Friday, December 22, 2006

Maybe You Shouldn't Ask That Question...

If you ever have a question first go through this chart...maybe you shouldn't ask it. It's pretty funny:)

[HT: Justin Taylor...from a while ago]

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

William Wilberforce and "Amazing Grace"

Well, the most recent theatrical production being made from a Christian worldview [hopefully] is entitled "Amazing Grace". Basically the story of William Wilberforce and how he basically was responsible for stopping the African Slave trade in Britain...

Click here if you want to see the trailer [Wait a few moments and the trailer will load in a very small screen in the bottom right hand corner of the web-site]. This movie looks great. I'm curious to see further how the character of John Newton is acted out. I'm also curious to see if the fact that GAMBLING was Wilberforce's next policy to attack and abolish will be expressed in the movie.

I hope the gospel and the effects it had on Wilberforce and Newton will be a part of the movie as well.

It looks like it's going to be pretty awesome if it meets the historical and factual litmus test.

[HT: Justin Taylor]

UPDATE: 12/21/2006

Here's the Amazing Grace movie trailer from YouTube...

Prayer Request: Team Going To India Today

Below is a prayer that I modified from The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions [Banner of Truth] for a short term mission trip going to India from our church...

Please pray for Rocky, Jared, Kortney, and Brooke...and the rest of their team.

Your cause for India, not their own, engages their hearts,
and we appeal to You with greatest freedom
that they might work to set up Your kingdom in every place where Satan reigns;

Glorify Yourself and we will rejoice,
we pray that to bring honour to Your name is their sole desire.

We adore You that You are God,
and we long that others know it, feel it,
and rejoice in this reality.

O that all men might love and praise You,
that You might have all glory from the intelligent world!

Let sinners be brought to You for Your dear name!

To the eye of human reason everything respecting conversion
is a mystery, as dark as midnight,

But You can accomplish great things;
the cause is Yours,
and it is to Your glory that men should be saved.

Lord, use them as You will,
do with them what You will;
but, O, promote Your cause,
let Your kingdom come,
let Your blessed interest be advanced in India!

O do bring in great numbers to Jesus!
Let them see that glorious day,
and give them the grasp for multitudes of souls;
Let them be willing to die to that end;
and while they live let them labour for You to the utmost of their strength, spending time profitably in this work,
both in health and in weakness.

It is Your cause and kingdom they long for, not their own.
O, Lord answer our request.
O that they might be a flame of fire in Your service,
always burning out in one continual blaze.
[From God’s Cause page 177]

Monday, December 18, 2006

Prayer Request: Mt. Hood and Kelly James

This is a picture of Kelly James' mother and brother [see article at Fox news]

In case you haven't heard Kelly James' body was found on Mt. Hood. His older brother Frank James III was my Church History I professor [very small world]. If you have a moment pray for the other climbers, and their families...and that God's glory might be seen in the midst of the circumstances. Sounds like Kelly was a born again Christian, so rejoice in the Lord for his home coming, but pray for his family in their loss.

In Christ

[HT: Justin Taylor]

Social Justice: Politics and Christians...

I came across a helpful quote in approaching social justice through politics from a Christian perspective a few days ago from Tim Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
"No institution in society will escape the impact of heavy new social problems, especially with the new welfare reform. Regardless of our political views, it is indisputable that millions of people who once looked to the government will now need service and aid from churches and other agencies. The church will be forced by demographics to see what the Bible has always said. Love cannot be only expressed through talk, but through word and deed (1John 3:17).

Further he says,
"While accomplishing that task, Francis Schaeffer said, Christians may be at times, 'cobelligerents' with the Left or the Right, but never allies. 'If there is social injustice, say there is social injustice. If we need order, say we need order....But do not align yourself as though you are in either of these camps: You are an ally of neither. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is different from either - totally different.'"

Lastly he draws this conclusion,
"The ideology of the Left believes big government and social reform will solve social ills, while the Right believes big business and economic growth will do it. The Left expects a citizen to be held legally accountalble in areas of personal morality, but totally autonomous in the use of wealth. The North American "idol" - radical individualism - lies beneath both ideologies. A Christian sees either "solution" as fundamentally humanistic and simplistic."

