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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Naked and Unashamed


Naked and Unashamed



Why is it so hard for us to be vulnerable and transparent in our walk with God? Why do we insist on walking out our lives in some area of secret shame? Deep down it’s the fear of the Lord that causes us all to hide.

1 John 4:18” love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love”.

So, why do we hide behind people, and busy ourselves in activities to try and forget what we know we are afraid of?
I believe it is because we are afraid of God and His judgment and as a civilization we have been programmed into believing the holier you appear to people, the more respect and authority that is entrusted to you. The more respect and authority you have; the further convinced we become that we’re in good standing with God. It’s in our nature to feel inadequate outside of God’s grace, and it is also in our human nature to seek out stronger people than ourselves when we feel insecure or afraid. We unintentionally admire those that walk in what we perceive as a purer relationship with God than we ourselves walk. We want someone whose judgment we can put our trust in, when we feel insecure about our own.

2 Cor 3:1 “Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not.”

The problem with this is; we tend to measure a persons’ holiness or piety based on their outward displays of Christianity. This can be dangerous, because we tend to overlook the obvious instructions laid out in scriptures for each one of us as individuals and turn over the spiritual reins of our lives to men and woman that we, convince ourselves are much more qualified to hear from God on our behalf. What happens as a result of this delusion is; most men and women that are man ordained pastors are not spiritually mature as shepherds and will not attempt to assist you in your struggles, and we then become blinded by their false humility and begin to believe "If God doesn't call me out on this, No one needs to know", which in turn only broadens the gap of sin that separates us from the will of God. So we continue to walk the walk and talk the talk and cover over every inward struggle that we walk in, to chase after higher positions of spiritual authority that we have convinced ourselves are the fruit proof that we are doing GOOD with God. This secret shame covering that I am speaking of is the very thing that keeps us all from really connecting as brothers and sister in the family of God. We forfeit the supernatural power that comes from confessing our sins one to another, because it has been subjugated by a man made institution that we as Christians refer to as Church. This was never God's plan for us. If you look at the very first book in the bible “Genesis”, you will see a story unfold about Adam and Eve and how it wasn't until they were made conscious of their sin that they realized that they were naked. Up till this point, being naked was a good thing. In fact it was how we were designed.
Gen 2:25 "Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame".

It was only the understanding of the vulnerability of being exposed in contrast to the condition of being covered that caused them to be ashamed of their nakedness. In simpler terms: Once they realized they were no longer in good standing with the Lord, they saw themselves as naked and became ashamed and sought to find items of this earth (fig leaves) to cover their shame.
(We all seek after things of this world to cover over our shame)

Gen 3:3-10 "At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the voice of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
The Lord God called to the man saying; Where are you? he replied; I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself. Gen 3:11 "Who told you that you were naked?" the LORD God asked. "Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?"

Notice this is a two part question the Lord asks Adam: He first asks "WHO told you, you were naked? Implying that SOMEONE told them of their nudity. The Lord was not ignorant of man's recent encounter with the serpent; HE knew exactly how things transpired. Just like when He asked Adam "Where are you", do you honestly believe that the Lord didn't know? It was a heart question that Adam heard the Lord ask in the garden that day, a question that we all hear when we are hiding from God. "Where are you?" is not a question concerning our geographical location, it’s a question that cuts straight to our heart and speaks to our sin and asks "whose voice are you listening to now?" Where are you? Means: "if you are no longer walking in accordance to MY will, whose will are you walking in accordance to? For you have moved outside of MY will". His question about WHO told you, you were naked? Makes it evident that a person’s nakedness can only be perceived if SOMEONE tells them they are naked. The Lord could have said "How do you know that you are naked?" but He didn't. He said "Who told you? You see, I believe that it is by our human desire to seek after forbidden fruit (knowledge and experiences prohibited by God) that cause us to forget the will of the Lord and follow the voice of both our enticer and our accuser. We follow that voice when we allow ourselves to believe that God's commands for us to avoid and shun certain things is unfair and somehow unjust; so we take it upon ourselves to test God's word by doing the very things that separate us from Him and ultimately move us farther outside of His will for our lives. The devil will entice us with the imaginations of the possibilities of sin. Remember, sin starts in the mind. He convinces us that we MUST have what we have been denied by God. And deceives us into thinking, it's almost our right as a child of God, to be able to partake of ALL the fruit of His creation. The moment we reach out our hand to take of the tree, we are no longer following the will of God. Once we have eaten the fruit, the very first taste of knowledge is guilt. You feel guilt because you understand GOOD; and you feel guilt because you understand EVIL. Almost naturally our first instinct is to try and share that guilt because the weight of its consequences is comprehended by our new found knowledge and we try to entice someone else to fall in order to share the weight of our foolish decision. This was the very first thing Eve did after eating the fruit, the scriptures say that she gave the fruit to her husband and he ate it also. It was then that their eyes were opened to see their nakedness. Their nakedness was perceived because they stepped out of the will of God and were no longer covered by God’s grace as ones ignorant of sin. Now, not only did they know what sin was; they understood what it meant to turn from what is good and choose evil instead. This is why they hid themselves amongst the many trees in the garden. This is very similar as to why some go to large churches; often times, it’s to blend in among the masses. The Garden of Eden in Hebrew means the Garden of Pleasure. The Garden represents the earth and we are its trees. Numerous times in scriptures the Lord compares us to trees i.e. :( you can tell a tree by its fruit) When we know we have sinned we hide ourselves amongst the trees of the world in hopes that God won’t see us or our sins in midst of everyone else’s. But we as children of God will always hear the voice of the Lord walking in the garden of this world calling out to us “Where are you? whenever we stretched forth our hand for that forbidden fruit. Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. He accuses the saints before the throne of God night and day. His goal is to get you to step outside of the will of God, so He can turn around and use it to condemn you before the Father. Hence, the “who” in the Lord’s question of “Who told you, you were naked?” Is most definitely Satan. It is Satan that shows us our nakedness outside of God’s will and causes us to want to hide from God and from others, and many times from ourselves. Its Satan’s job to remind of us of our fallen state every day, he wants us to forget that Jesus shed his blood as an atonement for our sins, past ,present and future. Jesus is our covering; He covers our sin so we can be naked and unashamed. We see this demonstrated through the act of the Lord fashioning garments of skins to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness in Gen 3:21.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them”.
Blood was somehow shed to cover their nakedness or rather their consciousness of sin. An animal of some sort was sacrificed to make coverings for their bodies. The scripture does not elaborate on what type of skins but we know that the Lord himself fashioned the garments out of skins as coverings for them both. Jesus and the blood he shed for us, is all the covering we will ever need. If we eat the bread of His body, and we partake of the cup of His blood which represents us sharing in the cup of His suffering, then we prove that we agree with His words, even when we can’t seem to get our bodies to line up.

