VIDEO A Way of Escape

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Jesus Christ was tempted to sin. For example, He underwent three major temptations from Satan after fasting for forty days (Matthew 4:1-11). But He resisted not only those temptations but others as well (Hebrews 4:15).

How did Jesus resist temptation and not sin? By taking “the way of escape” that God provided—in His case, biblical refutations from Deuteronomy to all of Satan’s lies. And because He “suffered” during temptations, “He is able to aid those [us] who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). Because temptations don’t come from God (James 1:13), He is more than willing to provide a “way of escape” so that, like Jesus, we can avoid falling into sin.

First Corinthians 10:13 promises that God will provide a way of escape. Our task is to find the way and take it. If you don’t immediately see the way God has provided, ask Him to reveal it (James 1:2-5).

[We must] pray constantly for His enabling grace to say no to temptation, of choosing to take all practical steps to avoid known areas of temptation and flee from those that surprise us. Jerry Bridges

1 Corinthians 10:13 – Temptation and the Way of Escape

When Hard Pressed

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. Psalm 118:6

Many years ago, a friend told me how intimidated she was while trying to cross a street where several roads intersected. “I’d never seen anything like this; the rules I’d been taught for crossing the street seemed ineffective. I was so frightened that I’d stand on the corner, wait for the bus, and ask the bus driver if he’d please allow me to ride to the other side of the street. It would take a long time before I successfully learned to navigate this intersection both as a pedestrian and later as a driver.”

As complicated as a dangerous traffic intersection can be, navigating life’s complexities can be even more menacing. Although the psalmist’s specific situation in Psalm 118 is uncertain, we know it was difficult and just right for prayer: “When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord” (v. 5), the psalmist exclaimed. And his confidence in God was unmistakable: “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. . . .  The Lord is with me; he is my helper” (vv. 6–7).

It’s not unusual to be fearful when we need to change jobs or schools or housing. Anxieties arise when health declines, relationships change, or dollars disappear. But these challenges needn’t be interpreted as abandonment by God. When hard pressed, may we find ourselves prayerfully pressing into His presence.

By:  Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

What difficulty has brought you closer to God? With whom can you share your experience of His gracious help? 

Gracious Father, please help me to trust You when I’m hard pressed.

The Question of Inerrancy

Believers can have confidence that the Bible is true from beginning to end. 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Pointing out “inconsistencies” has long been a popular pastime among critics of the Bible. Tragically, even some people in influential Christian positions hold the opinion that portions of Scripture aren’t inspired by God. Of course, these critics cannot agree upon which sections are inaccurate. Some would erase a phrase here and there, while others would toss out entire books. 

This leaves Christians confused about the authority of Scripture, as they wonder which expert is most credible. I have the answer to that: Trust God as the final authority. The Sovereign of the universe had no trouble keeping Scripture pure. Reading the Bible as a whole document reveals that each part is consistent with every other. God allowed for writers’ differences in viewpoint, background, and vocabulary, which at times can give the appearance of discrepancy. But further study always reveals how the various parts fit together. 

It’s critical for believers to trust in the inerrancy of the Scriptures. A flawed book could never tell us how to be saved because it would only be the product of man’s hand. But the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. His Spirit did the writing, no matter whose hand penned the message. 

Seven Days

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56)

Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about “my day”—a day that Abraham had “seen” 2,000 years before. This evidently referred to the time when Christ would be on Earth, which God had enabled Abraham to see in prophecy.

But of all the days when He was on the earth, the most glorious was the great day when He rose from the dead. “He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Acts 13:33).

As a result of His death and resurrection, “behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). The day of salvation is any day in this age of grace when a person believes on Christ for salvation. He then receives “the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). This great future day of redemption evidently is the same as “the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6), when He comes again.

Following this is the fearful day of the Lord, when Christ will punish and judge and reign. “The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night…and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3). It is also called “the great day of his wrath” (Revelation 6:17).

This day of the Lord will culminate at God’s great white throne. This will be “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5).

Finally will come the eternal “day of God” when this present earth will be purified with fire and “we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). That day will never end, “for there shall be no night there” (Revelation 21:25). HMM

Where Are You at Calvary?

Matthew 26:47-27:56

AT the trial of our Lord, Peter, warming himself at the enemy’s fire, denies his Master. Beware of warming at the devil’s fire. Jesus answers the priest’s clear question, “Tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God,” with an unmistakable affirmative and prophesies His return. Judas returns the blood-money and hangs himself. He purchased his own graveyard with the proceeds of his iniquity. Trade with the devil and you buy a graveyard!

Pilate faced three options. The first alternative was cynicism or Christ: “What is truth?”; Christ is the answer to cynicism. In the choice between Barabbas and the Lord, he faced criminality or Christ; Christ is the answer to criminality’s problem. And Pilate faced the issue of Caesar or Christ. And every one of us faces the one supreme question: Shall we crown or crucify Jesus?

