Tempting God!

Fred R. Coulter - April 12, 2014

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Greetings, brethren! Welcome to Sabbath services, the Sabbath before Passover.

Recently there have been those who say that Jesus could not have been tempted at all, and it comes from the doctrine that Jesus was a100% man and 100% God! Put this aside and let's move over to another theory, which is very new: One man has come up with the idea that Jesus was actually the son of Joseph, and that God did this by taking from Joseph the male portion for creating children and putting it into Mary. Well, those things are contrary to what the Scriptures say.

Let's look at another contradiction that is very important and has to do with the same thing concerning: What kind of nature did Jesus have? Another theory is called Docetism, which is that the Christ, a spirit being from heaven came and possessed a physical man, Jesus. So, the Christ came into the man Jesus. When the man Jesus died, Christ returned to heaven. This is somewhat similar to what the Mormon's teach. They teach that before we became human beings we were spirit beings in heaven.

Let's look at something here that helps us to understand about what Jesus went through. We're going to look at two verses and see where it appears to be a contradiction. But, as we will see, it is not!

James 1:2: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you are beset by various trials." Of course, we've all had a lot of trials, and it's difficult to count them joyous, especially when they are most difficult. But the joy comes afterward.

Verse 3: "Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, not lacking in anything" (vs 3-4).

We're going to focus during the Feast of Unleavened Bread on The Perfection of God! Here James says to 'let it be perfect, let it be complete.'

Verse 5: "However, if anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives to everyone freely and does not reproach the one who asks;and it shall be given to him." Here we're to continually ask God for everything in our lives.

Verse 6: "But let him ask in faith, not doubting at all because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven by the wind and tossed to and fro. Do not let that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord" (vs 6-7).

This is a difficulty that we have, v 8: "He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." It's like one man said, 'This person comes to church and he has one foot in the world and one foot in the Church.' Maybe that is so, that when he has difficulties he can go to God, but yet, in the world, he's accepted by the world as one of them. That would be double-minded!

Verse 12: "Blessed is the man who endures trials because, after he has been proved…" That's the whole point of it.

  • God proves us!

  • God tests us!

—to see whether we love Him or not. This is also a theme of Unleavened Bread: Will we do the will of God? We'll see how that ties in with Jesus and His nature.

"…after he has been proved, he shall receive a crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (v 12). Loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and being means under all circumstances, regardless of what they are! Whether they are good or bad, whether they're in between, we always love God first! That's the whole foundation of our relationship between us, God the Father and Jesus Christ—loving God!

Of course, with the coming Passover, that is really a love feast when we partake of the Passover tomorrow night.

Verse 13 is very interesting: "Do not let anyone who is tempted say, 'I am being tempted by God'…" We have trials that come. Always remember that God tempts no one with evil! But what He does is He sets before us choices. There are choices of good and there are choices of evil. The one who tempts with evil is Satan the devil, and he likes to make it look good. But you always have to count the cost and consider the end.

"…because God is not tempted by evil… [I want you to remember that statement] …and He Himself tempts no one with evil" (v 13). Then it shows how sin comes about because of

  • temptation

  • inducement

  • yielding

  • finally accepting it

  • and it gives birth to sin!

It actually shows how to cut off sin, which we will cover a little later. But now I want to emphasize that God is not tempted by evil!

The book of Hebrews is very interesting, indeed! Hebrews is Paul's general epistle to all the churches. It looks very, very clear that God inspired Paul to write this right after he got to Rome. And when he got to Rome, three days afterward he had all the Jewish leaders come and he expounded to them the Kingdom of God. Some believed, some didn't believe.

Paul wrote this in 61A.D. There is no mention of the martyrdom of James—the brother of Jesus—so it couldn't have been written after that. Of course, there is no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem, which then came six and a half years later. That's when it began, and it was finally destroyed in 70A.D.—a total of nine years.

Let's compare Heb. 12 talking about Jesus, and this gets into the nature that Jesus had.

  • Was He God in the flesh?

  • Was He a spirit being, possessing a human body?

  • Was He only begotten by human means, even if it was like in vitro fertilization with the father being Joseph?

That flies right into the face of other Scriptures that we will look at in just a little bit. But let's look at this first, because it brings out what appears to be a contradiction.

Hebrews 4:15—talking about Christ as our High Priest: "For we do not have a high priest who cannot empathize with our weaknesses, but One Who was tempted in all things according to the likeness of our own temptations; yet, He was without sin."

James says that you can't tempt God with evil. Here it says that Jesus—God manifested in the flesh—was tempted in every way like we are. How do we reconcile that? How do we put that together with the rest of the Scriptures? Let's see what Jesus Himself said. Let's see what the Apostle John wrote? Here is a great introduction telling us about Jesus and telling us something very, very important.

