Prayer | To whom and for whom (part 2)

Today, I’d just like to look at what the Apostles taught regarding prayer. Our first look will be to James Chapter 5.

James 5 (ESV)
1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

I recommend reading all of the book of James as one continuous letter. It is far too easy for a Word of Faith teacher to pluck James 5:13-18 out of its context to suggest that Christians are called to live prosperous, rich, and healthy lives while here on Earth. At least in the immediate context, we see enough to know that such an interpretation is false, because we see James addressing the rich and then encouraging those who suffer to be patient. If we reflect back to our last post, “Give us this day our daily bread” is not the prayer of a wealthy, prospered individual; rather, it is the prayer of a humble servant of God, asking for his daily bread.

Now lets move on to read what the Apostle Paul had to say about prayer.

1 Timothy 2:1-8 (ESV) 1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 (ESV) 12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

1 Corinthians 14:1-25 (ESV) 14 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.
6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

1 Corinthians 14:36-40 (ESV) 36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But all things should be done decently and in order.

Romans 8:22-27 (ESV) 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Paul taught extensively about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, particularly in His help for us to pray, to build us up, and to edify the church. We are to pray for everyone… not just other Christians, and not just for the lost, not just for the poor, not just for the rich, not just for our enemies, not just for our loved ones, not just for those who believe in prayer… everyone. Do not despise prophecy, but test everything. An untested “prophetic word” is an extremely dangerous thing… because a false prophet is not to be feared, in fact they are to be silenced! We have no hope of discerning false prophets and teachers if we simply accept all manifestations and words of prophecies as valid.

I’d like to point out here that nowhere have we read in Scripture any example of praying against an adversary. We pray to God. We ask for His Will to be done on Earth, and we ask Him to deliver us from the evil one.

May the Lord bless and keep you in His Will,
In Him,
Jorge

Prayer | To whom and for whom (part 1)

Growing up in the church, I’ve been lead in a great many corporate prayers and have attended numerous prayer meetings. I’ve experienced a wide range of prayer styles and methodologies. I have an affinity for language and communication. I’m one who enjoys the music, but not apart from its lyric. The words being used matter a great deal to me. Whenever I hear someone lead a congregation or gathering in prayer, I’m not listening for impressive or colorful language, my first concern is the message of the prayer so that I know if it is something I can indeed say “Amen” to. Have you ever been part of a corporate prayer that left you wondering if it was a prayer or a lecture? Or worse, if it left you wondering exactly who was supposedly in charge of Creation? I’ve heard some prayers that went so outside of Biblical foundation that I caught myself repenting for my involvment, asking for forgiveness and protection in the middle of the prayer.

We’ve discussed prayer here before. The standard for any “How-To” for prayer is Matthew 6 and Luke 11. When God the Son is asked, “Lord, teach us to pray…” we would be foolish to presume that any other standard exists for prayer. Clearly the safest prayer is to repeat what we call the Lord’s Prayer and place all of our trust, hope, and faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. While this instruction is the preeminent instruction/standard for prayer, it is not the only instruction we find in Scriptures. We will look at some of the other prayers in Scripture, but I first want to make one thing absolutely clear. The Written Word of God is the ONLY source of Truth. There nothing, NOTHING we can learn about prayer from any other source. Not from paganism, not from mysticism (eastern or western), not from new age, not from the occult. Nothing.

2 Timothy 3:10-17 (ESV) 10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

So, now that is out of the way, let us continue with looking at prayer in the Word of God.

For whom and to whom are your praying?

Throughout scripture, we have prayers written down and preserved for our benefit, for our training. As is the case in the aforementioned Luke 11, the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray after He had finished praying. He taught them to pray to “Our Father in Heaven” to “give us this day our daily bread… forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…” Jesus often prayed in a quiet or secluded place. I believe that what His disciples were asking of Him was for how they were supposed to pray when they, too, were praying in secret. But let’s take a look at how He prayed before calling Lazarus to come out of the grave:

John 11:38-44 (ESV) 38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

This audible prayer, was to God the Father, but it was for the people standing around, the witnesses, so that they may believe that God the Father had indeed sent His Son. This prayer, is also an example of “Holy is your Name“. In the very next chapter, we see a similar instance of prayer to God the Father for the benefit of the witnesses:

John 12:27-36 (ESV) 27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.

