“The Pride of Life”

THURSDAY
“The Pride of Life”

Matthew 4:8-9
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Satan now makes one final, desperate effort to corrupt Jesus. He reveals his real purpose, which is to get Jesus Christ to worship him. And He takes it up a notch by trying to sweeten it up for Jesus. Satan’s final test related to God’s plan for Jesus.

Some would say that Satan is offering something that Christ already had. But Satan was offering the fast track. Satan was saying, “You can have the kingdoms of this world right now and never have to go to the cross.” In this plan, Jesus supposedly could have been the King without the cross. This was a legitimate offer. Satan had the ability, under the sovereign authority of God, to give Jesus what he promised.

In the will of God, Jesus would achieve universal rule but only as the Suffering Servant who would have to endure the cross first. But the devil is offering it now… before the cross. One of the devil’s favorite methods is to entice us to attempt to achieve a worthy goal by unworthy methods.

Someone once said, “He who waits on God… loses no time.” In this third temptation, Satan appealed to the pride of life and tempted Jesus to be something apart from God’s will.

QUESTION: Are you trying to BE something apart from God’s will?

“The Lust of the Eyes”

WEDNESDAY
“The Lust of the Eyes”

Matthew 4:5-6
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

Jerusalem was considered the “center of the nations, with lands around her,” the “center of the world,” whose inhabitants “dwell at the center of the earth”. So…. when Jesus stood on the pinnacle of the temple, He was, theologically speaking, at the center of the world.

Satan wanted Jesus to jump off in a sensational display of his Kingship. Sensationalism has always appealed to people. Many people are willing to believe almost anyone or anything as long as the claims are accompanied by fantastic happenings.

Satan then quotes scripture to Jesus. However, he purposely did not quote Psalm 91:11-12 accurately. He left out an important phrase, “in all your ways.” According to the psalmist, a person is protected only when he is following the Lord’s will.

Satan wanted Jesus to test God but “testing is not trusting.” Do you see what the Devil is doing here? He is testing Jesus and trying to get Him to say yes to the wrong things. In this second test, Satan appealed to the lust of the eyes and is tempting Jesus to have something apart from God’s will.

QUESTION: Are you trying to HAVE something apart from God’s will?

“The Lust of the Flesh”

TUESDAY
“The Lust of the Flesh”

Matthew 4:1-3
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

Looking at the life of Jesus helps us gain clarity in our own lives. This is a turning point in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus is going to be tested in the wilderness and is going to say “NO” three times. What we see here is that Jesus is willing to say no to the counterfeit offers that Satan makes.

The form of Satan’s question in the Greek text indicates that Satan assumed that Jesus was the Son of God. The Greek conditional phrase assumes that Jesus is indeed the divine Son. To submit to Satan’s suggestion and satisfy His hunger would have been outside of God’s will.

The Spirit of God is leading Jesus. This same Spirit who brought Jesus into the world (1:20) and demonstrated God’s approval of Him (3:16) now led Him into the wilderness for tempting by Satan. First, Satan appealed to the lust of the flesh.

In this first temptation, Satan’s goal was to seduce Jesus into using His God-given power and authority to independently work outside of His Father’s will. Jesus was being challenged to do something apart from God’s will.

QUESTION: Are you trying to DO something apart from God’s will?

“Well Pleased”

MONDAY
“Well Pleased”

Matthew 3:16-17
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Why did Jesus choose to be baptized by John the Baptist? Because Jesus lived a perfect life, He was not in need of the baptism that John offered for the repentance of sins. Jesus did not need cleansing from any sins. Perhaps this is why John was so hesitant to baptize Jesus.

Only Matthew records the opposition that John voiced. If Jesus was going to provide righteousness for sinners, He must be identified with sinners. Because of this, it was in the will of God for Him to be baptized by John in order to be identified (the real meaning of the word “baptized”) with sinners.

For a believer in Jesus Christ, Baptism is simply an outward expression of what God has done inwardly. It is an opportunity for an individual to visibly identify with a group of believers and publically communicate that they have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for eternal life. Although baptism does not save a person (give them eternal life), it does identify them with others who have believed in Christ for eternal life.

One of the interesting things about this passage is how it ends. All three persons of God are present (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and God the Father says, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” God repeated these words about Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:5).

Why does God not say that He is “proud” of His Son? Twice God uses the phrase “well pleased” when talking about Jesus instead of the word “proud”. Pride is never celebrated in the Bible. Perhaps we should be cautious in saying that we are proud of someone.

WARNING: Take caution whenever you are feeling and expressing pride.

“Who Are You Listening To?”

“Digging Deeper”
An opportunity for you to continue your study of God’s Word throughout the week…

FRIDAY
“Who Are You Listening To?”

Acts 2:42
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the PRAYERS.

This is the second time devotion to prayer is mentioned in the book of Acts. In chapter 1, Luke tells us “all these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer.” In order to enjoy the power of prayer, we must understand the purpose of prayer. Prayer is not our way of getting our will done in Heaven. It is God’s way of getting His will done on Earth.

If a student is too lazy to study, they shouldn’t complain when they receive an F on a test. If a Christian is too lazy to find out what God says about a subject, he shouldn’t be surprised when he lacks the understanding he needs to handle situations in his life.

THOUGHT: Work like it all depends on you… but pray like it all depends on God… because it does.

“Examine Yourself”

“Digging Deeper”
An opportunity for you to continue your study of God’s Word throughout the week…

THURSDAY
“Examine Yourself”

Acts 2:42
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the BREAKING OF BREAD and the prayers.