Romans 7:21-24 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”

Romans 8:8-9 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ”.

The bible says in John 1:8: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”.

Romans 3:10As the Scriptures say, "No one is righteous--not even one”.

Jesus came to cover our nakedness once and for all. We all have areas that cause us shame in our lives. The object is not to look upon another’s shame; we are to look away so to speak. Let me give you an example in scripture. A little further ahead in Genesis there is a story about Noah getting drunk and passing out in his tent naked and his son Ham walking in and looking upon in his father in his shameful state. Look at how his brothers Japheth and Shem handle the news of their father’s nakedness:

Gen 9:20-27And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father's nakedness. So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. Then he said: "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren." And he said: "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem, and May Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem; and may Canaan be his servant."

The reason the Lord tells us not to judge another man’s standing with the Father on whether “he will ascend or descend”, is due to the fact that; in our flesh, our judgment is skewed. We can only judge by the outward severity of sin because we cannot see the condition of a man’s heart, only the Spirit searches and knows the condition of a man’s heart. Prov 16:2 “All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD”. Let me give you an example in a manor I believe Jesus would:

Who do you believe God would consider the worse transgressor? The non believer or baby Christian that is not acquainted with the teachings of righteousness Heb 5:13 committing the sin of murder, or a pious seasoned Christian person that commits slander against his brother by bearing false witness? Do you see what I am driving at? We have to always have the statement “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” always playing in our minds when we happen upon someone in a shameful condition and not go announce it to the world. Because, WE too have our own shameful condition and only God Himself knows whether before Him we stand or fall. In the case of Noah’s sons, the hearts of each man was revealed. Ham after happening upon his father’s weakened and shameful condition went immediately and told his two brothers of the news. Shem and Japheth handled the news like true Christians and demonstrated the true love of God by covering Noah’s nakedness without looking upon his shame. When we approach one another ‘s weaknesses with this heart attitude, we will be just like the man in the parable Jesus told about the Good Samaritan that demonstrated what a neighbor was and what being a neighbor meant.

Luke 10:25-37
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

The Devil comes to Steal, Kill and Destroy. He is roaming to and fro looking to find someone along the pathway to overpower and rob of their inheritance. It is our job as Christians to look upon our brothers and sister in the light of Christ’s mercy and God will extend the exact same mercy and grace upon us. This is how one is able to walk naked and unashamed. When we are lead by love, we are lead by the Spirit of God. When we are lead by the Spirit of God we are no longer under the condemnation of our nakedness through sin and death. We find ourselves covered completely in the Blood of Jesus and ultimately defying the power of sin and death.

James 1:25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

The word in Greek that is translated in this verse as looks intently is parakupto and it actually means: to stoop down to a lower level to obtain a better view.

In Greek this scripture more accurately translates as:

“But whoever stoops down and lowers themselves to perceive the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it; they will show that they have not forgotten what they have heard, by doing it, these will be blessed in whatever they do”.

If we truly remember to do unto other as we would want them to do unto us, and Judge the way we want to be judged by God; then we can truly walk about in the garden of this world and be completely naked (honest and transparent) and unashamed because we know that Christ is our spiritual covering, fashion by God’s own hands to cover our nakedness just like in the Garden of Eden.

I pray this article causes us all to stoop down and lower ourselves to get a better view of God’s perfect law of freedom and learn to walk naked and unashamed just as we were originally designed.

God Bless Be Free and Set Fee!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Beware"


“Beware”

If I were to tell you that this word “Beware” is spoken nine times in the bible by Jesus, would you believe that this word deserves all of us taking a second look at?
In the dictionary the word “beware” is defines as: to be cautious and alert to the dangers of; in the bible the word in Greek is “prosecho” and it is defined as: something to give attention to or something one must take heed.
If you study the New Testament you will find that the word BEWARE is used by Jesus only nine times and each time Jesus speaks this caution, it is spoken directly to His disciples.

If Jesus tells us to Beware, take heed! We most definitely should.

Matt 7: 13-15 “Enter in by the straight gate; because wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads one away to destruction, and many are those that will enter in because of their own selves. For straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads one unto life and few are those that find it, so BEWARE of the false prophets who come among you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are extortioners and wolves.”

Matt 10:16 -18 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles”.

Luke 20:45-47 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

Matt 16:6-10 “Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up?”