The one who said that God took the contribution of Joseph and supernaturally impregnated Mary with that—and he made references to other children of promise such as: Isaac, the promise given to Isaac and his wife, to Hannah and others, John the Baptist and his father and mother—and if it was done that way, that would mean that Jesus was not the only begotten of God the Father. You see what happens then.

Here's something, since we're coming to the Days of Unleavened Bread, to remember: a little leaven leavens the whole lump! Once you start down the road of compromise and changing doctrine, following after the logic of men to try and establish a doctrine of God, you find yourself in great trouble! A little error breeds another error, and that breeds another error! Related to Unleavened Bread it is a little leaven leavens the whole lump! Look what has happened to Christianity today!

The whole first chapter of John is very important. We're not going to go through the whole chapter, but we'll go through a good number of verses. It's interesting that many of the answers to the false doctrines that men come up with are answered in this chapter, as well as other verses in the Bible.

This substantiates what the Bible teaches, by the way, that of the Godhead there are two. Elohim is God, which is plural, and there are two: The One Who became the Son, and the One Who became the Father. It does not show, under any circumstance in the Scriptures. that there is the Holy Spirit, the person. But it does show there is the Holy Spirit, the power of God!

This is why John wrote this, because when you connect this with 1-John 3 that many false prophets have come into the world who say that Jesus 'did not come in the flesh.' In other words, Jesus was not fully human, and if He only came from a man, and if He didn't come from God, and if He was not fully human and not fully God then some would ask:

  • How could He die?

  • How could His sacrifice be a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the whole world?

This is why John wrote this, and it's very clear. In the Greek this is very easy to understand. There are no complications in it to say that 'this is difficult to understand.' Likewise, in the English:

John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. [that's two] …He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and not even one thing that was created came into being without Him" (vs 1-3). This tells us that the One who became Jesus Christ, the One of Elohim, when it says that He was with God, that's 'Theos.' When it says that He was God, that's 'Theos.' So, you have two Theos:

  1. God the Father

  2. The Son

This also tells us that the One Who became Jesus Christ was the Lord God of the Old Testament.

Let's read what 1-Cor. 10 says about Christ and ancient Israel, 1-Corinthians 10:4: "And they all drank of the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them. And that Rock was Christ." That shows that the Lord God of the Old Testament was Christ.

Verse 9: "Neither should we tempt Christ…" Let's find out today how we tempt God. What is it that we do that is tempting God?

"…as some of them also tempted Him, and were killed by serpents" (v 9). There are other Scriptures showing that Jesus Christ was the One Who was the Lord God of the Old Testament.

Paul writes in 1-Timothy 3:16: "…God was manifested in the flesh…" And we're going to see what kind of flesh that He had. If He were not in the flesh then He couldn't be tempted. That's why the doctrine that says that Jesus was 100% God and 100% man cannot be correct.

What did God tell Moses when Moses wanted to see God's glory? God said, 'No man can look upon My face and live." So, how could you take God, of which human flesh cannot look upon His face and live, and put it in human flesh and have an existence of a man? Couldn't do it, because they'd burn up!

John is writing to help clarify the thing, and this becomes very important: John 1:14: "And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we ourselves beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten with the Father), full of grace and Truth." He became flesh, or was made flesh. We're going to see how that happened, because the Bible tells us; the Bible makes it very, very clear.

Let's see what the One Who became Jesus Christ had to do. Let's remember that whatever Jesus did becomes very, very important in understanding our salvation, as well as the kind of nature that He had. If He was not fully human, yet, being filled with the Holy Spirit, then He was not the true Jesus Christ. We'll see that.

Paul explains it here in Philippians 2:5, speaking of Christ: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus"—which is the whole point of conversion, Christianity, the Passover and Unleavened Bread, so that we develop the mind of Christ.

What God wants us to do, and the reason that He has given us His Holy Spirit is so that through the Word of God and through understanding how God wants us to live the way we live, and through prayer and study, we develop our minds to think as God thinks!

Of course, that's a small portion of what it's going to be after the resurrection. But just like little children, they start out very small, just a pinprick of life.

Verse 6: "Who, although He existed in the form of God…"—because He was God.

John 17:5—Jesus prayed that the "…Father, glorify Me with Your own self, with the glory that I had with You before the world existed." We also know the Scriptures that tell us that Jesus—the Lamb of God—was slain from the foundation of the world.

This day that we're going to keep—the Passover—is the day that God chose for the sacrifice to save all mankind; by sending His Son, His only Begotten. That was from the Father!

  • It was not from any man!

  • It was not an angelic being!

  • It was not a spirit being possessing a man!

We'll see all of that here in just a bit.

Philippians 2:6: "…did not consider it robbery to be equal with God" What did He have to do?

Let's add in here, Genesis 1:26: "And God said, 'Let Us… [God the Father and Jesus Christ] …make man in Our image, after Our likeness…" And He made them male and female and they were after the likeness of God. That was particularly and deliberately done so that God could become a man. Jesus Christ was God before He became flesh.