It seems that God so arranged it that every type of person should be represented at the cross. If you look closely, you will soon recognize your crowd. There were the soldiers, who only administered the wounds which all the sin of all the world caused. They sat and watched Him, and they gambled for His robe—and so do men today idly face Calvary and gamble away their gospel opportunity. If you are not a soldier of the cross you are a soldier at the cross.

There were the passersby who wagged their heads. It is fashionable to pass Calvary wagging the head. They misquoted His claims, they minimized His death, they mocked His Deity. So men today see no need for Calvary.

Next were the chief priests, scribes and elders. No group of men has behaved worse at the cross than the religionists. Today there are no worse enemies of Christ than those hypocrites whose names are on church books, who perhaps work in the church, read the Bible, pray in public, give money to the church, but who merely draw near with their mouths and honor with their lips while their hearts are far from God.

Then there were the people who merely stood there, beholding. They just looked on and did nothing. But all that anyone needs to do to be lost is just… nothing. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” They smote their breasts and returned home terrified. The publican in the temple smote his breast and went home justified because he truly repented!

The centurion went further. He feared greatly. He confessed that Christ was righteous; he called Him the “Son” and “God”; he glorified God. Yet one may do all this and be lost.

It is not surprising that the one who got most out of that awful day was the lowest character of them all, the repentant thief. The first person to enter Paradise after our Lord was a thief! But is it not in keeping with the whole tenor of the gospel that God has chosen those who are base and despised, and the ones who have profited most are those who have come “without one plea” except His shed blood!

One other group remains: those who loved Him. We sing, “Oh, How I Love Jesus,” but do we love Him crucified and do we love the old rugged cross?

After all, there are only two classes at the cross: those who rest upon the work He accomplished there for our redemption and those who reject the provisions of His love. Where are you at Calvary?

“I will not leave thee.”

Genesis 28:10-22

Esau vowed to kill Jacob, and therefore Rebekah was obliged to send her favourite son away. This she little expected when she travelled a crooked way to earn him promotion.

Genesis 28:10

Alone, without a servant to attend him, or a beast to carry him, with only his staff to lean upon, the heir of the promises set out upon his long journey of about five hundred miles.

Genesis 28:11

He had a hard bed and a cold bolster, but he had a sweet sleep, and a sweeter dream. Often when the head lies hardest the heart is lightest. Our times of great trial are times of heavenly visitation.

Genesis 28:12

Note the many “beholds” in the passage. They call for our special attention. The patriarch dreamed of Jesus—sweetest of all dreams. He saw how heaven and earth are joined by the Messiah, and how free is the intercourse between God and man by the way of the Mediator.

Genesis 28:15

Having seen the Messiah as the ladder, he beheld the glory of Jehovah the covenant God, and received the covenant blessing. Every syllable must have sounded as sweetest music in his ears. Note that choice word, “I will not leave thee.” Whom God loves he never leaves. “Till I have done that which I have spoken to thee of;”—saying and doing are two very different things with men, but not with God.

Genesis 28:16-17

He was full of awe, even to trembling. He felt as if he had slept in the temple of Jehovah, and therefore as a sinner he was moved with fear. He had not been afraid of wild beasts or heathen men, but now though filled with holy confidence he is equally filled with sacred awe.

Genesis 28:18

We must honour God with our substance. Some set up a stone of remembrance, but they pour no oil on the top of it, for they offer nothing unto the Lord.

Genesis 28:19

Beth-el the house of God

Genesis 28:22

Here was a little of the bargaining spirit in covenanting for bread to eat and raiment to put on, but still there was genuine faith. He renounces all other trusts, casts himself upon the divine care, and dedicates a tithe unto the Lord. God has dealt so well with each of us, that we ought never to stint his cause. Can we not do something even now to honour the Lord with our substance and with the firstfruits of our increase?

Jesus that ladder is

Th’ incarnate Deity,

Partaker of celestial bliss

And human misery;

Lo! up and down the scale

The angels move! with love!

And God, the Great Invisible,

Himself appears above.

Divine Love: Necessity for the Church on Earth

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne… He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:21, 22

The kind of Christianity that relies upon the influence of its own human and earthly power makes God sick, for the church of Jesus Christ is a heavenly institution.

For myself, if I could not have the divine power of God, I would walk out and quit the whole religious business. The church that wants God’s power will have something to offer besides social clubs, knitting societies and all of the other side issues.

If any church is to be a church of Christ, the living, organic member of that redeemed Body of which Christ is the Head, then its teachers and its members must strive earnestly and sacrificially with constant prayer to do a number of things.

We must strive to make our beliefs and practices New Testament in their content. We must teach and believe New Testament truths, with nothing dragged in from the outside.

We must keep our little field of God’s planting healthy, and there is only one way to do that: keep true to the Word of God! We must constantly go back to the grass roots and get the Word into the church.

We must live to gear ourselves into things eternal and to live the life of heaven here upon the earth, empowered by the Spirit of God with that same power that came on the earliest believers. We must put loyalty to Christ first at any cost. Anything less than that really is not a Christian church!