Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Acts 26


Determining the proper interpretation of the scriptures is an adventure called Hermeneutics. If we liken scholarly study of the scriptures to a baseball game, hermeneutics would be the rule book which governs the game.

Hermeneutics deals with the principles and methodology of the study of the scriptures holding to the goal of finding and refining the most accurate interpretation as intended by the writer. In order to fully understand what the writer intended; it is argued that we must:
·       Know the one who was speaking
·       Know the one(s) to whom those words were spoken
·       Understand the setting into which the speech or writings were made, including but not limited to:
o   History
o   Customs
o   Culture
o   Current affairs ongoing at the time as well as
o   Ensuring the interpretation does not violate or cause a departure from other well-defined passages of scripture.
o   Finding the correct application of truth in life today.
o   Basically, Hermeneutics follows a never-ending circuit of:
§  Observation
§  Interpretation
§  Application

Fortunately, when it comes to the Word of God, we have the Author living inside of us. I am speaking of the Holy Spirit who guides us along the way towards understanding the divine truth of the scriptures. Nonetheless, the Apostle Paul, by the inspiration of that same Holy Spirit, admonishes us to:

2 Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

That word study literally means to be diligent and work hard to ensure we “cut straight and divide right”, (rightly dividing – Greek word found nowhere else in the Gospel), when dealing with God’s word and work.

In that vein, allow me to share just a little observation from my brief studies concerning the historical context into which Acts 26 fits and to whom these anointed words were spoken.

Last week we discussed who Governor Festus was in history and in Paul’s immediate life as recorded in Acts 25. He was basically clueless as to the affairs of the Jews and most likely just wanted to wash his hands of the whole affair but didn’t want to upset the Jewish religious leaders and have them complain about him to his boss, Emperor Nero. Festus is first a politician and he had been handed a tough job.

Shortly after Festus arrives in Caesarea and begins his new job as governor of the province, King Agrippa and Bernice come for a visit. Perhaps they are traveling to or back from Rome or maybe they just wanted to officially welcome the new governor. At first read a person would assume King Agrippa and Queen Bernice were a married couple. That assumption would be wrong and might not lend us to fully understand why the Apostle Paul approached his defense in the manner chosen.

King Agrippa, also known as Agrippa II, was the son of Agrippa I. Bernice was his slightly younger sister. They were all a part of the Herodian Dynasty that ruled the Roman province of Judea between 39BC and 92AD. One of the things the Herodians were known for was the incestuous relationships within the family.

Agrippa I gave his daughter Bernice I marriage to a prominent man named Alexander when she was about 12 years old. Alexander died shortly thereafter and Agrippa then married her to his brother, Herod of Chalcis. Chalcis was an independent kingdom situated in the northeast portion of Israel on the eastern side of the Jordan river including the Golan Heights and portions of what we now know as Syria and Jordan along the Transjordanian Mountains and northwards towards Mt Herman. Sadly, Bernice’s second husband, Uncle Herod, died in 48AD.

Meanwhile, Agrippa II, who was young and needed experience was appointed by Emperor Claudius in that same year to be the superintendent of the Temple in Jerusalem. After 2 years, Agrippa II was promoted to become the new Herod of Chalcis in AD50. Bernice and her brother Agrippa II entered into an incestuous relationship for several years before she decided to marry a third time. This time it was Polemon II, the King of Cilicia. Under her influence he converted to Judaism but soon afterwards Bernice left him and went back to live with her brother, who had now been given the title of King Agrippa.

History records that during the Roman-Jewish wars, Bernice was the lover/consort of the famous Roman Commander, Vespasian, who later became the Emperor of the Roman Empire. During that time is was also rumored that she was having a second affair with Emperor Vespasian’s son, Titus.

Sounds like a great mini-series doesn’t it … at any rate, this is the same Bernice who, along with her current lover and brother, King Agrippa, came to visit Governor Festus during the time the Apostle Paul was being held under arrest in Caesarea.

It's about AD59/60. Agrippa is 33 years old and Bernice is 31. The Apostle Paul is 55 years old and he has seen quite a lot during his life. He is well acquainted with the Herod family ad all their shameful behavior. In this light, Paul and has but one goal: When Paul could have begged for his life, it was clear he had rather see these troubled people hear about Jesus and get saved.