Philippians 2:7: "But emptied Himself…" What did He have to do? He had to give up His:

  • glory

  • power

  • honor

  • existence

to be reduced to a pinpoint of life, and then begotten in the womb of the virgin Mary.

"…and was made in thelikeness of men… [likeness means the sameness—'homoioma' or 'homoiomati'] …and took the form of a servant… ['doulous'—slave] …and being found in the manner of man…" (vs 7-8)—everything that men do: eating, sleeping, all the bodily processes, thinking, working—all of that.

"…He humbled Himself…" (v 8). Let's understand that whenever we have a trial, these things are to humble us. But think about what Jesus did to humble Himself. We're going to see that, yes, He did take on human nature as we have it:

  • for the very purpose of saving us

  • for the very purpose of making it possible to grant us eternal life

"…and became obedient unto death…" (v 8). Isn't that interesting? What did Jesus say about those who are faithful? The ones who are faithful to the end? He who endures to the end shall be saved! Jesus was saved from death (Heb. 5)

"…even the death of the cross" (v 8). The book that we have The Day that Jesus the Christ Died shows what a horrific death that was! Also, Jesus said that

  • He 'laid down His life'

  • He 'had commandment from the Father to receive it back'

  • No man took it from Him, He volunteered!

  • He laid His life down!

It's important because of what God has done.

Let's read some things out of the first two chapters of the book of Hebrews. We are going to understand that Jesus became fully human. Think of this:

  • How important, since God has done this, is our calling?

  • How important is it that God wants us to do the things that are pleasing to Him?

  • How important is it that we love God?

We're made in His image, and for the purpose to become His sons and daughters—children of God. That's why Christ came first as the forerunner.

Hebrews 1:1: "God, Who spoke to the fathers at different times in the past and in many ways by the prophets, has spoken to us in these last days by His Son." We're going to see what He said about what He did.

Verse 2: "Whom He has appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the ages… [or the worlds] …Who, being the brightness of His glory and the exact image of His person…" (vs 2-3). Having the same character of God, the same substance of God and gave Himself up to become that pinpoint of life in full faith and trust in God the Father.

"…when He had by Himself… [that's the whole point of the crucifixion] …purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; having been made so much greater than any of the angels…" (vs 3-4).

Sidebar: There are also doctrines out there saying that God has so much love that He's not going to torment Satan the devil and the demons with him into the ages of eternity, like it says in Rev. 20, and also in the book of Jude. 'No! No! God is so loving that He's going to transform them into human beings and then He's going to burn them up!' There is no Scripture to support any of that nonsensical conjecture of men.

Notice that angels will not become human beings. It says so right here, "…inasmuch as He has inherited a name exceedingly superior to them. For to which of the angels did He ever say… [or will ever say] …'You are My Son; this day I have begotten You'?…. [It was God the Father Who had the power of begettal of Jesus] …And again, 'I will be a Father to Him, and He will be a Son to Me'? And again, when He brought the Firstborn into the world, He said, 'Let all the angels of God worship Him.'" (vs 4-6).

Then Paul makes another distinction between God and the angels. Angels are created spirit beings. As spirit beings they do not die, as Jesus said (Luke 20).

Verse 7: "Now, on the one hand, of the angels He says, 'Who makes His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire.' But on the other hand, of the Son He says, 'Your throne, O God…'" (vs 7-8).

  • Is Jesus God? Yes!

  • Was He God before He came to the earth as a human being? Yes!

  • Did He return to being God at the resurrection? Yes!

"'…is into the ages of eternity; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You loved righteousness and hated lawlessness…'" (vs 8-9). Another clue as to why God is not going to convert sinning angels and Satan the devil into human beings and then burn them up in the Lake of Fire. God hates lawlessness! Who are the most lawless of all? Satan the devil and the demons!

"'…because of this, God, even Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions.' And, 'You, Lord, in the beginning did lay the foundation of the earth…'" (vs 9-10). That's when it was determined that Jesus would die for the sins of mankind.

"'…and the heavens are the works of Your hands.'" (v 10). That is a fantastic thing to understand. God created it; He called them into being! And with human beings He personally made them with His own hands!

Let's carry that one step further. Since God made the genes and chromosomes that we have, and since God made the process of reproducing human beings through husband and wife and family, every human being has been created by God through the power of procreation. That is why at conception every human being is what he is. That's why abortion is murder!You are destroying the creation of God!

Verse 11: "'They will perish, but You remain forever; and they will all grow old like a garment, and You will roll them up like a covering, and they shall be changed; but You are the same, and Your years will not end.' But unto which of the angels did He ever say, 'Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet'? Are they not all ministering spirits, being sent forth to minister to those who are about to inherit salvation?" (vs 11-14). Then

  • it talks about the salvation that we have

  • it talks about what Jesus did

  • it talks about the nature of that He took upon Himself and why He did it

Hebrews 2:6: "But in a certain place one fully testified, saying, 'What is man, that You are mindful of him, or the son of man, that You visit him?'" What are we:

  • that God would call us?