Matt 16:11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

 Luke 12:1-3 In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.
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Matt 6:1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

Luke 17:3-5 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

Luke 21:34-36 T “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Three of the warnings are against the false teachers (men, false prophets and scribes), three times it is concerning the yeast of the Pharisees and lastly there are three warnings for the disciples to watch themselves against doing their righteous deeds before men to receive glory Matt 6:1, also to beware of not forgiving their brothers once they’ve repented Luke 17:3 and lastly they are told to beware from numbing the frustration and anxiety of this life with alcohol so that the day of the Lord does not come upon them at a time when they are not prepared. Luke 21:34

3 x’s to BEWARE of False teachers (men, false prophets and scribes) Matt 7:15, Matt 10:16-17 and Luke 20:46

3 x’s to BEWARE of False doctrines (yeast of the Pharisees) Matt 16:6, Matt 16:11 and Luke 12:1

3 x’s to BEWARE of Themselves (wrong motives) Matt 6:1, Luke 17:3 and Luke 21:34

In the bible there are incidences of the number three serving as a reminder of things spoken by God, sort of an “I told you beforehand” spoken from the Lord, such as in the case of Peter denying the Lord three times before he heard the rooster crow. The rooster crowing was a wonderful choice for the Lord, because everyone associates the sound of a rooster crowing to being woken up.  Jesus was telling Peter that He would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed as a way of showing him "When you hear the rooster crow, you will wake up and remember I have told you this."

Whatever it is we decide that we are supposed to take away from these cautions of Jesus; we should keep in mind that He made sure to warn His disciples three times concerning all three specific avoidances.

Listen to Paul the Apostle plead with and caution the overseers of the Gospel to take heed and beware of; themselves, men and false prophets and that by the speaking of perverted and twisted things ,(false teachings) men would draw disciples away from them.
Acts 20:28-35 Beware therefore of yourselves, on account of the flock over which the Holy Ghost has appointed you as overseers, that you may be able to feed the church of God in which He has purchased with his own blood. For I do know this, that after my departing grievous wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also among your own selves, men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of THREE years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have sought after no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. You yourselves know, that these hands have ministered to my own necessities, and also to those that were with me. I have showed you all things, and how by laboring you are able to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Matt 7:15Beware of false prophets that come in among you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are extortioners and wolves. You will know them by their fruits.

Matt 7:20 Therefore it is by their fruits that you will know them.”

We are being told right here in these scriptures how to discern and keep watch for the false prophets that teach us  false teachings ,which in turn cause us to falsely discern our own motives ,that eventually cause us to deceive ourselves.
We are told to judge the fruit of those that call themselves prophets and teachers and see if they line up with the example of Kingdom principles. Let’s take Paul the Apostle of Christ as example.

In Acts 20:28-35 Paul states that false prophets will come among us like wolves in sheep’s clothing v. 29 and have certain characteristics that will set them apart from his own ministry. Paul made sure to lay it out for us. If you read it you will see that they are:
1.     Do they say perverse things (false teaching) to draw people away to their way of thinking? Act 20:30
2.     Do they seek after mans silver, or gold, or apparel? Acts 20:33
3.     Do they live by the work of their own hands to minister to their own necessities and also to the necessities of those that are with them? Acts 20:34-35
4.     Do they offer the gift of their service and ministry for free, believing that it is better to give than to receive, or are they extortioners? Act 20:35,Matt 7:15

We all might want to ask ourselves these same questions concerning our chosen spiritual advisors, their teachings, and lastly we should be sure to examine ourselves. Let us take a closer look at what Jesus cautioned us about, to prevent ourselves and others from failing to Beware or take heed of these nine cautions of Christ.  

My conclusion is this; out of all the things Jesus taught His disciples; these nine warnings are crucial for our success in walking out the call of God upon our lives. Jesus knew the very things that would become a snare and a stumbling block to us all, and He gave us all ample warning.

2Cor 13:5Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.”

God bless you, Keep watch and Beware!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Yeast of the Pharisees



                       "Watch Out For The Yeast Of The Pharisees"

We all as Christians should not only attempt to understand what this statement means but we must try to purge out of our thinking “the yeast of the Pharisees” that Jesus cautioned us about in Mark 8:15-21 and Matt 16:5. It is such a serious account because it is one where Jesus is frustrated that the disciples don’t understand that He is not talking about bread but the doctrines of the Pharisees. This scripture says that the disciples once they had crossed over from the place of the great bread miracle to another location they had forgotten to take with them some of the left over bread fragments from the previous miracles of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fish. Now if you read this verse you will see that Jesus is clearly talking about His multiplying the food and feeding the people yet He is telling His disciples to be careful and watch out for the yeast of the Pharisee’s. Take into consideration the purpose of yeast as you read. Yeast is used to expand, grow, or multiply the mass of something.
Mark 8:15-21
  
Be careful,” Jesus warned them. Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?  Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?  When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”“Twelve,” they replied. “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”They answered, “Seven.”  He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”  

You can see right here how important it was to Jesus that His disciples get the big picture of what he is cautioning them about.
 I always believed this scripture to be talking about the silliness of worrying about food when the disciples had just witness Jesus feed so many with so little. The truth of the matter is in light of the entire context of scripture, these miracles of the multiplication of the fish and loaves to feed everyone fully and the amount of baskets full of left over scraps after everyone had eaten their fill, could only represent the works of the multiplication of God in contrast to the works of the yeast of the Pharisee’s and the Sadducees.
If like the scriptures say “man’s god is their belly” then these men that this scripture is speaking about will follow like sheep any person that feeds them. This is why the children of Israel followed Moses through the desert, not because they were convinced by the miracles of the pillar of fire by night and the pillar of smoke by day or the parting of the Red Sea to save them from Pharaoh’s charging army, but because Moses supplied them with food and water. And when Moses didn’t supply them with sufficient food and water they would begin to doubt the faithfulness of God.
John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
I would bet that this is why every time Jesus would perform this miracle of feeding the multitude He would immediately go away from those he has fed, either by boat or off to some private place so they could not follow him further. Jesus wanted them to follow Him and believe on His miracles and not follow Him because they merely needed food for their flesh. Study it for yourself.
In the Old Testament when the children of Israel were wandering in the desert they were commanded by God to not gather more manna then was needed for ONE day or it would turn into maggots and be rendered utterly useless. Jesus also, when he sent out His disciples specifically commanded that they bring with them no bread. Mark 6:8, Luke 9:3 This was to show them the miraculous provision of God while they carried out HIS will, and let’s not forget the very first thing we as believers are taught is the example that Jesus gives us on how one should pray: Give us this day our DAILY bread.   I believe it is fair to say that these particular miracles of the loaves and fish could have been performed by Jesus to illustrate the difference of effect and purpose of the increase and multiplication of the miraculous provision of God to fill the multitudes and the expansion of yeast to the already sufficient supply of food from God. The first biblical account of Jesus performing this miracle is in the book of Matt 14:13-20