This goal will require that Paul stick to God’s plan for mankind and not let the current affairs or their shocking sin distract him. Paul must share the gospel, the good news, and not the bad. He has to remember: God loves sinners and Jesus is not afraid of their sins. If anything, these two people are ripe and ready to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Acts 25 NKJV
13 ¶  And after some days King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus.
23  So the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and had entered the auditorium with the commanders and the prominent men of the city, at Festus’ command Paul was brought in.

Acts 26
1 ¶  Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself:
2  “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews,
3  “especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.
4  “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know.
5  “They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
6  “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers.
7  “To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews.
8  “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?
9  “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10  “This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.
11  “And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
12 ¶  “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
13  “at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me.
14  “And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15  “So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
16  ‘But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.
17  ‘I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,
18  ‘to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
19  “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
20  “but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.
21  “For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.
22  “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come — 

Acts 26 NKJV
18  ‘to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

Paul’s Major Points – The Successive Steps Jesus gave Paul for people to be saved.
·       Open
·       Turn

Matthew 13:15  For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’

·       Receive

To reach out and take it with you hand.

Matthew 14:19  Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.

Luke 9:16  Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.

James 1:7  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;

1 John 2:27  But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

·       Inherit
·       By Faith in Jesus

24 ¶  Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”
25  But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.

·       I’m not crazy
·       I only speak the words of truth and reason

26  “For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.
27  “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”
28  Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
29  And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”

·       I know you know … and I know you believe
o   As do most of the people you will ever meet
·       Almost persuaded …
o   The whole world is almost persuaded today …
o   The whole world is wondering if Jesus is the Son of God
o   The whole world, even those in terrible situations and horrible sin want to be saved …
o   God is not afraid of sin or sinners and neither should we be … the most desperate may not even know they’re in such great need …
·       Paul said, I’m pray that the one I’m talking to and all the bystanders who hear me speaking would accept Jesus as Lord.

As the Apostle Paul teaches us in this moment, when his life was hanging in the balance, we must be ready to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ above our own personal considerations and without missing the opportunity to see others who need Jesus come to Him.

Don’t get distracted from the most important opportunities …

Paul challenged the leaders of his day to accept Jesus and be born-again … so should we. Jesus is the only remedy for any soul and the only hope of any nation. People are already almost persuaded … we need to be the witness God wants.

Eternity is about us … Today is about others.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Suffering in Victory


What would you do if you had a copy of tomorrow’s newspaper? How much would you be willing to bet on a game that had already been played? Well, I have a copy of tomorrow’s newspaper … it’s called the Bible, God’s Holy Word. It is the truth and I have read the last page … Jesus is victorious, and we win!!!

Imagine fighting a battle knowing you’ve already won. It’s like watching a movie for a second or third time. You already know the end. I tend to watch old movies that were filmed in black and white. One reason is because the good guys always win. However, even when I know it’s all going to work out and even though I have seen it several times, sometimes I still get a little anxious when the drama increases, and the star of the show is being ambushed.

Often, I have to remind myself, it’s ok … I know how this turns out … it’s gonna be ok … and every time, when the drama and scare is over, I feel so relieved. That’s our life in Christ on planet earth. We are guaranteed a “Happily Ever After” life throughout eternity, we just have to get through the earthly drama that’s being delivered to us by the bad guys.

Victory in Jesus is our reality. Suffering through the drama of this life is also a reality. God wants us to live a victorious life even when we face moments filled with drama or suffering. It’s not just a matter of perspective … It’s a matter of faith.

Just like the Apostle John said:

1 John 5:4  For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.

Let’s look at a few examples of people who were suffering in victory on their way to their happily-ever-after.

2 Timothy 1 NKJV
8  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
9  who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
10  but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
11  to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
12  For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

Job 19 NKJV
23 ¶  “Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!
24  That they were engraved on a rock With an iron pen and lead, forever!
25  For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26  And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,
27  Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

Ruth 1 NKJV
16  But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
17  Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”


Hebrews 12:2  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus is the ultimate example of someone suffering in this life while keeping His eye on the victory.

It’s not over until God says it’s over.

Our victory is not in our enemy’s defeat, but in our God.

