"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER" Our Duties To Each Other (3:8-12) by Mark Copeland


Our Duties To Each Other (3:8-12)


1. So far in his epistle, Peter has defined the Christian's duties in 
   various relationships...
   a. Our duty in relation to those of the world - 1Pe 2:11-12
   b. Our duty in relation to governmental authorities - 1Pe 2:13-17
   c. Our duty in a servant-master relationship - 1Pe 2:18-25
   d. Our duty in wife-husband relationships - 1Pe 3:1-7

2. Beginning now in verse 8 of the third chapter, Peter defines our
   duty to each other as brethren in Christ...

[Peter will provide motivation to fulfill our duties to one another in 
verses 10-12, but let's first consider what these duties are...]


   A. TO "BE OF ONE MIND" (NASV, "harmonious")...
      1. That is, to be united in the same purpose, the same goal
      2. Jesus prayed for this kind of unity in Jn 17:20-21
      3. A church that demonstrated this "oneness of mind" is that of 
         Jerusalem - Ac 4:32
      4. How can we have this "oneness of mind"?
         a. It is attainable only to the extent that we all submit to 
            the will of God
         b. Therefore, we all need to make God's Will our will, His 
            Purpose our purpose
         c. Even as Christ did while on earth - cf. Jn 5:30

      1. This means to have pity, a feeling of distress toward the ills
         of others
      2. It is that disposition which is moved by the problems of 
         others (like sickness, hardships, etc.)
      3. This is the attitude manifested by Jesus...
         a. During His earthly ministry - Mt 9:35-36
         b. During His heavenly ministry - He 4:15
      4. Such compassion can only come from a tender, loving heart, 
         which may be why Peter goes on to say that we need...

      1. Literally, this means to be "brother lovers"
      2. This attribute is essential, if we are to...
         a. Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ - 2Pe 1:7-8
         b. Convince the world that we are truly disciples of Jesus - 
            Jn 13:35
      3. Are you a "brother lover"?  If not...
         a. You are not a lover of God, either! - 1Jn 4:20
         b. You do not even know God! - 1Jn 4:7-8
      4. Here is one way to know if you are a "brother lover"...
         a. Ask yourself this question:  "Do I even know my brother?"
         b. If you don't, how can you honestly say that you are a 
            "brother lover"?
   D. TO "BE TENDERHEARTED" (NASV, "kindhearted")...
      1. It is this kind of heart that is compassionate, capable of 
         loving our brethren
      2. The opposite would be "cold-hearted", where we are insensitive
         to the needs and feelings of others
      3. Even if we start out as "cold-hearted", in Christ Jesus we can
         and must undergo a transformation, in which we develop a 
         "tender heart" - cf. Ep 4:22-24, 31-32; Col 3:8-10,12
      4. Have you considered what kind of heart you have?

   E. TO "BE COURTEOUS" (NASV, "humble in spirit")...
      1. Literally, to be "friendly of mind, kind"
         a. Such courtesy would imply a humility of spirit
         b. For an arrogant or proud spirit does not bother to be 
      2. Christians are to imitate their Lord and Savior, and not think
         so highly of themselves that they cannot be kind and courteous
         to others - cf. Php 2:3-5

      1. When someone (e.g., a brother) does us evil, we are to respond
         with a blessing!
      2. While this may go against "human nature", Peter gives two 
         reasons why we are to react in this way:
         a. We are called to follow the example of Christ 
            - cf. 1Pe 3:9 with 1Pe 2:21-23
         b. That we might receive a blessing from God - cf. Lk 6:35

[These are six duties that we have one toward another.  They are part 
of what constitutes the Christ-like character that we are to develop as
His disciples.

Being saved, then, is not the end of God's plan for us; He would have 
us become like His Son (cf. Ro 8:29).  To motivate us in fulfilling 
these duties, Peter quotes from the 34th Psalm...]


      1. Everyone wishes to enjoy life as they experience it from day 
         to day...
         a. But too often, many make their own lives miserable by their
            own self-seeking, self-destructive attitudes
         b. Constantly complaining, contentious, retaliating to evil 
            with evil, they only aggravate the situation
      2. But David in his psalm gives the secret to loving life and 
         seeing good days:
         a. Refrain the tongue from evil, and lips from speaking guile 
            - 1Pe 3:10
            1) I.e., don't engage in slander, backbiting, complaining, 
               lying, murmuring, and grumbling
            2) It doesn't solve difficulties, but only makes them worse
         b. Do good, seek peace and pursue it - 1Pe 3:11
            1) I.e., do the very kind of things mentioned by Peter in 
               1Pe 3:8-9
            2) Only then will your life be pleasant, for the qualities 
               described by Peter...
               a) Make the best out of difficult situations
               b) Make good situations even better!

