Monday, October 11, 2010

Thankful For The Love Of God

At the Gospel Mission, we finished a series on Ruth, and started a couple of weeks of messages on a Giving Thanks in preparation for our Canadian Thanksgiving (which is today, October 11th). I preached the main part of this study for the lunch devotional yesterday, and added more verses today to round out it out.

Thankful For The Love Of God

Love is not an emotion (though it may effect them) - love is a choice. Love is an action verb. Always seeking the best for others.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 15:13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Romans 5:6-10  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

When we were at our worst, God gave His best! He proved/showed/demonstrated His love to us by sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins.

1 John 4:8-10  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:19  We love him, because he first loved us.

We learn love through the Lord Jesus Christ's example for us - He loved us first!

Consider each point of the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13, thinking about Christ’s/God’s love as an example for us, and how our love is to be towards others and towards the Lord in return.

The word translated as charity here is the Greek word agape. It means "love," and is often referred as the deep love of God, a self-sacrificial love that desires the best for others. Matthew Henry points out that the word charity was used by the translators to indicate when they believed love towards BOTH God and man was in view in that particular verse or passage.

1 Corinthians 13:4  Charity suffereth long, - Longsuffering, forbearing. Webster's 1828 Dictionary gives this as one of his definitions for forbearance: "The exercise of patience; long suffering; indulgence towards those who injure us; lenity; delay of resentment or punishment."
 
In the Gospel Mission, we often see people at the lowest point in their lives, and there are some that are extremely difficult to handle at times - but love forbears and still reaches out to them, helping them and caring for them.

The Bible speaks in various places of God's forbearance towards us. Several references are:

Colossians 3:13-14 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

and is kind; - Webster’s: Kind: "1. Disposed to do good to others, and to make them happy by granting their requests, supplying their wants or assisting them in distress; having tenderness or goodness of nature; benevolent; benignant.
2. Proceeding from tenderness or goodness of heart; benevolent; as a kind act; a kind return of favors."

Real love is not just wishing others well, but putting shoe leather on our intentions and doing good to others.

Psalm 92:1-2 It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

charity envieth not; - Webster's: Envy:  "v.t. [L. invideo, in and video, to see against, that is, to look with enmity.]
1. To feel uneasiness, mortification or discontent, at the sight of superior excellence, reputation or happiness enjoyed by another; to repine at another's prosperity; to fret or grieve one's self at the real or supposed superiority of another, and to hate him on that account.
2. To grudge; to withhold maliciously.
EN'VY, n. Pain, uneasiness, mortification or discontent excited by the sight of another's superiority or success, accompanied with some degree of hatred or malignity, and often or usually with a desire or an effort to depreciate the person, and with pleasure in seeing him depressed. Envy springs from pride, ambition or love, mortified that another has obtained what one has a strong desire to possess."

Love does not hate/despise someone else because of what they have or because they are better off in some way than you. The love of God in believers - produced through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit in us - enables us to desire and work towards the best for others, just as the Lord is working out all things for good in our own lives.

Romans 5:5b ...because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

1 John 3:17-18 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

charity vaunteth not itself, - Is not boastful; doesn’t brag about themself.

is not puffed up, - Is not inflated with pride.

I have seen many in our community and even some that come through our doors that look down on others - whether these others are clients or staff at the Mission - because the image of homelessness or low income families disgusts them. That is pride - agape love cares for others and does not elevate themselves above those in need. Neither does it look down on those who are struggling with sin in their lives, knowing we are just as prone to wander, and just as much in need of the Lord's forgiveness and cleansing in our own lives. There is no place for pride in the heart of a saved individual - the ground is level at the foot of the cross.

1 Corinthians 13:5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, - Does not act in an inappropriate manner towards others.

True love will do what is right around others, will not treat them wrong or act towards them in an ungodly way.

One passage that comes to mind about our Saviour shows that He did not flip out or act inappropriately, even when dealing with lost sinners. I cringe whenever I hear shouting in the hallways where I live, where a husband and wife (or parents and children) are yelling at each other, cursing each other out, but Jesus never did that when He ministered here on earth. He showed His love towards those around Him (and still shows it towards us), even when He needed to correct their sin.

Matthew 12:18-21 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and a smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

seeketh not her own, - Is not selfish, self-centered, is looking out for the best for others, not simply for themself.

is not easily provoked, - Not easily exasperated with others.

Following up on the book of James (which we covered at the Mission last month), love is slow to wrath, slow to be angry or frustrated with others, slow to retaliate or respond in the same manner (leaving vengeance in the Lord's hands). Sometimes it is hard not to react badly when someone is cursing you out or dumping on you (as we sometimes say), but true love tries to react in a Christ-like manner. And, no, that does not mean we never get upset at sin or someone's bad behavior - but we learn more how to bear it and deal with it it a right way that honors the Lord and responds appropriately.

thinketh no evil; - Strong's Concordance: Thinketh: "to take an inventory, i.e. estimate...:--conclude...."
- Strong's: Evil: "worthless (intrinsically such...), that is (subjectively) depraved, or (objectively) injurious:--bad, ...harm[ful], ...wicked."

Of course, love means we should not be thinking wicked or harmful thoughts about/towards others - but I find the definition here interesting. We are not to think of others as "worthless." In this ministry, we have many coming through our doors that no longer feel they are of value to others - YET God considers them of worth, and we should too - if we claim to have love for them.

1 Corinthians 13:6  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, - Strong's: Rejoiceth: "to be full of 'cheer',... be glad."
- Strong's: Iniquity: "(legal) injustice (properly, the quality, by implication, the act); morally, wrongfulness (of character, life or act):--iniquity, unjust, unrighteousness, wrong."

Not glad for injustice done to others. There are many in our society, even on the street, that take pleasure when wrong is done to others, when someone is ripped off, when others are treated unfairly (kind of like bullies in school). Part of the definition refers to legal injustice done - we see a lot of that in our world, when a judge lets the wicked off and the righteous or innocent get charged falsely and lose what they have. Love does not rejoice in this!

but rejoiceth in the truth; - Strong's: Rejoiceth: "to sympathize in gladness, congratulate:--rejoice in (with)."
- Strong's: Truth: "true (as not concealing)."