[Keller, Timothy J. Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road Second edition. Pp. 25-26 P & R publishing company, New Jersey. Copyright 1997]

I agree with Keller...question is why can't we fix these problems? Why won't Christian democratic candidates [generally speaking] and republican candidates [generally speaking] stand up and destroy these stereotypes? Recognizing that these things probably won't improve apart from will the church step up to the plate to correct the "American idol" ideology and to meet social needs through preaching the gospel and giving materially?

Civil Unions for Same Sex Couples in New Jersey

Check out this article in the New York Times, “New Jersey Legislature Votes to Allow Civil Unions." One comment stuck out to me…
“Give us two to five years,” said Wilfredo Caraballo, who sponsored the civil union measure in the Assembly. “In a year and a half or two years we’ll see that the world hasn’t collapsed, heterosexuals are still getting married and God hasn’t thrown fire and brimstone on us.”

I disagree with this kind of cultural shift, namely changing the definition of marriage to be unions other than “One” man and “One” woman. However, I do agree that the culture is moving that way. So Mr. Caraballo is probably correct. But only God can determine whether or not He, “throws fire and brimstone on us.” This is a little bit of an arrogant statement in my opinion. He should read James 4:13-17
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. [ESV]”

What will Mr. Caraballo do if God doesn't perform as he desires? What will we and our country do if God goes against Caraballo's prediction. If Jesus tarries I pray for revival, and perseverance.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Living Nativity and "PETA"

This gave me a chuckle...
The folks at PETA are at it again, now targeting churches that use live animals in their manger scenes. However, one of PETA's perceived offenders was puzzled when he received an e-mail chastising him and his church for subjecting animals "to cruel treatment and danger." Sure, Anchorage First Free Methodist Church traditionally has a "living nativity," but humans play all the parts. "It's rough enough on us people standing out there in the cold," said Rev. Jason Armstrong. "So we're definitely not using animals. ... We have some puppet camel things we put out. We have a cow hood thing that a person will wear that actually just looks spooky." PETA apparently ran across the words "living nativity" on the Alaska church's Web site and added the pastor to its list of those the organization believes forces animals into manger roles that cause them to be "stolen," "slaughtered" or even "raped."

[HT: World Magazine Blog]

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What are Annan's "Human Rights", and "Rule of Law"?

I don't know if any of you read Kofi Annan's speech in Missouri the other day, but I recommend you check it out [ADDRESS AT THE TRUMAN PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM & LIBRARY]. He had some pretty good points. But here are a few quotes that stood out to me...
"No community anywhere suffers from too much rule of law; many do suffer from too little – and the international community is among them. This we must change. [Pp. 4]"
Come on...does he really mean this?

"But if our different communities are to live together in peace we must stress also what unites us: our common humanity, and our shared belief that human dignity and rights should be protected by law. ...basic rights are protected and they can be confident of fair treatment under the law. [Pp. 3]"
This begs the question...what is your definition of human rights and shared human dignity?? I'm pretty sure we'll disagree on that!

"In short, human rights and the rule of law are vital to global security and prosperity. [Pp. 3]"
I agree, but whose definition of "human rights", and whose set "rule of law" are we going to go by?

I'm sick of being talked to with these generalities like they actually mean something. I agree that the down-trodden needs to be guaranteed some human rights in this world, but I'm afraid that a few vague statements about "rule of law" aren't going to do the trick. Also, what about the rights of unborn babies? Also, folks who are persecuted for their faith probably would say that their community has a little too much "rule of law". Maybe Kofi meant "bad rule of law" I don't think so though.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"A Love Supreme" Sadly in Need of Clarification…

When I was a junior at Drake University [in DSM, IA] I started to get more serious about my relationship with Jesus Christ. As a jazz musician I tried to find any mentor I could in the Jazz world that was a Christian to justify my newfound seriousness about God. I realize now that justification for believing in the One Triune God needs no justification by men’s testimony [rather by God in His holy Word], but I was very immature in my faith.