      1. Only by doing the will of God (as found in 1Pe 3:8-9) can we
         ensure that...
         a. His gracious eyes will watch over us
         b. His ears will be open to our prayers
      2. On the other hand, the Lord's face is against those who do 
         evil, and will not hear their prayers
      3. Indeed, consider the list of abominations found in Pr 6:16-19
         and notice how many are the direct opposite of how we are to be...
         a. We are to be courteous (humble) - but the Lord hates a 
            proud look!
         b. We are to be compassionate - but abusing the innocent is an
            abomination to the Lord!
         c. We are to be tender-hearted - but the Lord hates a cold 
            heart that thinks evil of others!
         d. We are to return good for evil - but those who respond 
            quickly with evil, the Lord abhors!
         e. We are to be of one mind - but if we sow discord by 
            murmuring and complaining, we are abominable in God's 


1. So if we want the Lord to watch over us, if we want Him to heed our 
   prayers, let us be sure to fulfill our duties to each other as 
   brethren as outlined by Peter in verses 8-9

2. In so doing, we will enjoy life to its fullest, and see many good 
   days during our pilgrimage here on earth!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Scientists Are Human, Too! by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


Scientists Are Human, Too!

by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

The scientific community has been doing some soul-searching of late. At the center of the issue is the question of objectivity in science. The philosophy of scientism would have us believe that science is the only road to truth and, therefore, that scientists are the sole guardians of knowledge. Practically speaking, most scientists probably would acknowledge that science is a human endeavor and, consequently, subject to the imperfections of its practitioners. Nonetheless, the scientific establishment is wrestling with issues of pseudoscience, bias, and fraud.


This first category usually includes the paranormal, various New Age beliefs, and personal encounters with UFOs. Proponents of naturalism and materialism expand this definition to include any scientific theory that challenges their personal perception of the world. Examples would be creationism, cold fusion, homeopathic medicine, and the Gaia hypothesis. Personally, I do not subscribe to the last three ideas. However, some scientists depart from objectivity in their harsh criticism of such unconventional views.


Of course, creationists have argued that their view can compete on the same level as evolutionary theories (e.g., Geisler and Anderson, 1987). It is here that I raise the issue of bias. In the big picture, the purpose of consensus is to prevent confusion arising from unconfirmed or seemingly suspect research. Supposedly, scientists will not accept any new theory until their collective learning and experience tell them that it is better than the existing one. Still, some charge that editors of professional journals, and peer reviewers, occasionally resist publishing opposing views. Consensus should not censor, but should encourage more rigorous work.
Sometimes the resistance can be great indeed. For example, Halton Arp thinks he has found evidence that supports his theory against the prevailing Big Bang theory. However, he has difficulty getting access to major telescopes because other scientists do not believe he could possibly be right (Arp, 1990).
The same people will hardly give creationism a fair hearing. The following list is a small selection of attitudes that illustrate my point.
Faith in creation is personal and subjective, whereas faith in evolution is universal and objective (Ferrell, 1991).
Any scientific experiments that set out to confirm the Bible are automatically unscientific (Rice, 1989).
Although Werhner von Braun led America into space, his belief in creationism prevents him from being considered a “true” scientist (Jones, 1989).
One evolutionist said this in response to the young age of dinosaur bones dated by a group of creationists: “No matter what date they claim, the dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago” (Lafferty, 1991).


Sadly, fraud and misconduct have tainted the history of science. Perhaps the most famous example is the so-called Piltdown man, which was announced to the world in 1912. Clever forgers put a human skull with the jaw bone of a modern ape, and aged it artificially. The hoax fooled many great experts until the early 1950s, when new techniques exposed the deception. This is an embarrassing incident, not just for science, but for evolution. For almost forty years, evolutionists pointed to the Piltdown man as an example of the alleged ape-man transition. The Piltdown case has a positive side, however. It teaches us that science can correct itself, despite the consensus.


