough and didnt need anything from Jacob. Jacob didnt have to appease Esau. Esau wasnt appeased at all; he wasnt even impressed and told Jacob to keep his gifts.
Even after Esau had embraced Jacob, and they had wept in each other's arms, and Esau had made it abundantly clear that all Jacob's commotion and gifts had not impressed him at all, Jacob foolishly continued to keep his eye on Esau's favor instead of on God's favor. When Peter began to sink, all he could see were the waves. Unless the Lord had reached out and taken him by the hand, Peter would have drowned. This is Jacobs position. After Jacob began to sink with his eye fixed on Esau, he lost sight of his God. This is what happens when we get on the slippery slope. The further we go, the further we are from returning.
GEN 33:10-11 records for us, "And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face [Jacob is saying that he was able to see Esaus face in peace because he had sent this large present ahead of him.], as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me [Jacob is still trying to impress Esau with this big gift even though Esau has told him to keep it for himself. Jacobs eye is on Esau, and he is after Esaus favor.]. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it." Was this to the glory of God? No. Hes not acting like Israel.
A further lesson we learn from Esau is parallel to what we learned from Laban. Jacob's departure from Laban teaches us how the world pursues us to persuade us to serve it. When we try to turn from the world, the world will pursue us with all its energy to get us back in its service. GEN 31:22-23 reads, "And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled. And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead." Jacob had fled from the service of Laban, and Laban was after him in hot pursuit in an attempt to bring Jacob back into his service.
We see this with Esau. Note what happens when we start bowing to the world as Jacob did. Esau wanted Israel to put his trust in Esaus company. The Lord must be our only trust and consolation. Now that Esau has been exalted before Jacob, Esau intends to go before Jacob and be his protector. We read in GEN 33:12: "And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee." If we are going to follow Christ, then Christ will go before us. Here, we have Esau as a type of the harlot church saying, "I will go before you; you follow me." Esau would now become Jacobs leader. Jacob had put himself in much more danger of Esaus wrath than if he had just trusted the Lord, accepted his reception, and treated him like the world. Instead, Jacob gave Esau the impression that he would follow him. He called Esau "my lord" and called himself Esaus "servant."
Now Jacob had a more serious problem. When we offer the world our service and then want to withdraw it, we instigate their wrath. Jacob had put himself in a spot where he could cause Esau to become offended. Jacob faced a new problem as we all do when we attempt to show honor to and befriend the world.
We read in GEN 33:13-14: "And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender [Esau was now being generous to Jacob. Jacob insisted and Esau finally accepted Jacobs gifts, but Jacob didnt want anything from Esau. The Scripture says it is more blessed to give than to receive, Cf. ACT 20:35. Jacob was saying he didnt want Esaus leadership or anything from Esau. Now, Jacob would have been in danger, had the Lord not prevented it.], and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir." Jacob was telling Esau to go on ahead of him, but that he would catch up to Esau and come to him.
When Esau became more intimate, Jacob soon began to realize that a shepherd and a cowboy couldnt lead the same flock in harmony. He realized that he couldnt "mix" with Esau. Jacob was concerned that Esau's men would "overdrive," and that he would not be able to teach them to "lead on softly." There is a terrific difference between leading and driving. You cannot follow a cowboy because they drive the herd. How can you follow someone who is behind you driving you with a whip?
Have you had a man ask you, "Why dont you come under my leadership and start following me?" Ive had that happen, and I had to tell him, "If you get off your horse and stop being a cowboy and go as a shepherd, out before the flock, you can expect people to follow you." Jacob was in a position where he had to bargain his way out with Esau. He told Esau that he had to lead softly whereas Esaus men would overdrive.
Esau had come a long way and with no small company to welcome his brother back. Now, Jacobs conduct placed him in much more danger of Esau's ill will by refusing his help and protection. GEN 33:15-16 tells us, "And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord. So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir."
After we have made ourselves familiar with the world, and they extend their red carpet, we are in much more danger if we spit on it than if we had held a little distance from the start.
When we become familiar with and start intermingling with the world, and then we dont want to taste of their dainties, they become offended.
In order to get Esau to leave, Jacob had lied to him. Jacob again deceived his brother in order to get him to depart after Esau had become to intimate with him. In GEN 33:14, we read, "Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir." Jacob had no intention of coming "unto (his) lord unto Seir." This was a deliberate lie that he used to pacify his brothers generosity so that he would go on ahead, waiting for his brother Jacob to come under his leadership.