The following is a “psalm” Coltrane wrote. It is a personal conversation between him and who he perceived to be God. It’s almost pantheistic or Baha'i in how general/universal it speaks of God. Somehow, this "psalm" and recording strengthened my resolve to seek Christ in college…I’m not sure why. I’d say that it was a was a gift of grace from the One True God [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...I'm feeling the need to be specific]. If Coltrane was a Christian I wish he wasn’t so vague about whom he believes this God, in his “psalm”, is. Do with it what you will...

I’m thankful for the grace God showed me through this, but in the future I would say that anything that doesn’t mention the Son of God is not necessarily a Christian “psalm”. Nevertheless, the recording of A Love Supreme is a great musical work and it still encourages me to serve and pursue God [I can't say the same for the words of the "psalm" he wrote]. Coltrane musically was a beast. Amazing imagination, sound, technique and more innovative and creative than anyone has been in music since [in my opinion]. Sadly, when it comes to writing, his words and thoughts are in desperate need of clarification. However, his vague expression of who God is in his "psalm" is a good summation of what a lot of folks actually do believe about God today. All the more reason to preach, teach, and pray, because God is a God of revelation of truth...not general realities. Not all paths lead to God [as Coltrane sadly suggests]. Here’s Coltrane’s “psalm”:
“I will do all I can to be worthy of Thee O Lord. It all has to do with it. Thank you God. Peace. There is none other. God is, It is so beautiful. Thank you God. God is all. Help us to resolve our fears and weaknesses. Thank you God. In You all things are possible. We know. God made us so. Keep your eye on God. God is. He always was. He always will be. No matter what…it is God. He is gracious and merciful. It is most important that I know Thee. Words, sounds, speech, men, memory, thoughts, fears and emotions – time – all related…all made from one…all made in one. Blessed be His name. Thought waves – heat waves – all vibrations – all paths lead to God. Thank you God. His way…it is so lovely…it is gracious. It is merciful – thank you God. His way…it is so lovely…it is gracious. It is merciful – thank you God. One thought can produce millions of vibrations and they all go back to God…everything does. Thank you God. Have no fear…believe…thank you God.

The universe has many wonders. God is all. His way…it is so wonderful. Thoughts – deeds – vibrations, etc. They all go back to God and He cleanses all. He is gracious and merciful…thank you God. Glory to God…God is so alive. God is. God loves. May I be acceptable in Thy sight. We are all one in His grace. The fact that we do exist is acknowledgement of Thee of Lord. Thank you God. God will wash away all our tears…He always has…He always will. Seek Him everyday. In all ways seek God everyday. Let us sing all songs to God To whom all praise is due…praise God. No road is an easy one, but they all go back to God. With all we share God. It is all with God. It is all with Thee. Obey the Lord. Blessed is He. We are from one thing…the will of God…thank you God.

I have seen God – I have seen ungodly – none can be greater – none can compare to God. Thank you God. He will remake us…He always has and He always will. It is true – blessed be His name – thank you God. God breathes through us so completely…so gently we hardly feel it…yet, it is our everything. Thank you God. ELATION – ELEGANCE – EXALTATION – All from God. Thank you God. Amen. [John Coltrane – December, 1964]” (I put questionable theology in bold/italics)

Cited from the liner notes of A Love Supreme John Coltrane Deluxe Edition. Copyright 2002. The Verve Music Group, USA (314 589 945-2).

Cherished Memory

Here's a picture collage of a trip that changed my life. I just thought I'd share...

I'm not feeling the greatest today. Pretty dejected and low. This picture encouraged me. If you have the opportunity please say a prayer for me to be renewed in Christ. I could use it today.

For His name's sake!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Matthew 4:1-11 Lesson 12/3/2006 to Discovery ABF at Valley E-Free Church

I had the honor of teaching the Discovery Adult Bible Fellowship at Valley yesterday. I had about 15 I butchered this manuscript...I did my best with the help of the Holy Spirit. This manuscript is the content I hoped to deliver. I pray that I wasn't a hindrance to an understanding of this passage or the gospel and that people will skip me and go straight to the Word if necessary. For His name's sake!