Jesus departed to a desert place and a great multitude followed him. And he came forth, and saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick. And when evening was come, the disciples came to him, saying, “This place is a desert, and the time is already past; send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves food.” But Jesus said unto them, “They have no need to go away; you give them food to eat.”  And they said to him, “we have here just five loaves, and two fishes. And he said, “Bring them here to me.” And he commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass; and he took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, AND BROKE THEM  and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave it to the multitudes. And they all ate, and were filled: and they took up the remains of the left over broken pieces, it was twelve baskets full. And they that ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Now I believe it is very important to point out the significance of breaking bread to those of us that partake of the bread that is broken and blessed by Jesus. This,IS the purpose and function of the true Church, Christ’s ekklesia.
Luke 14:15 and when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
1 Cor10:16-17 the cup of blessing in which we are blessed, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  For we being many, are ONE bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that ONE bread.
Matt 26:26 and as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
Luke 24:32-35 and they said one to another; did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.”  And they told what things were done on the way, and how He was known of them in the breaking of bread.

What Jesus is trying to explain to His disciples is: You walk with the Bread of Heaven, who breaks bread freely with you whenever you have need, why would you ever need to look back to feeding yourself from fragments? Eating from broken pieces that are left over after others have had their fill is like saying you don’t trust that God will be available to feed you the next time you get hungry. Our communion, the fellowship that Jesus has with his followers, IS the bread sent from heaven that was broken and blessed for all of us that follow him.

John 6:53-66 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day, for my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" Aware that His disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." for Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." from this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

These verses in John sum up how we are to communicate with God our creator. In them Jesus explains to us that "His words are spiritual and not literal". Of course Jesus was not speaking concerning cannibalism, He was speaking allegorically, using carefully chosen activities and objects to represent spiritual truths concerning the Kingdom of God. In the prayer of David in Ps 23:5  

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."

It would be fitting to say that our lives are just one big dining table that the Lord has prepared for us, to eat of the bread of Christ's testimony and be a witness in the presence of our enemies . If the bread represents Jesus and His testimony. What is His testimony? The testimony of His communion with the Father. We are invited to partake of that communion when we eat of the bread. The bread is His body that was broken as a representation of the complete union He walked in with the will of the Father. Drinking from the cup of His blood represents one taking and drinking from the same cup that He must drink from.  
Luke 22:42 "Father if it be your will, let this cup pass from me?"  

Mark 10:38-39 "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?""We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with". 

This is what is asked of everyone that will follow after Jesus, will you  pick up your own cross and be persecuted for righteousness sake as a witness of your communion with Christ?
2Cor 4:10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 
This is the Communion that Jesus taught us. He is the personal witness for the Father. This is why bread must be treated with this significance when reading about the caution concerning the yeast of false doctrines (teachings). It is plain for anyone to see that He is drawing attention to the multiplication factor. Why else would Jesus use the analogy of  multiplying the bread to feed the people and the scrapes that were collected after the fact to illustrate an important caution concerning the yeast of the Pharisees (wrong teachings)? Jesus speaks to us at the last supper table and tells us plainly that He is the Bread that came down from Heaven. Jesus asks His disciples in  John 6:67-68  

"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

You see all that Jesus is demonstrating in the miracle of the loaves is so clear if you have eyes to see and ears to hear and mind that can understand. Remember Jesus’ reprimand and warning about not understanding the particular miracles of the loaves. He knew very well that the teachings concerning bread would be misunderstood and mishandled by men with wrong motives and He wanted to be sure that His apostles being the one’s chosen to administer this bread would not give in to the false doctrines of the religious teachers.

When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”“Twelve,” they replied. “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”They answered, “Seven.”  He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Jesus is trying to show us why and how we needed to “beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees”. We know He is speaking about teachings (doctrines). It was only when the disciples later regretted not taking some of the bread with them that Jesus cautioned them to “Beware of the Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” The broken fragments of bread, I believe represent second hand accounts and the broken,fragmented testimonies of other so-called witnesses of God. Take a look, every bit of what was gathered up by the disciples was considered what? A fragment. This means that they were only a "piece of a piece" of the left over bread that was broken by Jesus and given to the 12 apostles to then be administered to those present following Jesus. We are partakers of the whole loaf when it is blessed by Jesus and given to those that follow Him.
1 Cor 10:16-17 The cup of blessing in which we are blessed, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

The accounts of later testimonies of those who were not present at the miracles of Jesus, serve a bit like crumbs that have fallen from the Master’s table of provision. Those fragments are happily eaten by the dogs Mk 7:27 But Jesus said unto her,” let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.” And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.
In Jesus’ time, anyone that was not of the 12 tribes of Israel was referred to by the common Jew as “Gentile Dogs.” Why dogs you wonder? I suspect that dogs were representative of animals that were wild and would rely upon men for their scraps. The Jews believed because they were God’s chosen people,all other people were underneath them, so naturally in comparison if a man did benefit in anyway from their unique blessings they were looked at like dogs eating the scraps that fell from the Lord's prepared table for the Jew.
The commandment of Moses in the Old Testament speaks about not gathering from the corners of your fields at the time of harvesting to provide a gleaning (gathering of fragments) for the poor or the stranger found amongst your company.   