In the previous example, we have the prayer of God the Son made audible for the benefit of the witnesses, and here we have the response of God the Father being made audible for the benefit of the witnesses not for God the Son. Again, all of this, points to “Holy is your Name“. It also points to “Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven“. Jesus knows what the Will of the Father is, and as the time draws near, His soul is troubled. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to be hell. But it is for this purpose that God the Son came to Earth, to do the Will of the Father.  We see it again in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Matthew 26:36-46 (ESV) 36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Jesus wrestled with what He knew was coming. His flesh was not defiled, He was a pure and spotless Lamb of God, and still the flesh is tempted (Temptation isn’t sin, yielding to it would have been). Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven… I want to look at one more beautiful prayer uttered by God the Son.

John 17 (ESV) | The High Priestly Prayer

17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Throughout this prayer, you can hear echos of, ” Our Father in Heaven, Holy is your Name. Your Kingdom come, your Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” Whenever we pray, we must be certain that our right to approach the throne of God in prayer does not rest within ourselves; rather, in that we have believed in God the Son through the Gospel recorded in Scriptures. That we know that God the Son was sent by God the Father to save us by taking upon Himself the full punishment of sin. There for our “I” isn’t truly the same as Christ’s “I”, but He stands as our advocate, so that while we remain in Him, we have an audience with God.

So then we have our standard for the “to whom” and “for whom” prayers (for ourselves and for others). We will explore these concepts more, I’m sure, but I want to take a moment to caution what happens when we lose sight of to whom and for whom we are praying. In Matthew 6, Jesus pointed out 2 errors before giving instructions. First the error of the hypocrite (contextually the Pharisee, but we have many hypocrites by many names):

Matthew 6:5-6 (ESV) 5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:7-8 (ESV) 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

The Gentiles covers all who are not Jews. Their phrases are empty because they do not know the One True God… their prayers are not heard because they do not know God. Why is Jesus warning the Jews not to pray like the Gentiles? Because they are and will continue to be guilty of being conformed to the world around them, a world that Hates God. If you look back at my introduction, I feel the same way… why am I warning against taking lessons on prayer from anything outside of scriptures if my target audience is Christians? Because we have fallen in the same trap. These are not the only pitfalls to prayer, as we will explore in the next post, but they are significant.

There is a lot of bad theology, false doctrine out there invading the church today. Labyrinth prayer, contemplative prayer, theophostic ministry, lectio divina,… some others less dangerous but no less out-of-focus. If you keep your focus on honoring God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in your prayers, to Glorify His name and to invite His Will to be done in your life regardless of the consequences, you will never need any so-called “new way to pray”. Make your requests to God, but do so without losing sight of to whom it is you are Praying. We will talk more about this final point in a later blog post.

In closing, I’d like to borrow from the Apostle Paul’s introduction to his letter to the Philippians:

Philippians 1:9-11 (ESV) 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

In Him,
Jorge

The Righteousness of Biblical Submission

Christ in Gethsemane by Heinrich Hofmann

Christ in Gethsemane by Heinrich Hofmann

We live in a society that absolutely rejects the notion of submission. For most Americans, submission is a sign of weakness, inferiority, and failure. What’s worse, there is a disturbing upward trend in deviant fetishism that seeks to add a very sick and twisted meaning to submission, due in large part to a recent publication of filth I don’t care to mention. To put it bluntly, submission is a dirty word in our society. There is a very good reason the enemy works so diligently to pervert, distort, and redefine “submission” and what it means to submit. As we will see in the Scriptures, the reason is that submission to God and the authority of His Word is our only hope for salvation. While that may seem like a “given”, I urge you to bear with me and see if we might dig a bit deeper into what it means to submit to God and His Word.

