The Temptation of Jesus

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1Pet 2:13-17

Now we are into the meat of scripture.

Jesus was tempted in every way that is common to man but He never gave in to sin. Heb 4:15 The question for us is,

Are you going on with Jesus?

The way goes through Gethsemane, through the city gate, and on “outside the camp” (Heb 13:13). The way is lonely and goes on until there is no longer even a trace of a footprint to follow— but only the voice saying, ‘Follow Me’” (Mat 4:19). -Oswald Chambers- “My Utmost for His Highest” Sept 19

While temptations common to man lean towards sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like theseGal 5:19-21 The temptations of Jesus were along the lines of failing to fulfill His divine purpose. Mat 4

And being in agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:44

As we previously stated, Peter begins this chapter with the importance of new believers desiring pure spiritual milk regarding our adoption as children of God. We must know this beyond a shadow of a doubt or we remain weak, immature and an easy target for the enemy. The goal is to grow in knowledge and strength. This requires moving from milk to meat. Spiritual meat begins with a deeper and ongoing revelation of who God is as well as the absolute genius and perfection of His will and plan. Then comes the harder realities that attend our being conformed by Him so that one day we will be glorified. Rom 8:29-30

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Rom 8:16

Accepting and appropriating our position as adopted children is hard enough for some of us. That we shall reign as kings and priests Rev 1:6 Rev 5:10 is just plain surreal. Still, others receive both with apparent ease as if everything is finished. Yet how many truly consider Paul’s words “provided we suffer with him” as the qualification of our future authority?


1Pet 2:13-17 is a template for what that persecution and suffering might look like. The context of these verses is the persecution of Christians under the Roman Emperor Nero. We aren’t certain if Nero set the fire or was simply one of the first to “never let a crisis go to waste”. In any case, he blamed the fire that destroyed a majority of Rome on Christians who used it to justify feeding them to lions and mounting them alive on poles then setting them on fire to light the streets and gardens of the city. It is Emperor Nero that Peter is honoring in Rome before being crucified. It is Emperor Domitian that Peter is honoring prophetically as the sojourners to whom he is writing in Asia Minor will experience a similar fate in just twenty years. It is to us today that Peter is writing.

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should silence the ignorance of foolish people.

It is not only at the hands of government entities that we are called to suffer, but injustice period. Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust… ….if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps... 1 Pet 2:18-25

At no point did Jesus ever fight back or instruct others to fight.

 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep amid wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”… …”A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.  It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household”… Mat 10:16-28

Jesus conquered sin and death through submission and suffering. We are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Future suffering looks like Rev 12:11

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

and Rev 13:10

If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes, if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain.Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

Still, I wonder if it is a temptation that is common to men like me or a temptation of Jesus to fight back. What would I have done if my friend were beheaded like John the Baptist? Mat 14 What would I have done had I witnessed the abuse of Jesus at the hands of Roman soldiers? Mark 15:16-20 What would I have done if I were Peter with a sword in the Garden of Gethsemane? John 18:10 Jesus made it clear that He could fight back.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” Mat 26:52-54

But Jesus said, 

“No more of this!” Luke 22:51

Did Jesus sweat great drops of blood Luke 22:44 because He was afraid and tempted to deny Himself and simply quit? Or was He restraining the temptation to pour out His wrath as the demons asked before the time? Mat 8:29.

I could be wrong. But I suspect it was the latter.

Please don’t misunderstand. I do not believe that Jesus called us to lay down our lives in consent to evil. It is never a question of if we should fight. It is a question of how we fight. Jesus called us to speak the gospel truth and endure whatever comes as results. Peter wasn’t crucified for honoring Nero. He was crucified for adhering to his previously stated resolution to obey God rather than man. Acts 5:27-29 If when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. I don’t know about you but the only way I can be sure that I will not lash out like Peter or worse when the moment of truth arrives is to be sure that I walk according to the spirit and not after the flesh. Rom 8:5-8

How do I do that?

Chew on that



So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined (appointed KJV) to do. 1 Pet 2:7-8

Disobey is apeithéōunbelief. Destined or appointed is títhēmi. In this context it means to make (or set) for one’s self or for one’s use, to set, fix establish, to set forth, to establish, ordain.

Wait! Some people were appointed to disobey?

That’s what it says.

Interestingly we don’t struggle as much with the idea of being chosen to be blameless.

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. Eph 1:4

Calvinists and Arminians will continue to debate until Jesus returns. Yet as we discussed in our previous post both scripture and quantum physics declare that creation is not as most of us perceive it to be. The more I study creation in the context of God’s word and science the more I feel like coining a new theological term called “Heisenbergism” after the quantum physicist Werner Heisenberg.

The moment you think you know, you don’t.