Some scientists may call our view pseudoscience, look with bias on our scientific case, and present false arguments to the world, whether intentional or otherwise. However, science itself is not the enemy of truth. Certainly, science and scientists have their limitations, but we can work within those limitations to advance the cause of our Creator.


Arp, Halton (1990), “Discordant Observations,” Science, 249:611, August 10.
Ferrell, Keith (1991), “The Chasm of Creationism,” Omni, 14[1]:14, October.
Geisler, Norman L. and J. Kerby Anderson (1987), Origin Science (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Jones, Lewis (1989), “The Two Cultures: A Resurrection,” Skeptical Inquirer, 14[1]:57-64, Fall.
Lafferty, Michael B. (1991), “Creationists Say Dinosaurs Lived With Man,” Columbus Dispatch, pp. 1B-2B, November 3
Rice, Stanley (1989), “ ‘Faithful in the Little Things’: Creationists and ‘Operation Science,’ ” Creation/Evolution, 25:8-14.

Originally published in Reason & Revelation, March 1993, 13[3]:22. Copyright © 1993 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

Science: Instituted by God by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


Science: Instituted by God

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Some contend that science is at odds with religion. They suggest that the scientific method requires empirical testing, but God’s existence cannot be empirically verified. Science supposedly proves the Big Bang, evolutionary theory, a very old Universe, and dinosaurs that never co-existed with humans, while the Bible mistakenly contends that the Universe was created in six literal, 24-hour days only a few thousand years ago, with humans and dinosaurs being created together on day six. Supposedly, science is based on verifiable evidence, whereas religion is based on “blind faith” and ambiguous “tinglies” attributed to the Holy Spirit. For such reasons, it is claimed that science and Scripture cannot be harmonized—that they are diametrically opposed to each another.
In reality, however, true science agrees perfectly with Scripture. Though God’s existence cannot be empirically verified, it can be easily verified through deductive reasoning from the scientific evidence available to us—in the same way forensic scientists use science to investigate events that they did not personally witness. While atheists have successfully created the mirage that science supports their theories, abundant scientific evidence exists which disproves the Big Bang Theory, evolutionary theory, an old Universe, and proves that dinosaurs and humans co-existed (see www.apologeticspress.org for more information on these matters). And yet, no scientific evidence exists that contradicts the true creation model. Rather, the evidence always supports it. The concept of “blind faith,” though championed by many who call themselves Christians, is at odds with Scripture, which defines faith as choosing to believe in something, based on the evidence that has been presented for it, and responding accordingly (see Miller, 2003). Atheistic scientists are simply wrong in their sweeping accusation that science and religion are at odds.
Though some theistic beliefs contradict science, when handled accurately (2 Timothy 2:15), Scripture and science compliment each other perfectly. For instance, science has shown us that matter is not eternal, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and could not have spontaneously generated—popping into existence from nothing—according to the First Law of Thermodynamics. This fact indicates that matter must have been placed here by an Entity outside the physical Universe (see Miller, 2007). This truth, arrived at through science and deductive reasoning, is not in harmonywith atheism and much of today’s pseudo-science. But this truth is in keeping with the Bible, which says in its very first verse that God—a Being not subject to the laws of nature (i.e., a supernatural Being)—created the heavens and the Earth. Science supports Scripture.
Science has shown us that in nature, life comes only from life and that of its kind, according to the Law of Biogenesis. Again, this fact indicates that a Being outside of nature must exist Who initiated life (see Miller, 2012). This truth, arrived at through science and deductive reasoning, is not in harmonywith atheism and much of today’s pseudoscientific world which must contend, without scientific support, that life popped into existence from non-life. Rather, this truth is in keeping with the Bible, which says in Genesis 1:11,24 and 2:7 that God created life.
Science—the Law of Biogenesis and the Laws of Genetics—has shown us that living beings produce other living beings of their own kind (see Thompson, 2002). There may be small changes along the way (e.g., beak size, color, size, etc.), but the offspring of a bird is still a bird. The offspring of a fish is still a fish. Therefore, since there is no common ancestor for all living beings from which all species evolved, there must be a supernatural Being Who initially created various kinds of life on Earth. This truth, arrived at through science and deductive reasoning, is not in harmony with the teachings of atheism and much of today’s pseudo-scientific world, which argues against the evidence, that various kinds of living beings can give rise to completely different kinds of living beings. But this truth is in keeping with the Bible, which says in Genesis 1:21 and 1:24-25 that God directed living beings to reproduce after their kind.
True science is in harmony with true religion. Why would science lie? It does not have a mind of its own. It has no bias or agenda. It can certainly be misrepresented or its findings misinterpreted, but science is not the enemy of true religion. In fact, according to the Bible, God, Himself, instituted the field of science. When God created human beings on day six and told them to “have dominion” over the Earth and “subdue” it (Genesis 1:28), He was commanding mankind to do something that would require extensive scientific investigation and experimentation. If God founded science, why would science be at odds with religion? When God, through His servant Paul, said in Romans 1:20 that His existence and some of His attributes could be learned from His creation, He was putting His stamp of approval on the scientific study of creation. When He said in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to “[t]est all things; hold fast what is good,” He was essentially summarizing the scientific method. Bottom line: God founded science. When legitimate scientific findings are interpreted properly and fairly, science supports the Bible and Christianity. It certainly is not at odds with the Bible.


