Sunday June 3,2018
Title: Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter - Our home with Christ in the word “abide” - Resisting temptation in order to perform good.
1JO 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
1JO 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
Unlike our current physical eyes, our resurrected physical eyes will be able to behold the glory of the Lord, and so we will know that we are not dreaming and that we are just like Him.
1JO 3:3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Don’t miss that. It is the motivation for the whole of this life. We are just like Him, which will become evident to our very eyes in the future, but must be evident in the eyes of our heart now.
We will return to the phrase “purifies himself” later in our study. Suffice to say here that this does in no way indicate that we are to purify (sanctify or cleanse) ourselves independent from God.
The one who purifies himself has his hope fixed on his future likeness to Christ, therefore his motivation for purity of life (thought and action) is not his own, but given by the Lord.
Power comes from the supernatural changes to us in regeneration, from the Holy Spirit within, and also from an understanding of facts. Here the power is in knowing something so wonderful and supernatural. Someday I’m going to see Him just as He is, through my very own eyes.
1JO 3:4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
1JO 3:5 And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
1JO 3:6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
1JO 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
1JO 3:8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
1JO 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
1JO 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
1JO 3:11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;
1JO 3:12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous.
We have two major themes in this passage: the practice of sin and the practice of righteousness.
Christ’s perfection was, not merely the absence of sin, but the presence of harmony. The life of Christ, a life now given to every believer, is not only marked by the absence of sin, but also by the doing of good, merciful service, and gracious giving.
All of us become unbalanced at times. We cannot be consistently sinless, but nor are we consistently sinful, as our passage makes clear. We must learn balance. We must learn to isolate and leave behind our failures and to aggressively reach ahead to what life really is - Christ.
In the life that is Christ, there is a holy indignation against sin.
ROM 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?
ROM 6:2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Php 3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ,
Php 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
Php 3:10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
Php 3:11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Php 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
Php 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes we’re a little out of balance. Christ was always in perfect balance and this is always our goal.
Sometimes we’re a little out of balance. My zeal might become impulsive. My love might get sentimental. My holy indignation against sin may become condemnation and judging.
In Jesus there was always perfect balance. Meekness coexisted with majesty, power with mercy, and justice with benevolence.
[Vine’s Topical Commentary: Christ] “In Him majesty was perfectly blended with meekness, dignity with condescension, conscious greatness with unostentatious simplicity, holy indignation against sin with tender compassion for the sinner. His gentleness was never characterized by weakness, nor His love by mere sentimentality. His zeal never degenerated into impulsiveness, nor His calmness into indifference. The complete constellation of virtues shone in His character with undimmed luster, irradiating all His utterances and ways, and imparting an unexampled unity to His different actions.”
He was sinless. We know that we could never be consistently sinless. Yet, we are to be like Him and walk as He walked. We are to perform the deeds of righteousness. And when we do, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we do so perfectly.
Christ’s life is characterized by the absence of sin and the performance of grace, righteousness, and goodness.
We will illustrate this by comparing the openings of the synoptic gospels with the opening of the gospel of John.
The synoptic gospels all list the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, with Matthew and Mark giving us detail concerning three temptations. The gospel of John, written much later, does not give the temptation account, but John lists actions in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry that bears striking similarity of relation.
In the wilderness, Jesus was tempted to sin. Particularly, the temptations were for Christ to reveal things about Himself at the wrong time. The temptations of the wilderness were only for Him and only apply to Him.
However, you should not be surprised to know that the events of His life have deep application in our own.
The precise temptations levied against Christ open the possibility of moral glory, or righteous glory. If there are no temptations there are no opportunities to reveal spiritual strength.
Should I exult in my temptations? We’ll get back to that question when we’re done.
The righteous glory of our Lord’s spiritual strength in overcoming the temptation issues forth into character that is expressed in His earliest actions.
What does this mean to us?
Faithfulness in resisting the spiritual foe is a sure precursor of power in the service of God. Spiritual power is not an on again/off again phenomenon. It is a life.
Certainly we are talking about maturity, but the NT is always talking about it. It doesn’t have a section for babies, but in fact admonishes babies to mature.
If we are of the type that generally gives in to temptation, then we have no power later on for service. This completely nixes the thought that we can have two lives, a secret one in which we revel in the throes of sin, and a public life in which we serve others and God.