Real love rejoiceth when the truth comes out, when the righteous and the innocent are vindicated. The Lord will right the injustices we face in life - whether now or in eternity.

Psalm 37:5-6 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

1 Corinthians 13:7  Beareth all things, - Strong's: Beareth: "to roof over, i.e. (figuratively) to cover with silence (endure patiently)."

Love covers the sins of others, overlooks them, does not hold them against someone.

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

One of the main themes of the Bible is Christ's atonement for our sins. Atonement means "to cover." Jesus' blood covers the repentant believer's sins and washes them away; therefore, they are no longer held against that believer. Only God's love can do that!

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.

Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

Psalm 103:10-14 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

believeth all things, - Strong's: Believeth: "to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ)."

How is your walk with the Lord? Are you growing in your faith? Love towards God is believing all that He has said.

hopeth all things, - Hope means "confident expectation."

Loving God is believing and receiving His promises - confidently expecting Him to fulfill them as He is working in your life.

endureth all things. - Strong's: Endureth: "to stay under (behind), i.e. remain; figuratively, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere."

Loving the Lord is enduring the trials He allows in your life - knowing every single one of them has a purpose, and one of those purposes is to make you more like your Saviour. Are you trusting in your Heavenly Father - believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things He has planned for you?

1 Corinthians 13:8a  Charity never faileth: - Never: "Not even at any time, i.e. never at all."
- Strong's: Faileth: "to drop away; specially, be driven out of one's course; figuratively, to lose, become inefficient:--...take none effect."

God's love will NEVER, EVER fail! He will ALWAYS fulfill His work in your life. He will NEVER be driven out of course in His plan for you. His love will NEVER lose its power, NEVER become inefficient, NEVER be of no effect in your life.

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, when His love is shed abroad in our hearts and we are actively showing that love to those around us in a Christlike and Biblical manner (emphasis on loving others in a Biblical manner, because there is much fluff in our modern thinking of love), it WILL have a lasting, powerful, transforming effect on others - just as the Lord's love has had a life changing effect on you (if you are His child).

Loving others is in accordance with obeying the Lord and following His Word - ie. loving others is doing right towards them.

1 John 5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

2 Peter 1:3-11 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside 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 ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 13:13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Right now, faith, hope, and charity (love towards God and man) abide - they remain, are lasting, endure. In eternity, faith and hope will be done away with, they will have fulfilled their purpose. There will be no more need for faith, as we will be walking by sight, we will see our Saviour and our saved loved ones face to face. There will be no more need for hope, for confidently expecting the Lord to keep His promises, as we will see the fulfillment of all He has promised and all Bible prophecies come to pass.

However, charity - love towards God and man - will last forever. We will be dwelling in God's presence, worshipping and loving Him, and living in love with our brethren in Christ. Charity will endure forever - no wonder the greatest of these is charity (love)!

1 John 4:16-17 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect (complete), that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Most of us are quite familiar with John 3:16, but how many of us know 1 John 3:16?

1 John 3:16  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Are you thankful for God's love? Have you responded to it by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Are you showing that love to others?

Ah, the love of God - one of my favourite themes, and one of my favorite hymns:

The Love Of God
(Lyrics: Frederick Lehman)

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Chorus:
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Preached October 10th/2010
Written October 11th/2010
Jerry Bouey

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Who I Am

This study builds a little on the themes covered in these two studies: The Giver, Or The Gifts? and Blessed Contrasts In Scripture Please read these two studies for more Scripture references on some of these points below.

Many before the time of Christ were waiting for the Messianic kingdom to right the wrongs in this world (grievances, violence, wrong judgment, sin - Hab 1:3-4, 13; 2:2-3). They were looking for a time (ie. an event) when a King would rule over the earth and restore order (in fulfillment of the “vision”, ie. of the Old Testament prophecies) – Jesus directs us to Himself. Hebrews 10:38.

Many of the Jews in the time of Christ were looking for a political and social Messiah. Many rejected Christ because when He came the first time, He was not here to right all the political or social wrongs, but to deal with our sins. He did not come as “King” (though He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and will come back one day to reign), but as Saviour.

Some followed Jesus for the wrong reason – because He did a miracle that provided for their needs. John 6:24-26.

They sought to make Jesus king – by force, seizing Him by violence! John 6:14-15.

When He was betrayed by Judas and surrounded by the armed guards in the Garden of Gethsemane, He refused to fight back, but gave Himself up to them. John 18:3-9, 12.

When speaking to Pilate, He stated His kingdom was not yet of this world; therefore His followers would not fight back with physical weapons. John 18:33-36.

40 days after Jesus arose, just before He ascended to Heaven, His disciples asked Him a question about His coming kingdom: Acts 1:6-7. Jesus changed their focus, then the angels pointed to His return, not just to His kingdom – ie. pointed to Him. Verses 9-11.

The Samaritan woman was waiting for the Messiah to reveal all things. Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah.” John 4:25-26.

Martha was waiting for a coming day, an event (ie. the future day of resurrection) - Jesus redirected her to a person, Himself. I Am the Resurrection and the Life. John 11:23-26.

The end of all arguments – whatever is going on in the world or in the lives of His people, God declares:
I am the LORD (or the Lord GOD - 164 times)
I am God (9 times)
I Am, and there is no other god (or saviour) beside Me (Deut 4:35, 39; 1 Sam 2:2; 2 Sam 7:22; 1 Kings 8:60; 1 Chron 17:20; Is 43:10-12; 44:6-8; 45:5-6, 18, 21-22; 46:9; Hosea 13:4; Joel 2:27)

Many in the world are running around looking for each of these things – even God’s people – but what we need more than provision, more than something to happen – what we need is Jesus Himself!