Miller, Dave (2003), “Blind Faith,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/article/444.
Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), http://apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 32[1]:2-11, January (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1018&article=1722.
Thompson, Bert (2002), The Scientific Case for Creation (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Science, Common Sense, and Genesis 1:1 by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Science, Common Sense, and Genesis 1:1

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The most fundamental question that a person can (and should) ask is: “Where did the Universe and everything in it (including myself) come from?” Before a person seeks answers to questions such as, “Why am I here?” or “Where am I going?” he first needs to know from whence he came? It is fitting that the only God-inspired book in the world—the Bible—answers this very question in its opening statement: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, emp. added). In the subsequent verses, man is informed that not only did God create the heavens and the earth, but He made everything in the heavens and on the Earth (Genesis 1:2-31; cf. Exodus 20:11). According to Scripture, everything that exists in the physical Universe ultimately came from an eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, infinite Creator (Genesis 17:1; 18:14; Psalm 139; 90:2).

The theory that atheistic evolutionists have advanced for several decades now, which supposedly best explains our existence from a purely naturalistic perspective, is known as the Big Bang. It has circulated via science textbooks all over the world. One of the leading publishers of science curricula for many years has been Prentice Hall. In their 1992 General Science textbook, titled A Voyage of Discovery, they included the following section on “The Birth and Death of the Universe”:
How was the universe born and how will it end? Most astronomers believe that about 18 to 20 billion years ago all the matter in the universe was concentrated into one very dense, very hot region that may have been much smaller than a period on this page. For some unknown reason, this region exploded. This explosion is called the big bang. One result of the big bang was the formation of galaxies, all racing away from one another (Hurd, et al., p. 61, emp. in orig.).
Since 1992 the “birth of the Universe” has been shaved substantially (from 18 to 20 billion years ago to 12 to 15 billion years ago—see Biggs, et al., 2003, p. 159), but the theory is more or less the same. Ask an atheist how the Universe came to be and you likely will hear that “it all started with a big bang.”

So which is it? Did everything in the physical Universe come into existence via the supernatural or the natural? Was it caused by a purely naturalistic Big Bang or an infinite Mighty God? How did Earth get here? How did the other seven planets in our Solar System come into being? Whence came the Milky Way and the billions of other galaxies in the Universe? How did the multiplied quadrillions of stars (some of which are hundreds of times bigger than the Sun) come into existence? Although atheistic, evolutionary scientists are fond of ridiculing Genesis 1:1 as being unreasonable and unscientific, the fact is, Scripture’s explanation for ultimate origins is both sensible and scientific.

First, a study of the material Universe reveals that all physical effects must have adequate causes that precede the effects (a truism known as the Law of Cause and Effect). One drop of rain does not flood an entire city, a paper airplane cannot carry an astronaut to the Moon, nor can a fire extinguisher cool the Sun. But what about the effect of the Universe itself? What was its cause? Was the gargantuan Universe caused by an explosion of a minute ball of matter or by an omnipotent Creator? Just as easily as one can know that a paper airplane is unable to transport an astronaut to the Moon, he can know that naturalistic explanations (e.g., Big Bang theory) are not adequate causes for the Universe. But God is.