  • that God would lead us to repentance?

  • that God would give us His Holy Spirit?

  • that God would include us in His plan?

  • that God opens our mind to understand the Scriptures?

  • that God gives us the understanding to know that we will one day be like Him?

Verse 7: "'You did make him a little lower than the angels; You did crown him with glory and honor, and You did set him over the works of Your hands; You did put all things in subjection under his feet.'…." (vs 7-8). This is talking about Jesus Christ personally right now, and it's talking about our future.

"…For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that was not subjected to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him…. [to mankind in general] …But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor on account of suffering the death…" (vs 8-9). When it talks about the death of Jesus Christ in the Greek it is 'the death'; there's no other death like it, because He was the only one who could do it, and we will see how He did it.

Verse 10: "Because it was fitting for Him, for Whom all things were created, and by Whom all things exist, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings." In other words, you cannot perfect human beings unless God first of all made it possible for men to do so by becoming a man.

Here's the sum of the whole story: Adam and Eve sinned, and we're all descendants of Adam and Eve. Paul writes in Rom. 5:12, that by one man sin entered into the world, and by sin came death and death passed into all mankind'; that's why all sin! They have a nature of death; they have a nature of sin!

We'll talk more about the deceptiveness of human nature, but that's what we are as human beings. God has a purpose to change that so that we can become like Him. But all of this that we have as human beings must be transformed, and all the sin, all the characteristics of human nature, and the law of sin and death must be obliterated! But that cannot happen until after Jesus took that upon Himself to do.

Made "…perfect through sufferings" Jesus suffered being a human being after being God. And we know from Isa. 50 that God the Father taught Jesus from the time He was born. Every morning, it says, God the Father would wake Him up and He would be taught. God didn't leave the education of Jesus Christ to the Jewish government schools of that day in the synagogues, to learn all of the lies of human beings. No, indeed! God taught Him!

So, by the time He was 12-years-old, when He was up at the temple during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, He was there talking with all of the elite in Jerusalem concerning the Word of God. And they were astonished at His knowledge. Yes, Jesus had to have a special education like that, but He was still a human being.

Verse 11: "For both He Who is sanctifying and those who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." That's us! We are the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ!

Verse 12: "Saying, 'I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the Church I will sing praise to You.'" This is Christ teaching the Church. Who is Head of the Church today? Jesus Christ!

Verse 13: "And again, 'I will be trusting in Him.' And again, 'Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.'" This is a projection toward the resurrection when all the saints will be resurrected and He will present us to God the Father. What a fantastic time that is going to be!

Verse 14: "Therefore, since the children are partakers of flesh and blood, in like manner He also took part in the same… [the exact sameness of human flesh that we have] …in order that through death…" He couldn't die any other way, because God, as a spirit being, never dies. Think about what He gave up! Think how humble Jesus was! Think how humble God the Father is to have planned this!

"…He might annul him who has the power of death—that is, the devil" (v 14). The King James says 'destroy.' Destroy is not the correct translation; annul is. Some read the King James and think God is going to destroy Satan the devil. No, no, no! Have you ever heard of destroying a person without killing them? Yes! You can destroy their reputation, you can take everything they have, you can get rid of all of their children, whatever wife that he has. You can destroy him and cast him into prison, and you can make him just absolutely go insane! That's destroying a man or woman without killing him or her.

But the Greek means to annul. In other words, everything that Satan the devil has done is going to come to nothing! All of those who follow him are going to come to nothing! And because Satan and the demons are spirit beings, they will be tormented day and night, first cast into the Lake of Fire. Then when that goes out—which it will—they are going to be placed into the blackest darkness forever! We'll be there, so all the Family of God will know to never think anything about taking over from God. Never have any rebellion against God. God wants everything to be loving, to be working together in joy, peace and everlasting greatness forever and ever.

Verse 15: "And that He might deliver those who were subject to bondage all through their lives by their fear of death…. [death happens to everyone] …For surely, He is not taking upon Himself to help the angels…" (vs 15-16). Another interesting thought—isn't it?

The righteous angels didn't sin; He's not helping them because they don't need any help. But the angels who sinned, He's not going to help them. Why? Because there's no record of any repentance! You look through the whole history of mankind, as Satan has ruled this world, and what about that? Has any demon ever repented? No!

"…but He is taking upon Himself to help the seed of Abraham" (v 16). Think about that for just a minute, because we are the true seed of Abraham. Paul said that if you have been baptized, 'you are the seed of Abraham' because we're the result of the 'promise to Abraham' when God said to Abraham when He gave the promise and told him he would have a physical son, 'Come outside here and look at the stars and number them—if you are able to count them—so shall your seed be.' That is us! We are the true spiritual seed of Abraham!

