October 26, 2014 The Necessity of Temptations

The Necessity of Temptations

In Jesus’ letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, He calls for repentance and returning to lifestyles driven by belief in John 14.6.  We know from Jesus’ Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.18-23, some receive this word of salvation but turn away for reasons of persecution or enticement.  Paul commented on the seriousness of this in Hebrews 6.4-6; denying Jesus after receiving Him as Savior condemns you, irreparably, to eternal separation from Him.  An Old Testament similarity is God’s instructions to those who had been bitten by venomous snakes in the desert, in Numbers 21.4-9; some died because they would not look at the figure on the pole.

Even so today, Jesus is winnowing His church, separating true believers from pretenders.  Jesus discussed this in Matthew 25.31-46.  Your true confession is revealed by your actions.  Paul discussed a similar illustration in 1 Corinthians 11.17-22.  Consider Paul’s admonishment in 2 Corinthians 13.5.  These are days of preparation for Jesus’ return.  Yvonne had a vision of driving up to a traffic light that showed only red or green.  Jesus said there will be no more yellow warnings!

Signs of Jesus’ Soon Return.

  • Mankind continues to walk with deceived imaginations.  God commented on this devolution in Jeremiah 13.10, a fundamental explanation of world problems today.  Paul commented on this in Acts 17.22-31 and Colossians 2.8-10.
  • Paul, also, foretold Timothy of conditions today in 2 Timothy 3.1-5.  You read these stories in newspapers and see them depicted on television and in movies and videos.  Even the lesbian mayor of a major US city has challenged Christian pastors who have spoken against this abomination.  Satan does not want to be censured by the name ‘Jesus’!
  • Without Jesus, there is no hope for this lost world!  Conditions are truly as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4.3-4!

“Woe to the world!”

  • These times are not new.  Consider God’s judgment of those described in Isaiah 5.20-23.
  • What is ‘woe’?  Your dictionary defines woe as ‘great sorrow or distress’.  Reread these verses with that in mind.
  • Now, read Jesus’ words in Matthew 18.7 with the same understanding.  Consider, the distress that you might inflict upon someone is limited to your strength.  How will mankind survive the distress put upon them by the Omnipotent God?  That is woe!
  • Such woe is described in the wrath of God upon the earth in the various judgments in Revelation 6-16.  Again, compare the current effects of wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes with the magnified impact of the events to come.  Do you want to experience these?  True followers of Jesus will have been Raptured in Revelation 4.1!

Why such woe?

  • Jesus answered in Matthew 18.7: temptations to sin.  That is, temptations to rebel against God, taking various forms called sins, described by Paul in Romans 8.5-8 and listed in Galatians 5.19-21.
  • The world will be judged because of temptations to sin.  What sins does the world promote? Who is the ruler of the world?  So, satan will be judged because of his schemes that continue to devastate people; see Isaiah 14.12.  Remember that all the devastation of Egypt was God’s judgment of their gods; see Exodus 12.12.
  • The one promoting the temptations to sin will also experience God’s ‘woe’ (distress). Consider Jesus’ warning about tempting another to sin, in Mark 9.42.  ‘Little ones’ are followers of Jesus who are ‘harmless as doves’ (Matthew 10.16).
  • Do you tempt another to sin?  Compare your habits and interests you share with others to the Biblical standard.  Someone is watching you.  Consider Paul’s discourse in 1 Corinthians 8.1-13 and Romans 14.13-23.  Freedom is not license.

The Necessity of Temptations

  • In Matthew 18.7, Jesus said that temptations are necessary.
  • Why?  Jesus is separating true believers from pretenders.  Consider His discussion of this in Matthew 13.24-30.  The harvesters could not tell the true grain from the fake, sown by an enemy, until the final harvest.
  • It is coming soon!  There are no more warning, yellow traffic lights!
  • Are you ready?  Are your family members?  Friends?  Anyone else of concern to you?
  • Remember: soon!

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2014.  www.sozoclass.com

October 5, 2014 Strange Teachings

Strange Teachings

In 60 AD, while in his second imprisonment in Rome, Paul took time to reflect on the strange teachings he had encountered in his travels to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to peoples throughout Asia Minor and Greece who had never heard of Jesus (Romans 15.20).  He wrote a summary statement of these strange teachings in Colossians 2.8-10 showing their origin and comparative validity.  Five to ten years earlier, while awaiting Timothy in Athens, Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to warn the philosophers on Mars Hill that God’s patience would not last forever (Acts 17.22-31;  53 AD), that they should return to Him from such corrupted imaginations (Jeremiah 13.10).  Are you able to separate the ‘strange teachings’ proclaimed as truth today from the real truth of Jesus?  How do you push back against aberrant belief systems?…like Jesus.