Lev 23:22"When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God."

Moses commanded us not to pick them up but to leave them for the poor and less fortunate.We are not the poor when we follow Jesus and share with Him in His Communion. We are among those invited to the table of the Lord, who gives us each day our daily bread so there is no need to cling to crumbs.  I do believe that crumbs can serve a purpose if they are not tampered with by unclean hands and unclean hearts before they are eaten. Broken pieces I believe must go from the source, JESUS to his chosen recipients or to his chosen administers and then to those who would receive of the bread of Heaven. Jesus knew that like so many other times in scriptures, men would take the left over remnants of a miracle performed of God and later set it up as an idol and begin to worship it like the snake that Moses lifted up in the desert.
These crumbs or left over fragments, are the mere left-overs of the miracles of God’s. When these are coupled with the wrongful motivations of the Pharisees and Sadducees, they produce a greater mass yes, which give people a false sense of security, but these fragments had no later mention in scriptural accounts as feeding anyone and were essentially gathered for those that were not  present when Jesus broke the bread or blessed it, nor present when it was being administered to those He had chosen worthy to receive of it. The very fact that it is when the disciples were talking amongst themselves about not taking any of this particular bread, that those fragments became the object that Jesus would use to illustrate how turning back to crumbs after you have seen and tasted of a true miracle of the provision of God, would prove that you will follow Him just because you ate from the loaves and not because you saw or understood the miracle of His provision.

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

These particular baskets of fragments are what I believe so many today are having administered to them in our modern day churches. The fragments of bread from misunderstood miracles; they may nourish the poor and the unfortunate and give them encouragement for a season but they will never see nor understand what it is to walk with the true source of God’s provision, Jesus Christ. Why would anyone put their trust in the broken fragments of miracles passed, when they could be following and communing with the one true daily bread giver? Crazy I know, yet it happens every day.

You might think that you would recognize the kind of yeast Jesus is talking about in this account. But yeast still abounds today; like the mistranslation of one of the most important Christ created words in all of Christianity “ekklesia” which translates to “amongst those invited” or “amongst those called”  to something as seemingly harmless as the word church;

Here is where you see the Yeast of the Pharisees at full scale. You could look at the modern institution referred to as the Church and see a greater mass for sure, but it has no real biblical foundation to support its practices and governmental oversight, so it becomes just broken and fragmented pieces of truths that didn’t come directly from that which was brought before Jesus to be blessed, chosen by Him to administer, and received by those chosen to comprehend the provision of God. It is evident by the scriptural accounts that these fragments of food were not necessary for those that were following Jesus because the scriptures clearly state in every account that ALL that attended ate until they were FULL.  Let us all come to the true source of our daily BREAD, Jesus Christ and be fed until we are full and Beware of the Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!
Allow me to close with a small portion of an article that I believe sums up the frustration that some feel when it comes to the mistranslation of this word church and see if you don’t suspect some of yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees at work.
 The Origin of the Word "church" by Andy Zoppelt The translator’s choice of the word “Church” is one of those words that has impacted the world and has subverted the whole purpose for which it was intended. Because the translators used the word “church,” meaning a building, instead of a more accurate word reflecting a functioning body, it has affected our whole approach to the meaning of the body of Christ. We have been given a word from the translators that has nothing to do with the original Greek word ekklesia. There is not a single Greek word to back up the word church. So why is it there? The early assembly of believers did not have a clergy distinct from the rest of the body. Clergy with titles and authority was foreign to the early disciples. It was the rise of this authoritarian clergy that needed a building to control the people both religiously and politically and to gather the people around the clergy. The Catholic Church and the Church of England both used the word “church” and its meaning as a building to hold the people in subjection to their control. Without a building the clergy would have lost their power over the people. Even today, without a building the clergy system would fall. This system of clergy/laity and the use of a building is what we have come to know as the “institutional” church system. This system was totally foreign to the vocabulary and the life of the disciples of Jesus, who built and depended on the move of the Holy Spirit through all the saints being built together. Therefore the retaining of the word "church" in our translations of the bible became crucial for the survival of the institutional church system even to this day. To change the true meaning and function of the Greek word “ekklesia” to our English word “church” strengthened the clergy system and their power over the people. The statement, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” has been the downfall and corruption of body ministry. The original intent was relational and not institutional. For in all the writings of the first and second century we do not find an “institutional” treatment of the word "ekklesia."
This is a little something for all of us to consider and to get us motivated to get into the word of God, His pure unleavened showbread, the ultimate provision of God for all of His children.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to show yourself approved before God, and a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

God Bless you.





Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Desert Experience



The story of the Three Temptations of Christ is so pivotal to understanding the path that one must take to enter into the ministry of the Kingdom of God. It is this very test that the Father required Jesus to endure and pass that qualified him to move into his ministry as the fulfillment of God’s perfect lamb, sacrificed for the sin of all mankind. Let us always keep in mind that Jesus was equally as much a man as he was the son of God and he had to be completely obedient to do and exactly what he saw his Father do. John 5:19 "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. God’s son would have to be 100% committed to the mission that is written out like a dramatic screen play in the scriptures. God’s very own son born of woman needed to not only walk in agreement with the word of God but actually become the embodiment and physical witness of everything God is like and what he has to say to us as his children.  Wow! Now that’s a lot of pressure for someone who is after all still 50% human!!  The only thing I can imagine that humanly compares to this is if you were to mirror perfectly with the left side of your body the movements of the right side of your body in complete unison for the rest of your life without ever messing  up once because you would fail God’s mission in life for you. That’s what I’m talking about! Commitment! This desert experience was preparing him for the schemes of the enemy and the weaknesses of a man that he would pray upon to try to corrupt the word of God instilled in the hearts of those that would receive it. Sadly most men and women today stumble at one or more of Christ’s temptations and never actually make it out of the desert at all. Let me share with you my reasoning as to why I can say such a thing; I am sure that most all of us at one time or another has read, heard or seen on TV the depictions of the temptations of Christ, but does the average person grasp or even ponder what that crucial test Christ had to endure was all about or what it represented? In the scriptures leading up to his temptations in the desert Jesus had witness the heavens open up the audible voice of God the Father speaking to not only him but also to John the Baptist confirming who he was and where he was in his standing with the Father. “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” This was enough for Jesus to move forward into what the bible says was the leading of the Holy Spirit to enter into the desert. Desert in Greek means eremos: a deserted place, isolated from assistance from others it can also be translated as wilderness, the definition of eremos in Greek speaks more to the state of being isolated rather than any type of specific terrain. There Jesus faced the temptations every man and woman of God must face and pass if they want to be a minister and representative of the Gospel message of the life, death and resurrection of Christ. In this desert experience of Christ lies the simple three part message of our Christian walk and God’s rewards for our diligence in our efforts in resisting the very things that make us all fall; 1 John 2:16 the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. The testimonies concerning the temptations of Christ are best depicted in the Gospels of Matt and Luke.
Luke 4:1-4, Matt 4:1-4 Then Jesus was led up of by Spirit into the desert to be tempted by devil.   And after he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  And then the tempter came to him, and said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made into bread.
Notice the words that Satan uses in his first temptation; if thou be the Son of God? command that these stones be made into bread. The whole statement is motivated by and hangs on this one word “IF”.
If Thou be the Son of God. Clearly this shows the first temptation has to do with our election, calling and authority as children of God. Remember the first thing Jesus heard when He came up out of the water after John baptized him? He heard the Father Himself part heaven and proclaim before him and John the Baptist “This is my beloved son. In whom I am well pleased”. This should be enough proof for anyone to fully acknowledge who they are in their standing with the Almighty apart from their natural station in life or genealogy. Jesus would have to be steadfast in his identity and fully convinced of His own ministry. Allow me to break down these desert temptations so we can all view them in the light of reason and truth and allowing each one of us to come to our own individual conclusion concerning what they may mean to US as faithful ministers of God’s word. For with each temptation of Satan there is a promised reward for demonstrating your understanding concerning HIS word. Remember the parable of the seed sower. The seeds that fall on the pathway “the pathway to the kingdom” are the ones that could not understand the word of God, so the devil came and snatched the word that was sown in their hearts.

First Temptation: The Weakness of man that Satan is trying to play upon: isolation/deprivation    

Satan’s Objective: That Jesus will choose to prove who he is, and seek fulfillment for his earthly needs.

The dictionary defines the word prove as: to demonstrate by evidence or argument and defines fulfillment as: the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted:
So what temptation do you think this statement was meant to stir up in Jesus? The desire to eat bread, or the desire to prove to himself and Satan who He was? Let’s look again.
Luke 4:1-4, Matt 4:1-4 Then Jesus was led up of by Spirit into the desert to be tempted by devil.   And after he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  And then the tempter came to him, and said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made into bread.
The answer I believe is both. You see it’s our times of spiritual isolation, our “desert experiences” that really define us as true and faithful servants of God. Those times when the phone stops ringing, the bills need to be paid, your family needs food and there is nobody around to reassure you or stand by you to tell you who you are in God or how gifted you are or how you inspire them as individuals. It is at these very times that we will be tested and tried by Satan to start to doubt God’s word and our inheritance and calling thus justifying our usage of our spiritual gifts to feed our bellies i.e. our flesh. The bible says that a man is heading for destruction if he makes his god his belly, or allows his glory to be his shame or his focus to be on earthy things. Phil 3:19 The bible also tells about a man named Esau in Gen 25:34 that sold his birthright for bread to feed his belly when he was hungry and the inheritance and birthright went to his younger brother Jacob. My belief is this: if your desires are not for more spiritual understanding and a closer relationship with God and they lay more in the area of earthly desires and needs, you should take this into consideration; earthly desires cause us to exchange our spiritual inheritance in Christ for the instant gratification of using our spiritual gifting to satisfy our earthly needs.

Let’s get back to Luke 4:1-4
At the very moment of Satan’s first attempt, Jesus was to not only being tempted to reassure himself that he was the son of God after such a long period of isolation and depravation, but he was also being tempted by Satan to tap into his spiritual inheritance and satisfy his earthly need for food by using his birthright and gifting as the Son of God to supply it. For if Jesus had chosen to do such, he would have sold his birthright to feed his belly just like Esau. I would also like to point out Satan’s use of stones as the object of Jesus’ heavenly test of son ship. Stones are very, very significant in the bible. Stones represent the children of God, and being consumed or reduced like bread represents the very lowest condition of mankind.

Prov 6:26 for by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will prey upon his precious life.
Psalm 14:4 & 53:4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? They eat up my people like they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD
1Pet 2:5 you are living stones that make a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Matt 2:9 I say unto you that God is able to take of these stones and raise up children of Abraham.
Gen 49:24 Jacob’s blessing upon Joseph. "But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob: from thence is the shepherd the stone of Israel."
Is 28:16  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