When we need (spiritual) light - He is our Light. He is Light. Psalm 27:1; 1 John 1:5.
When in need of strength - He is our strength. Psalm 28:7.
When we need wisdom - He is our wisdom. 1 Corinthians 1:30.
When we need understanding - He is understanding. Proverbs 8:14.
When we need mercy and grace - He is merciful and gracious; that is His name (in the Bible, a name represents who someone is, their character). Exodus 33:19; 34:5-7.
When we need peace with God, peace of mind, peace with man - He is our peace. Ephesians 2:14.
When we are hopeless - He is our hope. 1 Timothy 1:1.
When we have no purpose or reason for living - He is our life. Colossians 3:4.
When we are scrambling, seeking the truth - the truth is in Jesus. He is the Truth. Ephesians 4:21; John 14:6.
When we are desperately seeking for someone to love us, He not only provides love - He is Love. 1 John 4:8, 16.
When we are looking for safety, security, shelter from the storms of life – He is our shield. Genesis 17:1.
When we are looking for something lasting in life, something to carry on from generation to generation – He is our inheritance. Numbers 18:20.
When we are looking for a way to be right with God, not only does the Lord provide righteousness - He is our righteousness. Jeremiah 23:6.
When looking for salvation, Jesus not only provides salvation – He is our salvation. Psalm 35:3.
Not only does Jesus save – He is our Saviour, and it is to be Him we are looking for – not just some future day or some kingdom, some future event – Jesus Himself! Titus 2:13; 2 Timothy 4:8.

What is our focus? Even as believers, are we seeking the Lord Jesus Christ for what He can do for us (and yes, we should be seeking Him for every need we have) – OR for who He is? Seeking for something we need, for something to happen - OR for Jesus Himself?

May 9th/2010
Jerry Bouey

P.S. I didn't know which blog to post this in - on this study blog or on my sermon outline blog (A Shadow Of Things To Come). It fits both, as it is basically self-contained notes. This is part of the series I have been preaching on the I Ams of Jesus, and some of the thoughts that came out of it. I think the message was received pretty well today. It certainly gave some food for thought, and was a blessing to study out and preach. I hope it is also a blessing to you.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Giver, Or The Gifts?

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
and cometh down from the Father of lights,
with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

James 1:17

Are you at life's peak, in perfect health and blessedness,
Is your life filled with abundance, wealth, and happiness,
Do you have everything you've ever wanted, almost utmost bliss,
Then I ask you, where's your faith -
In the Giver, or the gifts?

So many times we gauge our life by our position, our possessions, or our prosperity.
But what about our walk with the Lord?
Are we looking to the Giver, or the gifts?

When the nation Israel become prosperous, they took their eyes off of the Lord. Their faith was in the gifts, not the Giver. This brought them only heartache and grief. (See Deuteronomy 8) God tested the Israelites to see where their faith was, in God's Word (the Giver) or their prosperity (the gifts). Sometimes He lets His children have what they desire, but sends leanness into their souls, because they choose their desires over the Lord. (Psalm 106:15)

If the Lord took away your health, your wealth, and your physical prosperity,
where would your faith be -
In the Giver, or the gifts?

Are you blessed with all the friends that you could ever wish,
Do you have joy unending in your family relationships,
Or are you alone, abandoned, with those friends so sorely missed,
Oh where do you look for comfort -
In the Giver, or the gifts?

So many times in life we are satisfied by our earthly relationships, and we tend to neglect God. Instead of Jesus having the preeminence in our lives, He often takes second place. We are looking to our family, our friends, and our acquaintances (the gifts) to meet all our needs, to give us a sense of belonging, to let us know that we are loved, and we neglect the Lord (the Giver), except when we want something or face a crisis.

We neglect to maintain our fellowship with the Lord, and then when family or friends reject us, we cry out to God and blame Him, though He was always there. His love always remains constant and He doesn't change. We do. We walk by sight and look to the gifts, not the Giver - which we must look to in faith. Many times we use our loneliness as an excuse to go our own way, to walk in sin, to find comfort from worldly pleasures.

Yet we often forget that, in the Bible, many of God's children were abandoned, rejected, forsaken by men, but the Lord never deserted them!

We see David encouraging himself in God (1 Samuel 30:6), Jesus rejoicing that His Heavenly Father was always with Him (John 16:32), and the Apostle Paul proclaiming the Lord's faithfulness to stand by His servants when all others have turned away (2 Timothy 4:17). These men of God (and many other men and women of God throughout the Bible and throughout history) looked to the Lord for their comfort and solace. They maintained their relationship with the Lord (the Giver), so that when their other relationships (the gifts) failed, they had Something (Someone) Eternal to rely on.

They relied on the Giver, not the gifts.

Many times we look to the things of this world (the gifts) to give us satisfaction, to give us peace, to give us contentment, and we neglect to look to the Lord Jesus Christ (the Giver), who alone can give us true satisfaction, give us His perfect peace (John 14:27, and Isaiah 26:3), and to give us lasting contentment in Him.

Are you looking to the Giver, or the gifts for your real needs in life? The things of this world are only temporary, the things of Heaven are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Where are you looking for fulfillment in your life -
In the Giver, or the gifts?

My friend, who are you relying on -
The Giver, or the gifts?

Where does your strength come from -
The Giver, or the gifts?

Where do you look to for peace and happiness -
The Giver, or the gifts?

Where's your faith in times of trials and distress -
The Giver, or the gifts?

April 28, 2001
Jerry Bouey

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Continue

When we look through the New Testament, we find the concept of continuing in Christ and the things of God a repeating theme. It is interesting to note that there are twenty one different Greek words that are translated into English as continue (or a form thereof). Eight of these words are relevant to this study, so I wanted to take a look at them here.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary gives this definition for continue: “1. To remain in a state, or place; to abide for any time indefinitely. 2. To last; to be durable; to endure; to be permanent. 3. To persevere; to be steadfast or constant in any course.”

For the purpose of this study, I will list the numbers and definitions that Strong's Concordance gives for each Greek word, followed by the main verses or passages relevant to this study that use that particular Greek word. Consider each definition as you meditate on these passages.

1) 3887 parameno - from 3844 and 3306; to stay near, i.e. remain (literally, tarry; or figuratively, be permanent, persevere):--abide, continue.

James 1:22-25 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. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

How does a true believer keep his life clean? By tarrying near the Word of God like a man peering intently into a mirror, letting the Word reveal areas where Biblical principles need to be applied - revealing areas where his conduct, words, and thought life need to be corrected - then continually sticking by the mirror of the Word and letting its living power transform his life.

