Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 21
January 5 2001 by William McElrath , Matthew 3:13-4:11

Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 21 | Friday, Jan. 5, 2001
  • Where you're willing to live and what kind of work you're willing to do?
  • What kind of relationship you will have with a special person in your life?
  • Whether you should buy new clothes? A new car? A new house?
  • How much you will give to the Lord - to His church and His world mission?

    The temptations of Jesus didn't end with those three hard experiences in the desert. Day by day He still had to decide whether to arrange things for personal convenience, whether to abuse God's power, whether to follow the world's way.

    Take note: For strength in resisting temptation, Jesus turned again and again to the written word of God.

    Have you found the way to victorious living? Daily prayer and Bible study can help.

  • Friday, Jan. 5, 2001

    Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 21

    By William McElrath Matthew 3:13-4:11 In Indonesia as in the United States, Betty and I have often seen brand-new believers who have to face particularly fierce trials right after they make a public profession of faith. It's almost as if the devil had been thinking, "This person isn't serious about following Jesus - not worth my time to tempt." But when the believer shows "I mean business" by asking for baptism, then the devil gets busy. Should this surprise us? No. Much the same thing happened to Jesus Himself.

    Affirmation of obedience (Matt. 3:13-17) Many pastors use the word "obedience" each time they baptize a new believer. Jesus not only gave us an example by being baptized but also by the reason He asked to be baptized: He did it in obedience to God the Father.

    The word "righteousness" that Jesus used in explaining to John the Baptist why He wanted to be baptized has often been misunderstood. The main meaning of "righteousness" isn't performing right deeds. Rather, it means being in a right relationship with God.

    In coming to the Jordan River for baptism, Jesus was acting out His total obedience to God and also the reason why God had sent Him to planet Earth: He was to identify completely with our sinful humanity so that He could be our Savior.

    Temptation to personal convenience (Matt. 4:1-4) Don't get hung up on the specifics of Jesus' temptations in the desert. Yes, it's a fact that those small, round, desert stones may have looked like loaves of homemade bread, but that's not the point.

    The point is the devil was suggesting that Jesus use His great power to arrange things for His own personal convenience.

    Snow on school days or Sundays can be inconvenient. Do we therefore ask God to withhold moisture that will be needed for next spring's planting?

    A change of assigned space at church can be inconvenient. Do we therefore hold on to our cherished classroom even though that deprives a new class or a mission congregation of a place to meet?

    Having an unplanned or unwanted baby can be inconvenient. Do we therefore follow the way of the world toward an abortion clinic?

    Caring for a sick, elderly relative can be inconvenient. Do we therefore imitate recent legal action taken in Holland and hasten the time of death?

    Jesus, by His example, answers "No."

    Temptation to abusing God's power (Matt. 4:5-7) What a sensation Jesus would have caused if He had given in to the devil's second suggestion! Herod's Temple in Jerusalem stood at least 135 feet high. Jumping down from there and landing unhurt in the crowded courtyard below - what a stunt to draw attention! And had not the psalmist promised that God would send His angels with a safety net?

    Jesus didn't fall for it. Do we ever fall for that kind of thing?

    Do we ever fail to take proper care of our physical or financial or emotional or spiritual health, and then expect God to rescue us just because we are His people?

    Do we ever drive our cars recklessly while praying for safety in travel?

    Yes, God is all-powerful. Should we therefore take any risk that occurs to us, expecting God to bail us out?

    Jesus, by His example, answers "No."

    Temptation to worldly methods (Matt. 4:8-11) In a way, the devil's second and third temptations were opposites. If Jesus had jumped off the Temple, He would have been presuming upon God's power. But if He had tried to get all the kingdoms and their glory by worshipping Satan, then He would have been presuming to win the world without counting on God's power at all.

    Are you ever tempted to do things the world's way? Are you tempted to leave God out of your calculations when you decide:

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    1/5/2001 12:00:00 AM by William McElrath , Matthew 3:13-4:11 | with 0 comments
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