In Christ

Summary of Matthew 1-3
We have seen the first three chapters of Matthew pointing to Jesus as the messiah, the Christ, the complete fulfillment of the prophesy in the scriptures of the Old Testament. It has been in effect a “Case for Jesus as the Christ” to the Jews. The titles we have seen thus far have been Jesus Christ [also messiah Matthew 1:1, 16, 17,18; 2:4], Son of David [Matthew 1:1, 20], Son of Abraham [Matthew 1:1], the one who shall save His people from their sins [Matthew 1:21], Immanuel [Matthew 1:23], God with us [Matthew 1:23], King of the Jews [Matthew 2:2], Son of God [Matthew 2:15; 3:17]. (most of this paragraph is from Tom Curtright’s notes that we received at teacher’s community 11/28/2006.)

As we read the preparation for Jesus’ ministry in chapter four ask these questions in your mind…Who is Jesus? Is He truly the messiah? What kind of messiah will He be?

[Parrallels to Matthew 4:1-11 can also be found in Luke 4:1-13 and Mark 1:12-13]

I. Arriving in the Desert Matthew 4:1-2

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all place Jesus’ time of preparation directly after his
baptism [Luke has a genealogy between the baptism and this event]. This corresponds to the 40 years Israel wandered in the wilderness. This parallels especially in Jesus’ response to Satan’s second temptation.

There are a few particular things of note about this passage:
A. Led by the Spirit: Trinity
The passage says Jesus was, “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness.” In Luke 4:1 it says, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” So the Spirit that was leading him was an internal leading because He was filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus and the Spirit are one in a similar way that Jesus and the Father are one [John 17:11].

B. Temptation
We know that Satan is the tempter and this isn’t the only time the “tempter” comes [Matthew 16:23, Luke 22:28, Luke 22:42-44]. This isn’t a one time event in the life of Jesus.

When James 1:13 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one,” so how are we to handle Jesus as fully God and fully man being tempted in the desert by Satan.

John Calvin says it best when he states in his commentary:
“Our salvation, therefore, was attacked in the person of Christ, just as the ministers [all of us], whom Christ has authorized to proclaim his redemption, are the objects of Satan’s daily warfare…for the Son of God undoubtedly allowed himself to be tempted, that he may be constantly before our minds, when Satan excites within us any contest of temptations. When he was leading a private life at home, we do not read that he was tempted; but when he was about to discharge the office of Redeemer, he then entered the field in the name of his whole church. But if Christ was tempted as the public representative of all believers, let us learn, that the temptations which befall us are not accidental, or regulated by the will of Satan, without God’s permission; but that the Spirit of God presides over our contests as an exercise of our faith. This will aid us in cherishing the assured hope, that God, who is the supreme judge and disposer of the combat, will not be unmindful of us, but will fortify us against those distresses, which he sees that we are unable to meet (my emphasis) [from Calvin’s commentary pp. 142-143].”

This is why in Philipians 2:12-13 it says, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Also, in 2 Peter 1:10-11 it says, “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” It is because the Holy Spirit, “but that the Spirit of God presides over our contests as an exercise of our faith.” Don’t miss the implications of the work of the Holy Spirit in the application of what Christ did in this passage to our present circumstances.

Every commentator I read said that this tempting is not so much a tempting, but more of a testing. Which as Jesus replies in verse 7 no one should put God to the test! This is compared to the context of tempt in Genesis 22:1, and Deuteronomy 13:3. This is more of a "proving" context rather than an implication of a sinful temptation by desires that can ensnare Christ. This passage could also be a fulfillment of Isaiah 28:16, “…therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: 'Whoever believes will not be in haste.'”

Generally speaking this tempting/testing is a sign of how God works in our lives. As William Barclay states:
“…so a man has to be tested before God can use him for His purposes. What we call temptation is not meant to make us sin; it is meant to enable us to conquer sin…Temptation is not the penalty of being a man, temptation is the glory of being a man. It is the test which comes to a man whom God wishes to use [Barclay’s commentary pp. 56].”

