Then the devil took Him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If You are the Son of God, jump off! (throw yourself down). For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order His angels to protect and guard you [in all your ways]. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.'”
Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.'”Luke 4:9-12
I showed you yesterday that when the devil quoted Scripture he omitted a portion – deliberately. To include “in all your ways” in his quote would have exposed his malicious use of the Word of God. This was supposedly a frivolous test to put God to the test to see if He was willing to test God – similar to Exodus 17:7. But as I explained in the previous Gem, for Jesus to succumb to the suggestion would have been to negate all He was and stood for. The Son of God does not have to test if God is with Him. That would be nonsense. Furthermore, for us to follow satan’s suggestion would negate our life journey and our desire to live our lives for Jesus and live under His care. Bottom line is do you trust Him or not or do you have to take drastic steps in presumptive ways to prove His involvement in your life. If the answer to that question is yes then you have some serious thinking to do related to your faith and your trust in Him.
In this Gem I feel to focus on the misuse of Scripture. The point of this section is to see satan whispers things into our minds which so often omit or twist the Word of God.
- “If you the Son of God . . .”
- “Did God really say . . .?” (Gen 3:1)
- “You won’t die.” (Gen 3:4)
- Is it only satan who does this sort of thing?
- Or does this practice include some or many of us as well?
Let me give you an example.
And we know that He works all things together for the good of those who love God. (Rom 8:28)
We all know Romans 8:28, right?
Apparently not because Romans 8:28 actually reads
“And we know that he works all things together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28
Many of us tend miss out those important seven words at the end when we “quote” Romans 8:28. I am not suggesting we deliberately alter the Word of God. It is just that we don’t pay attention to the details. We take from it the initial impression we have and that is what stays with us.
Here is another example which is perhaps more insidious than the Romans 8:28 example.
Back in NZ I heard a pastor preaching on Matthew 19:27-30 which reads:
Then Peter said to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you. So what will we get?”
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne in the renewed creation, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, governing the twelve tribes of Israel. In fact, everyone who has left his homes, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or fields because of my name will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”Matthew 19:27-30
Primarily the sermon was focused on the fact that Jesus always gives us the best and we gain many benefits from being a Christian. Not always monitory but that too. God blesses His people. Oh yes we can agree with that. But the tone of the sermon was we are always blessed and God gives us money, material possessions or increases our relationships and family or friendship circles. There are no backward steps in God. We are always and forever blessed. Especially if we are leaving everything behind to serve Him. He will bring an increase of possessions or people to our lives. What about the times when we suffer for Christ, I thought? Knowing some (if not many) who have. So often we work with formulas for success. We like to avoid the negative verses in Scripture. We leave out the verses which indicate life won’t always be like that. We must deal with all Scripture; not just the parts we like. I was struck by the pastor’s seeming insistence that it would always be up and blessings abounding in God. I asked him later “what about persecutions?” He looked mystified until I explained I was referring to Mark 10:30 which adds “along with persecutions”. [There are three synoptic passages which deal with the matter – Matthew 19:27-30 // Mark 10:28-31 // Luke 18:28-30.] Only Mark adds the element “along with persecutions.” Yes it is true that Matthew and Luke don’t include that part.
His comment was interesting. “Oh yes the Mark reading. I wouldn’t ever preach on that passage, that has a negative part to it.”
Yes exactly my point. We may not selectively omit verses the way satan does but we do it in other ways. We choose the right passage to preach from so it doesn’t include the “bad news”. Don’t give them the “bad news”. Just keep it light and fluffy. I made comment on this trend in Bible Gem 313. The trend of staying away from the hard stuff, the negative side, the hard times coming, persecution and times when we don’t get healed and when “our sin” is not the reason. Staying away from the hard portions and presenting only the good stuff, the light and fluffy is not actually doing people a service. It is disadvantaging them. Imagine the disciples / apostles doing that for the Christians who were facing persecution under Emperor Nero. To not preach the full truth is to ill-prepare God’s people for what may be coming into their lives. That is why the believers in Nero’s time were told about facing persecution and were made ready. Pretty important really when they were being used as lamp stands by being set alight to entertain the emperor or thrown to lions to provide entertainment for the masses.
Yes, there are different ways of omitting verses. Either in the blatant way satan does it. I have heard preachers do that too. I have heard a preacher tell his congregation, “Don’t open your bibles, just look up here and follow what I am telling you.” Mmm stop them looking at their Bible so they can’t see what is being left out or what verses you are omitting. Or like the “along with persecutions” example – we just don’t go there in the first place. Don’t preach on those verses. I personally have been stopped mid stream in preaching a series of sermons that were hard hitting and dealing with the judgement of God in the context of His true work in us.
Learn to deal with the whole of Scripture and not just the parts you like.
You can choose your own thoughts. You don’t have to think whatever falls into your mind.Joyce Meyer
The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is thinking that having a problem is a problem?Joyce Meyer
Everyone has 3 characters: that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has!Anon
Being constantly aware of Jesus, consistently changes where I want to go and what I want to do.Judah Smith