2) 3306 meno - a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy):--abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for), X thine own.

John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

If you want to be Jesus' disciple and have victory over sin in your life, remain in the Word of God.

John 15:9-10 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 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.

Stay in God's love - don't let this world or your flesh move you from walking daily with the Lord and keeping His commandments. If you want close fellowship with Him and His blessing upon your life, continue in His love.

1 Timothy 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

Stick with what the Lord has already taught you from His Word - remain there; stand and don't be moved.

Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

1 John 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

The proof is in the pudding. Apostates will cast off true Biblical faith when it is no longer convenient for them, but true believers will always continue believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Father.

3) 4342 proskartereo - from 4314 and 2594; to be earnest towards, i.e. (to a thing) to persevere, be constantly diligent, or (in a place) to attend assiduously all the exercises, or (to a person) to adhere closely to (as a servitor):

Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

The early church was fervent in seeking the Lord in prayer, for themselves and for others.

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

These Christians persevered in Bible doctrine, in fellowship with one another and in communion with their Lord. They certainly are our example to follow!

Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Acts 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

Over and over again, the New Testament teaches the importance of prayer and how these early believers continued in it. Are we continuing in prayer today - being diligent in it, or are we growing listless and careless in our petitions for those around us?

4) 4357 prosmeno - from 4314 and 3306; to stay further, i.e. remain in a place, with a person; figuratively, to adhere to, persevere in:--abide still, be with, cleave unto, continue in (with).

1 Timothy 5:5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.

5) 1961 epimeno - from 1909 and 3306; to stay over, i.e. remain (figuratively, persevere):--abide (in), continue (in), tarry.

Acts 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

We are not just to start in God's grace - we are to remain in it, to tarry there! This is what the book of Galatians is all about. Too often a believer gets saved by grace, but then tries to live the Christian life in his own strength and power after that point in time. God's grace is His power given to us to enable us to live a life that is pleasing to Him (see Titus 2:11-12). I love Strong's definition for this word: "Graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude)."

Romans 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

Colossians 1:20-23 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

6) 1696 emmeno - from 1722 and 3306; to stay in the same place, i.e. (figuratively) persevere:--continue.

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

The term "the faith" is referring to the fundamentals of the faith, the body of doctrine by which someone must hold to be saved. A person may be confused on some doctrine - but they cannot knowingly reject the fundamentals of the faith and be saved. Jude exhorts us to "earnestly contend for the faith" (see verse 3 of this short book). There are a lot of "professing" believers out there who teach you can be a "Christian" and reject the fundamentals of the faith (for example, the deity of Christ, His finished work of redemption upon the cross, or His literal, physical resurrection) and still know the Lord, still be His child, still be saved. They are fooling themselves! When a person casts off the faith, they prove they were never saved to begin with - no matter what they may think or what experience they may have had.

A true child of God will persevere in the faith and stay there, in that exact place - nothing and no one will be able to move them from the truth.

7) 5281 hupomone - from 5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy:--enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).

Romans 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

In accordance with the Biblical principle of reaping what you sow (see Galatians 6:7-9), a believer will be rewarded by the Lord Jesus Christ for continuing in well doing, in persevering in their service to the Lord, even when times get rough or it seems there may never be lasting fruit from their efforts. Our labour is not in vain because God will keep His Word (see 1 Corinthians 15:58).

8) 1275 diapantos - from 1223 and the genitive case of 3956; through all time, i.e. (adverbially) constantly:--alway(-s), continually.

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

If you have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation, you are His child forever - and it is only fitting that we praise Him all the time - yea, even forever for all He has done for us, in us, and through us for His glory!

Preached February 28th/2010
Written May 6th/2010
Jerry Bouey

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Shadow Of Things To Come

I have created a new blog for my devotional outlines. Please stop by and bookmark it if you are interested.

I wanted to have an outlet to post less developed studies or outlines from messages I have preached at the Gospel Mission. I have entitled it A Shadow Of Things To Come Lord willing, I will be posting more regularly there, as I am still regularly preaching at the Mission, but don't always find the time to work on writing up my studies.

The first few studies I will be posting will be a series I am currently preaching through on the I Ams of Jesus from the Gospel of John. The first sermon outline posted is pretty long (I Am The Bread Of Life), but most of them will not be anywhere near that length. These outlines will also contain links or quotes from other articles and poems that I have used in my devotionals. I have about 10-15 minutes to preach at a time, and sometimes I find a solid poem can really hit home the point after covering the related Bible passages. It is also a blessing to be able to preach various series, as I can develop or build upon themes covered in other messages.

I hope this new blog is a blessing to you as well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Six Things The Lord Opened

1) He opened the tomb to prove that sin's debt has been paid, and the Saviour has risen after being three days and nights in the grave, just like He said He would do.

Luke 24:1-9 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered His words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

2) He opened the Old Testament Scriptures to show what they taught about the Messiah (Jesus Christ Himself) that would come.

Luke 24:13-27 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. And He said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto Him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And He said unto them, What things? And they said unto Him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and have crucified Him. But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not His body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that He was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but Him they saw not. Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.

Psalms 119:18 Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.

3) He opened up their eyes to see the risen Christ.

Luke 24:15-16, 28-35 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him… And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and He made as though He would have gone further. But they constrained Him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And He went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread.

4) He opened their understanding to understand the Scriptures.

Luke 24:36-47 And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and my feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have. And when He had thus spoken, He shewed them His hands and His feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He took it, and did eat before them. And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Ephesians 1:17-18 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

5) He opened their mouths so that they would be witnesses of Him.

Luke 24:46-49 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Psalms 51:15 O Lord, open Thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise.

6) Has the Holy Spirit opened your heart to see your need of the Saviour (by convicting you of your sins and showing you that Jesus Christ is the only one that can save you from them and give you a home in Heaven)?

Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

7) Will you open the door of your heart to receive the Saviour?

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.

Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:

October 5th, 2004
Jerry Bouey

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Story Of Four Gardens: The Garden Of Gethsemane

The Story Of Four Gardens:
Part Two - The Garden Of Gethsemane


In Genesis 3, we have the true account of Adam and Eve's temptation in The Garden of Eden (see part one of this series of studies). Due to their heeding the Devil's lies they disobeyed God's clear command and brought sin into the world. As a consequence, God's punishment fell upon them and their descendents (all mankind):

Genesis 3:17-19 And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.