Matt 7:9 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

This particular temptation of Satan seems to be specifically designed to get us to prove to ourselves and to others who we are in our inheritance in God by using of our heavenly gifts to turn men (stones) into bread and satisfy our needs. Making other children of God the means by which your earthly desires are fulfilled. Look at Satan’s words “If you are God’s son? Turn these stones into bread. In modern terms it might sound like this “Then prove it to me by feeding yourself with your so called heavenly powers.” Jesus’ necessity for food for his human body is the weakness Satan is trying to play upon, and the implication that he really isn’t the son of God as Satan’s reason to justify Jesus proving it. Take note on how Jesus answered the devil’s temptation: Luke 4:4 it is WRITTEN, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God. Jesus was quoting this passage of scripture because there is a special message in it about desert experiences, hunger and God being faithful to feed his children.
Deut 8:2-3 And thou shall remember all the ways which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the desert, to humble thee, and to test thee, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments, or not. And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and  fed you with manna, which you knew nothing about, neither did your fathers know; that he might cause you to know that man does not live by  bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.
This scripture right here shows that God leads us by His Spirit into these desert seasons of our lives to humble us, to test us to see what is really in our hearts whether we will keep His commands or not, and sometimes he will even test you in the area of need, but if you pass the test: God will feed you with manna from heaven. So many men and women of God stumble at this first temptation. This is why Paul said that each man should stay in the vocation he was in when he was called by God.  1Cor 7:20 Paul knew that the first temptation we all would be faced with in ministry, would be the desire to feed our needs by the fruits of our spiritual gifts.
1 Sam 2:36  And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch before them for a piece of silver and a morsel of  bread , and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a piece of  bread.
Jesus knew and understood the full meaning of the passage of scripture he chose to use to rebuke Satan’s attempt, for in it held the full response. “Man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live”.

The Promise: If you remember all of Gods ways and how he has taught you during your time in the desert and in your hunger you refrain from using your spiritual gifts to validate your identity or to feed your needs (carnal desires); God will feed you with manna from heaven that you don’t even know about and neither did your fathers.

Second Temptation: Weakness of man Satan is trying to play upon: Fear. Self Sabotage

Satan’s Objective: To cause Jesus to test the faithfulness of God and His word.

Faithfulness the dictionary defines as: The state of being faithful; allegiance; loyalty, adhering firmly and devotedly to someone or something that elicits or demands one's fidelity.
Matt 4:5-6    Then the devil takes him up into the holy city, and set him up on the pinnacle of the temple, And says unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time you dash thy foot against a stone.
Satan uses a very small portion of this scripture, and when you read it you will understand why? For in it holds the promises of God to those who put their trust in God as Father.
Psalm 91 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
If he says of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God
, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge”, and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you and no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. ”.
 Let us take a closer look at what Satan is trying to do here. He is once again tempting Jesus to prove who he is by starting off with the same: If thou be the son of God? Which shows this is a big gun that Satan uses. Then he tries to qualify his implication by saying “Cast thy self down”. And believes that by quoting a very small portion of Psalm 91 He shall give his angels charge concerning the; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at anytime you dash thy food against a stone. and slapping a ; for it is written, in front of it, that Jesus would take the bait and test not only the faithfulness of the promises of scripture but the faithfulness of God as his Father. Do you see what Satan did? By quoting back to Jesus the very words he used as a retort to his last temptation. For it is written: Right here Satan is not only tempting Jesus to test the faithfulness of God but to test the faithfulness of the scriptures that He was using to thwart the Devil’s suggestions. Jesus knew that the complete embodiment of the promises of God to those that take refuge in Him as the Most High were summed up in this very passage of scripture. The mere fact that Satan chose to quote this scripture was I believe the plan of God all along. In more modern terms essentially what Satan is saying is: If you are who you claim to be and you put your trust completely in these written accounts and promises? let yourself fall and you will prove the faithfulness of God’s word. This was the real test. Would he allow himself to be deceived into believing that act of purposely casting himself down would somehow prove the faithfulness of God? Would his decision to take this fall in the end be to God’s glory, proving to everyone in the temple that the faithfulness of the scriptures had been tested and proven true? This is what I believe Satan was hoping Jesus would believe and overlook, but Jesus understood the consequences of testing God, he also understood that this scriptures speaks to those who make up the temple, the household of God and the  casting of oneself down not only would cause you to strike your foot (in the bible your feet represent your gospel message) against a stone (the children of God that make up the spiritual temple of God) requiring  that angels hold you up so you do not strike your foot against a single stone. Why would our feet be vulnerable to being struck upon stones and yet have the capability to tread upon the lion and the cobra, and trample the great lion and the serpent? Stones seem to be so minor a threat and hardly an object one would fear so as to need reassurance concerning the rescue of angels from striking our feet upon them? Angels are needed because they guide us in all our ways because if they didn’t;  We would bring dishonor to the NAME of Him we serve, our Father in Heaven in whom we are an ambassador. We would cause a stumbling block to be put before those seeking the understanding of God by showing our lack of faith and understanding of HIS word. Notice where Satan takes Jesus, he takes him to the highest point of the temple to present his second temptation. Why there? Because if Jesus chose to allow himself to fall, it would be from the highest place in the temple where everyone that calls God their father would see him fall. You see Jesus knew about the scripture in Duet 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.  Massah was where the children of Israel complained to Moses after coming out of the Desert of Sin that they didn’t have any water to drink. Moses said why are you complaining to me? And why are you Testing God with your murmuring and complaining about your need for water in the desert and your lack of faith of God to provide it?
I believe that this temptation is designed to play upon our fears that maybe just maybe these promises of scripture are not speaking concerning us directly and God may or may not honor his promises to us. This fear and uncertainty is the very thing that will start tempting us to test the faithfulness of God and His word by allowing ourselves to take a fall.  We all test God’s faithfulness when we choose to ignore his leadings and make wrong choices. Thanks to God that if our hearts are right he will prevent us from hurting others as we grow in our faith and understanding. One way we test His faithfulness is when we make great boasts in the name of God. This is what it means to take the Lords name in vain. Too many men and women today find it so easy to utter the words “thus saith the Lord” without even batting an eye. If Jesus himself being the firstborn of all creation had to go through the test of the desert before God would allow HIM to speak one word on behalf of his Father, how much more will we? It was required that He first be certain of who HE was and that HE was only to do and say what the Father told him to do. John 5:19 "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. How can He see what the Father is doing? I believe it is safe to say; by walking in complete unity with the scriptures which are the living and active past, present and future testimony of the character of God. When perfect loves comes on the scene it drives out all fear and uncertainty and there is no need to prove the faithfulness of God. I don’t really need to elaborate much more on the temptation we all face to cast thyself down and test the faithfulness of God and his word, because we have all been there. Jesus answers the second temptation with:  It is written do not put your lord God to the test.
The Promise: He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways lest at anytime you dash thy food against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 

Third Temptation: Weakness of man Satan is playing upon: Pride and mans desire to rule. And the desire of man shall be to rule Genesis 3:16

Satan’s Objective: For Jesus to bow down and worship Satan in exchange for the allegiance of all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and power.