The Lord had told Jacob in GEN 31:3: "Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee," but He had not told Jacob to join Esau at Seir, and Jacob had no such intentions. Jacob had resorted to the former Jacob, the deceiver, deceiving Esau to get him to depart.
The Lord reminded Jacob of his vow recorded in GEN 28:20-21: "And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God." Then Jacob would follow the Lord. Here, however, hes making a promise to Esau. If Esau would go on ahead of Jacob, Jacob would come to him. He would come under Esaus leadership. Instead of following the Lord, he gives Esau the impression that he will follow Esau.
Jacob needed to remember his new name and serve the Lord as his God; he could not serve Esau. So what did Jacob do? Jacob is again miring himself into the clay. The Lord again came with His providence and, as in Padanaram, allowed Jacob to eat the fruit of his sin. Then, in Gods providence, he brought Jacob on his way.
We read in GEN 33:16-18: "So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir. And Jacob journeyed to Succoth [Jacob did not return to Bethel but to Succoth.], and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth. And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city." Jacob built a house for himself and booths for his cattle. He started to establish his residence, but not at Bethel, where the Lord had commanded him to go, because it was uncomfortably close to Seir. He forsook the council of God. Jacobs vow is being broken. He was establishing his residence at Shalem.
In his human reasoning, Jacob is again attempting to compromise what God had commanded him. We find that man, in his human reasoning, takes what God has commanded and compromises it to fit his reasoning. GEN 33:19 records, "And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money."
We will discover what happened at Shechem and how the Lord allowed Jacob to bring himself to utter shame there. Jacob turned aside because he forgot the great deliverance he had just received. He was compromising. Jacob bought a piece of land "at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father," who became a greater snare to Jacob's family than Esau.
As the result of forsaking God with all his human reasoning, Jacob is also going to compromise God's ordained way and place of worship. He erected an altar as we see in
GEN 33:20: "And he erected there an altar, and called it EleloheIsrael." The Lord had told him to return to Bethel for there was the altar with the name of the house of God. Jacob had entered Canaan; so in his reasoning, he had entered the Promised Land. But, he was not at Bethel.
In giving his new compromised house of God the name EleloheIsrael, Jacob was also giving his God a new name. The Lord did not authorize Jacob to give Him a new name. God had told Jacob in GEN 31:13: "I am the God of Bethel [He did not tell Jacob that He was the God of Shechem, Shalem or Israel.], where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred." God told Jacob exactly where to go. He was to return to the place of his vow, and the Lord would be his God. Jacob compromised and set up an altar where he could serve God in his own human reasoning. He would serve the God of EleloheIsrael.
Jacob called God EleloheIsrael, which means "God, the God of Israel," in the land of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father. This ignored Jacob's vow, and the covenant relationship that is connected with the name, "I am the God of Bethel." The Lord didnt overlook this, and He was not pleased with what Jacob was doing.
Remember what happened at Bethel, and what the Lord had told Jacob there. We read in GEN 28:12-13: "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest [He didnt say the land of Shechem; He said the land whereon thou liest.], to thee will I give it, and to thy seed." The Lord was dealing with Jacob in a covenant relationship, the covenant that He had with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was isolating himself. He is completely disowning a covenant God and is saying, "God, the God of Israel."
After the Lord had allowed Jacob to again taste the bitterness of stolen fruit, to dwell there, and to become polluted in the land, we see God coming back to Jacob in GEN 35:1: "And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother." The Lords ways are not to be altered. The Lord has His purpose. We serve the Lord only when we serve Him according to His ordained way. The Lord has His reasons why He has spoken what He has spoken.
All the human reasoning in the world does not alter what the Lord has spoken. This is what we see in the Esau church of today. There is so much compromising and altering of what God has spoken in His Word to fit the times. Jacob had come into a time when the Word of God could no longer be enforced because in his human reasoning, that would put him too close to Esau. So Jacob decided to make an altar in a place that would be more suitable for the conditions or for the times. The Lord is the God that changes not, Cf. MAL 3:6. His purposes will stand. Jacob would come unto Bethel and dwell there.
The Lord did to Jacob at Shechem just exactly what He will do to you and me in the world. He will use the inhabitants of the land to drive us out. Then, as the Lord Jesus says in LUK 6:22-28: "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of mans sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you."
The Lord is going to place an ongoing, perpetual warfare between the world and His people. He is going to use the world to spew out His people because you and I are a little too much like Jacob. We would like to make ourselves comfortable with the world. We would like to compromise just enough so that we become palatable to the world, but the Lord causes the world to spew us out. Amen.
These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. For a list of sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog. See also, our sermon notes.