From the above passage, we can see that the consequences of their fall brought, among other effects, a curse on the world, sorrow, thorns, sweat, and death (unto dust thou shalt return). But the Lord God also left them (and their descendents) a promise of the coming Redeemer (Messiah) who would pay the ransom needed to save the souls of all who would put their faith in Him for salvation. This Saviour would be the virgin-born Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. On His way to the cross, He would encounter all of sins' effects, and then would shed His sinless blood and die for the sins of the world.

This takes us to the second of four gardens in the story of Redemption, the Garden of Gethsemane.

John 18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples.

Matthew 26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

"This place was called 'Gethsemane' = 'the oil press.'

Originally among the olive trees there must have been an oil press to press out the oil from the olive berries. The name remained even though the press may have no longer been there. The name remained because under the providence of God it is going to have spiritual significance.

Here in this garden the Lord will labor in prayer and spiritually press out the oil from the olive which will become for many a wounded lamb and sheep.

Adam was placed in a Garden and he learned about disobedience and its consequences.

The Second Adam voluntarily went to a Garden and He learned obedience by the things that He suffered. The victory was won in the Garden for Christ departs victorious. The actual defeat of Satan was not accomplished, of course, until Calvary.

Adam hid himself from God in the Garden; Christ agonized before the Lord in another Garden.

It was in the Garden when man lost his right to live, and it is in a garden when Christ gained His right to resurrection: 'Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared' (Heb. 5:7)."

(Taken from The Six Trials Of Christ by John W. Lawrence)

1) Sorrow.

Isaiah 53:3-4 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

In facing the cross, Jesus was overwhelmed and was heavy in spirit knowing what He would soon endure in dealing with the sins of mankind. It wasn't the physical pain and suffering He knew He would face that discouraged Him, but the spiritual suffering that He would soon go through: taking the cup of God's wrath upon Himself for our sins; He who knew no sin would have all our sins placed upon Himself; and be separated (while on the cross) from God the Father, who could not look upon sin (see Habakkuk 1:13). From all eternity there had never been any separation of any sort between the members of the Trinity, but now there soon would be when Jesus hung upon the cross, bearing the sins of the world upon Himself. That is what He faced within a matter of hours. No wonder the sinless Son of God was heavy in spirit! (See Mark 14:33)

Matthew 26:36-39 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me. And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.

Thus He petitioned His heavenly Father three times to take away the cup of His wrath - but there was no other way for Jesus to pay for the sins of the world and to redeem mankind than for Him to go to the cross. (See Matthew 26:42-44) If there was any other way to save fallen man, Jesus could have done it - but there wasn't. This shows the Lord's great love for us in that He was willing to go through all that it took to save our souls! The next time someone asks to see proof of God's love for them, tell them to Take A Second Look At Calvary! (See Romans 5:8)

2) Sweat.

Luke 22:43-44 And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

The following account is of benefit in understanding a bit more of the spiritual struggle that Jesus went through in the Garden Of Gethsemane - the struggle that He went through to save us:

"One phrase in particular, which is found in Mark's account, is of terrible import. This is it: 'He... prayed that... the hour might pass from Him.' He who had set His face as a flint to go up to Jerusalem for this very hour, now prays that it might pass away from Him. He had constantly spoken of 'the hour,' and it was vividly in His consciousness. To the owner of the upper room He had sent the message, 'My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with My disciples.' Luke says, 'When the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.' John says, 'Jesus knew that His hour was come; . . . having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.' Just before Gethsemane, according to John, Jesus had said, 'Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour.' And just after His discourse in the upper room, in His high-priestly prayer, He had turned to His Father with the words, 'Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify Thee.'

I do not suppose the human mind can grasp the import of the prayer that the hour might pass away from Christ. This was the hour for which He had left His throne and come into the world. This was the hour to which the eternal counsels of the Almighty had pointed when the Lamb had been slain from the foundation of the world. This was the hour of the redemption of God's whole creation, the central hour of the ages, the hour when the holiness of God would meet the sin and unholiness of a rebel world, and redeem it from destruction. But when the hour actually comes and its force strikes against Him, Jesus falls to the ground and prays to His Father that the hour might pass away from Him.

What if the hour had passed away from Him! What if the cost had proved too high! What if He had not been willing to drink the cup! The heart can hardly conceive the infinite loss and disaster that would have come to mankind if He had been saved from that hour, if the very hour for which He had come into the world had been allowed to pass from Him, and He had been unable to drink the cup. And Jesus knew this. Then what was facing Him in that hour that caused such a prayer? What did that cup contain to make the strong Son of God shrink from it in sorrow and amazement and horror?

(Jerry's Note: The author then goes on to relate his own experience with a nervous breakdown, where he endured such unspeakable thoughts and mental horrors for about two years.)

...How could I forget such an experience? How shall I ever forget! But it was that experience which helped me to understand to some extent Christ's agony in Gethsemane. When my mind grasped a little of the impurity and the wickedness and the foul loathsomeness which He faced in that hour when He bore our sin, my question was answered; and it changed to deep, adoring wonder that He had been willing to face that cup for our sakes. I found myself exclaiming, 'Father, if He had not shrunk from that unspeakably detestable cup, if His soul had not been filled with sorrow even unto death, and with infinite aversion and abhorrence when 'the hour' brought before Him the shame and impurity and wickedness and iniquity of 'us all' that was 'laid on Him,' then He could not have been Thy most holy Son, sharing Thy holy nature.'

...Gethsemane's prayer is Love's agony in the face of Sin!"

(Taken from Gethsemane by Robert W. Cummings)

Hebrews 12:2-4 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 contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

Here we see that Jesus' struggling and striving against sin (and the temptation to bypass the cross) was so intense that He literally sweated out great drops of blood in His agony. But He was completely submissive to His Father's will, and got up from His knees strengthened and determined to endure the cross - for us! (See Hebrews 10:5-7, 10)

3) Suffering.