Second, from what we observe in nature, matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed. Scientists refer to this fact as the First Law of Thermodynamics. Evolutionists allege that the Universe began with the explosion of a ball of matter several billion years ago, yet they never have provided a reasonable explanation for the cause of the “original” ball of matter. An attempt was made a few years ago in the April 28, 2007 issue of New Scientist magazine titled “The Beginning: What Triggered the Big Bang?” Notice the last line of the featured article: “[T]he quest to understand the origin of the universe seems destined to continue until we can answer a deeper question: why is there anything at all instead of nothing?” (194[2601]:33, emp. added). The fact is, a logical, naturalistic explanation for the origin of the “original” ball of matter that supposedly led to the Universe does not exist. It cannot exist so long as the First Law of Thermodynamics is true (i.e., in nature matter/energy cannot create itself).

Third, since the physical Universe exists, and yet it could not have created itself, then the Universe is either eternal or something/someone outside of the Universe must have created it. Relatively few scientists propose that the Universe is eternal. In fact, there would be no point in attempting to explain the “beginning” of the Universe if atheists believed it always existed. What’s more, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that matter and energy become less usable over time, has led most scientists to conclude that the Universe has not always existed (else we would be out of usable energy; see Miller, 2007). But, if matter is not eternal, and it cannot create itself, then the only logical conclusion is that something/someone outside of nature (i.e., supernatural) caused the Universe and everything in it. Christians call this Someone, “the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:28).

Finally, not only do the scientific Laws of Thermodynamics and the Law of Cause and Effect support the truth of Genesis 1:1, so also does the fact that design demands a designer. Just as sure as a painting demands a painter and a law a law-giver, the orderly, law-abiding, picturesque heavens and Earth demand, not a random, mindless, unexplained explosion (when have explosions ever caused order and design?), but an intelligent Designer. As the psalmist wrote: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (19:1). What’s more, “the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Indeed, both the heavens and the Earth testify day after day and night after night to anyone and everyone who will listen (Psalm 19:2-4) that “He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).

Naturalistic explanations for the Universe and its laws leave an explanatory void that only a supernatural Being (i.e., God) can fill. If man will only open his eyes and ears, he will discover what both Heaven and Earth reveal: that “the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Rather, “God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, emp. added).


Biggs, Alton, et al. (2003), Science (New York: McGraw-Hill).

Hurd, Dean, George Mathias, and Susan Johnson, eds. (1992), General ScienceA Voyage of Discovery (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).

Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April, http://apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.

“The Universe Before Ours” (2007), New Scientist, 194[2601]:28-33, April 28.

Teaching of Jesus From The Gospel of Luke (Part 1- While He was Tempted) By Ben Fronczek


Teaching of Jesus From The Gospel of Luke (Part 1- While He was Tempted)