In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we have the following introduction of Jesus Christ:

John 1:1-5 (NASB) The Deity of Jesus Christ
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1:14-18 (NASB) The Word Made Flesh
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

I like to start in the book of John, because I find that his intro does a wonderful job of introducing the Christ in such a manner that unifies the whole Bible. Right off the bat it is clear that in order to fully understand what it means to know Jesus involves studying all of God’s Word from Genesis through Revelation. If you’ll remember the wording of the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6 regarding the Messiah, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us”, you see here that John was pointing out that while His flesh was born that day, Jesus was given to us… ,”And the Word became flesh”.

Now, as Christians, we are to take Jesus as our example. What did Jesus have to say about the Law and the Prophets?

Matthew 5:17-19 (NASB)
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus had every right, being God, to simply speak truth from His own authority. Why did He choose to return to scriptures time and time again? A common quick-answer given today is simply that He did so to demonstrate to us how we might live our lives. While there is truth in that, I believe that answer to be incomplete, and it leaves too much room for the enemy to inject into our minds doubts and false doctrines regarding the person of Jesus and the role of  biblical submission to Divine Authority. Jesus wasn’t just demonstrating submission to the scriptures and to God the Father, He submitted to the Father’s Will.  When He fasted for 40 days (Matt 4), He submitted to the Spirit, was led into the wilderness to be tempted, and He was hungry. Not an act just for demonstration’s sake, it was real. He resisted the temptation of the devil by referring to the Scriptures. That alone would make the point I’m trying to make, but look at His response to the second temptation.

Matthew 4:7 Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Jesus isn’t directing the quote at Satan, He presents the quote as a standard by which He must resist the temptation to put the Lord God to the test. Jesus is saying that He will not do what Satan suggested He do, because Scriptures clearly stay that we are not to test the Lord our God. Submission. Likewise in the response to the third and final temptation, Jesus isn’t commanding Satan ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ He is saying that He is to worship the Lord God and serve Him only; therefore, He will resist the final temptation. Submission. Satan had to flee… and after he had run away, the angels came to minister to Jesus. I think that it is from this example that James writes

James 4:7-10 (NASB)
7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

I look forward to returning to James 4 at a later date, but for now, I just wanted to point out that the Apostles understood submission because they saw it in the life of Jesus. In your own private reading time, examine for yourselves all of the times Jesus deferred to His Father in Heaven. In the book of John, He made it very clear to the Pharisees that He was the Son of God, and that He was sent by Him, and that His authority over sin, sickness, even the Sabbath was from God; however, He also deferred to God’s Will and Authority. Let’s go to another truly desperate and painful times when Jesus submitted to God the Father

Mark 14:36 (NASB) (Luke 22:39-46; Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42)
36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”

Luke 23:34 (NASB) (On the Cross)
34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

Luke 23:46 (NASB) 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last.

Amen. Yes, Jesus demonstrated complete and total submission to God the Father… by being fully and completely submitted to God the Father. It is this point, this point exactly, that lead me to share this message today. If Jesus, being the Son of God, the Word of God, equal to God was righteous in His submission to God and the Word of God… where is it that we get this false notion that submission denotes inferiority? We submit to God not only because He is superior to us (because we are, in-fact, inferior to God) but because it is Right that we do so. If submission were based solely on inferiority of being then Jesus could not have submitted to God the Father, for He is in no way an inferior being. He submitted to the Authority of God the Father, because that is the design of God’s creation.

Pray about this, and settle it in your spirits. Biblical submission is righteousness in the sight of God. Submit therefore to God. There is much more to discuss concerning the righteousness of biblical submission. Know that the basis for subsequent discussion has been presented here, in that we must first submit to God, His Word, His Son, His Spirit, and His Will. We will take a prayerful look at what the scriptures have to say about submission, particularly in how we are to live our lives as Christians in society, family, and within the Church.

Until next time, May the Lord bless and keep you in His Will,

In Him,
FS

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