Also, in 1 Timothy 3:10 we see that deacons must first be tested before the serve that role in the church. In Revelation 2:10 we see the outcome of faithfulness in testing, by trial, achieving the crown of life. This is not because of anything we’ve done but it is all somehow wrapped up in the righteousness of Christ proven in this testing in the desert. We know that salvation is not through works; rather, by the free gift of grace through faith [Ephesians 2:8-9].

There is a lot more that could be said but we will move onward. This tempting of Christ is very important to reflect on because it is as if through this narrative Jesus is living what Hebrews 2:17-18; and 4:15 describe.

C. Solitude
Before being used in His ministry Jesus went to be alone. We see this later too in the midst of His ministry [Matthew 14:18; Luke 9:18, 36; Mark 6:47]. Barclay has a great quote on this:
“There are certain things which a man has got to work out alone. There are times when no one else’s advice is any good to him. There are certain times when a man has got to stop acting and start thinking. It may be that we make many a mistake because we do not give ourselves a chance to be alone with God [Barclay’s commentary pp. 57].”

When was the last time you were alone with God…quiet. Not disturbed. I’m not saying this is something you should do all the time like a monk, but it looks like the Scriptures are commending this practice as a way that Jesus lived in preparation and in the midst of His ministry.

D. Wilderness
We know that the wilderness was a barren place, Barclay says the terrain is:
“Between Jerusalem, which stands on the central plateau, which is the backbone of Palestine, and the Dead Sea there stretches the wilderness. The Old Testament calls it Jeshimmon, which means The Devastation, and it was a fitting name. It stretches over an area of thirty-five by fifteen miles. Sir George Adam Smith who traveled over it describes it. It is an area of yellow sand, of crumbling limestone, and of scattered shingle. It is an area of contorted strata, where the ridges run in all directions as if they were warped and twisted. The hills are like dust heaps; the limestone is blistered and peeling; rocks are bare and jagged; often the very ground sounds hollow when the footfall or the horse’s hoof falls upon it. It glows and shimmers with heat like some vast furnace. It runs right out to the Dead Sea, and then there comes a drop of twelve hundred feet, a drop of limestone, flint, and marl, through crags and corries and precipices down to the Dead Sea [Barclay’s commentary pp. 56].”

Also, in Mark’s account it says there were “wild animals.” This was no safe place to be. So after forty days of just being exposed in this land would have been extremely difficult. Add to that that Jesus was fasting and you can imagine how completely famished He was being that Jesus was also fully man. It is at this time that Satan comes to tempt Jesus when he is completely physically worn out. Add to it Jesus’ loneliness [assumption…He might not have been lonely because He may have been fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit] and He would have been in a more vulnerable state than most of us could imagine.

II. The First Test: Stones to Bread Matthew 4:3-4

The first temptation was to one commentary said, “He must be ready to accept
privation [humbling/starvation] in fulfilling his God-given task without ‘pulling rank’ [IVP pp. 910].” Calvin states regarding fasting [in case people ask if this is a mandate us to fast like Jesus in this circumstance here's a good quote from Calvin]:
“Those who fast daily, during all the forty days, pretend that they are imitators of Christ. But how? They stuff their belly so completely at dinner, that, when the hour of supper arrives, they have no difficulty in abstaining from food. What resemblance do they bear to the Son of God? The ancients practiced greater moderation: but even they had nothing that approached to Christ’s fasting, any more, in fact, than the abstinence of men approaches to the condition of angels, who do not eat at all…To believe that such fasting is a meritorious work, and that it is a part of godliness and of the worship of God, is a very base superstition [Calvin’s commentary 141-142].”

A. Attack on Jesus' Faith
The first temptation was an attack on Jesus’ faith. As Calvin states, “When you see that you are forsaken by God, you are driven by necessity to attend to yourself. Provide then for yourself the food, with which God does not supply you [pp. 144].”