In Luke’s Gospel, he describes Jesus breaking bread with His disciples at the last supper. “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

A FEW THOUGHTS:

• Communion is a time to remember what Christ did for you.
• Communion bread and juice are symbols of Jesus’ Body.
• Communion is a time to evaluate your life in light of the Word.
• Communion is an important part of the life of a disciple of Christ.
• Communion should not be taken casually.

1 CORINTHIANS 11:28-29: “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

THOUGHT: Before, during, and AFTER communion, examine yourself.

“Who Are You Spending Time With?”

“Digging Deeper”
An opportunity for you to continue your study of God’s Word throughout the week…

WEDNESDAY
“Who Are You Spending Time With?”

Acts 2:42
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the FELLOWSHIP, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Time is our most valuable asset and everyone has the same amount of time every day. We may say we “don’t have time” for certain things but everyone has the same 24 hours in each day. How we choose to invest that time is the only difference. We don’t “make time” for things… only God can make time. We simply choose how to use the time He has given us. Luke continues his thought in verses 43-44.

43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.

This is where we find weakness in most of our American churches today. In 2005, ten million self-identifying Christians in the United States admitted that they had not attended church in the last six months except for special holidays. Across our country, only 12% of churchgoers attend classes or small groups at least once a month.

Of the over 44,000 Southern Baptist churches in the US, fewer than 300 average over 1000 attending weekly small group meetings. Here at FBC Hendersonville, we fit into the “less than one percent” of SBC churches with this number of people meeting in weekly small groups. Over the years, our church has found this to be a source of strength and stability for our congregation in times of transition.

THOUGHT: Isolated faith may be PERSONAL, but it’s not POWERFUL.

“Adventures in missing the point”

“Digging Deeper”
An opportunity for you to continue your study of God’s Word throughout the week…

TUESDAY
“Adventures in missing the point”

Acts 2:42
And they devoted themselves to the APOSTLES’ TEACHING and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Dr. Tony Evans illustrates that in the game of football, there is no game without the ball. Players can put on the gear, wear the helmets, and walk in the cleats, but there is no game without the ball. Nothing really matters much in football if you don’t have the ball.

When you think about it, that little ball controls a lot. A touchdown is only a touchdown measured by where the ball is. A first down is only a first down measured by where the ball is.

In the Christian faith it is possible to have a bunch of stuff right. However, if you don’t have the main thing, everything else is a waste of time. Just like we can’t play football without a football, we can’t be effective Christians without the truth of the BIBLE active in our lives.

Any follower of Christ who does not regularly examine the Word will not grow appropriately. God speaks primarily through His Word and we should make our time in the Word a priority. For too many people, the Bible is like a Queen. She holds the top position, but has no real power.

CHALLENGE: Get in the Word and let the Word get in you.

“What are you doing… and why?”

“Digging Deeper”
An opportunity for you to continue your study of God’s Word throughout the week…

MONDAY
“What are you doing… and why?”

Acts 2:42
And they DEVOTED themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

A lot happens in the book of Acts. Just before today’s verse, Luke described the coming of the Holy Spirit and Peter’s sermon that resulted in 3000 people being added to the early church. The book of Acts is full of first time events:

• The first coming of the Spirit and Christian preaching (chap. 2)
• The first Christian Church (chap. 2)
• The first resistance to Christianity (chap. 4)
• The first persecution (chap. 4)
• The first prayer meeting (chap. 4) and sin in the Church (chap. 5)
• The first Church problem (chap. 6) and first martyr (chap. 7)
• The first Church extension (chap. 8)
• The first Gentile Church and Church Council (chap. 11).
• The first missionary and missionary methods (chaps. 13, 14)
• The first Church disagreement (chap. 15)
• The first Church in Europe (chap. 16)
• The first address to Christian ministers (chap. 20)

We think our lives today are busy but the early church was surrounded with constant activity and change. Luke wants his readers to know that these 3000 plus new Christians were “DEVOTED” to four landmark activities. It is unlikely that they did these things because they felt like they had to out of obligation. Rather, they probably saw these activities as new opportunities to do things they never could before.

Devotion to these spiritual activities is what uniquely defines both the early church in the book of Acts and the church today. Consider this… the church today should DEVOTE itself to these activities both individually and corporately. We should guard against ever replacing them with other activities in the hope of drawing a larger crowd.

As we look at each of these four activities over the next week, remember that devotion is a matter of conviction and passion… not obligation and guilt. We should find this four-fold passion in our lives. This passion should be driven by an attitude of “I GET TO” not “I HAVE TO”. What are you passionate about?

CONSIDER THIS: Our devotion to God is a “GET TO” not a “HAVE TO”.

IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU”

“Digging Deeper”
An opportunity for you to continue your study of God’s Word throughout the week…

FRIDAY
“IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU”

EXODUS 4:10-11
Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

Dr. Tom Constable says the following about these verses.

“Rather than inspiring confidence in Moses God’s commission frightened him (vv. 10–12). Moses’ claim to be slow of speech (not handicapped, but lacking in eloquence) was a thinly veiled excuse by which Moses hoped to escape his calling. Stephen said Moses was eloquent (Acts 7:22). Apparently Moses felt he did not have sufficient oratorical ability to persuade the Israelite elders or Pharaoh. God assured Moses that He would enable Him to communicate effectively. Again God reminded Moses that He was the creator.”

THOUGHT: God doesn’t call the equipped… He equips the called.