Within moments of arising from His fervent praying, Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss and He is led away by the multitude, while all His disciples fled for their lives. During the course of that night, He faced mock trials with false witnesses, was whipped and beaten, was spit upon and scorned. And then the soldiers cruelly mocked Him:

Matthew 27:28-30 And they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head.

John 19:5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate said unto them, Behold the Man!

Matthew 27:31 And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him and put His own raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

4) Sin-Bearer.

On the cross, Jesus bore the sins of the whole world, and there He bore our curse.

Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

Here we see the reason why it was so important for the Jews to take Jesus down off the cross before the night was upon them. Not only did Jesus bear the curse of the cross, He bore the curse of our sins being placed upon Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Isaiah 53:5-6, 11 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.

1 Peter 2:24 Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

5) Substitute.

On the cross, Jesus bore the judgment and wrath which we deserved when He died in our place. While there is some overlap with the point above, I will also add a quote from the Apostle Paul in this regard:

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

The Lord Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, took our punishment upon Him, and died in our place. He did this by the grace of God! We could never deserve salvation, but God the Father, by His grace alone, provided a sinless Substitute in the person of His Son - a Substitute who bore our sins and experienced the death and separation from the Heavenly Father that we deserve because of our sin. By the grace of God, we are offered something we could never deserve: a Saviour to save us, a Substitute to die in our place, our sins forgiven, a home in Heaven, an inheritance in Christ, and most of all, reconciliation and fellowship with God whom we have offended and sinned against. Someone has well defined Grace by this acrostic:

God's
Riches
At
Christ's
Expense.

Praise the Lord for His grace!

6) Sunset.

Matthew 27:57-60 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

John 19:41-42 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

This is the third garden in the Biblical story of Redemption, The Garden With The Empty Tomb, which will be the next study in this series.

7) Sealed Tomb.

Matthew 27:62-66 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

For further reading: Consider the following short devotional from Days Of Praise, Make It As Sure As You Can. Though I read this several years after this study was originally preached and written, this devotion definitely adds to this part of the study.

Ah, but what could a sealed tomb and armed guards do to stop Jesus from rising? If He was a mere man, there would not have even been a need for a sealed tomb and guards...

Psalms 2:1-3 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

- but because He is the Son of God, even the attempts of the whole world set in array against Him could never succeed!

Psalms 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

8) The Saviour.

For anyone who knows their Bible or has any familiarity with the life of Jesus, you know that the story doesn't end there.

Acts 2:23-24 Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.

Psalms 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.

Romans 1:3-4 Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

Death couldn't hold Him!

The Devil couldn't defeat Him!

After three days and three nights in the tomb, Jesus arose victorious over the grave!

Our sins were completely paid for!

All who look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation will be saved. Have you received Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour? If not, the Shepherd is seeking to save you! Why don't you turn to Him today?

1 Peter 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

The Ninety And Nine
(Lyrics: Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1868)

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold.
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer: “This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me;
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep,

I go to the desert to find My sheep.”

But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.

Out in the desert He heard its cry,
Sick and helpless and ready to die;
Sick and helpless and ready to die.

“Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way
That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They are pierced tonight by many a thorn;
They are pierced tonight by many a thorn.”


And all through the mountains, thunder riven
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of heaven,
“Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”

Study written November 9th, 2004/Edited October 31st/05
Jerry Bouey

The Story Of Four Gardens:
Part One - The Garden Of Eden
Part Two - The Garden Of Gethsemane (above)
Part Three - The Garden With The Empty Tomb (coming soon)
Part Four - Paradise, The Garden Of Eternity (coming soon)

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Story Of Four Gardens: The Garden Of Eden

In 2006, I preached a series of three messages on three main gardens of Scripture: Eden and the fall of man; Gethsemane and Jesus Christ going to the cross; the garden with the empty tomb and Christ's resurrection. I wrote up the first two messages, but somehow never got the third one written, then ended up losing the notes I had for it. A couple of years later, I preached these messages again.

This year, as we are getting closer to Easter, where the thoughts of many Christians and the religious world turn towards the cross and Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, I wanted to cover these messages again. But this time, I was thinking of a fourth garden - Paradise (which means "garden"), referring to the third heaven, the dwelling place of God.

Lord willing, this time I will get the third and (now) fourth studies written up. I plan on covering one per week until Easter (plus, a supplemental message from Days Of Praise devotionals: Make It As Sure As You Can).


The Story Of Four Gardens:
Part One - The Garden Of Eden


In Genesis chapter one, we have the account of Creation. Adam, the first man, was created on day six. God then created a garden eastward in Eden and placed man there in this perfect, sinless environment. Eden means “delight, pleasure.” There, all Adam’s needs would be met, and it would be a peaceful, blessed existence.

Genesis 2:15-17 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Only one command that Adam must not disobey, one command to test his love and obedience to the Lord God.

Then God made Eve, the first woman, from the rib of Adam. They were now one flesh, united together, walking in daily fellowship with the Lord… Until the serpent came along.

1) The Devil.

Genesis 3:1a Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.

The New Testament clearly teaches that it was the Devil that was speaking to Eve through the serpent. (See Revelation 12:9; John 8:44) Subtil means “cunning, crafty.” Martin Luther made this statement: “Satan’s first appearance was under the tree of knowledge.” It is also interesting to note that Satan’s first words were ones of doubt and distrust in what God had already clearly stated.

2) Doubt.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

“Did God really say? Did God really mean it? Can you really trust God?” These were some of the doubts the Devil was attempting to sow into Adam and Eve’s hearts. As an angel of light, a messenger (but not of God), he was creating confusion and deception. (See 2 Corinthians 11:3, 14; 1 Corinthians 14:33) Eve should never have hearkened to that voice.

Genesis 3:2-3 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

Here Eve does something good: she quotes the Word of God. But then she adds to it! God said “don’t eat of the tree”; He did not say “don’t touch it”. Once you start questioning the Word of God and moving from its solid mooring (by adding to, subtracting from, or twisting it), then you are on a dangerous, slippery slope. (See Revelation 22:18-19; 2 Peter 3:16)

3) Deception.

