Lesson 1 -- third quarter 2005
June 5, 2005
© Copyright 2005, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
How conscious are you of Jesus' greatness?
Does the Spirit find it easy to lead you?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
The Gospel requires repentance.
John's message ("Repent") prepared the way for Jesus' message ("Repent"). The transition from the ministry of John to the ministry of Jesus freed nobody from the need for repentance. No one can enter the kingdom without first repenting. And no one can continue in the kingdom without experiencing ongoing repentance.
The Son submitted to the Father.
Being sinless, Jesus didn't need John's baptism of "repentance for the remission of sins" (Mark 1:4). However, the Father's plan stipulated that John baptize Jesus. So Jesus (and John) submitted to that plan. That was how Jesus lived (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 8:29; 15:10).
The Father honored the Son.
When Jesus acted upon His submission to the Father's will and plan, the Father openly declared, "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Mark 1:11). Throughout His life, Jesus submitted to the Father. And throughout His life, the Father honored the Son. John 8:29 and 15:10 show two interesting ways in which the Father honored Jesus -- "the Father hath not left me alone" and "I...abide in his love."
Even our temptations are by divine arrangement.
The Devil's work against us is not taken outside the sovereignty of God. We see that in today's lesson as well as in 1 Corinthians 10:13: "God...will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape."
Questions and Responses
What is repentance?
Repentance is a radical change of mind and heart. In a Biblical sense, repentance means shunning evil and self in order to embrace God (Acts 26:20). Thus repentance has to do with changing for the better, with turning from that which is wrong to that which is right. So you see, repentance is not remorse, which is mere regret or grief for having done something wrong. To be only sorry I did something will not pass the test for repentance. But if that remorse leads me to turn away from that behavior and accept a better value system, then I have experienced repentance. Listen to how the Bible puts it: "Ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner.... For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation" (2 Corinthians 7:9,10).
Is repentance something we do all on our own?
No. Godly repentance comes to us as a gift from God Himself. Listen again to some Scripture fragments. "God...will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth" (2 Timothy 2:25). "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Romans 2:4). Repentance is an act of cooperation with the Spirit of God.
How do we succeed against temptation?
Christ was tempted in all points as we are and yet without sin. Was this due only to His divinity? If this were so, His exemplary victory would have no practical significance for us since we are not divine. So, what are some factors to which we can attribute His victories?
Jesus came to do the will of the Father. Nothing would interfere with the execution of the Father's plan. Jesus responded to every situation on the basis of His commitment to the Father. Were we to live with the same frame of mind, we would discover a powerful resource in experiencing victory. Most of our temptations come to us as an appeal to our selves. So our commitment to the Lord and His plan must exceed our interest in ourselves.
Jesus knew the danger of entertaining temptation. He did not pause to consider and study the temptations. That was one point of Eve's failure, and according to James, where most humans fail. Jesus resisted the Devil right away. Until we learn to resist the Devil by saying "NO!" promptly, we will not experience consistent victory over temptations.
Jesus took the offensive against the Devil by using pertinent Scriptures. This approach rejects Satan's ideas with God's holy point of view. It also brings our mind in line with God's way of thinking and reaffirms our desire to be true to our devotion to Him. However, it is useless to quote the Scripture if we are not living the Scripture! The power of the Word isn't tapped by rote repetition but by daily life application. How else could you take Psalm 1:2-3, 37:31, 119:11, Luke 4:4 and 1 John 2:14?
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