The dictionary defines glory as: high renown or honor won by notable achievements, and power in this particular case as political or national strength: i.e. the balance of power in Europe. This indeed is the power that Satan is offering Jesus by showing him all the Kingdoms of the world.

Luke 4:5-7 and the devil, taking him up unto a high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said unto him, all this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.   If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
Matt 4:8-9 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding  high mountain , and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;  And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Alright let’s take some notes here: Satan gets shot down by Jesus twice after realizing that he cannot get Jesus to prove that He is the son of God. Satan then takes him to a high mountain or a high place and shows him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. Where did Satan take him? A high mountain, a high place.  Hmm? Let’s see. In the bible, authors would use the term high place or High Mountain to represent the biblical authors’ descriptions of the spiritual realm and they naturally would use an illustration from the highest things in the created world to represent a spiritual high place to the reader. How else could Jesus look down and see all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, unless it was by the spirit? I assure you there is no mountain peak high enough in the created world to give someone a view of all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. You may find it significant that High places and high mountains in the bible are specifically spoken of when describing the abomination of pagan worship to other gods.  This really is the ultimate temptation. To use the high place we have been led to by the spirit and allow ourselves to receive the power, glory and allegiance from men because of that elevated platform. What was Satan’s proposition to temp Jesus to fall down and worship him? Look at Luke 4:5-7 again. Satan says: all this power will I give thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will, I give it.
In Modern terms I believe it would sound like this: I have been given the power and glory of all the kingdoms of men. They are all under my dominion and I will release them to worship you if you will fall down and worship me. You would think “Hey if they are worshipping Jesus in the long run, how can that be bad? They will at least be serving and paying homage to the son of God and so be saved. You may think this sounds ridiculous but that is the exact same scenario when we allow others to look to us as a mediator between God and man instead of Christ. We allow the worship of the children of God to become displaced and it is no longer in God the creator, but has been shifted to the worship of the created. Jesus was the FIRST BORN OF ALL CREATION.  What I am trying to say about this particular temptation is: Even in the case of Jesus Christ himself the son of God in whom the Father is well pleased, the end does not justify the means. This means that even if in the long run if all the kingdoms of the world were given into your hands as a result of you worshipping and giving your allegiance to another god, you could no longer call yourself a son of God but of the devil. Even if you dedicated your entire life to the furthering of God’s word you still would have sold your inheritance over to Satan. If Jesus could not compromise the commandments of God in order to garner allegiance to God. We cannot allow ourselves into believing that if they are worshipping and honoring us then they are worshipping and honoring God. Jesus himself being the son of God and believing that in himself He held the embodiment of the written word, and He knew that we as children of God are to worship and serve the Father and Him only. Jesus was the firstborn of all of God’s creation to bring glory to the Father and be a living example of God’s love and His heart for his creation. Satan already holds the power over man’s allegiance, for Jesus himself proclaimed that Satan was the Prince of this world. Jesus was the son of God, not an angel he was sent to redeem the fallen state of mankind and to over the course of our human history win back the allegiance of the children of God. Satan was trying to offer a short cut I suppose? I’m sure, to Satan, this was his most brilliant of all proposals; it probably sounded something like this? “If you truly are the son of God, I can give you all of their admiration and love right now at this very moment. It will only require that you do this one little thing; you have to bow down and worship me, and you won’t have to endure and experience what we both know the scriptures say concerning you”.

Let’s go back to Luke 4:5-7. How does Jesus respond to this third temptation? Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Jesus is referring to this passage of scripture
Exodus 34:14 for thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Notice that Jesus adds to the scripture by combining this portion of Exodus 20:1 by saying and him only shalt thou serve.

The Promise:Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my Name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. ”

Allow me to reiterate again that with every temptation I believe there is a promise that the devil is trying to tempt you to forfeit. If we can make it through our desert experiences we will receive the promises of complete rescue from the power of death, hell and the grave. Firstly from ourselves and our earthly desires. Secondly from man, in which we become ensnared in our efforts to win their love and support, by allowing ourselves to become stumbling blocks to those trying to understand the word of God, and most importantly from God when we allow our desire to rule and garner allegiance, overpower us and we begin to seek after God’s power and glory, and especially when WE allow that power and glory to be bestowed upon any living being including ourselves. You will know that you have passed these tests because you will be ministered to by heavenly helpers Matt 4:11Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. Your needs will be supplied sufficiently, even above what you could even ask or imagine, if you are not an idol man or a man who is idle. Two different words I know but both are spiritually dead, mute and useless to the kingdom of God. If we can as true servants of God pass the desert experience, we can be certain without a doubt that we have been tested and tried and can believe that we are true servants of God, one’s capable to teach the word of God without corruption. Remember, this is not for everyone that calls on the name of Jesus as Lord and savior, it is for those that desire to be the spokesman of God and that speak the word of God as though they speak on behalf of the Father.  
Let us all strive to pass these tests during our desert experiences so we can move forward in the complete power and authority of Jesus Christ to speak God’s word to a dying world.

2 Pet 1:10-11 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God Bless you all!