By Ben Fronczek

Reading Luke 4:1-13
Today I would like to begin a new series of lessons – lessons that the Lord Jesus left for us as seen in the Gospel of Luke. There are all kinds of good lessons and teachings from God throughout the Bible but I thought it worthy to look at those God thought important enough to preserve for us while He lived among us in the flesh.
The Gospel of Luke is the longest book in the NT. There is much emphasis on the glory of God, prayer, miracles, the divine plan that Jesus fulfilled, believing, discipleship, forgiveness, and God’s Word. About 20 of
Jesus’ parables are unique to this Gospel. Luke also related certain events in Jesus’ life to secular history, and he emphasized Jesus’ final trip to Jerusalem.
Luke also seems to stress Jesus’ concern for all people, especially for individuals that Jewish society of His day looked down at, such as Gentiles, the poor, women, children, and “sinners.”
Someone once wrote concerning Luke’s Gospel account, “In terms of its worldview, its theology, and its practical presentation of principles, this Gospel explains how we can serve God better.”
No one knows Luke’s educational background, but clearly he had training in medicine as well as in Greek composition because he was a very talented writer. Luke used many words that the other Gospel writers did not, and many of them show a wide literary background. He also used several medical and theological terms that are unique.
We can learn lessons from Jesus not only by what He preached, but also by what he did as He lived out His life amongst us. I find it interesting that some of the first lessons taught by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel happened shortly after His baptism, and receiving the Holy Spirit, and the Father’s proclamation that He was His son and that He was well pleased with Him as seen in Luke 3.
The very next scene is where Jesus was being led into the wilderness where He was along and He fasted and was being tempted by the devil.
As most of us already know, Jesus overcame the devil who opposed God’s plans. This story is also edifying because it helps believers understand how to recognize and overcome Satan’s attacks. We do so as Jesus did—by obeying God’s will as revealed in Scripture.
Read Luke 4:1-4   Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
Lesson #1. One of the first things we see here is the fact that the devil is actually real. Not only that there isn’t anyone that he will not try to get to sin; which includes the Father’s one and only son.
In the OT there are actually very few references to Satan. There is one in 1 Chronicles, 2 in Zechariah, as well as some references in Job 1 and 2. Actually that’s it, with exception of the serpent mentioned in Genesis 3 which tempted and deceived Eve. Jesus brought the reality of the devil and his evil work right to the forefront. He is the one who wants to tempt and entice people to depart from God’s will. So it doesn’t matter how good you are, all will be tempted to stray from God and His will.
Lesson #2. All three of the tests recorded were an attempt to enticed Jesus to abandon His dependence on God. This first one was a temptation to gratify self, but not by doing something wicked, since eating is necessary. The devil seems to zero in on our appetites; our hunger for food, power, companionship sex entertainment, etc.
Lesson #3. The devil attacked Jesus where (and when) He was vulnerable. He was then “hungry.” We are likewise more susceptible to be tempted when we are weak and tired or even sick. Se we have to be more careful in such times.
Concerning this temptation a commentator wrote; “The Devil seems to suggests that (His) Sonship is a privilege to be exploited. Jesus is tempted to order His own affairs and provide for His own needs, rather than being nourished in and depending on God.” (Nolland)
But in all reality, it’s not always all about us and our needs. As important as food is because we need it to live it’s not the most important thing. Some things are simply more important than food and drink or other material things. How many parents around the world go without so their children can eat. Trusting God is even more important than food even though it may mean physical deprivation.
The temptation sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? You could almost sense the innocence in the devil’s presentation of this temptation – ‘just make these stones into bread – what’s the big deal? You the Son of God – just do it! There is no law against turning stones into bread. It won’t hurt anything.’Jesus had been without food for almost six weeks! Because he was the Son of God He could have used His supernatural powers to do this. The temptation was very real. Jesus could have done it in an instant and His body was probably screaming, “Man do it.”
In reality Satan was tempting Jesus to disobey the Father’s will by using his divine power for His own purposes.
John Piper says that sin …”gets its power by persuading me to believe that I will be more happy if I follow it. The power of all temptation is the prospect that it will make me happier.” It is the temptation to take things into your own hands and do something for yourself without Father God’s approval.