Only those rooted and built up in him and established in the faithCol 2:7 will avoid being disturbed by the paradoxical goodness and severity of God. Rom 11:22 and

Just say

Paul speaks of the very same Jews in Romans 11 that Peter names as “appointed to disobey” in 1 Pet 2:7-8. These were the Pharisees and Sadducees who chose Barabas over Jesus Mat 27:15-26 and demanded that Jesus be crucified. These are the same Jews who deny their Jewish Messiah today. As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. Rom 11:28

I remember packing for our trip to Israel in 2018 and being so excited to meet our Jewish brethren whom we loved and supported as Americans and Christians. I was naive of course and I soon learned that many if not most orthodox Jews despised and even hated Christians. This was largely due to the failure of the church to be the church through the ages. Too often instead of provoking the Jews to jealousy, Rom 11:11 many believers remained silent and or were complicit in their persecution. It’s a strawman of course as you don’t judge a book by who reads it but by its author. Still, it’s an emotionally charged strawman.

There are a lot of interpretations of the role of the Jewish people in God’s kingdom. The belief spectrum goes from Judaizers who teach the strict observance of the Torah in Jesus’ name thus nullifying grace, Rom 11:6 to supersessionists who believe the gentile church superseded or replaced the Jews thereby nullifying God’s word regarding His irrevocable covenant with Israel. Rom 11:29 Deut 5-6, Deut 28, Deut 29 The remainder of the Bible is the story of His goodness and severity, the wooing and discipline of His chosen albeit adulterous people to fulfill His covenant.

Afterward, the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days. Hosea 3:5

As Romans 11 explains our being grafted in as Gentiles along the way is not because the Jews (the natural branches) are rejected or condemned and we Gentiles have taken their place. Rather it was part of His plan to keep His word from the start.

I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy,salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! Rom 11:11

You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. Rom 11:19-23

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:“The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” Rom 11-25-27 Isaiah 59:20-21

Once again, speaking of the same Jews, Peter named in 1 Pet 2:7-8 Paul states, For God has committed (destined, appointed) them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Rom 11:32

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”

“Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. Rom 11:33-36

If that doesn’t bolster your faith in our sovereign God, then I don’t know what will.


On Milk and Meat

1 Peter 2 begins with Peter’s exhortation that the newborn believers exiled in Asia Minor would desire the pure milk of the word so they would grow. Spiritual milk is the gospel of salvation and the resulting new identity we have in Christ. Eph 2:1-10 This is the foundation of Christianity and reality itself. If indeed you are in Christ, you are a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor 5:17  If indeed you are in Christ you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Your identity is in Christ. Col 3:3-4

Many contemporary Christians lose sight of the fact that the purpose of milk is to grow teeth capable of chewing solid food. 1 Cor 3 The KJV calls it meat.

I prefer meat.

We made it to 1 Pet 2:4 in our Bible study last week.

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Pet 2:4-5

Peter is quoting from Isaiah and Psalms. The stone which the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone. Psalms 118:22 “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, and a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Isaiah 28:16 Jesus is the living stone, rejected by men, but chosen by God. …the chief cornerstone. We the church are living stones being built into God’s building. 1 Cor 3:9 Once again, the foundation laid by the Apostles is the Gospel. It is the template for reality.  If that foundation is changed or corrupted the whole building will burn and collapse. 1 Cor 3:20-14 It is for this reason that Paul gives such a very dire warning.

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8-9.

Peter goes on to say that the purpose of God’s building (His people) is the offering of spiritual sacrifices. In the past, not even kings could offer sacrifices but only Levitical priests. In 2 Chronicles 26, the Lord struck King Uzaiah with leprosy for daring to offer incense on the altar of incense. Today believers are a Holy Priesthood. Our spiritual sacrifices include the sacrifice of praise, acts of charity, and submission to spiritual authority. Heb 13:15-17 We are to walk in love as Christ loved us. Eph 5:2   Most importantly we are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. Rom 12:1-2 “Self” must be slain on the altar before we come boldly (as holy priests) to the throne of grace. Heb 4:16 This includes but is not limited to our self-image and facades, our pride, our rights, and if necessary our very lives. Rev 12:11 Not loving our lives onto death is a scary thought. But Jesus told us to fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which can destroy both soul and body in hell. Mat 10:28 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Prov 9:10 This also is spiritual milk. Fear phóbos (terror) of the Lord is the terror associated with the idea of ignoring or rejecting Him.  It begins with the recognition of our littleness, our weakness, our brokenness devoid of wisdom and understanding. As we mature, phóbos leads to reverence and awe more than terror as we behold and appreciate the awesome wisdom power, and grandeur of our sovereign God in the context of the Spirit of (our) adoption as sonsRom 8:15 The reverence and awe that flows from sonship is a function of love and gratitude.