Look what it required of God to do, v 17: "For this reason, it was obligatory…" No way around it. Why? Because after Adam and Eve had sinned, what did God do? He judged Satan the devil and told him what was going to happen to him! He judged Eve and He judged Adam, and He said that they were going to die. That's when He put into them 'the law of sin and death.' That, as we will see, is what Jesus had to take upon Himself as a human being.

"…it was obligatory for Him to be made like His brethren in everything that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, in order to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered, having been tempted in like manner, He is able to help those who are being tempted" (vs 17-18). Yes, indeed!

Let's see what it says about Jesus in the days of His flesh. Let's see what a great work that was, and how He constantly had to be in contact with the Father, praying to the Father, doing what the Father had taught Him, saying the things that God had told Him to say.

Hebrews 5:7: "Who, in the days of His flesh, offered up both prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him Who was able to save Him from death…" Did Jesus have the law of death within Him? Yes, He did! In a little bit we'll also see that He had the law of sin in him.

"…to save Him from death, and was heard because He feared God. Although He was a Son, yet, He learned obedience… [that's what we need to learn; love and obedience to God at all times in everything] …from the things that He suffered; and having been perfected… [that is the goal of the Days of Unleavened Bread: to be perfected! To become sinless!] …He became the Author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him" (vs 7-9).

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After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the first thing He had to do was overcome Satan the devil before He began His ministry. Let's see what that temptation is; He was tempted in every way like we are, yet, without sin! We will see how He was able to do that. That's why we need the Spirit of God so that we will have the strength to overcome.

Let's understand something else that's very important, Satan is always after the Church (Rev. 2 & 3). When Jesus began His ministry, this is the very first thing He had to do in order to carry out His ministry, because He loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. He had to overcome all the temptations of Satan the devil.

Tempting God is that you come to God and you get Him to approve what you think is good, though it is not good before God. It is sin! And a lot of things that appear to be good—that brings a temporary benefit and appear good—are sin!

Matthew 4 is the intense battle, and this began on the Day of Atonement in the fall of 26A.D., and that happened to be the beginning of a Jubilee year, the 50th year in the cycle of the pattern that God had counting the 49 years. The 50th year was the Jubilee, the year of release.

It becomes very important and profound from this point of view: Christ came to pave the way to release human beings from Satan the devil. So, the first thing He had to do is overcome Satan the devil.

After He was baptized, Matthew 4:1: "Then Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the Spirit in order to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was famished. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.'" (vs 1-3). This is the challenge:

  • Could Jesus do that? Yes!

  • Was He hungry? No question!

  • Could He have used the food? Without a doubt!

If He would have done what Satan the devil said, who would He be obeying? Satan! That is the core of every temptation: Who will you obey?God? or lust and Satan?

He tempted Jesus with the things that Jesus was destined to do, and offered them to Him, his way. You can think on that for a while, and you can come up with things that also show the tactics of Satan the devil.

Jesus as a man, answered as a man, v 4: "But He answered and said, 'It is written, "Man… [speaking of Himself and all mankind in general] …shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."'" That's why we have the three simple words that are the key of your relationship with God: Obey My voice!

Everything we have written down God spoke, Christ spoke, or God breathed to inspire it to be written down, so it is from God. Anyone who wants to know: What would God say to me? Hand them a Bible and say, 'Read it! These are the words of God recorded for you, which He would speak to you if He were on the earth today. But He won't speak to you directly until you understand what He has already spoken and until you're faithful to the end and attain the resurrection. Then He will speak to all of those resurrected!

Verse 5: "Then the devil took Him to the Holy city and set Him upon the edge of the temple, and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God, cast Yourself down; for it is written, "He shall give His angels charge concerning You, and they shall bear You up in their hands, lest You strike Your foot against a stone"'" (vs 5-6). Amazing, isn't it?

'Tempt God! Do it because God said He would protect you.' NO! You don't deliberately jeopardize yourself and then ask God to intervene to spare you from it. In some cases God may be very merciful to you, but never tempt God this way!

Verse 7: "Jesus said to him, 'Again, it is written, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God."'"

Let's see how people tempt God! Let's see what actions are done that people do. Deut. 6 says, 'Do not tempt the Lord!'

Deuteronomy 8:11[transcriber's correction]: "Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments… [let's see how you tempt God; it has to do with commandments]: …and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command you today, lest when you have eaten and are full and have built goodly houses and lived in them" (vs 11-12). That's exactly where we are today, and God is taking it away step-by-step-by-step!

Verse 13: "And when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied." Now what happens? Just like we have today, people forsake God; people accuse God; Christianity—at any level—is hated more by people in the world than ever before!

Let's see what happens, v 14: "Then you become haughty of heart, and you forget the LORD your God Who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage, Who led you through the great and terrible wilderness with fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, Who brought forth water for you out of the rock of flint, Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, so that He might humble you and that He might prove you to do you good in your latter end" (vs 14-16).

It says something very similar in Deuteronomy 6:12: then beware lest you forget the LORD Who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage. You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, and shall swear by His name" (vs 12-13). Everything we do is to serve God—everything!