Jesus Answers (v. 4) “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” In other words, it’s not all about Me rather its all about Father God and doing His will.
Lesson #4.      I guess it makes a difference who we listen to for advice. If it’s advice or a suggestion from the devil or one of his own then we probably should ignore it because there is probably a catch.
We often brag that we are “people of the Word.” But are we really? The question is not how much Bible do we know, but how much of the Bible do we apply in our life.
Jesus lived by the word of God. The key phrase in each of His answers is, “it is written.” He did not allow the situation, or the circumstances, or even the enemy to dictate the truth. Jesus in His answer was saying, “ I will not complain. Neither will I take matters into my own hands and yield to you Satan. I will trust my Father and His word.” This is the 5th lesson we need to remember!
The devil’s ploy in this world is to make us believe that if we want something done we count on God, and therefore need to do it ourselves – and not wait on and trust God.
We regularly are tempted to take things into our own hands and go outside the confines of God’s will to satisfy our personal needs or desires. We do things outside God’s will thinking that they will make us feel good, or make us happier or fulfill us somehow, but in the end we feel guilty or find our self in some kind of trouble. That’s exactly what happened to Adam and Eve.
In the next temptation the devil entices Jesus to take the easy way out.Read (5-8)   5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
In this temptation the devil was offering Jesus a kingdom without the cross. ‘Why go thru all that trouble and pain to win the world when it can be handed to you on a silver platter, No suffering, No Struggling, No Sacrifice. But a crown without the cross would mean that there would be no forgiveness for our sins. All Jesus had to do to sidestep all that pain and suffering was pay homage to and worship him and Satan would turn the world over to Jesus.
We do not have to look too far to see the application for today. Our world teaches us to ‘avoid pain, take the easy way, the path of least resistance. Avoid sacrifice. You deserve an easy life and to be happy.’
Our 6th lesson could be: Sometimes the best way is not the easiest way or the way that cost us less. Many times if we don’t pay the price up front it will cost us in the end.    Or if we don’t hold out for what’s best we shortchange ourselves. Buy the best you get the best. Put the full time into something and it will pay off in the end.
Jesus knew and so should we, that when it comes to God and obeying His will shortcuts are nothing less than sin and lead to great disappointments.
So then the Devil takes Jesus to Jerusalem and sets Him on top of the Temple. There he made Jesus very tempting offer.
Having seen Jesus defeat him two times by quoting Scripture, Satan now quotes it himself, for his own purposes (Read. 9-13).     9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
For Jesus to survive a fall from the pinnacle of the temple in the full view of the people, in a supernatural manner, it would have immediately identified Him as the Messiah.
This would have been another shortcut possibly keeping Jesus from the cross. But it was also pressing God the Father to act on His behalf to save Him from the fall. So Jesus answers by saying,   “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’
Jesus understood to start His ministry by dramatically jumping from the pinnacle of the Temple would be completely contrary to the will of God. To do so would be to test God. So He refused to take this shortcut.
Lesson # 7 There are many subtle ways that we can put God to the test. We may not jump from the top of the church – but we can do it in other ways.
We do it many times when we pray expecting God to yield to our will rather than accepting His will in a situation. We may even get mad that the prayers weren’t answered the way we wanted Him answer them.
Sometimes we even test the boundaries of known sin. Like a parent who tells their child “Don’t touch” we have to test the boundaries and reach out and touch. Jesus said, ‘No, I am not going to test God.’ And that’s another lesson for us: To trust God and His providence. To say, “Thy will be done and I trust you with this or that.”
All of these temptations were designed to somehow destroy His relationship with His heavenly Father, by taking things into His own hands and taking some serious shortcuts. The final verse says that the devil departed but it also indicated that he would be back again. Lesson #8. So there lies our final lesson from this text: Temptations may disappear for a while but he will never give up and he’ll be back another day until we depart from this earth and this life..
So remember to trust God and His will ALWAYS! Because He is the one in control now and for ever more.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com