The NT doesn’t reveal to me an “in and out” or “on again/off again” Christianity, but a call to excel and to be extraordinary in love, power, grace, mercy, and virtue; and to value foremost the things of Christ, the Spirit, and the Father, while knowing that we are completely forgiven of all sin and that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
If we value the things of Christ foremost in our lives, that is going to have a major impact on the reality of sin in our lives.
In Christ, it was not alone the absence of sin that characterized Him, as when He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil, but also His deeds of grace and goodness, as revealed immediately after His temptation.
Jesus’ three temptations in the wilderness find perfect corresponding actions in the beginning of the Gospel of John.
In the passage before you, it says that the one born of God cannot continually sin. It is not alone the absence of a sinful lifestyle that characterizes the believer, but also the presence of grace and goodness in his actions.
We are to be just like Him.
We are not to practice sin and we are to practice righteousness because His seed abides in us.
This is true only because we are born of God and His seed abides in us.
1JO 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
Vine in his commentary on Christ reveals a correspondence between the temptations of Christ in the desert and the actions the He performed soon after.
In His wilderness temptation Jesus was able to resist sin. In His actions directly after, He was able to reveal the glory of God. These are intricately linked.
Our Lord’s first victory in the wilderness lay in resisting the devil’s temptation to turn stones into bread. He refused to transform one thing into another of greater value in order to satisfy a need, hunger.
Yet, His first public miracle was done precisely in this manner. At the wedding feast in Cana He turned water into wine.
JOH 2:11 This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
It was a manifestation of His glory to others, which they had not seen before. We know that had not seen it because it says that His disciples believed in Him, one of which who was there is writing this.
Jesus refused the transformation in the wilderness. It was not the proper time for Him to reveal His power over the matter of the world. At Cana, in front of others to the glory of the Father, it was time.
In the wilderness, no one was seeing besides the devil. In the wilderness the bread would have been for Jesus alone, for His own need. But, at the wedding, the wine is for the guests, and really for the poor family of the groom who embarrassingly ran out.
The temptation in the wilderness is to serve Himself, for He became hungry. At the wedding, He is serving the Father on behalf of men. His public ministry was beginning and at Cana it was time for Him to reveal His power over the earth as the Son of God.
First temptation: The Son of God has power over the earth.
First showing: Wedding at Cana.
His second temptation in the wilderness was to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple so as to vindicate, in the eyes of the public, the fact of His divine sonship.
His second recorded act after the wedding was also in connection with the Temple.
In John’s gospel, directly after the wedding at Cana we find Jesus in the Temple. It cannot be an undersigned coincidence that the temptations and the actions correspond.
Jesus’ second recorded act is to cleanse the Temple. Instead of casting Himself on the outside, He cleanses the inside. He then reveals Himself as the Temple, that He will cast Himself down, and that the Father will deliver Him, but only through resurrection.
His faithfulness to resist the temptation in the first is revealed in His faithfulness in the second - maintaining the character of His Father’s house.
Don’t miss that connection. His ability to resist temptation in the first propels Him to the power in the second - His actions.
Instead of relying on the Father’s angels to preserve His body from a fatal fall, He turns to the shocked witnesses and says:
JOH 2:19 "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
He predicts the destruction of His body, but also adds that it will be preserved alive after three days.
In the wilderness it was not time for Christ to publically show that His body could not succumb to death. The proper time and the proper way were through the empty tomb.
ROM 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
ROM 1:2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,
ROM 1:3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,
ROM 1:4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead
Second temptation: Reveal Yourself publically as the Son of God by endangering Your life so that the Father will publically deliver You.
Fulfillment: Cross and Resurrection.
Our Lord’s third victory in the wilderness was His refusal to accept from Satan the kingdoms of the world and their glory by offering worship to Satan.
In John’s gospel, the next event after the cleansing of the Temple is our Lord’s meeting with Nicodemus and the woman from Samaria, in which the kingdom of God and the worship of God are treated.
JOH 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Satan said, “I will give You the kingdom.”
JOH 4:21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father.
JOH 4:22 "You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
JOH 4:23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
JOH 4:24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
Satan said, “Worship me and the kingdom shall come.”
The devil sought to frustrate the divinely appointed displays of the power of Christ and the glory of the kingdom. We will later give some thought as to how Satan knew what to tempt Him with.
The kingdom of God cannot come until the power of the kingdom is established. It cannot be established on earth until all the righteous enter it.
Satan is the god of this world. He would not have offered the kingdoms of the world to Jesus if he couldn’t deliver. But no one can just make a great kingdom, unite all the kingdoms of the world and their glory under one benevolent and wise ruler and then call it the kingdom of God.