Verse 14: "You shall not go after other gods… [that's tempting God] …of the gods of the people who are all around you, for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you, lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you and destroy you from off the face of the earth. You shall not tempt the LORD your God as you tempted Him in Massah" (vs 14-16).

  1. Tempting God is accusing Him!

  2. Tempting God is accusing Him of wanting to destroy you!

That's what they did at Massah. 'Oh, He brought us out in the wilderness to make us die.'

  1. Breaking the commandments of God and asking God to sanction those transgressions, is tempting God!

Think about all the commandments!

  1. If you have other gods before God, you're tempting God!

  2. If you have idols, you're tempting God!

  3. If you speak in the name of God when He hasn't spoken, you're tempting God!

Let's see what it was that Satan offered Jesus Christ. He actually offered Jesus what He was destined to receive after He was resurrected from the dead.

Matthew 4:8: "After that, the devil took Him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and said to Him, 'All these things will I give You…'" (vs 8-9).

  • Is Jesus to be King of the world? Yes!

  • Is Jesus to rule all nations? Yes!

Now they're all in the hands of the power of Satan the devil, because men have left God! Satan is saying, 'I'll give you a benefit. You can have it now; why should you wait? Have it now!' Isn't that a tactic of Satan the devil in many temptations that come along to us? Yes, indeed! Have it now! You don't have to wait!

  • Oh no, you don't have to get married to have sex.

  • Oh no, you don't have to work hard, take it now!

There's a catch! When you do that, you're not worshiping God.

"…'All these things will I give You, if You will fall down and worship me.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Begone, Satan! For it is written… [this is to men; Satan will never worship God] …"You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve"'" (vs 9-10).

Let's see how Jesus carried out His ministry; let's see what He said to the scribes and Pharisees who were challenging Him because He said that God was His Father. Let's follow this through and see exactly how Jesus—though He was in the flesh, though He had the law of sin within Him—had the law of sin and the law of deathwithin Him. He had all the pulls of human nature that we have, and for a specific purpose. But how can you nullify all the pulls of human nature now, even within your own self, if you follow Christ and if you use the Holy Spirit the way that you should.

John 5:17: "But Jesus answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I work.' So then, on account of this saying, the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, not only because He had loosed the Sabbath, but also because He had called God His own Father, making Himself equal with God" (vs 17-18).

Verse 19 is something we all need to understand: How did Jesus conduct His life? We are to walk in His footsteps—aren't we? Yes, indeed!

Verse 19: "Therefore, Jesus answered and said to them, 'Truly, truly I say to you, the Son has no power to do anything of Himself…'"—out from within Himself. If it were just reacting to His own human nature to do what He wanted to do, that would be from within Himself. He has no power to do that because He's relying on the Spirit of God and God the Father.

"'…but only what He sees the Father do….'" (v 19). He had constant visual contact, whenever He needed to, with the Father. The Father taught Him, and Jesus mimics what the Father wanted Him to do.

"'…For whatever He does, these things the Son also does in the same manner'" (v 19). How is this done? When it gets down to everything that there is, it gets down to God's love, Christ's love, and in this case, the love of Christ for the Father, and the love of the Father for Christ. In our case, our love for God, and God's love for us through Jesus Christ.

Notice what He told them, v 20: "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him everything that He Himself is doing…. [And laid out all the plan that He has for all mankind and for the rest of the 'ages of eternity.'] …And He will show Him greater works than these, so that you may be filled with wonder."

Notice what else He says here. Not only does He say He doesn't have power to do of Himself, v 21: "For even as the Father raises the dead and gives life…" If you think making a man whole who had been infirm for 38 years was something, try this on for size:

"…in the same way also, the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son" (vs 21-22). Why? Because He came in the flesh! He was born as the only Begotten of the Father, but He also had the law of human nature, 'the law of sin and death,' within Him.

Verse 22: "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son so that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. The one who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father Who sent Him" (vs 22-23).

There are a lot of people who think they honor Jesus by saying, 'I love Jesus.' But then they tempt Christ and the Father by saying:

  • we have license for Sunday

  • we have license for Halloween

  • we have license for Christmas

  • we have license for Easter

  • we have license for New Years

Guess what? On the Trinity Broadcasting System there are even ministers there who are talking about putting Christ and God's love into Halloween!That's tempting God!

Verse 24: "Truly, truly I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes Him Who sent Me…" Believe in the Father! And that's what they leave out to a great extent in almost all Protestantism. Not only believing in Christ, but believing in the Father.

"…has everlasting life and does not come into judgment; for he has passed from death into life" (v 24):

  • IF you have the Spirit of God

  • IF you're loving God

  • IF you continue steadfast until the end

Other Scriptures tell us this!

Verse 25: "Truly, truly I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God…" He raised three people from the dead; the most spectacular was Lazarus.

