Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Fishers of Men - Matthew 4:19

Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."

After Jesus' baptism and being filled with the Holy Spirit, and after He had been tempted in every way, He began His ministry by calling men to join Him - men He would disciple and who would later shake the world for God. Jesus' call is simple and applicable to every Christian today.

1. Jesus calls us to follow Him
"Follow Me," were His words. We are to follow Christ, and follow Him exclusively. That means we are not to follow other men or our own inclinations. Neither are we to follow the lure of comfort, wealth and position. We are to follow Him and Him alone.

2. Jesus makes us fishers of men
Jesus said, "I will make you..." That means it is not us who make ourselves fishers of men. We don't become evangelists by studying or getting a certificate, nor do we do so by undergoing a course or by practice. It is Jesus and Jesus alone who makes us fishers of man. The only personal effort required on our part is to "follow Him". When we do, He will make us fishers of men.

3. Following Jesus means being fishers of men
Jesus' command to follow Him is a command, not an option. All Christians are called to follow our Lord. If we are following Christ, and if He is the one who makes us fishers of men as we follow Him, the question for us is naturally: "Are we being fishers of men?" Because we cannot say we are followers of Christ if we are not fishers of men, since that is what He makes His followers into. May the Lord help us to see that our priority is to follow Him, and that to follow Him is to be fishers of men.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Victory Over Temptation - Matthew 4

We all face temptation from time to time. Even Christians are not free from it. Even Christ Himself was not free from it. The Bible tells us that He was tempted in every way, that is, in every possible way, yet without sin. How did Jesus resist temptation and gain the victory? Matthew 4 tells that story.

1. Jesus Memorized God's Word
Having God's Word in our hearts is the first step to gaining victory over temptation. Psalm 119:11 says, "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." God's Word in our heart guards us from sin. If we do not read our Bibles regularly or do not take it seriously, we will fall into sin when temptations come.

2. Jesus Submitted to God's Word
Knowing God's Word is not enough if we do not obey it. God's blessings are always promised to those that not only know God's Word, but to those who do it. In the same way, we are told in James 4:7, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." When faced with temptation, we need to know God's will as revealed in His Word, and then we need to choose God's will by submitting to Him.

3. Jesus Resisted the Devil
Finally, as James wrote, we need to resist the devil. When faced with temptation, we must know God's Word and submit to God, and recognize the source of temptation and resist it. No temptation comes from God. Temptation is only from Satan in order to draw us away from God, even though God allows us to be tempted in order to test us. Temptation is not to be toyed with. When tempted, the Christian must follow the Lord's example to resist it and the tempter immediately.

One last thing to note is that resisting temptation is not just a one-time event in the Christian's life. The Bible tells us that after Jesus' temptation, the Devil left Him 'until an opportune time', which means he did come back and try to stumble Jesus again. That's why we need to be constantly feeding on God's Word, submitting to Him, and resisting the Devil when he comes.