1 Peter 5
7  Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
9  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
10  But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
11  To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:10  But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

·       Perfect
o   Mend; Repair; Restore; Make fit again
·       Establish
o   Stabilize; Set in Place; Confirm
·       Strengthen
o   Make Strong; Able to Stand on your own two feet
·       Settle
o   Lay a Foundation; Firmly Grounded; Rooted

Once we make Jesus Christ the Lord of our life, we are guaranteed a “happily-ever-after” eternity. The trials, tribulations, testing, temptations, and all the drama this world and the devil can throw into the mix pales in comparison the victory we have in Christ. The biggest fight we have in this life is our fight of faith. Have faith in God and if you suffer, suffer knowing you have victory in Christ. Don’t let the devil deceive you – he is a loser, and you are a winner. The devil can’t defeat you. Resist him steadfast in the faith you have in the finished work of Jesus. Resist the devil in faith and he will flee.

Supporting Scriptures
1 Peter 4:16  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

1 Peter 4:19  Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

2 Timothy 3:12  Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

John 16:33  “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Acts 25 - Honesty Is The Best Policy


In order to get the full account of what was going on in Acts 25 with the Apostle Paul, we must begin our reading with the last two verses of chapter 24.

Acts 24 NKJV
26  Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him.
27  But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.

The history and the times:
·       AD60
·       Paul was under arrest in Caesarea where he had been held for 2 years.
·       The Roman governor in charge of Jewish affairs was named Felix and he had his headquarters in Caesarea.
·       Felix knew there were no worthy charges against Paul.
o   Occasionally he would send for Paul to talk with him hoping Paul would finally offer him a bribe to let him go.
o   Felix cared more about money than he did about justice.
·       The Jews didn’t like Felix and complained to Rome about the way he governed.
·       The Emperor Nero, in his 7th year as Caesar, sent Porticus Festus to replace Felix as governor over the Jewish territories.
·       It was a custom in that day, and indeed in our day as well, for parting governors, presidents, and kings to pardon people as one of their last official acts before turning over power to their successor.
·       Here is a list of some of the US Presidents and the number of pardons they issued. These do not reflect the commutations, clemencies, or remissions, only the pardons.
o   Franklin D. Roosevelt: 2,819 pardons
o   Harry S. Truman: 1,913 pardons
o   Dwight D. Eisenhower: 1,110 pardons
o   Woodrow Wilson: 1,087 pardons
o   Lyndon Johnson: 960 pardons
o   Richard Nixon: 863 pardons
o   Calvin Coolidge: 773 pardons
o   Herbert Hoover: 672 pardons
o   Theodore Roosevelt: 668 pardons
o   Jimmy Carter: 534 pardons
o   John F. Kennedy: 472 pardons
o   Bill Clinton: 396 pardons
o   Ronald Reagan: 393 pardons
o   William H. Taft: 383 pardons
o   Gerald Ford: 382 pardons
o   Warren Harding: 386 pardons
o   William McKinley: 291 pardons
o   Barack Obama: 212 pardons
o   George W. Bush: 189 pardons
o   George H.W. Bush: 74 pardons
o   Donald J. Trump: 10 pardons
·       There have been several very controversial pardons such as:
o   The pardon issued at the end of his term by President Bill Clinton to Marc Rich, a wealthy hedge-fund manager who traded with Iran while Americans were being held hostage, and hid-out in Europe for two decades while contributing to Clinton campaigns. Rich also faced federal charges of tax evasion, wire fraud, and racketeering.
o   President Clinton issued 140 pardons on his last day in office. One of those was even to his brother, Roger Clinton, who had been convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. This expunged Roger Clinton’s criminal record but less than a year after being pardoned, Roger was arrested and charged with drunk driving and disorderly conduct.
o   Richard Nixon pardoned/commuted the sentence of Jimmy Hoffa, a tough union boss, in an agreement that Hoffa would return to leading the Teamsters Union and support Nixon in the next election, as the recorded phone call verifies. Hoffa later disappeared in what became a very high-profile mystery.
o   President Ronald Reagan pardoned Mark Felt and Edward Miller, two high-ranking FBI agents who carried out break-ins and information gathering against political opponents for the Nixon Administration. Mark Felt was later found to be the well-known “Deep Throat” informant during the famous Watergate scandal which led to President Nixon’s resignation.
o   President Ford pardoned President Nixon.
o   President Jimmy Carter pardoned all Vietnam draft-dodgers.
o   President Andrew Johnson finally issued a full and final pardon on Christmas Day, 1868, to every person who fought in the Confederate Army against the Union during the Civil War.
o   And guess what? I received a pardon. I’ve been pardoned by King Jesus in the last seconds before His death on the cross … and so were you.
·       Felix knew he was going to be in trouble once he got to Rome and tried to gain favor with the Jews by not releasing Paul.
·       But it didn’t work. Historians tell us that Jewish leaders followed Felix to Rome and complained to the Emperor Nero about him. Nero was willing to punish Felix severely but his brother, who had the favor of the Emperor, spoke on his defense and Felix was pardoned.