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Sometimes suffering is where the meat begins. Rom 8:16-17

Understanding the necessity of suffering only comes with maturity grown from a diet of spiritual meat. The transition from milk to meat begins when we find ourselves less and less consumed with self e.g. my identity, my calling, my comfort, my rights etc., and become so enamored with Him and His will that self drops away. You know you are eating meat when the words you’ve read a thousand times jump off the page and give way to deeper revelation and awe.

For example

One of the most awe-inspiring, faith-building albeit mind-boggling aspects of God’s word is that scriptures written in the past tense may describe future events. For example, Isaiah wrote about Jesus in the past tense seven hundred years before He was born. David did the same in Psalms 22. Spiritual meat that reveals deeper truth nourishes faith that can endure testing and be proven genuine. 1 Pet 1:6-9

Why would God write about the future as if it already happened?

Did he intentionally confuse us? After all Solomon did write that, …he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecc 3:11 In my experience, scriptures that conflict with my existential perceptions and understanding of creation, time and distance bring me to a crossroads of awe and doubt. Do I lean on my own understanding, remain wise in my own eyes and doubt the validity of the text? Prov 3:5-8  Or do I trust God’s word that tells us He saved us before He created us and allow the paradox to birth revelatory awe in my soul?

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. Eph 1:4

Trust the Science.

As is often the case, the science with which so many try to refute God’s Word repeatedly validates it. Four hundred and fifty years before Jesus was born Solomon wrote That which is, already has been; that which is to be already has been; Ecc 3:15 Today the Theory of Special Relativity in quantum physics states that everything that is going to happen has already happened. 

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Rom 11:33-34, Isaiah 55:8-9, Job 38:4-7

According to these physicists, while everything that ever will exist already does exist, it is the act of observation on our part that brings each moment into what we call physical or experiential existence. The Bible uses the word “fulfillment”. If that sounds weird or “New Agey” then consider this.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1

What if we replaced the aforementioned “act of observation” with “faith”? Lots of believers attempt to walk this out individually, especially regarding healing. Miracles and healing do happen. However, statistically speaking, more often nothing happens. Now you might conclude that my observation of the “nothing” is the problem. But denial and faith are not the same. Perhaps the reason we fail to manifest the power that should attend our roll as priests is the fact that what we call the body of Christ amounts to what Art Katz called an aggregate of individuals doing their own thing. Perhaps the problem is that we are consumed with “My Identity” rather than

“Our identity”

Ephesians 4:11-16 is the cry of my heart amidst pipe dreams of “unity in community” based on games, social gatherings, dinners, and birthday parties. Our identity will only be found when we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; We can get together over a taco at the drop of a dime. But to come together in His Word, according to His Word to search out the mysteries of His word Prov 25:2…well ya know I’m really tired and besides I have a birthday party to get to”… But what if unified corporate belief  in His Word that produces faith Rom 10:17 is what is required for His biblical blueprint to be made manifest as reality? Ephesians 4:11-16

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds  and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting… Ephesians 4:11-16

The guiding principle behind the Acts 17:11 Bereans Bible Study is that we all see in a mirror dimly. 1 Cor 13:12 Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Rom 10:17 It follows that we all see and hear better when we do it together. Holy Spirit is our teacher. John 6:13 

Still, how can unity of the faith happen when almost no one wants it? How do I know that no one wants it? Because as I showed in our previous post only 6-9% of professing Christians and 37% of pastors in the US have a Biblical worldview based on the Word that God exults above ALL His name. Psalms 138:2.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Heb 5:12-14

Eat Meat.


Revival in America

Believers around the world have been hoping for, praying for, and prophesying revival for decades. It seems that every couple of years someone or some group declares a revival only to have it fizzle out in a few weeks or months. “Ok, maybe it wasn’t an actual revival,” they say. “But lots of people came to the Lord.” That’s wonderful and personal revival can and does happen.

The truth is that since 2020 there has been a 13% drop in church attendance among Gen X and a 30% drop among Gen Z. Add to that the blatant heresies of denominations that support gay marriage, transgendersism, and abortion, and it makes sense that research shows only 6-9% of professing Christians in America maintain a biblical world view. This is understandable given that only 37% of all Christian pastors have a biblical worldview themselves. Gal 1:8-9 Of course this begs the question; how do the researchers define a Biblical worldview?

Seven criteria of belief were measured.

1. A Biblically orthodox understanding of God’s existence and nature.

2. Acknowledgement of being a sinner in need of a saviour.

3. Jesus is the only way to salvation.

4. Absolute moral truth exists; God is the basis of all truth.

5. The Bible is the true and reliable words of God.

6. Success is defined as consistent obedience to God.

7. Life’s purpose is to know, love, and serve God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul.

If I were a betting man I’d say we are more in line with a 2 Thess 2:3 falling away than the ear-tickling fantasies of contemporary Jerm 14:11-18 prophets.