"…and those who hear shall live" (v 25). The hour is coming when the first resurrection will take place. The hour is coming when the second resurrection will take place.

Verse 26: "For even as the Father has life in Himself, so also has He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and has also given Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of man" (vs 26-27)—Son of God/Son of man.

Verse 28: "Do not wonder at this, for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves shall hear His voice and shall come forth: those who have practiced good unto a resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil unto a resurrection of judgment" (vs 28-29).

In all of this, this is why it's important for us to understand how fantastic a sacrifice it was that Jesus Christ gave of His life:

  • because of His love and dedication to God the Father

  • because He willingly laid down His life

Verse 30: "I have no power to do anything of Myself; but as I hear, I judge… [He hears the Father; He sees the Father] …and My judgment is just because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father, Who sent Me." That's what's important, because whenever anyone tempts God, what are they doing? They're wanting God to follow his or her will, rather than they humbly submitting to the will of God!

Notice the will of God for Jesus' life. He willed to crush Him; He willed to put Him through the crucifixion. And Jesus voluntarily laid down His life to do so. That's important to understand.

Let's see how Jesus reaffirmed this, that He always did the things that pleased the Father. John 14:6 is very powerful if we want to do like Jesus Christ. Isn't it true, when Jesus gave us the model prayer, the first thing we say is, 'Our Father Who is heaven, hallowed be Your name; Your will be done on earth…' That means beginning with each one of us as we're praying to God, and that we serve the will of God, not ourselves. That's what Jesus said: 'I always do the will of Him Who sent Me.'

John 14:6: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.'" There is no other way to eternal life! All the religions of the world are going to learn that in just a few short years, however long it is between now and the return of Jesus Christ.

For us it is the way we are to walk in. He is the Truth; we are to follow Him—His words and teachings—because it is Truth and God cannot lie. Jesus never lied. The Life: You cannot have eternal life any other way except through Him. And 'no one comes to the Father except through Me.'

He told them that if they have seen Him, they've seen the Father, so He says, v 10: "Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I speak to you, I do not speak from My own self…" No! He got commandment from God the Father to speak those words.

Let's see what He told the scribes and the Pharisees; this is the message to them. This is very important in understanding how Jesus conducted His life so that the 'law of sin' within Him would never be activated, though He carried it.

John 12:37: "Although He had done so many miracles in their presence, they did not believe in Him… [Miracles do not really necessarily convince people.] …so that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled who said, 'Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?' For this very reason they could not believe because again Isaiah said, 'He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts…'" (vs 37-40). Why?

  • they rebelled against God

  • they refused to obey God

  • they tempted Him by asking Him to endorse

    • their worship of other gods

    • their way of doing things

    • asking God's sanction on those things

In fact, isn't that the very essence of how the Roman Catholic Church was built? By 'christianizing' pagan systems and saying they are Christian! Look where we are today! They are blinded!

"'…so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their hearts, and be converted, and I would heal them'" (v 40). God is going to save them for another time for salvation. That's why God tells the Laodiceans: I wish that you were hot or cold, not lukewarm! Lukewarm is the greatest battle that we have to fight today.

Verse 41: "Isaiah said these things when he saw His glory and spoke concerning Him. But even so, many among the rulers believed in Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so that they wouldnot be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God" (vs 41-43).

A lot of lessons for us right here—aren't there? Yes, indeed! Whose glory are we seeking? Ours? or God's?

Verse 44: "Then Jesus called out and said, 'The one who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him Who sent Me.'" That's why God's Spirit of the Father and Son both are dwelling in us.

Verse 45: "And the one who sees Me sees Him Who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world so that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. But if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects Me and does not receive My words has one who judges him; the word which I have spoken… [and now written for us] …that shall judge him in the last day" (vs 45-48).

All of those who say that they don't believe in the Bible because it was written by men; but their silly notions and philosophies and religions that they have, have come from books—is that not correct? Did not men write those books? Of course, they did! But not like the Bible.

Verse 49: "For I have not spoken from Myself…" Out from within Me. Not from My own ideas that I have.

"…but the Father, Who sent Me, gave Me commandment Himself, what I should say and what I should speak" (vs 49). That's why we have to have everything in the Scriptures. The ideas of men have no standing before God! When men come with various different doctrines and practices and beliefs, they are tempting God!

Verse 50: "And I know that His commandment is eternal life. Therefore, whatever I speak, I speak exactly as the Father has told Me." Jesus said that He could do nothing of Himself. He followed the Father.

John 14:10: "Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I speak to you, I do not speak from My own self; but the Father Himself, Who dwells in Me, does the works." Christ and the Father in us are to do the works.

That's why we have this new booklet, How to Use the Holy Spirit, so that we can follow exactly as Jesus said. It is Jesus Christ in us, the Father in us that motivates us to do the works. Therefore, when we do those works, we're not doing our own works. We're not being saved by what we do out from within us, but rather the works that we do are from God!