In all of this, everything that Felix tried to gain, from the bribe he hoped Paul would give him to the good report he hoped the Jews would give him, were all for nothing. If he had just been honest it would have helped everyone but instead, Governor Felix was a man of bad character and it showed.

Acts 25 NKJV
1 ¶  Now when Festus had come to the province, after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
2  Then the high priest and the chief men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they petitioned him,
3  asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem — while they lay in ambush along the road to kill him.
4  But Festus answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was going there shortly.
5  “Therefore,” he said, “let those who have authority among you go down with me and accuse this man, to see if there is any fault in him.”
6  And when he had remained among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day, sitting on the judgment seat, he commanded Paul to be brought.
7  When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove,
8  while he answered for himself, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.”
9  But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?”
10  So Paul said, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know.

Paul maintains not only his innocence of the charges brought against him by the Jewish leaders, but he also asserts that these Roman governors know very well that he is innocent and that the charges are bogus. Neither Felix nor Festus argue that point. They are both bound by two considerations. It seems the truth is not their greatest concern but rather they are more committed to protecting their political standing. Paul continues:

11  “For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
12  Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!”

Here we see the new governor of the province looking like he is taking the easy way out. However, even though Governor Felix is not judging a righteous judgment, since he feels Paul has done nothing deserving of punishment under the Roman law, nonetheless Felix is being used by the Holy Spirit to facilitate God’s plan for Paul and the Kingdom of Christ. God wants Paul and his witness in Rome and God is getting the government of Rome to pay for the whole mission trip including transportation, lodging, food and meeting halls. The Roman government is going to foot the bill and ultimately give the Apostle Paul audience with every important ruler of the Roman Empire. In essence, they will even ask him to give his testimony and he will tell them about Jesus! Nothing beats just being honest, even when you’re on trial for your very life.

Later Governor Felix is visited by King Agrippa. When telling King Agrippa what the argument between the Jewish leaders and the Apostle Paul is, Felix says:

Acts 25
18  “When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation against him of such things as I supposed,
19  “but had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.

This is still the argument put forth by those who believe in Jesus. The world may accept Jesus as a historical figure or even as a prophet or religious teacher, but they all imagine Him dead … we affirm Jesus to be alive!

If Jesus is alive, all other questions are answered. He is the Son of God, Messiah of the Jews, Savior of the World and soon coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Jesus is alive! And, as King, only Jesus can pardon your sins and save your soul!!!

And don’t forget … Honesty is the best policy.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Age-Old Temptations


Today we will be taking our text from Luke 4. Before we go there, allow me to read a couple of my favorite scriptures from:

Deuteronomy 8
2  And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
3  So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.

Personal Story - In June of 1980 God told me that He would make me rich …
·       I believed the word I received was from the Lord, but I did not understand what He meant by rich nor what I would go through in my making.
o   In time I came to realize that anyone who ends the day with more bread than they have hunger, or more joy than they have sorrow is truly a very wealthy person.
o   Rich is what we are when we have more than enough for ourselves so that we are able to share a little of our abundance with those in need. This is the definition of an abundant life … (John 10:10)
o   I finally saw that when God said that He would make me rich … He did not say that He would give me riches. The giving of riches can be instant, but the making took time; and hard work; and trust on my part; and much patience and grace on His.
·       Soon after God spoke to me about making me rich, He told me to sell everything we owned and give the money to a Church – it was a Church I had never attended. He told me that He did not want me to be able to say that my hands had gotten me anything but only that “The Lord had provided.”
o   We had completely furnished our house with things we had bought and brought back from Europe. We sold our living room furniture, dining room table and hutch, kitchen furniture, stereo, pictures, bedroom furniture, nursery furniture, and even our clothes and children’s toys … we even sold both of our cars, my 4-wheel drive Dodge Ramcharger and her Volkswagen.
o   We prayed, heard from God, knew His will, believed and acted on His Word, and we expected His abundant provision … He was going to make us rich and we really expected He would do it immediately.
o   However, our initial expectations were a little off …
o   In fact, we moved into an unfurnished apartment with not even a folding chair.
o   After 2 months we bought our first piece of furniture. It was a $5 bean bag which we were proud to own. That was the only piece of furniture we had for 7 months.
o   We graduated from that empty 2-bedroom apartment and moved into a borrowed 23-foot camper trailer.
o   We didn’t own a car for 2 whole years. During those 2 years the Lord gave us the cash to pay for 2 cars and told us to give them away to other people, one of which was a hitchhiker.
o   Although I didn’t know, I am certain the Lord knew what He was doing.
·       Now, 40 years later, I can truly testify that the Lord has kept His word above and beyond anything I could ever have imagined. He has made me rich.
·       You see … the devil would love for us to have trust issues with God however, the truth is:

The Lord humbles us, and allows us to hunger, and feeds us with manna, which we knew not, neither did our fathers know; that He might make us to know that we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:3 Paraphrased)

Let’s turn our attention to our text for today.

Luke 4
1 ¶  Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
2  being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

The 1st Temptation:
3  And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread."
4  But Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, ’Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’" (Deuteronomy 8:3)
5  Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6  And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.

The 2nd Temptation
7  "Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours."
8  And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ’You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’" (Deuteronomy 6:13 & 10:20)

The 3rd Temptation
9  Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.
10  "For it is written: ’He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’
11  "and, ’In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’" (Psalms 91:11&12)
12  And Jesus answered and said to him, "It has been said, ’You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’"  (Deuteronomy 6:16)
13  Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

The devil had grown used to seeing people fall for the subtle, sneaky snake approach. He is a crafty tempter. The devil knows what God has promised you in His Word and the devil wants to cunningly create trust issues in your head. Subtle seeds of distrust. It worked with Eve, the perfect daughter of God, maybe, he thought, it will work with the perfect Son. What were the temptations? Just as a reminder … these are the same temptations we will face in life …

The Three Age-Old Temptations to not trust God …
1.  Provide for Yourself
a.  Don’t wait on God …
b.  Get everything you can and can everything you get.
c.   Nobody loves you like you do … and it’s all about you.
2.  Promote Yourself
a.  You deserve it …
b.  You’re right and you work hard …
c.   Out of time and Out of place – Out of Order
d.  Promotion comes from the Lord …
e.  A man’s gift makes room for him …
3.  Prove Yourself
a.  People don’t respect me enough …
b.  People don’t treat me right …
c.   People don’t know who I am … I’ll show them …

That subtle-serpent … that sneaky-snake … that crafty-coward … he is trying to get you to not trust God and take matters into your own hands.

I can’t count the number of times I was tempted to take the short-cut, do it myself, or make it happen. Thank God for good friends and trusted companions who continued to point me to the Word of God. If God said it, He will do it … If He spoke it, He will make it good. (Psalms 89:34b)

It was difficult at times and at times I was challenged to jump ship, but praise be to God who continually reminded me that it wasn’t all about me. He had a plan for my life far beyond anything I could comprehend, and I simply needed to trust Him to provide; to promote; and to prove me in the eyes of others. He makes all things beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

The greatest temptations we face in life come straight from the devil. Satan is constantly trying to get us to make things about us. He uses the same tactics on us today that he used on both Eve and Jesus. It might be different situations but it’s the same issues … trust issues.

These issues are Trust Issues … the Age-Old Temptations
·       Can I trust God with my right now?
·       Can I trust God with my destiny?
·       Can I trust God with my eternity?

If the devil can get you to doubt God and make life all about you, he will do his best to get you to:
·       Provide for yourself
o   here in this world
o   in the world to come (by works which can never save)
·       Promote yourself out of time or out of place or out of order
·       Prove to the world that you are somebody … then he has you right where he wants you and he can control your life.

“If you are the Son of God …” – Subtle conversations of seducing spirits questioning God’s character and commitment – Golden coins of twisted truth … When we have nothing to prove …

We can trust God with our today, with our tomorrow, and with our forever.

Here are 3 things that will defeat these Age-Old Temptations:
·       The Word of God will supply your daily bread.
·       Worship and Service to God will secure your destiny.
·       Relationship with Christ will assure your eternity.

Let me encourage you to increase your intake of Word, Worship and service to the Lord. And …

It’s hard to trust God for your eternity if you won’t trust Him with your today!

God wants to save your soul and the devil wants to destroy it … who are you going to trust?

40 years ago I began a journey of learning how to trust God one day, one step, one issue at a time. I can truly say that the Lord has been faithful to me. He has never failed me or forsaken me, and I know you can trust Him today.

What will you trust God to do for you right now?