5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, “In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” 7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” (Matthew 4:5–7)
The devil is a master manipulator. Appealing to pride, he tempted Jesus to put God to the test to see if He would keep His word. But, Jesus refused his enticement. The devil quoted Scripture, but he left out an important part of the passage (Psa. 91:11-12). Jesus was indeed the Son of God, and God did indeed promise His protective care. But Satan left out a statement that would have exposed his temptation: “To keep you in all your ways” (Psa. 91:11). Jesus knew God would protect Him as He did the Father’s will, but, not if His way was against God’s way. So, Jesus exposed Satan’s unholy use of God’s word and refused to put God to the test. As Jesus quotes Scripture here he teaches us an important lesson: God’s word harmonizes. The devil twists the Scriptures. You can resist sin’s temptation by knowing the Scriptures and by handling them carefully.
2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:2–4)
The devil tempted Jesus to set fleshly desires as His priority when he urged Jesus to use His power to feed Himself. After all, the Son of God had not eaten in forty days. And, He certainly had the power to command food into existence (as He did when He fed the multitude, Matt. 14:13-21). But, the flesh was not Jesus’ priority; doing the will of God was what sustained Him. He would live by every word of God, and since God did not approve such a selfish use of His power, He would not yield. He refused to choose the flesh over the Father’s will. Likewise, the devil tempts us to live for the flesh. The tempter says, “The desires of the flesh are natural, so why deprive yourself of satisfaction?” But, God says to feed on His word and not upon fleshly lust. To yield is to make the flesh your priority instead of God. Children of God must love the Father, not the flesh. Resist the temptations of the flesh and live by faith (1 Jno. 2:15-17).
A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9)
This adage is easily understood. Just as it takes only a small amount of leaven to affect an entire loaf of bread, a little sin has a saturating influence on one’s life. The encroachment of sin may begin almost imperceptibly, yet its mark is always left. Do not be deceived into believing that “a little sin will not hurt”; Sin always hurts. Even a little sin endangers your soul and opens the door to still more sin. Left unchecked, sin’s influence permeates your heart and your life – hardening you and destroying you as it goes. Be on guard and do not be deceived by sin’s deadly influence. Give sin no safe haven in your heart, for if you do, its destructive influence will be swift and complete. Choose instead to be influenced by the truth of God (Phil. 4:8).
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
While marriage is being redefined to suit the desires and pleasures of men and women, the One who arranged marriage for humanity continues to expect His parameters to be respected and followed. Jesus agreed that marriage is between “male and female”; there is a husband (male) and a wife (female). Same-sex marriage is the consequence of sinful, unnatural desires of the mind and flesh and will never have divine sanction no matter how many courts of men declare otherwise. Jesus also observed that the husband and the wife are “joined together” by God. He concluded that we must not separate what God has joined together. Marriage is for life, not until the married couple decides to “uncouple” or divorce. Let us honor God by honoring marriage as He gave it.
24 because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” 25 Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:24-25)
Our life on earth will not last. Like the grass and its bloom, our lives are fading day by day. By contrast, God’s word lives on and on, without interruption, without decay or destruction. The gospel preached by the apostles is as clear, relevant and powerful today as when they first proclaimed it. It saves souls. It changes lives. It holds the sure promises of God. Each of us have a choice today. Choose to put the enduring word of God into our hearts and lives, and thus be adorned for life and fit for eternity. Or, refuse the word of God for the fleeting flower of momentary pleasures of sin that only hasten your eternal destruction. One way is flourishing and forever glorious; the other, always fading until finally, eternal fire. Choose wisely. Choose the word of God and live forever with Him.
Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28)
Have you noticed how often people steal from others? For example, employees steal from their employers by not giving a full day’s work for a full day’s wages. Many people steal in order to support other harmful activities like drug abuse. Many people believe it is not really stealing if what they take from another person will never be missed. That is so wrong. Stealing, regardless of the amount or the reason, is a sin against God. Theft violates the principle of brotherly kindness by failing to treat others as we wish to be treated. It also shows disrespect for God and His will that we be honest and work to support ourselves and to assist those in need. Labor, not looting, is a hallmark of the converted. Be a person who is defined by the integrity of honest labor and not the shame of dishonest thievery.
7 The works of His hands are verity and justice; All His precepts are sure. 8 They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. 9 He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever. (Psalm 111:7-10)
Every work of God is true, just and sure. What God does is always according to truth and altogether upright. You can develop wisdom in your life by trusting God’s precepts, revering His name and doing His will. Do not argue against the work of God or His sure and certain precepts; they are for your good. Instead, fear the Lord and “do His commandments” that you may obtain “good understanding”. God redeems His people who fear Him, keep His commandments and praise His great works.