Verse 11: "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; but if not, believe Me because of the works themselves"—the evidence that you see right in front of your eyes. That's why we have the Bible.

Let's answer the question concerning the sacrifice of Christ. We'll talk a little bit more about this beginning on the first day of Unleavened Bread, about what it is of our nature, and how we need to use the Spirit of God to overcome it.

Paul talked about the law of sin and death, and that within him was 'no good thing.' All true goodness comes from God. People can do 'good' things, but that doesn't mean that doing the 'good things' has changed their nature of the law of sin and death.

  • all human beings die; there's the law of death

  • all human beings sin; there is the law of sin

The nature of human beings is deceitful, lying, believing lies! Who is the father of lies? Satan the devil!

With the judgment of Adam and Eve, the law of sin and death is passed down to all of us. Jesus partook of human flesh through His mother Mary. He had the law of sin and death within Him. There is not a such figment of the imagination as the 'immaculate conception' of Mary and then subsequently Jesus, so that they would have no potential to sin. That is heresy!

Romans 8:2: "Because the law of the Spirit of Life…" The way that the Spirit of Life from God works within us to help us

  • to change

  • to convert us

  • to give us the strength to overcome

  • to have our minds changed and be converted

That is "…the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has delivered me from the law of sin and death" (v 2). If we're converted, we are being delivered from 'the law of sin and death.' God has His work and power to do in it; and we have to respond to what we need to do according to God's Spirit and Word. The law of sin and death, everyone has it!

Verse 3: "For what was impossible for the law to do…" Let's understand something about law. Yes, we're to keep the laws and commandments of God the way He tells us with His Spirit—no question about it. But a law written down cannot make you do one single thing! You may read the law and you may choose to do it.

Example: All of us are familiar with stop signs. You see a stop sign; does the stop sign stop you? No! We have two choices: we can either choose to stop because the sign says stop, or we choose not to stop and hence there's a transgression. We may even end up crashing into someone else coming the other way because we didn't stop and the 'wages of sin' could be death.

The law has no power to make anyone do anything! The law tells us right from wrong, good from evil. "…in that it was weak through the flesh…" (v 3). The flesh doesn't want to do what God wants.

Here's the solution: "…God, having sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh… (v 3). The same exactness of our human flesh with the law of sin and death in it for a specific purpose: to get rid of sin through Christ!

"…and for sin… [through His sacrifice, not sinning at all] …condemned sin in the flesh" (v 3). In whose flesh? Christ's flesh through the crucifixion! So, everything that you read about what Jesus went through was for that very purpose, to go through what He did and never sin!Be tempted in every way that we are tempted, and never sin!

  • to always love God

  • to always serve God

  • to always keep the Word of God

  • to follow His Spirit

  • to do His will

  • to condemn sin in the flesh

That is the work that Christ has done. He paved the way. Those of us who are called He calls so that we can follow in His footsteps and He gives us of His Spirit.

He has made a covenant with us—which we're going to take tomorrow night of the bread, which is His flesh; and of the wine, which is His blood: to show that we will live by every Word of God, that we will live by Him and God the Father exactly as He lived by the Father.

Verse 4: "In order that the righteousness of the Law…":

  • by choosing to do it

  • by loving God

  • by serving God

  • by having it written in our heart and mind

"…might be fulfilled in us…" (v 4):

  • to accomplish His purpose

  • to accomplish His will

  • to bring many sons and daughters into the Kingdom of God

"…who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (v 4).

What kind of nature did Jesus have? He had human fleshly nature, and yet, never sinned! He condemned sin in the flesh because:

  • He always obeyed God

  • He taught the things that the Father taught Him

  • He followed the Father's commandments

  • He followed what the Father did

  • He laid down His life

  • He lived a perfect life

  • He gave Himself as the Lamb of God for the sin of the world

and is the covenant sacrifice for us, for the New Covenant, that we can become the children of God!

Scriptural References:

  1. James 1:2-8, 12-13

  2. Hebrews 4:15

  3. John 1:1-3

  4. 1 Corinthians 10:4, 9

  5. 1 Timothy 3:16

  6. John 1:14

  7. Philippians 2:5-6

  8. John 17:5-6

  9. Philippians 2:6

  10. Genesis 1:26

  11. Philippians 2:7-8

  12. Hebrews 1:1-14

  13. Hebrews 2:6-18

  14. Hebrews 5:7-18

  15. Matthew 4:1-7

  16. Deuteronomy 8:11-16

  17. Deuteronomy 6:12-16

  18. Matthew 4:8-10

  19. John 5:17-30

  20. John 14:6, 10

  21. John 12:37-50

  22. John 14:10-11

  23. Romans 8:2-4

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Revelation 20

  • Luke 20

  • Romans 5:12

  • Isaiah 50

  • Revelation 2; 3

Also referenced:

  • Book: The Day that Jesus the Christ Died

  • Booklet: How to Use the Holy Spirit