When does good go bad?  What is the tipping point?

  • Following the devolving path of Jeremiah 13.10, when does your desire for ‘wealth, wisdom, and strength or beauty or health’ become wrong? 
  • Jeremiah 9.23 list these as benefits of walking with God, of knowing and understanding Him.
  • But, you will be tempted by satan to focus on one or more of them instead of seeing God through them like Jesus said in Matthew 13.22.  That is, for what use has God given the bountiful or sufficient amount of each for your use leading to (1) knowing and understanding Him (Jeremiah 9.24) and (2) in reconciling man to God (2 Corinthians 5.20)?  How are these God’s tools?
  • What satanic spirit, alluded to in Jeremiah 13.10 shows up to turn your accumulation of wealth into greed (1 John 2.15-17)?  When do you begin to notice you have more wealth than someone else but less than one you want to surpass? When do you forget Proverbs 23.4-5 and trade Jesus for the god of 1 Timothy 6.10?  Heed Hebrews 13.5!  Watch for the symptoms!
  • What satanic spirit alluded to in Jeremiah 13.10 shows up to turn your achievement of wisdom into pride (1 John 2.15-17)?  When do you begin to notice you have more wisdom than someone else?  How can you temper satan’s deception with Romans 12.3?  How does this verse speak about Jeremiah 9.24?
  • What satanic spirit alluded to in Jeremiah 13.10 shows up to turn your appearance of body into an enticement to lust (1 John 2.15-17)?  How should Proverbs 31.30 be used by women?  How should Jeremiah 12.5 be used by men?  How should Matthew 5.27-28 keep you pure?
  • How does Philippians 4.11-13 describe how Paul had learned to deal with these tipping points?
  • In its essence, does not Jeremiah 9.24 infer that verse 23 will follow as the result?  Is this not what Jesus said in Matthew 6.33?
  • Which of satan’s temptations of Jesus in Matthew 4.1-11 were greed, lust, and pride?  Why did Jesus not give in?  How did He resist?  How can you repeat His defense?  Notice that satan’s temptations appealed to Jesus’ humanity, His flesh.  That’s where your vulnerability begins, too!  2 Corinthians 5.16.

How are man’s philosophies a covering for his real problem, which is what?

  • Sin is rebellion!  Sins are different forms of rebellion.  Hebrews 11.6.
  • What was King Saul’s sin and sins in 1 Samuel 15.22-23?  What pressing human need caused him to overstep his boundaries?  What did God say about this through Samuel?  What can you learn about your vulnerability through this example?  If you are rebelling against God, you are sinning against God! Followers of Jesus return through 1 John 1.9.  Those without Jesus start with John 3.16.
  • “For several decades we psychologists looked upon the whole matter of sin and moral accountability as a great incubus and acclaimed our liberation from it as epoch making. But at length we have discovered that to be free in this sense, that is, to have the excuse of being sick rather than sinful, is to court the danger of also becoming lost. This danger is, I believe, betokened by the widespread interest in existentialism, which we are presently witnessing. In becoming amoral, ethically neutral and free, we have cut the very roots of our being, lost our deepest sense of selfhood and identity, and with neurotics, themselves, we find ourselves asking, ‘Who am I, what is my deepest destiny, what does living mean?’” (quoting Psychology Professor Hobart Mowrer; Ravi Zacharias, (1994), Can Man Live Without God (Dallas, TX: Word). p. 138).
  • Existentialism is sin.  Individual free acts of the will.  No objective controls, like the Bible.
  • Paul identified this in 60 AD, sitting in house arrest with Roman soldiers nearby, in Rome.  Where will you reflect on such and reach Paul’s conclusion in Colossians 2.8-10?  Don’t let satan’s schemes result in seeing yourself in Hebrews 6.4-6.  Remember Paul’s warning in Acts 17.30-31.  Check your imagination against God’s unchanging truth; Jeremiah 13.10Malachi 3.6!

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2014.   www.sozoclass.com