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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Temptation Before the Cross

Joh 17:4
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
Joh 17:5
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
Joh 17:6
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Joh 17:7
Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

The life Jesus lived was a praise to the Father. He was not like the religious crowd who said but did not. The Son rendered honor to the Father, and He never misrepresented Him to the people. He completed the work He was given to do. He showed the character and ways of God by being an accurate reflection of His Father to the disciples and all those around. He prays for His disciples. He knows everything His Father has is His and everything He has is the Father's. They with hold nothing from each other. He knew that He no longer was a part of the world order, the arrangement of things in this world. He came and lived a self-less life in a world system where self was king. He gave these men truth and they received it. They believed it. Jesus did not ask for the Father to lift them out of the world. That word for 'world' is kosmos, in the Greek. It means arrangement, decoration. An ornament of the heavens. He prays, Father keep them, watch over them, preserve them from evil influence. This world is in a fallen state, where everything is out of divine order. That which should be highly esteemed and is by God is abomination to men. What is highly esteemed among men is abomination to God. Jesus prays for them that even though they are living in this environment that it will no longer shape or influence them. In it but not a product of it. To accomplish that, they must be filled with and fed something not of this world-His divine nature, and His powerful Truth. Father, purify them through feeding them Your truth, Your Word. The same way You sent Me into the world, to show men who You are, I send them. I do not pray for just these, but for those who will also believe on Me through their sharing Your truth. That they all be ONE. There should be no schism, no division in that which is Christ's body. In His House there is not to be any division. His body functions under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. In the world but not of it. In the world self is king. In the kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit rules. Whomever we yield our members to is who we serve. (Rom_6:16) To yield to self-will rather than divine will is to serve self, not Christ. Oh, Lord help us. They were on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane where a hard spiritual battle would be fought by the Son of God. He warns those with Him:

Luk 22:40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

In the Greek, this word for temptation is 'peirasmos' and it means extreme adversity, sent to prove or test the integrity of man, often allowed by God. It's a proving ground, a trial by fire. He was going to be put in a situation where the natural instinct would be to sin. The adversity would be so hard every physical instinct would cry out for a reaction that though natural, would be sin to yield to. To allow flesh-the natural self, to react, or have its way in this extreme trial would be rebellion against the will of God. He knew the enemy would also try to overthrow their faith, by using the trial He was going to endure.

He urged them to pray. Pray that you do not give into flesh and behave as the enemy of your soul is tempting you to do in this trial. That is what He is warning them about. The devil wants to overthrow their faith. He wants them to panic and run scared and reject Jesus and His call on their lives when they see His suffering. This is his desire for us as well when we go through trials and adversity. We need to remember God never allows anything to come against us He knows we can't endure. He is always our ever present Help in trouble (Psa_46:1). Flesh wants to give up but patient endurance motivated by faith and love for God brings honor to His name and defeats the plan of the devil. (Luk_21:19; Mat_24:13).

Luk_22:43 tells us an angel appeared to Jesus from heaven and strengthened Him. He was struggling here like He had not before. There was a severe mental struggle with emotions and feelings and thoughts being brought under mastery here. Scripture never says Satan is in the garden shooting fiery darts at the Lord's mind, but I believe he was there. I believe he unleashed a hellish attack against the mind of Jesus Christ like we have never experienced.
I've never been in the situation Jesus was in here, but I've had a taste of this kind of mental agony-and I can't imagine how much more awful it was for Him. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't dare compare my light afflictions to the major suffering of the Lord. But when this hits you, you know it. I have been enduring trials that everything in me wanted to run away from and suffered mental agony and hellish attacks against my mind so strong at times all I could do was get on my knees and cry out for help. I couldn't pray, all I could say was "help, Lord!" And you know help to get through it is only found one place-Him.

The disciples couldn't handle it. They were tired, weary, and so discouraged and afraid. The Lord was praying so hard, He broke out in a heavy, thick sweat, as if it were like blood. He rouses Himself and goes to the three disciples, and finds them sleeping for sorrow, they were grief stricken, and heavy with despair. (Luk_22:45) He addresses Peter, calling him "Simon, you sleep? You are not strong enough to to keep a watch, to stay awake just for an hour?" Surely this was meant as a reminder of his need for prayer, especially in light of his earlier boasting. Oh, the guilt. Here he had bragged just a little while earlier, "Lord, I'll go with you all the way, even to jail or death." But his flesh was too strong for him.

Mat 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Be vigilant, pray that you don't yield to sin in this great trial like the devil wants you too! Your spirit is ready, and eager to pray, but the human nature, with its frailties and carnal passions has no strength to endure this trial. Oh, He truly knows what we are made of. Our own flesh is more than we can handle without the Holy Spirit.

2Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2Th 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

We can see what happens when men oppose everything that is God, and would exalt themselves above all that is called God-and that is His Word, which was made flesh and walked this earth among men. His Word is still here. But self always wants to be exalted. It's pride, arrogance and foolishness to think we can bind the Word of God and make it captive to our will. Yet, we see the rise of the anti-christ spirit in schools, in our government, in our universities, everywhere. Be not shaken by this. Remember He's already told us these things would happen.

Dig in deep in the Truth and trust this Word of God to hold you up. Connect yourself to HIM. Abide in Him. Then you will be on the Rock and when the storm rages all around you, your temple will not be destroyed for you will be built on HIM. Now is the time to be fortifying ourselves as much as we can in His Word, His truth. Dig in deep, saints. Only deep roots hold up the tree in the storm. Lay hold on Truth and do not let go of it, no matter what you see or hear in the coming days. Trust God, not people, not self, not the sight of your eyes or what your ears hear. Trust HIM. Have faith in HIM. He is still in control and always will be. The devil will never defeat Him. Arm yourselves with the Truth and stand on it, bank your life, and the lives of your loved ones on it and you will not be sorry. They may reproach you for it now, but the time will come when they wish they had listened and dug in. Do not be a foolish virgin who waits until it's too late to fill up with oil. Do it now. This is not something you can do overnight. Start now. Dig and pray in this Word. Pray and Dig. And trust Him.

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