Jesus is the true light that enlightens every man. by Roy Davison


Jesus is the true light that enlightens every man.

We need spiritual enlightenment.
Our society is bathed in artificial light and submerged in spiritual darkness. There is no lack of light except in the hearts of the people.
Two thousand years ago John the Baptizer condemned the spiritual darkness of his time. He warned people to repent.
Thousands turned away from sin to serve God. They were immersed in water, baptized, for the forgiveness of their sins (Mark 1:4).
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world” (John 1:6-9 RSV).
John the Baptizer was the forerunner of God’s Messiah, the Christ, who would bring spiritual enlightenment and forgiveness of sins to all mankind.
Jesus is the morning star,1 who has come “to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death” (Luke 1:79). “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4, 5 RSV).
To be enlightened spiritually, one must find the light, believe in the light, come to the light, put on the armor of light, and walk in the light.

Where can light be found?
Can you find spiritual light in a disco? I have never been to one, but I understand that they often have hypnotic flashing lights, and loud, deafening music. No, definitely not. Discos and dance halls are dens of darkness, places to avoid if you want spiritual enlightenment. The flashing lights blind you and the loud music deafens you.
When a former teacher of mine, Cecil T. Bailey, was a young man, worldly young people kept trying to get him to go to a dance hall. Finally he agreed to go, but he took his Bible along and sat in a corner reading his Bible. Soon, he was asked to leave!
Can you find spiritual light in the universities? Paul wrote: “The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19). Not much spiritual light can be found in the universities. Philosophy and theology are human endeavors of limited value, but they are not significant sources of spiritual enlightenment.
A professor asked his class, “How many of you believe in prayer?” My father and two girls raised their hands. The professor continued, “You three, pray then that this glass beaker will not break.” He dropped it and it broke. He then smirked, “How many still believe in prayer?” This time, only my father raised his hand. The professor said, “Well, Davison. How can you still believe in prayer?” My father replied, “I didn’t pray. Without God’s permission, your experiment was not valid.”
Can you find spiritual light in the traditional churches? Some light is there, but it is hidden under a basket of human dogmas, ecclesiastical politics and financial interests.
To the pious traditionalists2 of His time, Jesus said: “Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Matthew 15:6-9).
To the religious liberals3 of His time, Jesus said: “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?” (Mark 12:24).
Can you find spiritual light in a sect? Some are attracted to sects because they require extreme devotion. A sect, however, is a human system based on social pressure, brain-washing and mind control, rather than spontaneous personal faith in God. A sect usually has one powerful leader. He is sometimes called ‘father’. He is often considered to be infallible, and members must always submit to his authority. A sect usually uses hierarchical, army-like control. 
Jesus said: “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you” (Mark 10:42, 43).
All hierarchical religious systems are anti-Christian. Beware of people who try to dominate you in the name of religion. Your service to God must come from your heart. It may not be based on social pressure, coercion or hierarchical control.
Jesus said: “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ” (Matthew 23:8-10). God is our spiritual Father and we may not have any other father in a spiritual sense. Jesus is our spiritual Leader, and we may not have a spiritual guide, mentor or ‘discipler’ other than Christ.
Jesus Himself is our source of light. We must go directly to Him for spiritual enlightenment, and not allow the divine light to be obscured by traditions and denominations of human origin.
Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Do we really want to find the light?
Although Jesus brought light, there is still much spiritual darkness because most people prefer darkness: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:19-21).
Someone who wants to hid his sin, shuns the light. To find the light we must admit our need for enlightenment.
But just finding the light is not enough.

We must believe in the Light.
Jesus is the light of the world, He is our God-given source of spiritual enlightenment. But we must believe in that light. Jesus said: “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (John 12:36). And: “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46).
Many people stumble along in spiritual darkness because they do not believe in the light. Paul wrote: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).
But just believing in the light is also not enough.

We must come to the Light.
Many people have been deluded into thinking they can be saved by faith alone. It is not true: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” ... “For as the body without the spirit is dead; so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:24, 26).
Faith in the Light is the first step, but we must also come to the Light. This means that we must turn away from sin and dedicate our lives to God. This is called ‘repentance’ in the Scriptures.
“For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:20).
Many people have a superficial, standoffish faith. They know exactly where the light is! But they keep their distance, to hide their sin. We must come to the Light so God’s word can correct our lives.
Jesus sent Paul to the nations “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18).
On the basis of our faith in the Light, we must turn away from evil and come to the Light.

We must put on the armor of light.
“The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:12-14).
We must “put on the armor of light” and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” How do we put on Christ? “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26, 27). We put on the armor of light, we put on Christ, by being baptized into Christ.
This must be our own, personal decision. The so-called baptism of babies is contrary to the word of God.
Just as John the Baptizer told people to repent and be baptized, we too must repent, turn away from the works of darkness, come to the Light, and be baptized. Peter said: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
When we put on Christ in baptism, God removes us from darkness. We can then rejoice “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14). 

We must walk in the light.
After finding the light, believing in the light, coming to the light, and putting on the armor of light, we must walk in the light.
Obviously, we may not walk in darkness. Paul warned: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), proving what is acceptable to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10).
We must expose works of darkness.4 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,5 but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light’” (Ephesians 5:11-14).
Jesus is our source of light. We learn about Him, we learn to be like Him, not via some tradition or some sect, but through the Scriptures: “We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:19-21).
The Holy Scriptures are a beacon of light in a dark world. Through the Scriptures we learn about God. “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7). God has called us “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).6 Christians are “sons of light and sons of the day” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).7 
It is not easy to walk in the light, surrounded by a world of darkness. We shine as lights in the world: “Do all things without murmuring and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life” (Philippians 2:14, 15). 
To be a church of Christ, we must be a congregation of believers who have found the light, who believe in the light, who have come to the light, who have put on the armor of light, and who walk in the light.
By the grace of God, you can walk in the light. If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, that He died for your sins, that He rose from the dead the third day, if you are willing to turn your back on the works of darkness and come to the Light of God, if you desire to put on the armor of light, to put on Christ in baptism, let us know, and we will help you.
Roy Davison
The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise. Permission for reference use has been granted.

1 Revelation 22:16.

2 The Pharisees.

3 The Sadducees.

4 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

5 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

6 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9, 10).

7 “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-8).

Published in The Old Paths Archive