Scripture Memory: True Wisdom
VERSE : Proverbs 3:7 "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness
27 January 2013
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Victory Over Temptations to Sin, Jas 1:13-18)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Dn Lee Hock Chin (Christ, the Living Word Made Flesh, Jn 1:1-14)
3 February 2013
8 am Worship Service:
Eld Khoo Peng Kiat (Victory Over Unrighteous Anger, Jas 1:19-21)
1045am Worship Service:
Rev Colin Wong (Victory Over Unrighteous Anger, Jas 1:19-21)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Frank Low (Christ, the Son of Man, Heb 2:5-18)
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HOW DO YOU HANDLE TEMPTATION?
Temptation assails everyone, saint and sinner alike. It comes from many sources – the environment we live in, the people we associate with, and sometimes even from those who are closest to us. If we are not vigilant and watchful in what we say, do and think we will slide easily into sin. Temptation must be handled swiftly and decisively.
But how can we handle them effectively? We can only do so through our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Philippians 4:13). He alone was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). And He has set the perfect example for handling temptation. Much valuable insight can be gained from observing the means He used to handle temptation in Matthew 4:1-11.
How Jesus Handled Temptation
The circumstances that led to this event are given in v.1: "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 hungered."
The first thing we note is that Christ was led by the Holy Spirit to be tempted. In other words, it was God’s will that He should be tempted. This assures us that we will never face any temptation that is too great for us to handle since God knows our limitations (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13).
The second thing we note is that Christ was tempted in the wilderness. This was probably the Wilderness of Judah on the north-western side of the Dead Sea. Christ spent 40 days in this hot and desolate place without conveniences, food, shelter or companionship. This would stress and weaken any man and render him more susceptible to temptation.
Like a roaring lion, Satan strikes when his prey is weak (1 Peter 5:8). We must therefore be more careful when we are weak, and prepare ourselves well before facing any physically and mentally stressful experience. We will now look at the three temptations that Jesus faced.
1. An Appeal to Physical Needs and Desires
"If thou be the Son of God command that these stones be made bread." (v.3). Why did Jesus refuse to satisfy his hunger? It is because obeying God’s command to fast for 40 days was more important to Him than meeting His pressing need for food. Thus He replied: "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (v.4).
Have you ever satisfied your physical needs instead of obeying God? Jesus understands your physical needs well, since He experienced them all before. But He will not be pleased if you choose to satisfy them rather than to obey Him. So let your priorities be based on the principle of obedience to Him. This will bring far greater satisfaction to you in eternity than any physical satisfaction.
2. An Appeal to the Pride of Life
"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." (vv.5, 6, cf. Psalm 91:11,12).
This shows that Satan knows God’s Word well and abuses it for his own advantage. He quoted God’s promise in Psalm 91 to protect us from danger, but took it out of context. The promise does not give anyone licence put himself in danger.
Satan was challenging Jesus to leap from the highest point of the Temple to force God to save Him, and if this happens then Jesus must be someone very great and special. This was therefore an appeal to self-centred pride, exalting itself at God’s expense. The same appeal comes to us today in the form of the Prosperity Gospel which tempts people to use God as a means to obtain all the good things in life for themselves.
To make use of God for our own selfish purposes is to do what Satan tempted Jesus to do, and that is to put God to the test. We exist to do His will and not He, ours. Be careful when an appeal is made to pride in your life, to receive honour that is due to God alone. Remember the principle: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
3. An Appeal to Power and Ambition
We come now to the third temptation: "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." (vv.8, 9).
Here Jesus is offered full jurisdiction over all the world’s kingdoms if He would only fulfil one easy requirement — to bow down and worship Satan. What right does Satan have to offer these kingdoms to Christ? The Bible tells us that he is the prince or god of this world (John 14:30; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4). He has a network of fallen angels who are assigned to influence or control the world’s kingdoms (cf. Daniel 10:20). In this sense, Satan did have a right to offer these kingdoms to Jesus.
But why did he use this offer to tempt Jesus? According to 1 Corinthians 15:24, the ultimate mission of Jesus is to gain the whole world for His Kingdom in order to finally deliver it up to God. In the process of doing this, Jesus will also destroy Satan’s power over the world. But Jesus was to do this by suffering and dying on the cross. Satan was therefore offering Him an easier way to fulfil His ultimate mission.
Have you ever been tempted to take the easy way out? Perhaps you are offered a prized position or possession that you had always been longing for. But to get it you have to do something dishonest or immoral. It is extremely hard to resist the offer because of all the pleasure, popularity, wealth or power that you stand to gain from it. And though you risk losing everything if your dishonesty or immoral act is publicly exposed, you think that you will be ‘lucky’ enough to avoid discovery. That is what most people think – until they are caught.
When you are tempted to take the easy way out, please remember that the end does not justify the means used to attain it. This is why Jesus refused to agree to the condition laid down by Satan. The worship that he required would grossly violate the most important principle in Scripture: Worship belongs to God alone (cf. Deuteronomy 10:20).
Never do anything ethically or morally questionable or dishonouring to God, even though this might mean losing something you want very much, and though it would mean forsaking some great opportunity to gain power or fulfil your life-long ambition. Your foremost consideration should be: "Will God be pleased with what I am doing?"
The Key to Handle Temptation Effectively
Now that we have seen all three temptations that Jesus faced, we can understand how He handled them effectively. The common denominator in the way He handled them is His words, "It is written…" (vv. 4,7,10). This refers to the Holy Scriptures. Jesus consistently used the Scriptures to handle temptations. By this example He teaches us the importance of using the Word of God to handle our own temptations. Christ prepared Himself well by memorising Scripture.
The key to handling temptation effectively is the knowledge and application of the Word of God. Unless we take time to learn the Word and resolve to apply it, we will not be strong enough to resist temptation. If we neglect the Bible or spend only a little time reading it, we will be vulnerable and weak when temptation comes.
The psalmist said, "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." (Psalm 119:11) So important is the knowledge of God’s Word for success in our battle with sin and Satan that Paul designates it as the foundational piece of our spiritual armour, namely "the Belt of Truth" (Ephesians 6:14). The Word of God is also the "Sword of the Spirit," the only weapon that is effective enough to counter the attacks of the Evil One.
The best way for you to handle temptation effectively is to know God’s Word well. Hide it in your heart by memorizing verses from the Scripture. Then commit yourself to live by it with God’s help. By doing this you will be well prepared to handle the temptations you face every day.
Please make full use of the Scripture Memory Programme of our church and participate in each review exercise. Do it together with your family or with your church friends. You will find many helpful resources for memorising and meditating on the memory verses at www.lifebpc.com. May this help all of us to live victoriously for Christ in a modern world! —Pastor
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1) Membership Roll Update Exercise: If you are a member of Life B-P Church, please fill the form and put it in the box at the church entrance.
2) Combined Lunar New Year Service, 10 Feb 13 at 9.00 am. Rev Peter Chng will be speaking on "Looking Forward to 2013", Rom 15:5-6.
3) Lord’s Supper for the 8.00 am service will be held on 17 Feb instead of 10 Feb 13 because of Chinese New Year.
4) 2013 Life B-P Church Camp will be held from 17-20 June 2013 at Bintan Lagoon, Indonesia. Please apply for leave early and join us for a time of spiritual feasting as Dr Paul Choo shares on the theme "Armoured for Victory." Look out for more information when registration opens in early 2013.
5) Thank God for the gift of a baby boy to Drs Addy and Valerie Tan on 17 Jan 2013
Preaching appointment: Rev Seet at Herald BPC, 9.30 am. Rev Wong in Nepal till 29 Jan 13.