Genesis 3:4-5 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Here, we see the Devil outright contradicting God (ye shall not surely die), and enticing Eve with forbidden knowledge. Basically he is stating, “God is withholding something from you. He really doesn’t have your best interests in mind. Why not try this fruit yourself – and you can determine whether it is really good or not. Instead of having God rule over you, telling you what to do and not to do, you can be your own gods, be your own authority.” While most may not fall for the religious lie that they can literally become gods (as taught in Mormonism, the New Age religion, and various cults), many do fall for the lie that they can be their own gods – controlling their own lives, using their own fallen wisdom to direct themselves, instead of letting God and His Word be their guide and final authority.

First doubt, and then deception. The slippery slope was becoming less firm, sloping ever downwards. The road to Hell started with questioning God, but it didn’t end there. The temptation to partake of what God clearly commanded against was becoming more and more appealing. And the consequences became less and less intimidating… If death really wouldn’t come, then it really couldn’t hurt to eat of this fruit.

4) Disobedience.

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

"Hm, this does look like a good tree, not really much different than all the rest that we’ve been eating from. Actually, this fruit is quite pleasant looking, quite appealing – can’t be all that bad." And then the clincher: and a tree to be desired to make one wise. Not only was she listening to the serpent, she was now believing his word instead of God’s! There was no way the appearance of the fruit would have caused her to think that it could make her “wise”, but the Devil had planted those seeds of doubt, and now they took root.

For a more in-depth look at the temptation of Eve, please read my study, Three Avenues Of Temptation.

She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat. She disobeyed God’s clear command and ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In her deception, she probably was thinking, “I didn’t drop dead immediately – the serpent must have been telling the truth!”

And then here comes one of the saddest notes of the Scriptures: and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Adam was with her all the time! And he didn’t step in and rebuke Eve for listening to the serpent, nor did he chase it away. Instead he observed, and then partook after Eve did. Despite the lies and deception, the consequences of rebellion against God still took effect – just as God said would happen.

5) Death.

Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Their eyes were opened! But not in the way that Satan promised. They now did know good and evil, but it was no longer knowledge from a state of innocency, but from a state of guilt! And it was knowledge without the means to apply it - they no longer had the power to do good, but were enslaved to the evil. Notice the contrast between Genesis 2:25 and 3:7. Sin brought shame. They needed to cover this up somehow – hence the aprons made of fig leaves, something they themselves put together. But religious works can never truly cover or deal with the sins of man.

And death had come. Not physical death at first (though the process was now begun and they would eventually die physically) – but spiritual death, which is separation from the Lord God. We will see this clearly in the next part of this study.

6) Disrupted Fellowship.

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Now instead of fellowshipping with the Lord like they had been doing every day since they were created, here they sought to run and hide from Him.

Genesis 3:9-10 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

God knew where Adam and Eve were, He knew what they had done, and He knew how their sin created shame and fear in their hearts. His words were intended to draw them out of hiding and to bring a confession of guilt from them.

Genesis 3:11-13 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

At first, Adam and Eve are attempting to play the blame game, blaming others for the sin they have committed. However, they do acknowledge their own guilt and part in what had transpired: and I did eat. What Eve had spoken was true, she was deceived by the Devil. (See 1 Timothy 2:14) This is not an excuse that God would accept, however, as she needed to accept the blame for herself. If she had not been listening to the Devil, she would not have been confused and led astray by his lies!

7) Distressing Judgement and the Promised Deliverer.

Genesis 3:14-15 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.

Before sin entered into the world, God had His plan prepared. Now it was time to set it in motion. Judgement was pronounced on the serpent for being the willing instrument that Satan used. And judgement was threatened to the Devil for his enticing Adam and Eve to turn from the Lord and do evil.

There was also a promise given in several parts:

1) There would be enmity between the Devil and the woman.

2) Enmity between the seed of the Devil (physically-born children of man) and the seed of the women (spiritually-born children of man - born again of God).

3) A promised Redeemer – the seed of the woman. He would be the virgin born Son of God. This Deliverer would one day be bruised on the heel – implying a temporary wound that He would recover from (this was fulfilled when Jesus was crucified on the cross for our sins, died, was buried, and arose three days later), and the Devil would be bruised on the head – this was to be a mortal wound (fulfilled when Jesus defeated him by His death on the cross, and one day would completely bruise Satan underfoot – see Hebrews 2:14-16 and Romans 16:20).

Genesis 3:16-19 Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Here Adam and Eve are faced with the consequences of their distrust and disobedience to the Lord God: Sorrow, the curse, thorns, sweat, death. As the head of the human race, it was Adam’s disobedience that brought death into the world and upon all his descendents. The first Adam brought sin and death upon all mankind, the last Adam would one day restore all that was lost in the first Adam’s fall. And this Promised Deliverer would deal with each of the effects of the curse, but that will have to wait until our next study, The Garden Of Gethsemane.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 For since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:45-47 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second Man is the Lord from heaven.

8) A Determined Note Of Faith.

Genesis 3:20-21 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

The Lord clothed Adam and Eve with coats made of the skins of animals – this meant an animal had to shed its blood to cover their sin and had to die to clothe their nakedness and shame. All these animal sacrifices were a picture of and a prelude to the Lamb of God who would one day shed His blood and die upon the cross of Calvary to take away the sins of the world. (John 1:29) This plan was made before the foundation of the world, and would eventually be carried into effect about 4000 years later. (See 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:18-20; Revelation 13:8) As time went on, more was revealed about this Promised Deliverer, but the basics were already given: Someone would come and save them from their sins; this Messiah would be their righteousness (the covering for their sins)

Genesis 3:22-24 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of Us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Adam and Eve were now banished from the Garden of Eden into a sin-cursed world. The toil, sweat, and sorrow that they now faced would remind them of what it was once like in the Garden, and cause them to look for and long for the coming Messiah, who would remove all of sin’s curse.

It was doubt in God’s Word that initially brought disobedience, sin, and death into this world – and it would be faith (trust) in God’s Word and in the coming Messiah which would bring salvation to those who believed.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

October 30th, 2004
Jerry Bouey

The Story Of Four Gardens:
Part One - The Garden Of Eden (above)
Part Two - The Garden Of Gethsemane
Part Three - The Garden With The Empty Tomb (coming soon)
Part Four - Paradise, The Garden Of Eternity (coming soon)

The Touch Of Faith

Matthew 9:12-13 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Matthew 9:20-22 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Mark 5:25-34 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

A crowd surrounded Jesus as He went about preaching that day. So many people pressing in around Him - yet only one in that crowd touched Jesus; one woman, with an issue of blood, reached out to touch the hem of His garment; only one was made whole.