Still what is revival?

The closest we get to an actual biblical description of revival is found in the little book of Jonah. The mass repentance and salvations of Assyrians in Ninevah remain unmatched today. Billy Graham called it “the greatest revival the world has ever known”. Revivals like Azuza Street, Brownsville, and The Toronto Blessing were but drops in the bucket in comparison.

Unfortunately, one hundred fifty years after its collective repentance and subsequent reprieve as a result of Jonah’s obedience, Nineveh was back in the biblical judgment news.

While Nahum was clear that  “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.” Nah 1:7 like any true prophet he was also clear that God isn’t playing games and “reserves wrath for His enemies.” Nah 1:2

Still the question remains; who are His enemies?

Nahum is clear in his rebuke and declaration of God’s judgment.  Nineveh had become a nation of many races and was sustained by greed. Substance abuse was rampant. Nah 1:9-10 There was violence in the streets, leaders plotted against the Lord and looting abounded in all its forms. Nah 2:9

But looting was not limited to rioters in the streets. Nahum describes Nineveh’s leaders as “swarming locusts, and grasshoppers”. Nahum 3:17 Grasshoppers and locusts pillage and never produce. They disappear in the light of the sun.

As in the days of Jeremiah who rebuked the lying prophets for their ear-tickling false positivity and their claims that God said things that He never did, Jer 14:13-15, Jer 23:9-40, Jer 28 the people of Nineveh had become complacent and oppositional towards God. Perhaps like so many today, they thought they were immune to His judgments. To which Nahum replies,

“Are you better than populous (Thebes)?…” “…(who) “was carried away, into captivity”. Nah 3:8-10

While his meaning may have been euphemious and not quite as literal as my interpretation today, Nahum declares,

Your people (men ) have become women” the gates of your land are open to your enemies.”  Nah 3:13

And finally

“Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; Your nobles rest in the dust. Your people are scattered on the mountains, And no one gathers them.” Nah 3:18

While the fantasy continues to fall apart there remains a lot of ear-tickling teachers 2 Tim 4:3-4 and prophets assuring us that America shall prosper and abound. They minister to individual self-esteem at the expense of salvation and stoke the flames of personal significance instead of apprehending the fear of our God who is a consuming fire.  Heb 12:29 

Everyone loves and promotes them. Everyone speaks well of them. Luke 6:26

The Bible is the most positive and hopeful message mankind has ever seen. Yet it is a conditional one. Its time frame is eternal. It demands we abandon our ways and become set apart (Holy).  This process begins with individual and collective repentance from sin. 2 Chron 7:14 Apart from this, no message, no word, no action on our part means anything.  The idea that the God who does not change Mal 3:6, who is the same today, yesterday and forever, Heb 13:8 would not respond today as He has in the past is incoherent and does not correspond with experiential or biblical reality.

If you compare the state of the world today with the likeness of Israel back then; what do you see?  Do you see a pleased God declaring contemporary interpretations of Jeremiah 29:11 over an American society at large or do you see Isaiah 5:20 and Jeremiah 14, 23, and 28? I see a rebellious nation deserving of God’s discipline which is the true context of Jeremiah 29:11. I see that God’s mercy and truth can not be divorced from His righteousness and justice. Psalms 89:14 His judgments on earth are an aspect of His mercy in eternity.

If that idea stumps you then consider that God’s chosen, covenant people were captured 44 times, and besieged 23 times. Jerusalem was destroyed twice and its people were sent into captivity. And yet He will restore them. Rom 11:25-36 Anyone claiming that Old Testament principles do not apply to us today should understand Paul’s words in Rom 11:22 and Heb 12.

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 

Given that God’s character, plan, and purpose do not change and Ecc 1:9 tells us that history repeats; why would anyone believe that it won’t repeat today? “Surely God would not repeat what He did to Sodom and Gomorrah!” you say. Gen 19, Mat 10:15.

What does true love look like in the context of today?

What kind of messages do people really need?

Nineveh did not repent and was subsequently overrun and destroyed in Nahum’s day.

If revival is what we desire, then perhaps consider this. The first great American revival known as the First Great Awakening began in Enfield Connecticut in 1741 when. Johnathan Edwards preached a sermon titled Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.

2 Chronicles 7:14, in the spirit of Jesus’ words in Luke 13:1-5 and the Psalmist in Psalms 138:2 remains the most, if not the only relevant starting point for evangelism that might help rekindle the flames of revival in America today.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Get off the train tracks. Isaiah 30:9-13, 2 Timothy 4:3