It is as if Satan is dangling the same temptation in front of Jesus that Israel had before their eyes in the desert. And as the first son of God [Israel] failed so this Son of God [Jesus] will succeed. This is clearly evidenced by Jesus’ quotation of Deuteronomy 8:2-3:
"And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

B. Scripture Used as a Shield
The Scriptures here are also used as a shield against Satan which is an excellent example of the use of Scripture as Paul states in Ephesians 6:16-17. Conversely the Scriptures can be used as a sword [Hebrews 4:12], but in how Jesus Responds with Scripture it is more like a shield.

III. The Second Test: Throw Yourself Down Matthew 4:5-7

This temptation is different than the first in a few ways. This purpose of this
temptation was to show Jesus’, “trust [in] his Father’s care without the need to test it by forcing God’s hand [IVP pp. 910].” Satan clearly trying to provoke mistrust in Jesus of God the Father.

Here’s a great quote from D. A. Carson regarding this:

“Jesus was tempted by Satan to test God; but Jesus recognized Satan’s testing as a sort of manipulative bribery expressly forbidden in the Scriptures. For both Israel and Jesus, demanding miraculous proof of God’s care was wrong; the appropriate attitude is trust and obedience [Carson’s commentary pp. 114]”
A. Misuse of Scripture
The purpose is no surprise, as we have seen Satan work this temptation in the nation of Israel many times, but the means by which He accomplishes this purpose is a new one…namely by using scripture, incorrectly. Specifically Psalm 91:11-12:
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

Calvin correctly summarizes Satan’s statement like this, “If you expose yourself to death, contrary to the will of God, angels will protect your life [Calvin’s commentary pp. 148].” So he was clearly asking Jesus to test God.

Further Calvin warns us regarding those who will incorrectly apply the Scriptures:
“The same kind of stratagem he [satan] continues daily to employ; and the Son of God, who is the universal model of all the godly, chose to undergo this contest in his own person, that all may be industriously on their guard against being led, by a false application of Scripture, into the snares of Satan. And undoubtedly the Lord grants such a permission to our adversary, that we may not remain in indolent ease, but may be more careful to keep watch. Nor ought we to imitate the madness of those who throw away Scripture, as if it admitted of every kind of interpretation, because the devil misapplies it. For the same reason, we ought to abstain from food, to avoid the risk of being poisoned [Calvin’s commentary pp. 147].”

B. Don't Test God
Jesus replies with a passage from Deuteronomy 6:16, “"You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.” This is where the people grumbled against God and Moses struck the rock at Horeb and water came out of it [Exodus 17:6].

The context of Deuteronomy 6:16 is interesting, because it isn’t as if the nation was questioning what would happen in the future with God [although I’m sure they did], but they were complaining about the past faithfulness of God. God blessed them over and over and the only thing they did was complain about God’s past faithfulness saying, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children… [Exodus 17:3; Numbers 11:20; 20:4-5; 21:5; Deuteronomy 1:27]” So the people weren’t in a bind when they were complaining to God about a decision that they had to make that had no affirmative resolution. They were actually complaining about the grace, loving-kindness, and faithfulness of God in the past.

When Matthew writes this quote of Jesus bells would have been ringing all over the place in the ears and minds of the listeners to the book of Matthew [the Jews]. That phrase, “you should not put God to the test,” would have been very familiar and they would have logically gone straight to the context of Israel basically spitting in the face of God’s loving grace in liberating them from the Egyptians.

In essence Jesus is responding to Satan, “God has been faithful in the past, and He will be faithful in the future…how dare you misquote scripture to make me misuse the authority that belongs to Me.”

IV. The Third Test: Bow Down and Worship Me and I Will Give You the Kingdoms Matthew 4:8-11

Not in the lesson, but important: Matthew’s 3rd temptation is Luke’s 2nd and vice versa…Calvin says of this…
“It was not the intention of the Evangelists to arrange the history in such a manner, as to preserve on all occasions, the exact order of time, but to draw up an abridged narrative of the events, so as to present, as in a mirror or picture, those things which are most necessary to be known concerning Christ. Let it suffice for us to know that Christ was tempted in three ways. The question, which of these contests was the second, and which was the third, need not give us much trouble or uneasiness [Calvin’s commentary pp. 146]."