This Jewish woman had been sick for twelve years with an issue of blood - according to the Mosaic Law, she was considered unclean, and would therefore have been shunned or avoided by others. No doubt she heard of Jesus' claims to be the Great Physician and the Messiah. Would He be the one to heal her when all else failed?

There are many religious people going through the motions today - following their rituals, whether they be seeking church, meaningless repetition in prayer, baptism, communion, good works, following the Law - but never personally seeking the Saviour.

Here was a woman who was willing to seek the Saviour. She had spent all her money on the physicians, but they could not help her. Only the Great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ could. She got to where she decided she must touch Him. Regardless of the mass of people surrounding her, regardless of the difficulties and trials in seeking Him, she must go to Him - she must touch Him. Jesus was her only hope!

She was unclean, unworthy. Faint (from weakness resulting from her continual loss of blood), fearful (Luke 8:47 says she hid herself after she touched Him), faltering, but her sense of need compelled her to go to the Saviour.

She touched Jesus secretly (no doubt wondering how He and His disciples might react), tremblingly, hurriedly - BUT she touched Him by faith!

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

How about you? Have you realized your need of the Saviour? Reaching out by faith will bring Jesus' touch of healing on your life, your heart, your soul. He will make you whole. It might not be God's will to heal you physically of some affliction, but it is always His will to heal you spiritually!

Whatever your sins, whatever your past - touch the Saviour and He will heal you. Your touch of faith will bring God's touch of healing and forgiveness.

Like He had compassion on this sick woman in the crowd, He will have compassion on you. Won't you turn from your sins to the Saviour today?

I read this poem to close:

The Touch Of The Master's Hand

‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it was scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folk?" he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?
"A dollar - a dollar - then two, only two -
"Two dollars, and who'll make it three?

"Going for three" but no -
From the room far back, a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "NOW what am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars - and who'll make it two?
"Two thousand - and who'll make it three?
"Three thousand once - three thousand twice -
"And going - and gone," cried he.

The people cheered, but some cried,
"We do not understand what changed its worth?"
- Quick came the reply,
"The Touch of the Master's Hand."
And many a man with his life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned off cheap, to a thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.

A "mess of pottage - a glass of wine,
A game" - and he travels on:
He is going once - and going twice -
He's going - and almost gone!
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Can never quite understand,
The worth of a soul, and the change that's wrought,
By the Touch of the Master's Hand.

Poem written by Myra Brooks Welch

Preached on Friday April 1st/05
Jerry Bouey

Some of the points and thoughts in this devotional were gleaned by this message preached by Charles Spurgeon:

Real Contact With Jesus

Three Avenues Of Temptation

1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

In this passage we see Satan's three main avenues of temptation:

1. The lust of the eyes
- means forbidden longing or desire, covetousness, following after the sight of the eyes.

2. The lust of the flesh - means carnal desires, fulfilling the appetites of the flesh; fulfilling physical appetites outside of the will of God.

3. The pride of life - means selfishness, self-seeking; self-advancement.
pride = (Strong's #213) boasting, bragging, (by implication) self-confidence.
life = bios, physical life (as opposed to spiritual life, zoe).

Contrast the pride of life with charity (love) in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

We see Satan using these three main avenues of temptation in his temptations of Eve and Jesus:

Eve


Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The tree was good for food - the lust of the flesh.
It was pleasant to the eyes - the lust of the eyes.
A tree to be desired to make one wise - the pride of life.


Eve disregarded the Word of God (the command given previously to Adam) and gave in to the temptation.

Jesus

Matthew 4:1-3 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

Temptation to turn the stones to bread - the lust of the flesh.

Matthew 4:5-6 Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Temptation to tempt God and endanger Himself - the pride of life, ie. you are so important God won't let you hurt yourself recklessly.

Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Temptation to worship Satan to receive the kingdoms of the world - the lust of the eyes.

Jesus overcame all these temptations by continually meditating on and submitting Himself to the Word of God.

Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Matthew 4:10-11 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.

"Viewing the Old Testament in its unity, and the Messiah as the apex in the column of its history, we admit - or rather, we must expect - throughout points of correspondence between Moses, Elijah, and the Messiah. In fact, these may be described as marking the three stages in the history of the Covenant. Moses was its giver, Elijah its restorer, the Messiah its renewer and perfecter. And as such they all had, in a sense, a similar outward consecration for their work. But that neither Moses nor Elijah was assailed by the Devil, constitutes not the only, though a vital, difference between the fast of Moses and Elijah, and that of Jesus. Moses fasted in the middle, Elijah at the end, Jesus at the beginning of His ministry. Moses fasted in the Presence of God; Elijah alone; Jesus assaulted by the Devil. Moses had been called up by God; Elijah had gone forth in the bitterness of his own spirit; Jesus was driven by the Spirit. Moses failed after his forty days' fast; when in indignation he cast the Tables of the Law from him; Elijah failed before his forty days' fast; Jesus was assailed for forty days and endured the trial. Moses was angry against Israel; Elijah despaired of Israel; Jesus overcame for Israel." (Alfred Edersheim, The Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah, Volume 1 Page 295.)

There is another aspect of these temptations I would like to look more in-depth at later: the questioning and doubting of the Word of God, but will save that for another study.

I will end on this neat observation that the Lord pointed out to me this morning in my studying.

Look at the comparison between these two passages:

Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Revelation 21:10-11 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

The first passage deals with the kingdoms of the world, the temporal glory of them, and the temptation to turn aside to gain that "glory". The second passage deals with the Kingdom of Heaven, the eternal glory thereof - and we know for a fact that this city shown here is the Lord's! Jesus did not have to compromise to gain it! In fact, had He done so, He would have lost it for Himself and for us! Praise the Lord that the Son of God was faithful and did not give in to the temptations of the Devil!

Written September 6th, 2004
Jerry Bouey