A. All Authority
This third temptation is almost an insult to Christ. Jesus has been given the
nations as an inheritance [Psalm 2:7, 8 partially fulfilled in Matthew 3:17 where God the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”]. Later, in the Great Commission we see this authority when Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me [Matthew 28:18].” The “well pleased” portion is from Isaiah 42:21 and further the Father was “pleased to bruise the Son” [Isaiah 53:10].

Jesus knows that all authority has been given to Him. He knows that He must go to the cross to atone for the sins of His people. To worship Satan would be ridiculous and undermine His own authority, and it would be a short-cut to authority without the cross.

B. Out of my way Satan!
Jesus’ response is one that we will see again, “Away from me Satan [Matthew 4:10; Matthew 16:23]!” When Jesus responds this way to Peter it is in almost the same context. Jesus foretells of what is about to happen [death, burial, resurrection] and Peter discourages Him from the thought of it as if to tempt Him of the easy way…not to go to the cross. Christ knew His authority and He knew that only He could be the perfect spotless lamb to wash away the sins of the world. God is jealous for His glory, and the obstruction of His glory provokes His stern jealousy. He recognizes anything that would come in the way of His work on the cross as Satan.

Application and Closing
A. Christianity...easy?
“The easy way or the cowboy way [Riders in the Sky]”… “The easy way or the Christian way"

B. Shortcuts
Shortcuts to shallow accomplishment…or hard work for reaping of true spiritual fruit.

C. The Cross
Look to Christ’s work on the Cross for the forgiveness of your sins. The Jews had to offer sacrifices perpetually forever to continue to atone for sins, but they knew that the sacrifices didn’t atone for sin because they had to keep making them. They were shadows of what was to come in Christ [Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5; 10:1] also no human could pay the price for his another’s soul [Psalm 49:7-8]. Look to Jesus Christ!

D. Temptation through our gifts
We are often times tempted through our gifts.
“We must always remember that again and again we are tempted through our gifts. The person who is gifted with charm will be tempted with charm “to get away with anything.” The person who is gifted with the power of words will be tempted to use his command of words to produce glib excuses to justify his own conduct. The person with a vivid and sensitive imagination will undergo agonies of temptation that a more stolid person will never experience. The person with great gifts of mind will be tempted to use these gifts for himself and not for others, to become the master and not the servant of men. It is the grim fact of temptation that it is just where we are strongest that we must be fore ever on the watch [Barclay’s commentary pp. 59].”

E. Obedience to who in trials??
In trials will you obey God or will you obey Satan? Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith…how would you respond in this circumstance?
“The Communists convened a congress of all Christian bodies in our Parliament building. There were four thousand priests, pastors, and ministers of all denominations – and these men of God chose Joseph Stalin as honorary president of this congress. At the same time he was president of the World Movement of the Godless and a mass murderer of Christians. One after another, bishops and pastors arose and declared that communism and Christianity are fundamentally the same and could coexist. One minister after another said words of praise toward communism and assured the new government of the loyalty of the Church.

My wife and I were present at this congress. Sabina told me, “Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ! They are spitting in His face.” I said to her, “If I do so, you lose your husband.” She replied, “I don’t wish to have a coward as a husband.”

Then I arose and spoke to this congress, praising not the murders of Christians, but Jesus Christ, stating that our loyalty is due first to Him [Richard Wurmbrand’s Tortured for Christ pp. 15-16].”

F. Examine/Test Yourselves to see if you're in the faith!
2 Corinthians 13:5-7 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong--not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed.”

Friday, December 01, 2006

Some of My Favorite Guitarists: Pat Metheny

This trio is one of my favorites! Metheny is great. Also, any guesses where the drummer is from??? You guessed it Des Moines, Iowa. Bill Stewart was a Roosevelt Grad. Check out this video of "Lone Jack".

Here's a video of him playing his "picasso guitar" made by Linda Manzer. I think this might be part of "Into a Dream".

Here's an awesome version of "Proof" directed by Jim McNeely at the North Sea Jazz Fest [I actually played at this festival with the Drake Jazz I]. Beware this recording starts and stops a lot...

Here's one of Metheny on a "Manzer" Baritone Guitar playing a variation Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why"